Law enforcement officials have already refused to say the name of the dead perpetrator of yesterday’ shooting massacre in Oregon. Why not, the Daily Beast’s Michael Daly proposes, talk about the hero rather than the zero?
Forget the 26-year-old zero who murdered 10 innocents at Umpqua Community College on Thursday morning.
The one to remember is 30-year-old Chris Mintz, the student and Army vet who was shot at least five times while charging straight at the gunman in an effort to save others.
Mintz did so on the sixth birthday of his son, Tyrik.
“It’s my son’s birthday, it’s my son’s birthday,” he was heard saying as he lay wounded.
Mintz moved to Oregon to get accreditation as a fitness trainer. Fortunate to be alive, he will instead have to focus on rebuilding his own body; both legs are broken, and he will have to spend months in rehabilitation. Mintz has recovered well enough to speak about the shooting with ABC News, telling people to worry more about the other victims:
Chris Mintz, 30, was shot seven times during the Thursday rampage, but he says his main concern is about the others who were injured.
“I just hope that everyone else is OK,” he told ABC News this morning.
“I’m just worried about everyone else.”
Mintz was not just a person at the wrong place at the wrong time. He heard the gunfire and ran toward the danger, while urging others to run in the opposite direction:
“He ran to the library and pulled the alarms and he was telling people to run, grabbing people, telling them, ‘You just have to go,'” witness Hannah Miles told ABC News.
“He actually ran back towards the building where the shooting was and he ran back into the building and I don’t know what happened to him,” she said of Mintz.
According to witnesses, Mintz told the gunman that it was his son’s birthday after getting shot three times. The gunman responded by shooting him twice more, but couldn’t kill Mintz. His cousin has started a GoFundMe project to help Mintz recover from his wounds, and it has already met its modest target of $10,000. Over the next few days, don’t be surprised to see it head into six figures.
The shooter left behind writings that law enforcement says reveal a man “filled with hate.” Besides the stories emerging of the perpetrator targeting Christians, his writings show a preoccupation with Irish Republican Army militants and the media obsession with other mass murderers:
The shooter’s apparent social media profiles started to go viral, especially a photo of Mercer posing with a rifle on his MySpace page. The page also praised the paramilitary Irish separatists known as the IRA.
Masked IRA soldiers carrying assault rifles down a back alley in one picture were “looking cool defending their country,” Mercer wrote. He had also posted a left wing Irish republican newspaper headline that said, “British army could not defeat IRA.” …
A blog that has been linked to him was last updated on Wednesday with an uploaded documentary on the 2013 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to CBS News. In another post, he discussed Vester Lee Flanagan, the shooter who gunned down two Virginia journalists on live TV in August.
“I have noticed that so many people like [Flanagan] are alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are,” Mercer wrote. “A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems like the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.”
Daly has the right idea. Chris Mintz deserves our attention and admiration. The shooter in this case deserves oblivion.