“The father of the gunman who killed nine people at a community college here called on the nation to change its gun laws on Saturday, saying the massacre ‘would not have happened’ if his son had not been able to buy so many handguns and rifles,” nytimes.com reports. As the Brits would say, he would say that wouldn’t he? That and more . . ..
“How was he able to compile that kind of arsenal?” the father, Ian Mercer, said in an interview with CNN at his home in Tarzana, Calif. He said he had no idea that his son owned more than a dozen firearms . . .
This despite the fact Chris Mercer’s neighbors’ portrayed the spree killer as an enthusiastic gun collector who frequently went target shooting with his mother. Why so ignorant?
Mr. Harper-Mercer’s parents divorced a decade ago, and he had lived with his mother. The father said he had not seen his son since he and his mother, Laurel Harper, moved to Oregon about two years ago, but said there was no “disharmony or any bitterness” between him and his son.
Mercer’s father’s lack of contact with his son echoes Newtown spree killer Adam Lanza’s parental alienation. And the distant relationship between Columbine shooter Eric Klebold’s disaffection from his father. Although correlation does not equal causation, familial relationships – or a lack thereof – appear to be a marker for mass shooters. And, it should be said, teenage gang bangers.
Make of that what you will. Meanwhile, guns . . .
“It has to change,” he said. “How can it not? Even people that believe in the right to bear arms, what right do you have to take someone’s life?” He would not discuss his son’s mental health issues, deferring to the police investigation. “Obviously, someone who goes and kills nine people has to have some kind of issue,” he said.
It’s hardly credible that Mr. Mercer didn’t know about his son’s mental illness before his son went postal, murdering classmates and wreaking havoc on the lives of an entire community. Sadly, it’s not entirely impossible either. [h/t JoR]