Natalie Carpenter’s name and face are not likely to be plastered all over our TV and computer screens; but for those who do read stories about her and know her name now, she’ll mostly likely be forgotten in a short time. We won’t remember her in 15 years the way we will always remember Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. And that’s, in part, thanks to gun regulations doing their job.
Carpenter, an 18-year-old from Torrington, Connecticut was arrested last month after making threats to conduct Columbine-like shootings at two different schools, Danbury High School and her own former school, Stratford High School. The arrest warrant, which was just unsealed this week, revealed that Carpenter had an obsession with Harris, Klebold, and the Columbine shooting.
Carpenter was receiving treatment at Hope House, a group home for people with mental health problems. According to court documents, she needed the treatment for a personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, and depression. The 18-year-old also had a history of self-injury and attempted suicide. She was able to “come and go as she pleased” at the group home.
Police found disturbing entries in Carpenter’s journal describing her admiration for Harris and Klebold.
Along with a 19-year-old accomplice, Peter Thulin (who lives in the same group home), Carpenter planned to emulate her “heroes” by holding students and staff hostage and then shooting until they were all dead. Fortunately, another patient was able to inform the staff at Hope House of their plan before they were able to purchase the guns they would need.
Carpenter first tried to purchase a 12-guage shotgun at a city gun store, Tactical Arms. When that was unsuccessful, she tried Walmart. She filled out an application, but there was a 2-week wait for paperwork to be processed, which thankfully left enough time for her to be caught.
According to the right-wing gun nuts, Carpenter should have been able to walk into any gun store and buy whatever she wanted, no questions asked. Fortunately, there were common sense gun regulations that stopped her from doing that.
This is why we need to keep having this conversation. This is why we need to close gun show loopholes and ensure waiting periods and mental health screenings across the board; because instead of this post, I could be writing about another devastating mass murder.
Carpenter has been charged with attempt to commit first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit assault and is being held at Niantic Correction Institute.