We’re officially mid gun-control media blitz, and while a mass shooting occurs almost every day in the US#, the one that sparked this particular hysteria was a shooting that took place October 1st at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Christopher Harper-Mercer, a 26-year-old student, fatally shot nine people and injured nine others on the campus.

And honestly, the details aren’t really that important.

You might be interested to know that TIME reported that the shooter’s mom was a gun enthusiast who claimed to struggle with Asperger’s:

Laurel Margaret Harper, mother of gunman Chris Harper-Mercer, wrote that she kept AR-15 and AK-47 semiautomatic rifles and a Glock handgun in their home, and cited her son as her source on facts about gun laws. Writing on Yahoo Answers under the name TweetyBird, she mocked ‘lame states’ with tough gun-control laws, and said that because of the multiple loaded guns she kept at home, ‘no one will be ‘dropping’ by my house uninvited without acknowledgement.’
 
She and her son would frequently go to shooting ranges, and she expressed disdain for inexperienced gun owners, writing that she would ‘cringe every time the ‘wannabes’ show up.’

But that’s not going to change any results or opinions.

What might get at least a few heads turned, however, is that it’s recently come to light that Sheriff John Hanlin of Douglas County, the man in charge of overseeing the investigation around the Umpqua shooting, “shared a link on his personal Facebook page to a YouTube video, which suggested that the shootings at Sandy Hook — and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — might have been staged by the federal government to provide a pretext for ‘disarming the public’ through gun control legislation.”

JohnHanlinFbook

In a beautiful act of unawareness about how the internet works, Hanlin has since removed that post and told CNN, “I know what you’re referring to, but that’s not a conspiracy theory that I have.”

However, that doesn’t un-send the letter he wrote to Joe Biden in 2013 telling him that, “Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings,” which was riddled with language commonly used by the Oath Keepers, a right-wing group that encourages law enforcement officials to not obey orders that they believe would violate the United States Constitution.

You might know them as the heavily-armed white guys you saw at all the Ferguson protests:

And if you like videos, click here to watch Hanlin argue that universal background checks are a logistical impossibility. He was specifically referring to a proposed bill called SB941, which later became law, that called for background checks on private gun sales:

This law is not going to protect citizens of Oregon, in that it is going to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. It will not do that. We have laws that prohibit the possession of other things, like methamphetamines, and it doesn’t stop it.

Now everyone is entitled to their opinion — that’s one of the few things, at the moment, that makes our country truly great — but this is why it’s important to remember to watch the watchmen. Otherwise, Dave Gibbons was just drawing blue penises for nothing#.

You might not feel compelled to sign the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s petition that calls for Sheriff Hanlin’s immediate resignation, but when you start wondering why our country has 4.4% of the world’s population but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world, this might be a factor to consider.

And if you’d like to take the next baby step in trying to stop gun violence in this country, I highly recommend checking out the list of links at the bottom of Whitney Hayes’ piece “Admit You’re Not Doing Anything About Gun Violence (and then do something about it)”; they’ll point you in the right direction.