We typically define a mass shooting as three or more people shot and killed, usually in a single event. Rampage shootings are often lumped in together for what should be obvious reasons, but some argue that it’s only a mass shooting if it’s outside the home.
The definitions don’t matter for family members of one household in Utah right now.
A family of eight people, including five children, were found dead with apparent gunshot wounds in a Utah home on Wednesday after police conducted a welfare check, according to the officials in Enoch City, Utah.
No suspects are at large, and there is no threat to the public according to a press release from Enoch City.
“We all know this family; many of us have served with them in church, and community, and gone to school with these individuals,” City Manager Rob Dobson said at a press conference. “And so this community at this time is hurting, they’re feeling loss, they are feeling pain, they have a lot of questions which is natural.”
Dotson indicated that police are unaware of a motive at the moment. At the time of the press conference, police were actively searching the home. Law enforcement from Enoch City, Iron County, Cedar City are cooperating in the investigation, according to Dotson.
Dotson said that it’s possible a motive will be discovered in the next day or two.
However, right now, there are a lot more questions than answers. Utah families have a tendency to be a little larger than most other parts of the nation. That’s generally because of the Mormon roots that run through so much of the state. It was founded by LDS settlers, after all, which is probably why there were so many people in a single household.
That said, nothing else makes any sense.
However, there’s a statement in Deseret News that is interesting.
“At this time, we do not believe there is a threat to the public or that there are any suspects at large,” the press release said. Officials have not given the names of the deceased family members.
The fact that they say there are no suspects at large is, I believe, curious.
It seems to suggest that what we have here is a murder-suicide. Now, that’s speculation on my part, but it’s educated speculation. It’s also possible they’ve already made an arrest and just don’t want to talk about it right now, but that seems unlikely.
Regardless, this is an awful tragedy that will, unfortunately, lead some to use it to justify restrictions on people’s Second Amendment rights. In fact, I suspect that’s already happening in many corners of the internet, though I haven’t seen it personally.
Which is good, because I don’t like the morbid desire to use the bodies of the slain as a soapbox.
Instead, it makes much more sense to at least wait and find out what happened, and who did what with what, before we start demanding legislation to prevent such a thing from happening again. I mean, we don’t even know precisely what happened.
However, this is something we will be following.