The shootings yesterday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, have raised many questions, but most answers are premature. We hope—and assume—that there will be careful and thorough investigation of all this, with the truth—not some bias or viewpoint—guiding the search for answers.
In the meantime, we declare that—
* Reasonable atheists everywhere share the conclusion with reasonable Americans everywhere that shootings like the one in Oregon, are impossible to justify. People maimed and murdered, no matter what anyone thought was “the real reason,” is a horrific outcome and we condemn it unreservedly.
* If the murderer did (as has been reported) try to make questions about religion or Christianity a part of his stated intentions that in no way alleviates the vicious crimes he was guilty of, and is in no way rational or acceptable.
* We at American Atheists—and we’re reasonably sure that most Americans and most atheists agree—are eager to have improved safety on campuses and in our communities. We do not, however, agree on what changes in law or policy will improve that safety. Some of us (and I am one of these) would like serious investigation into stronger gun control, stronger public support for mental health care, and real consideration of proposed measures that could actually improve safety while not pointlessly restricting rights. Others—including our much missed National Legal Director, the late Edwin F. Kagin (a certified instructor for the National Rifle Association), are closer to the perspective that Second Amendment rights should be protected at almost any cost. Our organization is, in other words, an organization whose goals are to support the rights of atheists, advance the idea that a life free of religious belief is a better life, and work for a strict separation of government and religion as the only way to insure religious liberty. We do not pretend that atheists agree on all political, economic, or social policies.
(Editor’s comment: I wish to personally express my condolences to all those who were affected by this senseless event..)