All of us at Murder by the Book at one time or another answered the question, "Why do you like/read mysteries?" Most of us primarily read fictional crime stories. In fiction, an author can create motivation, puzzles, and an ending in which the culprit is named and usually made to pay for his or her crime. The fictional murders, assaults, and violence run the gamut from gently abraded (Agatha Christie) to viciously masticated ("Silence of the Lambs"). None of us ever mistook fiction for fact, nor did any of us desire to ever find even the coziest of crimes on our doorstep.
It is appalling to think that Umpqua Community College in Roseburg -- a three-hour drive south of Portland -- is the latest (and probably not the last) setting for someone to arm himself to the teeth and willfully murder strangers as part of a sick fantasy.
For one week every summer for fifteen years, I've driven from Portland to Roseburg to volunteer at Camp Millennium, a primarily Douglas County-supported charity that provides summer camp for children dealing with cancer. For several years, students at UCC have provided an afternoon of entertainment for the campers on their beautiful campus. How dare someone take the serenity and beauty of that campus away from everyone for even one second!
To my Camp family from Roseburg, I wish it hadn't happened to your community. The murderer crossed the line. He put thought into action. To those of us who are avid mystery/thriller/suspense readers, that would be the furthest thing from our minds.