The mother of the man who killed nine in a massacre on Thursday, was a gun hoarder. This, according to people who knew her and as evidenced by the stack of guns found at her home.
Laurel Harper reportedly moved her and her son from Torrance, CA to Oregon to avoid new California gun laws. In a Facebook posting discovered by Vocativ.com, Harper commented last September that she had moved to Oregon to open carry. She elaborated:
“When the mood strikes, and as long as we’re tossing around brand names, I sling an AR, Tek-9 or AK over my shoulder, or holster a Glock 21 (not 22), or one of my other handguns, like the Sig Sauer P226, and walk out the door. I find the shotguns are a little too cumbersome to open carry.”
Another person who knows Harper, Shelly Steele, backed up the reports of Harper’s gun mania. Steele had hired Harper, who is a nurse, to care for her sickly son. Steele said that Harper refused to be photographed for an ID badge, saying that she “didn’t like her picture taken.” Steele praised Harper’s “detail oriented” nursing skills but was a bit weirded out by her gun obsession. She told the NY Daily News Saturday:
“She said she had multiple guns and believed wholeheartedly in the Second Amendment and wanted to get all the guns she could before someone outlawed them. .. My husband is an avid hunter and former military, so she would talk to him about it all the time, how she liked to take her son shooting.”
Steele continued, speaking about Harper’s love of shooting, that Harper looked for a shooting range with “more privacy” than the initial one she found. Harper, apparently, didn’t like the Range Master watching her. She eventually found a shooting range to her liking and would often take her son along.
“She told my husband she just purchased some new guns a few weeks ago and took him shooting. I thought the whole situation was very strange. If you know your son has mental health issues, do you encourage a fascination with guns?”
An excellent question. Why would a parent who knew perfectly well that her son had mental issues — was born with them and attended special needs schools all his life — encourage such a twisted relationship with guns? What on earth was she thinking? Passing that along to her son is unforgivable. Where is the personal responsibility, here?
How can we prevent people like this from giving guns to unstable relatives? The guns are bought legally but are easily available to mentally affected family members and even friends. How can we ever hope to stop such an arrangement? I don’t have the answers; who does? All I know is that because one woman passed on an obsession to her mentally unbalanced son, other mothers are burying their children.
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