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Umpqua killer: interest in high-profile shootings, angry at not having a girlfriend and bitter at the world

Saturday, October 3rd 2015 - 07:17 UTC
Full article 14 comments

Christopher Harper-Mercer was withdrawn and quiet as he grew up in southern California, spending most of his time indoors at his mother’s apartment and deflecting neighbors when they asked him how he was doing, or why he always wore the same outfit of combat boots and green Army pants. But there was one subject that got him to open up: guns. Read full article


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  • The Voice

    He sounds just like some of the trolls that appear on here. Sad, why did he never get treatment? US healthcare for his sort of illness doesnt appear to exist. How on earth can such a person have a gun? The US gun laws are shit.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 08:54 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Stevie

    I was thinking exactly the same!!!

    Same origin as well...

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 09:57 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • lsolde

    Time to limit your guns, America.
    The Redcoats aren't coming back & you've killed most of the lndians, so you don't need them all now.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 11:44 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Marcos Alejandro

    ”angry at not having a girlfriend and bitter at the world:

    He is British right?

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 03:48 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Heisenbergcontext

    Pretty much a textbook example of a mass killer. There are, of course, people like this in every society. The chances of someone as isolated and socially inept as this man obtaining a firearm, legally or otherwise, in my country, are negligible.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 04:39 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 5 Heisenbergcontext
    “The chances of someone as isolated and socially inept as this man obtaining a firearm, legally or otherwise, in my country, are negligible.”

    I know the Aussie gun laws having been in South Australia looking at doing the self-funded retirement scheme and having had the pleasure of using all the target shooting ranges in the west of the region.

    I sincerely hope your statement does not come back to haunt you.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 06:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • lsolde

    @4 Marcos,
    What a strange person you are!
    What twisted assumptions your brain(?)thinks.
    lmagine you, sitting in a jury!
    “He is ugly your Honour, so he must be Argentine”.
    You are a raving ratbag, Marcos.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 08:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Britworker


    Yes he was British born, not that I get the relevance, if he was interested in the IRA then he would have been as isolated here in the UK as he was in the US. The only difference being in the UK he wouldn't have got his hands on the gun.

    Minimum mandatory sentence for possession of a firearm lethally barrelled weapon and OR ammunition in the UK is 5 years.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 08:44 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Heisenbergcontext

    @6 ChrisR

    The ANU released a study in 2011 which concluded that after our laws were changed our firearm homicide dropped by 59% and our firearm suicide rate fell by 65%. There was no corresponding increase in homicides and suicides without guns. There have been 294 mass shootings in the US this year - defined as being four people shot in one episode. There have been exactly zero in my country since 1996, when our gun laws changed.

    The US's homicide rate is four times that of my own country despite my belief that we are no less likely to experience homicidal desire's than they. Indeed I've met many people who could be carbon copies of Christopher Harper-Mercer in my country. The difference being they would have no idea how to obtain an illegal weapon and even if they did the seller would simply have taken his money and told him to fuck off. It would be impossible for Harper-Mercer to legally purchase the guns he used in this massacre in my country.

    So I can conclude that the likelihood of me being haunted by a similar crime is highly remote.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 08:53 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    My wife pointed this out to me literally minutes after I had posted:

    Laws made by man can and are broken by bad men. THAT is the crux of the problem.

    Oct 04th, 2015 - 01:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Heisenbergcontext

    Yes it is chilling Chris. Kids like that represent new challenges.

    Oct 04th, 2015 - 01:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 11 Heisenbergcontext

    Perhaps it's because I am getting old but I look back on my childhood and the firearms that I used from the age of 11 under strict supervision with incredulity.

    The first gun I fired was a Luger P08 short barrelled 9mm pistol (made famous in war films -it was the German military sidearm in WW1, the P08 refers to the Pattern 1908). I was then allowed to buy my first shotgun at the age of 14 (min legal age then) and was trained in gun safety by a very good friend of the family I called 'uncle'. I was not allowed an air rifle because they were used by 'hooligans'!

    My training included the STRICT instruction NEVER to point any gun loaded or not at anybody or anything I didn't intend to shoot. I have always abided by this tenet of gun safety and it is an anathema for me even to consider not doing so.

    I cannot even agree with paintballing because under British Law a paintball gun IS a firearm under the Firearms Acts (as amended) and I cannot see the reason for shooting friends with something that can harm them without they use heavy protective clothing and eye protection. You just don't do things like that.

    Nowadays, it seems to me, that kids playing games on their computers where they 'shoot them up' and go on to play paintball games are in danger of being seduced into thinking this is normal behaviour. The risk is simply that a lot of parents do not monitor them when they do these things so how are they supposed to know what is right or wrong?

    The Muslim so called faith denigrates non-believers to less than human and actively encourages 'believers' into doing what this 15 YO did for the sake of Allah.

    How do you combat that in a western society whose citizens do not believe this is likely or even that if a child is born of a Muslim father that they are automatically Muslims and can NEVER leave the 'faith'?

    We are totally unprepared for this coming conflict and many will die before governments wake up and do something about it.

    Oct 04th, 2015 - 06:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Enrique Massot

    #1 The Voice, #3 Isolde and #9 Heisenbergcontext
    Spot on. So many young lives lost, so much pain inflicted on families, friends, and community, before a world that incredulously witnesses the same scenario unfolding time and again under the impassible watch of decision makers.
    I would add the following:
    The U.S. first problem is its cultural fixation with guns as a way of “solving” conflict. Movie after movie show how a “good” guy armed with high-powered weapons obliterates the “bad” ones. Killings are clean; the ugliness of what high-caliber bullets can inflict on human bodies rarely appears on screen.
    Secondly: there will always be some deranged individuals wanting to inflict damage on others. The rapid-fire power of weapons readily available in the U.S. allows them to inflict significant damage in a short time, that is, before any possible intervention.
    Finally, the United States' well-organized and well-financed lobbying organization will defend the citizens'--constitutional, mind you--right to bear arms. The Supreme Court has endorsed it without consideration for the time and circumstances such right was enshrined.
    CBC's Neil Macdonald has written a well thought out piece on the topic.
    Its title is fitting: “The evil banality of guns in America.”

    Oct 04th, 2015 - 06:46 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Heisenbergcontext

    @12 ChrisR

    The training you received in handling firearms seems exemplary to my laymen's eye. I can understand the allure of guns. I grew up in a small country town where every farmer had a shotgun and a .302 and like many of my peers I wanted an air rifle ( never did get one lol ). I left that town when I was pretty young and simply developed other interests and have never considered owning a firearm since. I confess my attitudes towards guns are coloured by the fact that two of my uncles shot themselves with their weapons - both suicides. One was only 17, the other died in a motel room in Vancouver. The bullet passed through his head, through the wall and nearly hit a honey-mooning couple in the next room.

    I don't know what to do with the issue of radicalised children and young men other than what our security forces are already doing. Given how many terrorist plots have been stopped in their tracks over the past decade it could've been a lot worse.

    The only other solution I can think of is to simply cut ties with the middle-east until they have thoroughly purged their sectarian bitterness and developed solutions they can live with, as much of Europe did hundreds of years ago. I don't think our society is ready for that solution though.

    Changing our gun laws is not a solution I'm willing to entertain however. It would make everything exponentially worse IMHO.

    Oct 04th, 2015 - 09:44 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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