47 year old Scott Ostrem was arrested near his home Thursday, November 2. He is a suspect in the death of three people at the Thornton, Colorado Walmart. Witnesses reported that Ostrem walked through the Walmart about 6:10 PM MST Wednesday, November 1 with a handgun, firing at people at the checkouts at the front of the store. People fled, and some shoppers in the store drew their own weapons in response. Two people died at the scene, and a woman died later at a local hospital. Ostrem was described as “nonchalant” while he was shooting at people.
Ostrem’s behavior fits the profile of a mass-murderer. Mass murderers attempt to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible. When they are in the act of killing, they are referred to as active shooters. There victims will typically be clustered together in an enclosed space, such as a school or workplace. Ostrem’s reported history is also consistent with at least one feature of a mass murderer: They aspire to achievements beyond their ability. Ostrem had two failed business ventures and declared bankruptcy. He also was in debt with credits cards for about $58,000. His neighbors describe him as “unfriendly and hostile”, and his supervisor at a roofing company where he worked as a metal fabricator said he walked off the job Wednesday morning and did not return. He had a criminal record for DUI, harassment, and resisting arrest.
Active shooters have become a regular occurrence in the US. There have been at least 28 incidents involving active shooters in the past ten years. There have been ineffective measures put in place in an effort to stop them such as stricter gun control laws (criminals tend to disregard the law, so this isn’t working too well) or lock-down policies, which ensure the active shooter will have all of his targets confined and concentrated together in one convenient location, thus ensuring mass causalities. It is difficult to fathom why the same ineffective measures are continued to be employed, in the vain hope that they will suddenly start working. This is a dangerous fantasy.
A remarkable headline offered by the Denver Post was how the armed civilians on the scene “slowed the investigation”. Police had to review store cameras to identify the shooter, as video footage showed multiple people in the store where armed. The investigation was not slowed down that much seeing as the shooter was captured within hours. A pertinent question would be how many of them were shooting each other? That would have been an important clue as to who the shooter was. I wonder what alternatives should have been pursued besides people exercising their Second Amendment rights. Some people choose not to be helpless targets.