The state of Maine is generally pretty quiet. It’s a little different than most of the other states in the northeastern part of the nation, but not all that much.
Yet they were rocked by a mass shooting not all that long ago, just in April of this year, that left four people dead.
It sparked a gun debate in the state.
On Thursday, something happened that will kick that debate into overdrive.
Any shooting that leaves at least 22 people dead and more than 50 injured is going to do that.
At least 22 people are dead and dozens are injured following two shootings Wednesday night at a bowling alley and a restaurant in Lewiston, Maine, and an intensive manhunt is underway for a person of interest, officials say.
Robert Card, 40, of Bowdoin, is a person of interest and should be considered armed and dangerous, Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said.
Law enforcement officials in Maine tell CNN that Card is a certified firearms instructor and a member of the US Army Reserve. Card had recently made threats to carry out a shooting at a National Guard facility in Saco, Maine, and also reported mental health issues, including hearing voices, the officials said.
During a news conference Wednesday night, Sauschuck declined to provide further information about Card. “We’re not prepared to go into (Card’s) background,” he said.
First, we don’t generally use the name of shooters, but Card here is currently at large. In such a case, I’m not withholding any information that might let the police find this guy. He might not have done anything wrong and if so, he can clear his name.
Yet since this restaurant and bowling alley weren’t exactly adjacent, it means the alleged killer wasn’t looking at just hitting one place and calling it a day.
Any mass shooting is concerning and for good reason. However, there are a few points that have me very concerned, such as Card supposedly being a certified firearms instructor. I won’t pretend that will do the pro-gun side any favors in the upcoming debate, though that’s really not that important at the moment.
Another point of concern, though, is that Card was reportedly unstable and had even threatened to carry out a shooting at a National Guard Armory.
Maine has their own version of a red flag law. This is the kind of stuff we’re told red flag laws are for, and yet it doesn’t seem anyone bothered to use it.
Admittedly, Maine’s is kind of limited, where only police and family can use it, but it seems that neither did so. At this time, we don’t know why–perhaps both were unaware of the threats or the claims of hearing voices–so we won’t speculate on any of that.
What we do know, though, is that this is the bloodiest mass shooting in quite some time. While the death toll is around that of Uvalde, the number of wounded makes this even worse. While these appear to be mostly adults, not that it’s all that much better for it.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the dead, the survivors, and their families.
Edit [11:38 Eastern, 10/26/2023] – Since this was originally written, the bloodshed has been significantly reduced. As of right now, we’re being told that it’s 18 dead and 13 injured. The biggest difference is in the number injured, which was estimated to be at least 50 but some thought could be as high as 100. That doesn’t seem to be the case now.
As per usual, these situations are fluid. While what happened is over and done with, it takes time to really get all the details to settle down so we know exactly what happened.