Mass shootings tend to happen in clusters. There’s a long-ish lull, then WHAM! A handful of mass shootings in a fairly short period of time. Few of the clusters are as tightly packed as Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, though.
However, it could have been worse. Since then, the authorities have made several arrests of people allegedly planning mass shootings.
Earlier this week, they tallied one more.
A High Point University student found with guns in his dorm room planned to shoot up the school in the coming months, according to court documents.
Paul Steber, 19, a freshman from Boston, was arrested Tuesday after officers found guns in his dorm room.
Steber was taken into custody and charged with two felony counts of weapons on campus or other educational property. After he was questioned, Steber was charged with communicating a threat of mass violence on educational property, also a felony.
Details came out at Steber’s first court appearance on Wednesday.
During an investigation, officials found that Steber had planned to ‘do something’ by Christmas and came to North Carolina because it was ‘easier to get guns.’
Lori Wickline, an Assitant District Attorney with the Guilford County DA’s office, said Steber watched videos of the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting and bought at least two guns last weekend. Wickline said that if Steber’s roommate had gotten into a fraternity and Steber didn’t, Steber would kill his roommate and then kill himself.
It should be noted that, yet again, a red flag law wasn’t needed to stop this attack. There were already sufficient laws on the books to make an arrest and end the threat.
After all, it clearly did.
Steber claims he went to North Carolina because it was easier to get guns, which I’m sure some gun-grabber will point to and argue that gun control works, but “easier” doesn’t suggest it’s the only way Steber could have obtained firearms. It also suggests he was a long time in planning this. After all, you don’t just show up to a university and sign up. You have to apply well in advance of attending, which he did. That suggests he could have been more than able to wait until he was able to purchase guns in Massachusetts.
I’m glad that Steber was stopped before he could hurt anyone, but I’m also glad more and more examples of these attacks being stopped before they start. That’s good news for all of us.
So why is this happening?
Well, without academic-level research into the subject, I can’t say for certain. However, I think that the spate of mass shootings over the last couple of years has made people take such threats much more seriously than they used to. Once upon a time, a comment about shooting up a school or something would be dismissed out of hand because people didn’t really do that sort of thing.
Now, though, people don’t dismiss it. They take it seriously and they notify the authorities. An investigation is launched–the kinds of investigation that wasn’t in so many mass shootings such as Parkland–and they find evidence.
Do they always find it? Probably not, but we don’t hear about those other cases. Still, I think I speak for all of us when I say that taking threats as credible is a huge step forward in combatting mass shootings.
Plus, it doesn’t involve infringing on our rights any more than any other criminal investigation could be said to.
So the last thing we really need is new laws. We’ve got plenty of laws to stop such attacks. Let’s keep using them and catch these guys before they hurt other people.