This week, there were two school shootings on the same day that left three people dead. Right now, we’re going to talk about the one at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia.
27-year-old Alexander Wyatt Campbell of Ashland, Virginia, is accused of murdering two campus police officers at the school. Campbell is said to have opened fire on John Painter, 55, and J.J. Jefferson, 48, after a brief confrontation. Campbell is said to have fled the scene and was later apprehended off campus. Witnesses say that Campbell was carrying a black duffle bag that appeared to have had been heavy to carry. Multiple firearms were recovered both on and off campus.
So far, no motive has been given for the shooting, but Campbell is said to be a former student of the school.
Campbell is being held without bond and has been charged with aggravated murder of a police officer, first degree murder, aggravated murder of multiple persons within 3 years, aggravated murder of multiple persons, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
During his arraignment, Campbell was restrained in a chair. His court-appointed attorney asked that Campbell undergo a mental health evaluation.
Speaking of mental health, Campbell’s mother spoke to the press about her son’s mental state.
“My son is mentally ill and he did something that I could not control and no one could come to help him,” Campbell said in an interview with the newspaper on Wednesday. “I’m sorry for what has happened. I could not prevent it.”
“This is a very hard time for Wyatt and his family and for the families that he has affected,” she said through tears. “It is not about gun control. It is not. … It is about mental illness and how we have no control over that, the way society is right now. I can’t help my son.”
She’s half-right. The lack of access to affordable mental healthcare in this country is appalling. It also doesn’t help that even now in the 21st century, mental healthcare is still stigmatized. However, that’s only part of the equation, and gun control is absolutely another part. I don’t know all of Virginia’s gun laws, but I do know Virginia is a very gun-friendly state. If Campbell is mentally ill to the point where he’s a danger to himself and others, there’s no reason why he should have been allowed to obtain firearms legally.
And speaking of politics, Republican State Senator Mark Obenshain issued a statement following the deaths of the two police officers.
“I do not know what evil is responsible for this terrible and heartbreaking event. It is clear that something is wrong in our society when tragedies like this occur. Whether it is hate, drugs, mental illness or some other underlying factor, these are urgent priorities on which we must work together,” Obenshain said.
Again, you’ll notice that the ease in which firearms can be obtained in this country was suspiciously left out of Obenshain’s ‘underlying factors’. That’s kind of expected, though. You don’t want to upset the voting base of ‘responsible gun owners™’ if you’re trying to get reelected in Virginia.
- Two campus officers killed by Bridgewater College shooter
- Bridgewater college shooting: Two officers killed and alleged shooter identified
- Ex-student is arraigned in shooting of two campus officers
- Bridgewater College Shooting Suspect Facing Murder Charges, Held Without Bond
- What we know about the Bridgewater College shooting suspect from Ashland