USA Manhunt in Maine: search against time for the shooter who has killed at least 18 people

The 111,000 residents of Androscoggin County, Maine, have been locked in their homes since last night, with the police recommending that they keep the door locked

USA Manhunt in Maine: search against time for the shooter who has killed at least 18 people

The 111,000 residents of Androscoggin County, Maine, have been locked in their homes since last night, with the police recommending that they keep the door locked. Public buildings are closed, with the exception of City Hall and a public clinic. The schools, too. In fact, in most of the southern half of the state of Maine, where the territory's population is concentrated, high schools are closed, and so are a large part of the university centers. The airport in Portland, Maine's main city, with 70,000 inhabitants, operates normally, although with reinforced security. In much of the state, however, public transportation has been suspended.

All of these measures will continue until authorities locate Robert Card, 40, who authorities accuse of murdering 18 people on Thursday night (early morning today in Spain) at a bowling alley and a bar in the town of Lewiston, located about two hours north of the city of Boston, and half an hour from Portland, the largest urban center in Maine. Card, an Army reservist with serious mental problems, who was admitted last summer for two weeks in a psychiatric institution, has disappeared without a trace after the massacre, which has left thirteen people hospitalized, as confirmed by Janet Mills, the governor of the state, belonging to the Democratic Party. Mills warned the public that Card "is armed and dangerous," and strongly discouraged any interaction with him.

Initially, Card's attack caused up to 60 injuries, according to American media, but it seems that most of them had minor injuries. The fact that Card is a shooting instructor in the Army appears to have played a tragic role in the massacre, causing many of those hit by gunfire to suffer fatal wounds. According to authorities, 15 of the 18 murdered died before reaching the hospital. At the moment only eight bodies have been identified. The vast majority of the dead appear to be men.

The 'man hunt' has spread to other neighboring states, such as New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In fact, the massacre took place in a restaurant and a bowling alley in the town of Lewiston, about two hours from Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, and half an hour from Portland, the main city of Maine, when Card entered both establishments and He opened fire at point-blank range against those present. Police found his car next to the marina in the town of Lisbon, about eight miles from Lewiston.

For now, little else is known about the investigations. It is evident that Card had some type of mental illness. According to the American media, the alleged murderer said that he heard voices in his head. Be that as it may, he took advantage of the very lax gun control laws of Maine, a rural state, very sparsely populated, with a tradition of big game hunting and which, in addition, is the most conservative of the six that make up New England, such as reveals the fact that he is the only one of them to have a Republican senator, Susan Collins.

In Maine, no type of administrative permit is required to carry weapons openly in public places, the purchase and sale of weapons is allowed without obtaining a permit, there is no firearms registry, a firearms license is not necessary. weapons to own one, semi-automatic weapons - like the one Card used - are allowed, and there is no type of limitation regarding the number of bullets a magazine can carry. Practically the only limitation is that judicial authorities can deprive a person of their firearms if they consider that they are a danger to their owner (suicide) or to others.

Its murder rate, however, is low, just 1.7 violent deaths per 100,0000 inhabitants in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a very distant figure. from the 23.7 in Mississippi or the 21.3 in Louisiana. Mills specifically regretted that this attack could damage the image of Maine as a safe state. So far this year there have been 565 mass shootings, defined as incidents in which at least four people are hit by bullets, regardless of whether they die or not.

Meanwhile, the country, once again, has gone into mourning for this massacre. The White House flag flies at half-mast, and Mills has spoken on several occasions with the president, Joe Biden, and the vice president, Kamala Harris. It is not without a certain component of tragic irony that Biden was informed of the massacre while he was celebrating a state dinner with the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. In 1996, 35 people were murdered in Australia, in the worst massacre in the history of that country. The massacre caused Australia to tighten requirements for the purchase and possession of weapons. Since then, no incidents of this magnitude have occurred in that country. In the United States, however, gun control is currently a losing battle.