The mother of the man who killed nine people and himself at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last week wrote extensively on social media about her love of guns and her difficulty raising an autistic child, the New York Times reports.
Laurel Margaret Harper, mother of gunman Chris Harper-Mercer, wrote that she kept AR-15 and AK-47 semiautomatic rifles and a Glock handgun in their home, and cited her son as her source on facts about gun laws. Writing on Yahoo Answers under the name TweetyBird, she mocked “lame states” with tough gun-control laws, and said that because of the multiple loaded guns she kept at home, “no one will be ‘dropping’ by my house uninvited without acknowledgement.”
She and her son would frequently go to shooting ranges, and she expressed disdain for inexperienced gun owners, writing that she would “cringe every time the ‘wannabes’ show up.”
Harper also acknowledged her son’s troubled history, and wrote that she and her son both had Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. She wrote that Chris—whom she never identifies by name—was “among other things, a head-banger,” and seemed proud and what she and her son had accomplished despite their challenges. “I have Asperger’s and I didn’t do so bad,” she wrote. Elsewhere, she comforted another parent of a child on the autism spectrum, writing, “I was in your shoes and now my son’s in college.”
When advising other parents of kids on the autism spectrum, Harper recommended reading early and often to their children, and said that a particular favorite of hers was Donald Trump’s bestseller ‘The Art of the Deal. “Fact: Before my son was even born, I was reading out loud to him from Donald Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal,’” she wrote.
Police found 14 guns belonging to both Harper-Mercer and his mother at their home after the shooting.
Harper got divorced from her son’s father, Ian Mercer, in 2006, Mercer told CNN he had no idea his son had access to so many guns, and that the massacre “would not have happened” had his son not been able to purchase so many firearms. “How is it so easy to get all these guns?” he asked.