Troubled Oregon gunman may have been motivated by a hatred for organized religion.
In the recent horrifying gunning incident at the Umpqua Community College at Oregon, a 26-year-old man, identified as Christopher Harper Mercer, killed 9 and injured several others. The reason, though not very clear, seems to be a hatred for organized religion. Harper Mercer, originally from Torrance, California; moved with his mother to Winchester, Oregon, and used to live with her. On the fateful day of October 1, Harper Mercer walked into the Umpqua Community College classroom with four handheld guns and one semi-automatic rifle, donning a jacket with steel plates and five magazines of ammunition. He then went on to ask the students and teacher present in the classroom their religion. If they said they were Christian, he shot them in the head, and if they did not give an answer or said “other,” he shot them elsewhere, commonly in the leg.
According to a few students who witnessed this horrendous crime happening, Mercer just asked who is a Christian, to the ones who stood up he would say “Good, because you’re a Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second” before shooting them in the head, point blank. It does not seem like he was favoring any religion though as he shot people irrespective of their religion. When the Roseburg police arrived at the scene, within six minutes of responding to the first call of help, one of the witnesses heard a burst of gunfire along with the shooter’s last words.
One student, Rand McGowan, says he “wasn’t really targeting” students based on religion.
“He was kind of just saying, ‘Oh, since you have a God, you’ll be joining him in a little bit,’” McGowan recalled to NY Daily News. “It wasn’t really like, ‘I’m targeting you and I’m going to kill you.’”
Shooter’s Anti-Religion Stance
On further investigation of the killer’s social media accounts, multiple traces of his anti-religion thoughts were found. He had recently registered himself to an online dating site where he became a member of the “Doesn’t Like Organized Religion” group. Further proof showed his fascination for the various terror tactics of the Pro-Irish Republican Army, and he had also bought some Nazi memorabilia. Other disturbing evidences included his blog post about Virginia gunman, Vester Lee Flanagan, where he admired the shooter for murdering newswoman and the cameraman, while they were still on air. According to his blog, he wrote that it seemed the more people one kills, the more they are in the limelight.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Mercer took to the same road and ended up killing 9 innocent people and injuring many others before he himself was killed.
My heart hurts for the families & people affected by the tragic shooting at Umpqua Community College yesterday. Our prayers are with you.
— Judah Smith (@judahsmith) October 2, 2015
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) October 2, 2015