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Oregon Gunman's History

Updated on October 4, 2015

The Facts

6 weapons found at community college

7 additional weapons found at gunman's home

10 people dead, including the suicide of the gunman


Gunman – 26 year old Christopher Harper Mercer

The Victims:

  • Lucero Alcaraz, 19 years old
  • Quinn Glen Cooper, 18 years old
  • Lucas Eibel, 18 years old
  • Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59 years old
  • Jason Dale Johnson, 33 years old
  • Lawrence Levine, 67 years old
  • Sarena Dawn Moore, 44 years old
  • Treven Taylor, 20 years old
  • Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18 years old

Christopher Harper Mercer

The Shooter

According to several sources Christopher Harper Mercer grew up in Southern California and by all reports was withdrawn and quiet when he resided at his mother’s apartment. His parents divorced when he was 16 years old and he lived with his mother. According to neighbors Christopher always wore combat boots and army gear. The only subject that was of interest - guns. He frequented the gun range with his mother. Laurel Harper, his mother, at one point created a petition presenting it to the landlord advising: ‘My son is dealing with some mental issues, and the roaches are really irritating him.’ Strangely enough, prior to that time, the landlord had no idea that the resident Laurel Harper had a son. He graduated from the Switzer Learning Center in Torrance, CA – a private school for students with learning disabilities, emotional issues and special educational needs. Mr. Harper-Mercer then joined the Army in 2008, for a month, but was discharged before finishing basic training reportedly for administrative related reasons. The gunman and his mother relocated to Oregon.

A former neighbor, Louie Flores, reported:

“When we talked about guns and hunting, he was real open about it,” -“But anything about what was going on in his life, he really didn’t say too much at all.”

Before the shootings took place Christopher Harper Mercer expressed thoughts about commercialism, shootings, and appeared to admire the attention of those committing acts of violence such as Vester Lee Flanagan II. He was quoted as saying in some of his blog/online postings:

“I have noticed that people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are.”

“Seems the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.”

“People like him have nothing left to live for, and the only thing left to do is lash out at a society that has abandoned them,” the user wrote days after the Roanoke shooting. “His family described him as alone, no partner/lover. A victim not only of his own perception but also of our social media soaked environment.”

The internet seemed to be his way of communicating his frustrations with the outside world and ultimately sharing the thought pattern that would lead him to the actions he took that day at the community college. On the internet he created a dating profile seeking someone who shared similar beliefs, horror movies, killing zombies. He belonged to a group called “Doesn’t Like Organized Religion” and clearly expressed that he was spiritual but not Religious. His Myspace page contained a picture of him holding a riffle and expressing interest in the Irish Republican Army. Does any of this sound like the normal interests of healthy 26 year old?

The Issues

The Truth Of The Matter

When we review the devastating actions of such people as James Holmes, John Russel Houser, Christopher Harper Mercer, and George Sodini there were signs present before they killed someone. These shooters are alone responsible for their actions there are often signs parents chose to ignore, minimize, or even take on the role of creating a world to function around the dysfunction of their children. As a parent do you feel it’s normal for your son to never develop friends, never have a social life, wear the same clothes day in and day out, or become fascinated with guns and violence? The shielding and denial that parents are in today are contributing these situations. We as a society can no longer sit back and say “he’s weird” and leave it at that. While everyone should have the freedom to operate their lives on their own terms, if you are displaying psychological issues that can effect other’s safety and well-being action needs to take place.

We are living in a day and age when you can call the police for an immediate threat but no one takes the time to contact psychologists or psychotherapist if needed. If you are walking around looking CRAZY, extremely anti-social, and displaying pictures with guns etc.-that is not NORMAL. If you stay at the gun range and lack friends and associates-something is wrong with this picture. Parents, siblings, former friends/girlfriends, and all members of society have the responsibility to protect others from the effects of such people that have disconnected with society.

The government monitors internet activity and the actions and behaviors of others in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks, violent groups, child predators, etc. Is there a task force dedicated to monitoring people that are slipping away from normal behavior, posting illogical and irrational anger filled rants, and purchase an unusual amount of guns? What are your thoughts on what can be done differently so lives are not continuously lost when people simply decided to go to the movies, workout, or show up for class?

Prevention Video

What Can Prevent Future Tragic Situations?

We need more public announcements scheduled during highly viewed programs with celebrities and famous psychologists explaining the signs of unhealthy behavior. Public service announcements also need to include how to start dialogue or have the uncomfortable conversation with a person that you feel needs help. Your conversations perhaps can start with:

  1. Hey. Are you okay? You seem really frustrated? What’s going on? –create open dialogue

(Refrain from using the following words and phrases:-hostile, irrationally angry consistently, ready for war at any moment, or CB4). *CB4 (cell block 4) meaning you mimic the behavior of institutionalized people placed in hostile environments which creates a more primitive, animalistic approach to conflict that do not fit the situation. Example: All I wanted was mustard on my sandwich instead of mayonnaise – Why are you on a rant, hollering, screaming, and attacking me? What the Duece?

  1. Bring up people that they admire that may seek assistance and guidance from trained professionals. Let them know you are on their side and hopes everything turns out good and if this is a close friend or family member perhaps (if you feel safe) offer to go with them for their first session. You are not a therapist of clinical professional. You can not fix this on your own.
  2. Contact law enforcement for help or ask for guidance and explain the situation. If you know this person is irrational in thought, angry, withdrawn, and is bold enough to mention on social media what they plan to do to harm others-better safe than sorry.

What’s the bottom line:

The public needs to understand how to address mental illness and psychological issues that can result in others being harmed.

Law enforcement needs to monitor the activities of extremists and social deviants more effectively by recognizing the signs of those who pose a danger to society.

Gun control laws need to be amended to further evaluate and investigate people purchasing more than 3 guns. Can resources be spent to determine what the guns are for and/or what hunting club the member might be a part of? Can a trigger to investigate social media and affiliations be explored if a person purchases an excessive amount of guns within a certain time range?


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