Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Oregon School Shooter's Mom, Laura Harper - Shades of the Lanza Family


His mother, Laurel Harper wrote about her passion for firearms in online postings to Yahoo! Answers three years ago. "I keep all my mags full. I keep two full mags in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all have loaded mags," she wrote, referring to magazines of ammunition, a Glock handgun and military-style rifles. 

"No one will be 'dropping' by my house uninvited without acknowledgement," the post went on to say. Another post criticizes another person over poor judgement using "airsoft" pellet guns, and emphasizes gun safety. 

Harper did not return phone calls and emails from NBC News. The email address used in some of the postings appears to be linked to her. 

In another post nine years ago about autism, Laurel Harper said: "My son has Asperger's. He's no babbling idiot nor is his life worthless. He's very intelligent and is working on a career in film making." 

A note was found at the scene of the rampage in which Christopher Harper-Mercer said he was "in a bad way" and was depressed, law enforcement officials said. His mother told investigators that he struggled with mental health issues, The Associated Press reported.

Florida Man Shot in the Mouth While Brutally Beating Elderly Man

Justin Paul Carter
Justin Paul Carter faces several charges, including aggravated battery of a person 65 or older. (Photo: Walton County Sheriff’s Office)

 Guns dot com

Authorities said the victim was acquainted with his attacker, and in fact, called him grandson, despite no blood relation, but on Sept. 19, the relationship took a barbarous turn when Justin Paul Carter showed up at the home of Michael and Margaret Frey, demanding to speak with Margaret alone. Michael, who said Carter was obviously under the influence of drugs at the time, would not allow him to be alone with his wife, which only angered Carter.

The couple repeatedly instructed Carter to leave their home, but the man refused. Finally, Margaret went outside to call 911, but while she was outside of the home, Carter flew into a violent rage and began savagely beating Michael, striking the 74-year-old man numerous times in the face before pounding his head into a cabinet.

Michael, believing his life was in danger, reached into his pocket, pulled a .38 from his pocket and shot Carter a single time in the mouth. At that point, Carter finally stopped attacking the elderly man and ran from the home, shattering a window in the process.

Michael Frey
The man who severely assaulted 74-year-old Michael Frey was previously called “grandson” by the elderly couple. (Photo: WCSO)

In the end, Michael suffered from a broken nose, a fractured orbital socket of the right eye and a severe hematoma on the head. Pictures released from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office show the severity of the attack.

Adkinson said the shooting was “absolutely a justifiable use of force.” The sheriff added Carter’s behavior toward Michael was “inexcusable” and such behavior toward senior citizens is unacceptable will not be tolerated.

“In this case, having a firearm saved this man’s life,” Adkinson concluded.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How La Pierre Avoided Vietnam

More on the Oregon School Shooting

New Trajectory

What followed was a flurry of activity, repeated every time we have a mass shooting (which is more than once a day in America now -- yes, you read that correctly!).  There was initial shock, followed by varying news reports and chaotic trickling of information. Then there was outrage from the community and those of us who fight gun violence.  Next came the slow release of factual information, and statements from politicians.  This time some called for change, like President Obama.  Each mass shooting brings more public voices like his.  This was the 15th time he has had to come on to national TV and address another mass shooting.
And then came the usual parade of pro-gun comments about how the faculty and students should have armed themselves, and fluttering about "gun free zones."

Well, it turns out that there was at least one student who had a concealed handgun and permit, a vet named John Parker, Jr.  After considering whether to engage the shooter, he decided it would be wisest not to, for fear the deputies would mistake him for the shooter.  See a news interview with him, HERE.  I don't approve of having guns on campus other than in the hands of well-trained law enforcement or security, but he was in his state rights to do so.  I'm glad he chose not to play a vigilante hero and get himself killed.

And, surprise, Umpqua Community College wasn't a "gun free zone," either!  Umpqua Community College has a policy that firearms and ammo are forbidden unless expressly authorized by law, which would allow conceal carry with a valid permit since state law allows conceal carry on state campuses unless the institution disallows that, too (such as the University of Oregon).

It should also be pointed out that the pro-gun myth that gunmen target places specifically because they are "gun free zones" has been debunked many times.  From a Mother Jones article:

Among the 62 mass shootings over the last 30 years that we studied, not a single case includes evidence that the killer chose to target a place because it banned guns. To the contrary, in many of the cases there was clearly another motive for the choice of location. ... 
No less a fantasy is the idea that gun-free zones prevent armed civilians from saving the day. Not one of the 62 mass shootings we documented was stopped this way.
A number of things kept the massacre from being worse:  deputies arrived within just six minutes of the first 911 calls to shoot out with the shooter; the school had practiced active-shooter emergency response just a week before; faculty followed the rules and locked doors and took shelter; and a real hero stepped in to confront the shooter.  Chris Mintz was shot multiple times, but he will survive, and he bought a lot of time for others to escape and for law enforcement to arrive.

But having a student with a gun didn't solve any problems in this shooting.  Having a conceal carry vigilante shoot it out with the assailant very well may have led to bystanders getting killed or confusion by law enforcement. 

But the gun lobby, gun sellers, and their minions are happy to keep feeding us the myths of the conceal carry hero and "gun free zones" to stoke the fears of those who care more about emotional responses than the facts.

Brady Group Calls for Oregon Sheriff to Step Down

Guns dot com

Hanlin, who has in many ways been the public face of the law enforcement response to the Umpqua Community College shooting that left 10 dead, made headlines soon after the tragedy by refusing to name the suspect, saying in part, “I will not give him the credit he probably sought.”

While the Brady Campaign isn’t mentioning Hanlin’s stand on that subject, they are calling him to task for a 2013 letter penned to Vice President Joe Biden just days after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

“Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings,” Hanlin wrote.
He then followed this up with subsequent comments posted online apparently questioning both Sandy Hook and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; voicing concern they may have been staged by the federal government.

It is those comments that have the Brady group – which characterized Hanlin as a conspiracy theorist – seeing red.

“John Hanlin should tender his resignation from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and be immediately replaced as lead investigator on this case,” said Brady President Dan Gross in a statement emailed to “The victims of last week’s shooting and the entire community deserve a thorough investigation that will get to the bottom of this heinous crime – an investigation that must be grounded in facts and evidence, not myth and bias.”

Gross and his organization further advocate the sheriff step down over his public opposition and refusal to support expanded background checks on private gun transfers enacted by the governor in May.

“In pledging not to enforce the new law, John Hanlin has clearly demonstrated that his political ideology trumps his responsibility to protect his community,” Gross said.

Hillary Clinton Takes on NRA in New Gun Policy Plan

Hillary Clinton Speaks On Gun Control Reform In New Hampshire on Monday. (Photo: NBC)

Guns dot com

Her gun control plan was unveiled Sunday and comes several days after a fatal mass shooting at an Oregon community college claimed 10 lives and injured several others. 
Clinton told reporters earlier that as president she would use executive action to pass her proposals “if Congress will not act.” 
In addition to pushing background checks on gun show buyers, Clinton said she would work to repeal a law backed by the National Rifle Association which prevents the victims of crimes from suing gun manufacturers. Clinton also said she would revoke the licenses of known “Bad Apple” gun dealers who sell crime guns. 
“What is wrong with us that we can’t stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby and the gun manufacturers they represent?” Clinton asked during a speech delivered at Broward College in Davie, Florida.
Clinton is currently 9 points is behind another candidate vying for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to a new poll
Clinton also referenced the so-called “Charleston” loophole, referring to a requirement placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to allow a gun purchase to proceed if the agency does not complete its background check within three days.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Columbine Myths


From the most definitive research on Columbine, Dave Cullen's book Columbine, via the article 7 Myths about Columbine:

Myth #3: The Columbine killers targeted certain kinds of students.
Truth: Although initial news reports claimed the Columbine killers had targeted minorities, jocks, and Christians, the killing was indiscriminate. Their initial plan was to blow up hundreds of students in the cafeteria. When the bombs failed to go off, they killed students randomly. Interestingly enough, Eric’s friends described him as a sports enthusiast, and two of his best friends were Asian and African American.

Myth #6: Cassie Bernall was martyred for her faith in God.
Truth: According to the eyewitness under the table with her, Cassie was shot when Eric poked his shotgun under the table and said, “Peekaboo.” The 911 tape verifies this testimony.
The martyr story arose from the testimony from another student in the library, Craig Scott (brother to victim, Rachel Scott), who recounted a conversation that took place across the room. Valeen Schnurr was the one who actually professed her faith in God, and this took place after she was shot. As she lay bleeding, she prayed, “Oh my God, don’t let me die.” Dylan turned around and asked her, “God? Do you believe in God?” Valeen said, “Yes, I believe in God.” When the killer asked why, she replied, “Because it’s how my parents raised me.”
We also heard, about Columbine, that those two mass shooters would have been stopped if someone had a gun.  There were two armed cops who were unsuccessful in stopping those two shooters.  Likewise, there was a security guard, and numerous armed students, mostly trained veterans, on the Oregon campus - it was NOT a gun free zone - and they did NOTHING to prevent the tragedy from taking place.  In fact, no civilian with a gun has EVER prevented or stopped a mass shooting in the United States, even when on the scene.

Four California Students Arrested For Plotting Mass Shooting

Huffington Post

Four northern California students have been arrested for plotting to carry out a shooting at a high school, authorities said.

Authorities took four unidentified students into custody after they uncovered their plan to shoot and kill faculty members and students at Summerville High School, the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office said on Saturday.

"The suspects plan was very detailed in nature and included names of would be victims, locations and the methods in which the plan was to be carried out," the sheriff's department said in a Facebook post.

High school officials reported to authorities on Wednesday that three students were planning to carry out an attack. During their investigation, detectives learned that a fourth student was involved in the plot, the sheriff's office said.

How They Got Their Guns - The Profiles of 14 Mass Murderers

New York Times
Oct. 1, 2015

Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where he was a student. He was armed with six guns, including a Glock pistol, a Smith & Wesson pistol, a Taurus pistol and a Del-Ton assault rifle, according to The Associated Press.

  • 2008
    Mr. Harper-Mercer was in the Army for one month, but was discharged before completing basic training.
  • 2009
    He graduated from the Switzer Learning Center in Torrance, Calif., which teaches students with learning disabilities and emotional issues.
  • Before shooting
    In all, Mr. Harper-Mercer owned 14 firearms, all of which were bought legally through a federally licensed firearms dealer, a federal official said Friday. Some were bought by Mr. Harper-Mercer, and some by members of his family.
  • Oct. 1, 2015
    He killed nine people in Roseburg, Ore.

San Francisco's Last Gun Store Closing Doors For Good

Huffington Post

The only gun store in San Francisco is shuttering for good, saying it can no longer operate in the city's political climate of increased gun control regulations and vocal opposition to its business.

"It's with tremendous sadness and regret that I have to announce we are closing our shop," High Bridge Arms manager Steve Alcairo announced in a Facebook post on Sept. 11. "It has been a long and difficult ride, but a great pleasure to be your last San Francisco gun shop."

Alcairo said the breaking point came this summer when a local politician proposed a law that would require High Bridge Arms to video record every gun sale and submit a weekly report of ammunition sales to the police. If passed, the law would join several local gun control ordinances on the books in a city still scarred by the 1993 murder of eight in a downtown high-rise and the 1978 assassination of Mayor George Moscone and gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

"I'm not doing that to our customers. Enough is enough," Alcairo said. "Buying a gun is a constitutionally protected right. Our customers shouldn't be treated like they're doing something wrong."