Too bad Pope Francis didn’t visit America a week later. He could have used the killings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., to denounce guns – and abortion.
The Holy Father could have pointed to the killer’s apparent hatred of religion, then – working all angles – he could have drawn a connection between Chris Harper Mercer’s lack of concern for human life and females refusing to procreate.
In the case of Mercer, nobody would dare ask his mother, Laurel Harper, if she’s sorry she had him. For all of the many conversations our politicians are forever having, that is one subject that is rarely raised.
As it is, Laurel Harper sounds as overprotective – and culpable – as the mother of the Sandy Hook killer. It wouldn’t be surprising if it turned out that Laurel Harper bought some of the guns her disturbed son used to kill his writing teacher and eight classmates. She visited shooting ranges with her son when she lived in Torrance, Calif., before moving to Oregon, according to former neighbors who spoke to The New York Times.
Neighbors also told the Times that the mother tried to protect her son “from all manner of neighborhood annoyances, from loud children and barking dogs to household pests. Once, neighbors said, she went door-to-door with a petition to get the landlord to exterminate cockroaches in her apartment, saying they bothered her son.”
Harper, who worked as a licensed practical nurse, had to know more about her son than any mandated gun background check could reveal. Did it ever occur to her that her son – her “Asperger’s kid” as she referred to him according to news reports – should not own a gun, let alone several of them?
Parental love has its limits when it is so unconditional that all objectivity is lost. The son of Ian Mercer and Laurel Harper was a creepy man-child, who spent a lot of time posting revealing comments in online message boards, such as 4chan. Did his parents have no idea how he spent his time or what he wrote?
Before you dismiss 4chan as a place where only anonymous losers congregate, note that Christopher “Moot” Poole, the founder emeritus of 4chan, has been profiled by TIME, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Technology Review and Vanity Fair, and he was a featured speaker at the 2010 TED Conference. By one estimate, 4chan is visited by 22 million unique visitors a month.
The day before the college shootings, an anonymous commenter on 4chan’s /r9k/ board, whose e-mail address has been linked to Chris Mercer, posted that he was going to shoot up a school in the Northwest. Eavesdropping on this crowd reveals a world of beta males (as opposed to alpha males) plotting “beta uprisings” to get even with the “Chads and Stacies” and other “normies” who have rejected them. Some commenters refer to themselves as “Incels” for Involuntarily Celibate.
Among the comments urging on the shooter the day before the killings took place:
“Do not use a shotgun. I would suggest a powerful assault rifle and a pistol or 2x pistols. Possibly the type of pistols who have 15+ ammo.”
“In this very clearly hypothetical situation you actually shoot people in your high school or college, try to aim for shitty people at least. Spare the kind fools, humdrum druggies, and churchies and go for he whom really terrorises the populous: Chads and Stacies who have scorned many and yourself.”
“You’ll do the world a favour by purging part of the population that only exists to consume resources and act for themselves.”
“You might want to target a girls school which is safer because there are no beta males throwing themselves for their rescue.”
After the shooting occurred, comments shifted to:
“If only he had been consoled or had a GF then maybe he wouldn’t have went off the deep end like this and many lives would have been saved.”
“Instead of making fun of the betas or calling them creepy nerds, we should have saved then. My heart goes out to the victims but our shooter here as this thread here shows was a victim too.”
“Anyone wanna see my penis?”
“All of you who goaded him on should do the world a favor and kill yourselves. I hope Chad fucks every girl you have ever known. Every. Single. One. Bite the barrel and squeeze nice and hard.”
“LET IT BE KNOWN THAT HAVING A GIRLFRIEND PREVENTS MASS SHOOTINGS!”
“Stay mad normie scum.”
When Rory Cellan-Jones, a reporter for the BBC, posted a comment looking for information about the shooter’s posts and asking if anyone knew him and would be comfortable appearing on the BBC, replies came in. A few of them:
“Yes, he is a very close friend of mine. He is my robot friend.”
“A gf could have prevented this… state mandated gfs when?”
“Nobody ever blames the psycho… just where he posts, and the weapon he chooses.”
Not surprisingly, it turns out that Mercer left behind a typewritten manifesto. He was angry and bitter about, among other things, not having a girlfriend.
“He did not like his lot in life, and it seemed like nothing was going right for him,” a law enforcement official told The New York Times. “It’s clear he was in a very bad state of mind.”
How could his mother, who lived with him, not notice? Perhaps her life was equally miserable. I’ve never had kids, but I try to imagine living in a one-bedroom apartment with a guy like Mercer. I think I might have been tempted to take him to a bus depot, buy him a one-way ticket to someplace else and send him off: Go forth and try not to multiply.
What options are available? We no longer institutionalize many people who are clearly mentally ill. (You can visit them downtown on the streets of Portland.) We certainly aren’t going to lock up people who merely act strange.
Even mental health experts now warn that there is little they can do to prevent mass shootings. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed a couple of months ago, Dr. Matthew Goldenberg of the Yale University School of Medicine, said the mental health system cannot know who is going to be dangerous.
“In order to prevent one mass shooting, how many innocent and harmless people would we feel comfortable institutionalizing, perhaps indefinitely?” Goldenberg asked.
Then he suggested that curtailing gun ownership would be a less dramatic restriction than institutionalizing the wrong person. He doesn’t explain how banning gun ownership will ban guns or keep guns out of the hands of the wrong men. Goldenberg is a psychiatrist; certainly he has to know that laws alone don’t change behavior.
Making the situation worse, we are now in the midst of a crusade to “end mass incarceration.” The major media have been practically giddy this past year with the bipartisan efforts – even the Koch brothers are on board – to open up the nation’s prisons and release “nonviolent offenders.”
At first, this magnanimous gesture was going to free marijuana smokers from prison. Then it turned out that nobody was in prison just for smoking marijuana or, for that matter, just using drugs. People who end up in prison are either chronic felons (serial burglars, for example) or they have committed a violent crime.
In order to pursue this crusade to “end mass incarceration,” there will have to be some tinkering with definitions so felons who have committed “violent” crimes can be reclassified as “non-violent.” Among the violent crimes proposed to be recast as non-violent are home-occupied burglaries, drug dealing (substance abuse never leads to violence, does it?) and – weapons violations! Being an ex-felon in possession of gun is apparently no big deal.
It would help if the politicians who are serious about preventing the wrong men from arming themselves, would stop embracing those very same men and making excuses for them.
It scares the normies, rightfully so.
– Pamela Fitzsimmons