Saturday’s follow-up reports about Arapahoe High School gunman Karl Halverson Pierson describe him as a bright 18-year-old who apparently was a dedicated student, a Socialist and an anti-gunner who, one week before the Friday shooting, legally bought the pump-action shotgun.
Expect the narrative to shift from his alleged politics and focus on the fact that an 18-year-old can legally purchase a shotgun in Colorado. Watch anti-gunners in and outside of the press quickly identify other states in which 18-year-olds can buy a gun, steering public attention away from Pierson’s apparent far left, anti-gun philosophy.
The student he shot, reportedly at point-blank range, was identified as Claire Esther Davis, a 17-year-old. As might be expected from a close-range shotgun blast, she reportedly suffered severe trauma to the head and remained in critical condition. It is her name people should remember, not that of the teen who shot her.
Here’s what the Denver Post said about Pierson’s comments on his Facebook page, which appears to have been shut down: “The Republican Party: Health Care: Let 'em Die, Climate Change: Let 'em Die, Gun Violence: Let 'em Die, Women's Rights: Let 'em Die, More War: Let 'em Die. Is this really the side you want to be on?” That quote was picked up by the New York Daily News, so it is not being ignored by the mainstream press.
Newspapers identified the school librarian targeted by Pierson as Tracy Murphy. He reportedly left the school immediately in what has been described as an attempt to lure Pierson into following, and away from Arapahoe. County Sheriff Grayson Robinson has called this a good tactical move, and it also might be called heroic.
On Saturday, President Barack Obama used his weekly address to talk about the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook attack.
Pierson doesn’t really fit the stereotype of the high school gunman. He was apparently very social, albeit one suggestion of having been bullied, and a leader on the debate squad. But evidently he held a grudge against the librarian, with whom he had a disagreement in September.
This is the second high-profile attack — the other being the Washington Navy Yard shooting — in which the gunman used a pump shotgun, a firearm so common that it has never been on a ban list. With this latest incident, watch for an effort to push a minimum national age limit for any kind of firearms purchase.
Still, as this column noted Friday, Colorado anti-gunners should be the ones on the spot, having railroaded through earlier this year so-called “gun reforms” that were supposed to make people safer. Three anti-gun lawmakers have already lost their jobs. Perhaps next fall, because of this there may be more.