Too many lives lost. May they R.I.P.
The nine victims killed in Thursday’s massacre at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon have been named by police.
Officials identified the nine as; Lucero Alcaraz, 19; Quinn Glen Cooper, 18; Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59; Lucas Eibel, 18; Jason Dale Johnson, 33; Lawrence Levine, 67; Sarena Dawn Moore, 44; Treven Taylor Anspach, 20; and Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18.
Shortly after reading the names of those who lost their lives, members of the police department read statements from some of the families.
They also revealed that the number of people injured during Thursday’s shooting was nine, not seven as previously reported.
The gunman, Chris Harper-Mercer – who was enrolled in the writing class that he opened fire in – was also killed on Thursday by police.
One of the first casualties of the massacre was identified this morning as 19-year-old student Alcaraz.
Alcaraz’s older sister, Maria Leticia, posted a heartbreaking tribute to her slain sibling on Facebook saying the first-year UCC student had aspired to be a pediatric nurse.
‘Lucero, I miss you I wish you were here,’ Maria Alcaraz wrote. ‘I can’t sleep. I never got the chance to tell you how proud of you I was.
‘You would have been a great pediatric nurse. I was so proud of you for getting you college completely paid through scholarships and you made it into college honors.
‘You were going to do great things love. I ache so much right now..I need you..’
in an earlier posting, Maria Alcaraz spoke of her pain and anger at losing her sister in an act of senseless violence.
‘Never in a million years would I have imagined going through something like this,’ she wrote. ‘She was my best friend and my sister. Today, I lost her. I can’t begin to describe how I feel. I’m full of anger, pain, sadness, regret that I didn’t get the chance to see her or prevent this from happening.
‘I don’t know how I will make it through this …I don’t know if I can ever relieve this pain. Rest in piece sister…I’ll see you soon.’
Lucero is survived by five siblings. Her 14-year-old sister, Eileen, told BuzzFeed the college student was a talented artist and the ‘responsible one’ in the family.
The second victim was identified Friday as Jason Johnson, whose mother spoke proudly of her son’s new-found commitment to turning his life around.
Tonja Johnson Engle told NBC News the 33-year-old had struggled with drug addiction but completed a six-month rehabilitation program and enrolled in Umpqua Community College to continue his education.
‘He started Monday and he was so proud of what he had accomplished, and rightly so,’ Johnson Engel tearfully told the station. ‘The other day he looked at me and hugged me and said, “Mom, how long have you been waiting for one of your kids to go to college?” And I said, “Oh, about 20 years.”’
The heartbroken mother said she last saw her son alive as he was leaving for class Thursday morning.
‘Love ya,’ Jason told her after giving her a kiss. ‘I’ll see you this afternoon.’
The deaths of two more UCC students, Lucas Eibel and Rebecka Carnes, both 18 years old, were also confirmed by their families this afternoon.
Carnes’ stepfather, Aaron Chandler, told the station KATU: ‘We are at a loss for words.’
The New York Times reported the 18-year-old was a star softball player in high school and was studying to become a dental hygienist. Carnes had just began classes at UCC on September 28.
Her cousin Bethany Johnson mourned Rebecka’s passing on Facebook, writing that she ‘had the biggest hear an [sic] amazing soul.’
In the first chaotic hours after the shooting, Rebecka’s mother, Jessica Chandler, spoke to ABC News, saying she was worried for her daughter because she didn’t know where she was. She later learned from Carnes’ friend that that student was taken to a hospital.
When asked what she would say to her daughter, Chandler said, ‘I would tell her that I love her, and I want her in my arms.’
Victim Lucas Eibel, also 18 years of age, was a quadruplet. According to the Roseburg News-Review. Lucas, his two brothers, Mitchell and Cole, and sister Alexis graduated from high school this year.
He was studying chemistry and had received two scholarships after graduating high school with ‘high academic marks.’
‘We have been trying to figure out how to tell everyone how amazing Lucas was, but that would take 18 years. Lucas loved FFA, volunteering at Wildlife Safari and Saving Grace animal shelter. He was an amazing soccer player,’ said his family in a statement.
Megan Dilson, the faculty adviser for the Roseburg FFA, praised Eibel in an interview with Oregon Live.
‘Lucas was one of the best students our FFA Chapter had. I am so devastated by his loss,’ she said.
Family friend Jeremy Root said; ‘Just the worst thing to happen to the best people.’
A friend of 20-year-old Treven Anspach confirmed to People Magazine that he too was among the victims of Thursday’s shooting rampage.
Jesse Milbrat, also 20, told the publication he and Anspach were former school mates and co-workers at Roseburg Forest Products.
‘He was a hard worker and a damn good basketball player,’ the friend said. ‘He deserves way better.’
Milbrat last saw Anspach in May before leaving for the Army.
‘The last thing he said to me was, “Good luck and thanks for your service”,’ he said.
On Thursday afternoon, Anspach’s family were frantically looking for him. His brother, Cameron, told the Los Angeles Times that no one heard from Treven.
That evening, a friend tweeted that the 20-year-old was undergoing surgery in Eugene, Oregon, and asked people to pray for him.
Mrs Dietz, who was divorced with one daughter, was a mature student and had been attending a lecture in classroom 12 when shooter Chris Harper Mercer burst in.
A friend, Natalie Robbins, 38, said she heard of Mrs Dietz’ death from a fellow student immediately after the shootings – news confirmed in a phone call two hours ago from the 72-year-old’s former husband.
‘Kim and I had a lot in common despite the differences in our ages,’ said Mrs Robbins.
‘She had come through a nasty divorce and she didn’t have much education.
‘She would help me with math. She was an open person, a lovely person and I watched her bloom over the two terms we studied together.
‘Each term she got more comfortable [with me] and we shared many happy moments and a few tears too.’
The family of Quinn Robbins released a statement that was read by officials on Friday.
‘Quinn was funny, sweet, compassionate and such a wonderful loving person,’ it read.
‘He always stood up for people,” the statement reads. He was going to take his brown belt test next week, and loved dancing and voice acting and playing Ingress with his older brother, Cody.
‘Our lives are shattered beyond repair. We send our condolences to all the families who have been so tragically affected by this deranged gunman. No one should ever have to feel the pain we are feeling. Please remember the victims and their families. Please remember Quinn.’
The family have also started a GoFundMe page on which they wrote; ‘Yesterday, October 1, 2015 tragically multiple innocent people were murdered and injured by a deranged gunman at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
‘Our precious family member Quinn Cooper’s life was taken from him. He was taken from us, from the world. Quinn was just 18 years old. Quinn was my youngest son and younger brother to my eldest son Cody Cooper.
‘Quinn is everything and he was loved by everyone. He will be missed greatly by many many people please remember him for his fun and witty nature and all of the fun he had with everyone.’
Sarena Moore, 44, was a Seventh-day Adventist according to her Facebook page and also loved animals, sharing pictures of horses and dogs.
Moore, who also worked at her church, had two sons who lived in the area.
Her brother, Rick Goin, was not yet ready to speak about his sister’s death when approached by Oregon Live.
‘It’s not an easy subject. One thing I will say is I’m glad the officers, when they did get there, took care of business,’ said Goin.
‘The shooter is gone and we don’t’ have to wait for trials and everything else.’
Lawrence Levine was teaching a writing class at the school when he was shot dead.
The 67-year-old also loved to fish, tend bar and was a man of strong opinions.
‘He was the sweetest, most gentle, kind, thoughtful and creative person. My heart is broken,’ said David Furman, a lifelong friend.
He also enjoyed to write mystery novels according to a former student with whom he had a romantic relationship.
Mrs Robbins, who was on campus during the shootings and was in a classroom on the opposite side of Snyder Hall to the one attacked by Harper Mercer.
Terrified, she ran in the opposite direction and took shelter behind another building before being ushered into the cafeteria by a teacher.
‘I was in writing class when I heard the first shot,’ she says.
‘At first I thought a table had fallen, then I heard another six shots. Our instructor told us to get the hell out.
‘I was panicking and just ran. I didn’t know where to go.’
Afterwards, Mrs Robbins was taken to a reunification center at the local fairground with other survivors and found Mrs Dietz’s daughter there, searching for her mother.
‘I kept telling her it would be fine. I knew Kim was dead but I couldn’t tell her that.
‘You hope but I knew she was gone. I found her father [Mrs Dietz’s ex-husband] and left them together.
‘I spoke with him two hours ago and he confirmed that she had died.’
Meanwhile, doctors said three women airlifted to a hospital after the tragedy in Roseburg were expected to survive, but one will likely have lasting neurological damage.
Dr. Scott Russi of PeaceHealth Medical Center said at a news conference Friday that the woman was shot in the head and the bullet entered the left side of her brain.
He says another woman flown to the hospital in Springfield was shot in the spine, and the other suffered wounds to the abdomen and chest.
The women range in age from 18 to 34.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk
Several politicians have recently been offering free goodies to voters. One of the most popular of these, oddly enough, is something that several state governments have already tackled: free college tuition.
The details vary by state, but Oregon, Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan, and Louisiana (among others) all use tax dollars to pay for at least some of their residents’ college tuition.
Louisiana provides a great case study for advocates of similar federal policies. Louisiana just so happens to be in the news right now because the governor is threatening to suspend his state’s version of free college tuition for everyone.
Louisiana’s Tuition Program
Louisiana’s plan is called the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, or, more commonly, TOPS. This extremely popular program uses tax dollars to pay full tuition (and some fees) at any of Louisiana’s public universities. Other than residency requirements, all high school students qualify as long as they have a C average (2.5 GPA) and at least an 18 on the ACT.
So the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students doesn’t cover every student’s tuition, but it ends up covering it for a large chunk of middle-/upper-class families.
How It Started
The program started out in the late 1980s as the brainchild of oil tycoon/philanthropist Patrick Taylor. The program, which wasn’t originally named for him, started out as a tuition assistance plan only for low-income individuals.
In 1997 the state removed the income caps. At that point, all Louisiana students, regardless of financial need, were made eligible for “free” tuition at any Louisiana public college. Once in college, students had to maintain a C average to keep their TOPS awards.
As of 2010, approximately 70 percent of Louisiana’s high school graduates headed to college within one year. That’s nearly 20 percent higher than the rate in 2000.
Who’s Paying for It?
It’s easy to call the program a success because of this increase, but it’s just as easy to point out that the program doesn’t really provide free education. In one way or another, someone pays for it.
The eventual implosion of the program was easy to predict back in 1997 for the same reasons that pretty much any similar subsidy is destined to fail. Subsidies don’t really lower the cost of products and services; they only lower the up-front price that some people pay.
(In 1997, this program inspired my very first public critique of a government policy. Back then, I thought it was a terrible idea.)
No Such Thing as Free Tuition
A person receiving “free” tuition may not see it (or even care), but subsides actually raise the total cost of an education. The core problem is that they remove the paying customer—in this case the student—from the equation.
Without the subsidy, the paying customer receives the direct benefit for the service and bears the direct cost. If that person doesn’t think the cost is worth it, they don’t pay.
Louisiana’s program replaces this paying customer with groups of government officials. These officials neither receive the direct benefit nor endure the direct cost of obtaining an education. These groups do, however, benefit a great deal from obtaining more of your tax dollars.
And they rarely bear any direct cost from either increasing your taxes or delivering a substandard education product. (The incumbency rate is fairly high for politicians.)
On a practical level, Louisiana’s program converts tuition payments into a state budget item. In other words, a large chunk of each school’s “tuition” becomes nothing more than revenue sent in by the state bureaucracy.
In Louisiana, four separate higher education systems—each its own bureaucracy—fight over these “tuition” payments. Smaller schools inevitably get the smallest shares, but that’s kind of another story.
A Burden on University Resources
When the influx of students hits—more people going to school when tuition is “free” is pretty much a foregone conclusion—it strains universities’ existing resources. So the transfer of money has the natural tendency to lead to expanded facilities, faculty, and staff.
But these increases call for a permanently higher level of funding, and all of these effects tend to reinforce each other. That is, school officials have a built in reason to ask for larger transfers, and politicians have a built in excuse to raise taxes.
When the state’s coffers are not flush with cash, the schools’ budgets get cut. Thus, universities have every incentive to raise more money from students who are not a part of the Taylor Opportunity Program.
Of course, for any given level of Taylor Opportunity Program students, a higher posted rate of tuition results in a larger transfer from the state. If the program covered full fees and tuition for literally every student, then taxpayers would bear the full cost. But it doesn’t, so non-TOPS students bear some of the cost.
(Pretty much every student ends up paying higher fees directly, too, but that’s almost an aside.)
Non-subsidized markets don’t work this way—prices can actually fall in response to changes in demand and supply. Subsidized systems, on the other hand, are destined to result in higher—not lower—tuition.
Recent numbers support this explanation. The Taylor Opportunity Program has nearly doubled in cost since 2008, and most of that increase has been due to higher tuition.
What I failed to fully appreciate in 1997 was how bad of a deal the Taylor Opportunity Program would end up being for the smaller schools. Then I spent almost a decade teaching at Nicholls State University, a regional state school in Thibodaux, La.
Small Universities Are Hardest Hit
In one sense, the Louisiana program amounted to a cruel trick for these institutions. Smaller schools are the ones least able to sustain the permanently higher costs associated with the new TOPS-generated revenue stream.
When the state budget goes south—and it always does in Louisiana—smaller schools get slammed. (Louisiana State University has more than 25,000 students, so small changes in per-student fees go a long way).
No matter how much we want it to, subsidizing something simply doesn’t make it more cost-effective.
The Taylor Opportunity Program does give certain people a better deal on tuition at one point in time, but then it makes up for it somewhere else.
Ironically, the earlier waves of Taylor Opportunity Program graduates are among those about to get hit with a tax increase. That’s what politicians mean by free.
Aside from the subsidy/cost issue, there are many other reasons why this is bad public policy.
First of all—and I know this sounds crazy—everyone should not go to college. Some people simply aren’t cut out, and many just don’t need to. Yes, people with college degrees tend to earn more than those without, but it does not follow that everyone should go to college.
When the program was started, Louisiana public universities offered students a good value because they were relatively inexpensive. Now that Louisiana taxpayers have spent more than $2 billion on the program, tuition rates are out of reach for many students that don’t qualify for the program.
While the best solution for Louisiana would be to get rid of the program altogether (unlikely since politicians love the program), the best residents can hope for now is an increase in the program’s academic standards and some form of means testing. At least these changes would better direct subsidies to academically prepared students with more financial need.