Oregon Shooter's Mother Gives Background on Just How Troubled Her Son Was

police lineThe world still has more questions than anything regarding the deadly shooting at Oregon's Umpqua Community College, but there are some answers -- or at least clues -- to be found in the form of past online postings from gunman Christopher Harper-Mercer's mother, Laurel Harper.


As the New York Times reports, 64-year-old Harper, a registered nurse, has apparently been a prolific commenter over the years on Internet forums, particularly those on the topics of firearms and Asperger's; Harper appears to be a huge fan of the former, and suffers from the latter, as did her son. Christopher also shared his mother's enthusiasm for guns (which at this point goes without saying, I suppose). Harper even cited her son as something of an expert in the field of gun laws, writing that he “has much knowledge in this field.” But Harper is most likely fairly well-versed in the area herself, considering that she kept firearms in her home and owned AR-15 and AK-47 semiautomatic rifles, along with a Glock handgun.

None of this is particularly unexpected. Slightly more so are Harper's comments regarding her son's mental health, which is coming to the forefront as the predominant issue in this case. In some ways, it seems as if Harper thought her son was in a really good place. She wrote:

“He’s no babbling idiot nor is his life worthless. He’s very intelligent and is working on a career in filmmaking. My 18 years worth of experience with and knowledge about Asperger’s syndrome is paying off.”

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She also wrote about how she read to her son from a young age -- from Donald Trump's book, no less:

“Fact: Before my son was even born, I was reading out loud to him from Donald Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal.’ And as for the ‘gesture effect,’ I was practically a mime. And now my son invests in the stock market along with me, turns a profit and is working on a degree in finance. His language and reading skills are phenomenal."

But while her online comments are somewhat upbeat, a former coworker of Harper's, Alexis Jefferson, says that Harper sometimes talked about the difficulties she had raising her son -- apparently she even had Christopher placed in a psychiatric hospital at one point when he did not take his medication.

“She said that ‘my son is a real big problem of mine,’ ” Jefferson told the New York Times. “She said: ‘He has some psychological problems. Sometimes he takes his medication, sometimes he doesn’t. And that’s where the big problem is, when he doesn’t take his medication.’ ”

I don't know about you, but all of these new facts basically boil down to that last paragraph for me. The "big problem" was when Harper-Mercer didn't take his medication. Yes, his mom most likely piqued his interest in guns -- she even took him to the shooting range -- but this is a person who was previously placed in a psychiatric hospital, which hints at a highly disturbed motive ... and without a motive, people don't get killed. The nature of Harper-Meyer's problems isn't yet clear, but details will likely give us more answers about why and how this massacre happened. Hopefully, this knowledge will also give us insight into how these senseless killings could have been prevented, and how we can prevent more from happening.


Image via Roshan Vyas/Flickr

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