Thursday, October 01, 2015


The gunman in the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College has been identified as Chris Harper-Mercer. Based on a photo found on his Myspace page, he appears to be white or mixed-race; Mediaite says, "There’s ... a dating profile circling around believed to belong to Mercer, identifying the user IRONCROSS45 as mixed race, 'conservative, republican,' and 'not religious, but spiritual.'"

If that's true, it's hard to imagine that he's a jihadist -- but at Free Republic and on Pam Geller's blog, that's still considered a credible theory.

Geller makes note of this story about the shooting:
The gunman who opened fire at an Oregon community college was forcing people to stand up and state their religion before he began blasting away at them, survivors said Thursday.

A woman who claimed to have a grandmother inside a writing class in Snyder Hall, where a portion the massacre unfolded, described the scene in a tweet.

“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” she wrote. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs...."
Geller leaps to a conclusion:
This is a very disturbing development in today’s mass killing in Oregon. In a majority of the Islamic attacks, the killer asks their religion and kills the non-Muslims (ie Tunisia beach massacre, Mumbai terror attack, BP gas complex, Westgate mall...)
In a subsequent post, Geller refers to the massacre as the "Oregon religious shooting" and writes of the statement President Obama delivered this evening,
He shrugged off the motive implying it was irrelevant....

Obama’s refusal to recognize the jihad threat has made Americans unsafe.
But wait, there's more. At Free Republic, it's noted that one of two people linked on the shooter's Myspace page is someone named Mahmoud Ali Ehsani, whose own Myspace page includes a photo section that includes photos of "Mujahideen" in Iran, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Somalia.

Considering the fact that Harper-Mercer's own photo section includes Irish Republican Army logos and photos of IRA fighters, I rather suspect that he didn't share Ehsani's interest in Middle Eastern wars, although he might have gotten a thrill from war in general.

I would assume that the decision to question victims about religion (assuming this story is accurate) was an hommage to the Columbine killings -- or, rather, to a persistent myth about the Columbine killings. Dave Cullen, who wrote the definitive account of that massacre, wrote about the myth in the aftermath of the second round of Republican debates:
Early in the Republican presidential undercard debate tonight, Rick Santorum dredged up a powerful old Columbine myth to defend Kim Davis, Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and to illustrate the steepness of America's moral decline. “Sixteen years ago,” he said, “this country was tremendously inspired by a young woman who faced a gunman in Columbine and was challenged about her faith and she refused to deny God. We saw her as a hero.”

... Like most of the Columbine myths, the martyr story gained traction because it was based on a kernel of truth. A young girl did profess her faith in God at gunpoint, but she lived to tell about it. Her name is Valeen Schnurr. Ten years later, I sorted through the confusion again in my book, Columbine:
Val was shot before her exchange about God. Dylan [Klebold] pointed his shotgun under her table and fired several rapid bursts, killing Lauren Townsend and injuring Val and another girl. Val was riddled with shotgun pellets up and down her arms and torso. Dylan walked away.

Val dropped to her knees, then her hands. Blood was streaming out of thirty-four separate wounds. “Oh my God, oh my God, don’t let me die,” she prayed.

Dylan turned around. This was too rich. “God? Do you believe in God?”

She wavered. Maybe she should keep her mouth shut. No. She would rather say it. “Yes. I believe in God.”


“Because I believe. And my parents brought me up that way.”

Dylan reloaded, but something distracted him. He walked off. Val crawled for shelter.
It's widely believed that the shooters asked Cassie Bernall whether she was believer, then shot her to death when she said yes. (Bernall's mother wrote a bestselling book called She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall.) My guess is that Harper-Mercer knew at least this famous pseudo-fact from mass-killer lore.

I'm not sure how long various figures on the right will cling to the notion that this was an act of jihad (though I see uberhack Charles C. Johnson of Got News calling Harper-Mercer a Muslim, based on no evidence apart from Ehsani's Myspace page). However, the right will treat this massacre as an assault on Christianity -- and you know whose fault that is. A Freeper writes this in another thread:
Did Obama's War On Christians Cause The Oregon Shootings?

As Donald Trump has stated, without rebuttal, Obama is conducting a War On Christians.

Did Obama's Christian-hating words and deeds motivate this killer to strike against Obama's enemies, the Christians?

Perhaps you should resign immediately, Mr. "president".
I do find one report about Harper-Mercer plausible: that he telegraphed the killing spree on a 4chan board for "incels" (so-called "involuntary celibates," i.e., guys who rage against the world because of their sexual and romantic failure). David Futtrelle of We Hunted the Mammoth has the shooter's alleged posts and other 4channers' replies, helpfully annotated. It's a scary culture in which at least one past mass killer, Elliot Rodger, is worshiped as a god -- and Rodger is invoked in the 4chan conversation. Jihad? I doubt it.


UPDATE: Raw Story has much more on Harper-Mercer. If all or most of this is true, the jihadist theory is even more absurd.


Roger said...

MySpace? The shooter was from 1998?

Unknown said...

Wow. American's have built up such a rich history of mass shootings, we now have meta, self-refferential mass shootings.

Ten Bears said...

Most folks in Oregon think Geller and her kind are the jihadies.