Following any mass shooting here on American soil, someone will invariably suggest the idea of British-style gun control. They’ll argue that the UK passed new laws in the wake of a mass shooting and never had another one.
Up until now, that was true, though it was far more complex a discussion–England wasn’t rife with mass shootings in the first place–but the core facts were accurate, at least as far as the timeline went. It’s the United States that has a mass shooting problem.
Of course, if you notice I spoke in the past tense, there’s a reason for that.
Six people, including a suspected gunman, have died in a shooting in Plymouth.
Devon and Cornwall Police said three females, two males and the suspect had died in the Keyham area of the city on Thursday evening.
One of the dead was a child under 10, according to an MP, but the shooting is not terror-related, police confirmed.
The death toll means it is the worst mass shooting in the UK for more than a decade.
Emergency services were called to Biddick Drive shortly after 18:00 BST on Thursday.
People were told to stay inside and follow police advice as the emergency response developed.
Eyewitness Sharron, who lives nearby and did not want to give her full name, said what happened was “horrendous and so sad”.
“Firstly, there was shouting, followed by gunshots – three possibly four to begin with,” she said.
“This was when the shooter kicked in the door of a house and randomly started shooting. He ran from the house shooting as he ran and proceeded to shoot at a few people in the linear park up from the drive.”
She said the “shooter proceeded along Royal Navy Avenue still shooting”.
Another witness, Robert Pinkerton, said he “walked around the corner” and “bumped into a bloke with a shotgun”. He said the man was dressed all in black.
Right now, there are still a ton of questions about just what happened, such as where the weapon came from. However, we do have some potential inklings as to a motive, according to Sky News:
The gunman suspected of killing five people, including a child, before shooting himself dead in Plymouth has been named as 22-year-old [name redacted].
In videos shared online just weeks before the massacre, he spoke of being “beaten down” and “defeated by life”.
Davison, who posted on a YouTube channel under the name Professor Waffle, said he did not have “any willpower to do anything anymore” in a recording dated July 28.
In several clips, he referred to the “incels” – an abbreviation online for “involutory celibacy”, the online subculture that involves men who are unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, often expressing hostility and extreme resentment towards those who are sexually active, particularly women.
Although saying he did not “clarify” himself as an “incel”, Davison talked about “people similar to me have had nothing but themselves”.
He also reportedly watched a lot of gun videos, which I’m sure will be made into a huge thing, but may not be. After all, it’s the UK. It’s not like he could just run out and buy a gun no matter how many videos he watched.
Honestly, there are still more questions than answers, which is normal after a situation like this. There’s not really any point in speculating, either, because these things get kind of insane.
What we do know is that mass shootings are not just an American problem. While we get more than our fair share of them, they can happen in any country. Maybe this will finally dispel the idea that this is an issue unique to the United States.
Somehow, though, I doubt it.
In the coming days or weeks, we’ll get more information about this. I’m looking forward to learning more about this particular shooting. It’ll be interesting to see where the gun came from and what the British government plans to do about it. I’m sure it’ll be something ridiculous and knee-jerk, as per usual with governments.