As the Financial Express reports this morning:
The gunman slain by police after he killed his English professor and eight others at an Oregon college was once turned away from a firearms academy by an instructor who recalled finding him “weird” and “a little bit too anxious” for high-level weapons training.
Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, who moved to Oregon from the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, California, was officially identified on Friday as the assailant in the rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, which ranks as the deadliest among dozens of U.S. mass shootings in the past two years.
According to accounts of survivors, the gunman stormed into the classroom of his introductory writing class to shoot the professor at point-blank range, then began picking off other victims one at a time as he questioned each about their religion and whether they were Christians.
All of this is happening in a day when Bible-believing Christians are routinely lampooned, denigrated or outright demonised, stigmatised and scapegoated in the media, education contexts and general culture. An emblematic case of this is the longstanding, notoriously un-withdrawn, un-apologised for 1997 talking point of the dean of the so-called New Atheists, Dr Clinton Richard Dawkins, late of Oxford University and the Simonyi chair for the public understanding of science.
Namely, that Bible-believing Christians are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.
I doubt that it is co-incidental that as we speak, Dr Ben Carson, retired world-famous pediatric neurosurgeon, Christian conservative spokesman and maverick presidential candidate for the USA is being stridently targetted to portray him as a scientific ignoramus and idiot. With the direct implication being that Christians are utterly unfit for responsible office.
In response, Dr Carson has highlighted the back-burner status of the very significant warning-sign case of Christian martyrdom in an English class in Umpqua Community College and how it reflects the rising and patently dangerous polarisation against Christians:
As Douglas Ernst notes in the just linked WND report:
Ben Carson’s unique show of support for Christians targeted in Thursdays massacre at at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, instantly went viral.
It only took four hours on Friday for an image of the Republican candidate holding up an “I am a Christian” sign to be shared close to 80,000 times and receive over 625,000 “likes” on Facebook.
The post was so successful the retired neurosurgeon shared an #IamAChristian hashtag. Supporters could make the image their Facebook profile picture.
“Please consider changing your profile picture to honor the victims and their families,” Carson wrote Friday night.
Carson’s plea comes one day after 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer burst into a classroom at Umpqua Community College and demanded his Christian victims identify themselves before being executed. Nine people were killed and seven wounded in the gun-free zone, which only has one unarmed security guard.
“[Harper-Mercer was] asking people one by one what their religion was. ‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them, and if you’re a Christian stand up. And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them,’ said Stacy Boylen on Friday, CNN reported. Boylen’s daughter was wounded in the attack.
Survivor Kortney Moore, 18, from Rogue River, Oregon, told the News Review Today a similar account shortly after the attack, the newspaper reported Thursday.
Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea have collaborated to create “Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians,” which confirms that groups like Pew Research, Newsweek and The Economist also identify Christians as “the world’s most widely persecuted religious group.”
“I am glad we have a presidential candidate that stands strong in their faith. God speed Dr. Carson!” wrote John David Childs on Carson’s Facebook page.
“I had family involved in yesterday’s shooting and come from a strong Christian family. Thank you Dr. Carson!” added Brandon Perry Lockwood.
Harper-Mercer died while exchanging gunfire with cops responding to 9-1-1 calls shortly before 11:00 PST.
It is highly relevant to note that Christians (not Muslims, or even currently Jews) are evidently the world's most persecuted religious group. In which context, the current case highlights how the increasingly hostile attitude to Christians can easily give "licence" to the unhinged to murder Christians.
No wonder, John Hawkins of Townhall notes:
In this case, maybe we should ask whether the incessant hate rhetoric that liberals aim at Christians influenced the killer.Where, it is noteworthy that the New York Times, managed to report in an article on a patent case of the murder of Christians one by one for the "crime" of acknowledging their faith, without ever mentioning -- much less, headlining -- that crucial fact.
Is it a coincidence that this happened when the most anti-Christian president in history is in office? Is it a coincidence that this happened when Christians are being openly persecuted in the military with the blessing of the Obama administration? Is it a coincidence that this happened when liberal gay groups are trying to make it impossible for Christians to work in certain professions unless they’re willing to violate their beliefs to support gay marriage? Is it a coincidence that this happened when most mainstream media publications would rather cut off a thumb than show a picture of the prophet Muhammad while they happily promote anti-Christian art? Is it a coincidence that this happened when every prominent American Christian from Tim Tebow to Franklin Graham is treated with absolute contempt and disgust by liberals?
Read the sort of hate that liberals habitually aim at Christians without getting anything but pats on the back from other liberals and tell me why we shouldn’t be asking if their hateful rhetoric had a role in these killings?
In this case, apart from evidently identifying himself as spiritual but not religious [Wicca apparently comes up, i.e. new age-ish "Witchcraft"], as of mixed race [white father, black mother, not married], expressing some affinity with the IRA of Ireland, seeming to have a negative attitude to blackness, there is another troubling affinity.
I wish I could stop here, but I believe we need to look at other, less politically correct facets of this case.
First, as Pam Geller documents:
On his myspace page, Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, posted a photograph of himself holding a rifle, alongside images of masked IRA gunmen and an IRA terrorist video. The IRA and Palestinian terrorism have a long history.
He has just two friends — a girl and a jihadi. Check out the terror sympathizer’s page praising:
“The brave Mujahideen heroes”
“The Mujahideen freedom fighters of Palestine. My brothers and sisters keep on doing your thing. Allahu Akbar.”
“my brave soldiers keep on fighting for the liberation of Palestine against Israel. [expletive] Israel. Kill the Jews. jews are the only infidels.”
“The Quran ….. holy book of muslims”
The media has avoided mentioning this at all.
Geller also provides a telling screen shot:
The question has been posed, would this facet have been given effective back-burner status, if instead this murderer had targetted Muslims, or Blacks, etc. like this?
The question practically answers itself.
That is, we are seeing a case of hanging cases on a narrative agenda to advance a cause that fits with where dominant groups in the US media and elite culture wish to go.
A troubling sign.
We need to ask some very pointed questions as to where our civilisation is heading, and why.
Again, I wish I could close off, as I wish I could keep away from an even higher voltage matter. But, we need to think clearly in light of the peculiarities of the American situation.
(And we should realise that for a hundred years, despite all the wrongs and ills that we can so readily put in a talking-point list, it is the USA that -- at the cost of a lot of the blood of that nation's sons, freely given -- has been the global re-insurer and bastion of liberty. Indeed, it is fair comment that apart from their trillion dollar military, aerospace and naval investments as leading maritime power, the world would be a far deadlier and far more chaotic place in which we would all have to pay a lot more for locally funded adequate defence. If, it could be adequate -- and a second best defense force is the worst waste of all, enough to be complacent, not enough to deter (just ask the French about May 10, 1940). Much as before 1914 - 18, the Royal Navy policed the world. We can afford to think and act as we do because somebody else, at grim cost, is doing the heavy lifting. So, I say before proceeding: at this level, if you cannot squarely face unpalatable facts, it is time to recognise that you cannot step up to the wicket to face the kind of ruthless pace bowling that is already in progress.)
Back to the main discussion, as someone asks:
But, isn't this a guns issue primarily?
Not, on a week-end when we see a knife attack in Jerusalem murdering two and wounding two others, and with fifteen years of major suicide bombing campaigns. Also, some mass attacks have been made by deliberately ploughing into crowds with cars etc, and the horrific genocide attempt in Rwanda in 1994 (was it 800,000 dead?) was made with mostly agricultural implements such as machetes.
So, while guns are a very emotional and likely unpalatable issue (especially in this context but it is a predictable hot-button tangent that has to be faced), we need some sobering and balancing thoughts -- maybe, especially because this is so loaded an issue.
Which will therefore be uncomfortable to deal with or even think about, and will raise issues no one wants to contemplate.
Where, too, 3-D printing technology has some serious implications.
Guns are now inherently uncontrollable in a free society, even as knives as deadly as a Kukri can be built readily in any community with old vehicle leaf springs. And don't even go down the road of tropical agriculture dependent on the ubiquitous machete. As in, just sharpen it "back and belly" . . .
The thought of what can be done with gasoline bottles or a 25 lb gas cylinder sometimes makes me pause.
Let us observe:
Townhall's Doug Giles (language warning) remarks -- words we need to ponder rather than dismiss:
. . . your “gun free zone” rule was obviously a bad idea. Like in: "a very bad idea." Like in: "Nine Christian kids were shot in the head", bad idea.
Did you get that, Umpqua? Nine dead. As in one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine ... dead. All because you don't value self-defense, the Second Amendment or the lives of the kids whose parents pay your bills.
If I were one of the parents who had my child senselessly slaughtered on your campus, I'd sue your politically correct butt off. I think places like yours should no longer be left off the litigious hook. You're culpable because you could have prevented and yet … you didn't. You chose stupidity over common sense and you should pay ... heavily. I think a precedent should be set. Why not start with you, UCC?
Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot. You did do all you could do. Silly me. You had one Barney Fife security cop with pepper spray and a plastic badge to protect 3000 students when a mass-murderer, with multiple weapons, strode onto your campus ready to kill . . . .
This is simple: Gun Free Zones are target rich environments. That's why I do not frequent them and I'd advise all those reading to do the same . . .A comment on this article is chilling:
A Muslim student brings in a clock that looks like a bomb and gets arrested. The media and President are all over it. Christians get murdered and not a peep.
In short, there is a policy problem backed by a people problem, a hate problem, a polarisation and targetting problem.
We need to wake up to what we are doing to ourselves globally, driven by all sorts of ideologies.
Then, in the USA, there seems to be another back-burnered issue: the insane who are potentially violent, and let us add the linked side effects of various drugs being prescribed for the hyperactive, etc.
U/D Oct 11, just ran across a thought-provoking statistic at Blaze that should make us think twice about out of wedlock births and easy divorce games:
Yup, there is such a thing as message dominance drowning out factors, possibilities and perspectives that a more sober assessment would ponder, leading to group-think driven marches of folly:
It is also to be noted, again, that as a brute fact, many of these mass murder incidents are happening in so-called gun-free safe zones, so that in the time it takes for police to arrive, much harm has been done. That points to a real common sense . . . but obviously very politically incorrect . . . solution: deputising a significant number of people as voluntary, trained, armed marshals who as civilians can be present "everywhere."
Similar to what is done in Israel, here we can see a teacher and class on a field trip:
H'mm, just found a pointed infographic that builds on the above, we need to ponder in a world gone increasingly chaotic:
Another graphic that should give us pause:
It is obvious that in a US
- with something like 300 million guns in civilian hands,
- across 100 million homes it seems,
- with a Constitutional affirmation of the right of the people to keep and bear arms,
- with a major smuggling problem with huge borders and
- with a revolutionary tradition rooted in the power of an armed populace
. . . that gun confiscation or registry/licensing schemes that open the door for confiscation attempts cannot work, would end up imposing a tyrannical police state and would issue in rivers of blood.
That readily predictable likely outcome presents a challenge to any superficial thought that we could simply disarm the USA and end up with an end to "gun violence."
Unintended, but readily foreseeable -- and massively politically incorrect -- consequences.
The "cure," credibly, would be far worse than the disease.
A point that should give us sobering pause before trotting out conveniently available "obvious" solutions that "those idiots and worse" could only object to for nefarious reasons.
Which, does not prevent irresponsible politicians from using mass murder incidents that use guns as a means to further the rhetoric of polarise, demonise, divide and rule.
It is time for a more sober approach.
As schools, malls etc are targetted and police cannot be everywhere, a trained, organised civilian marshal scheme established under law -- and with special provisions for schools makes sense. Linked, it is plain that the use of a gun, knife or bomb in committing any crime should be a severe aggravating factor in law.
Unfortunately, that said, a civilian marshals scheme will not stop a determined terrorist campaign, as suicide bombing demonstrates.
Managing and defeating such a campaign is at a totally different level.
Though, once such is in clear progress, security guards can be trained to detect warning signs of someone about to commit such an awful act.
It is fortunate, that explosives chemistry and the design and implementation of fuzing, are not simple kitchen chemistry.
In short, if such a campaign emerges, it is amenable to intelligence service approaches.
But no democratic community wants to go there.
Sadly, we may have to.
Coming back to where we began, we also need to re-think the increasing anti-Christian bigotry, contempt and denigratory or demonising rhetoric that have now become all too common. Those madmen hearing voices telling them it's open season on Christians are getting their messages from something raging across our culture.
It is high time that the unbridled hostility, denigration, slander, one sided stereotyping and worse were set aside. END