By all accounts, Arapahoe High School shooter Karl Pierson was very opinionated, and oftentimes argumentative. He was a natural debater, and had very strong political beliefs. On Friday, Pierson brought a shotgun to school and critically injured a student who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
As of Saturday evening, Claire Esther Davis, 17, "is still in critical condition at Littleton Adventist Hospital with severe trauma to the head from a gunshot," as reported by the local CBS affiliate.
It has been widely reported that Pierson targeted a teacher at the school who kicked him off the debate team. But why was a talented debater kicked off the team in the first place?
Joe Redmond, 18, described as Karl Pierson’s "pal and the debate team’s captain," may have some insight. He told the New York Daily News,
“Karl half-jokingly threatened to kill Mr. Murphy, and Mr. Murphy got him suspended for saying that...Karl wanted to go to the Air Force Academy, and they don't look positively on suspension, so (Karl) felt like Mr. Murphy had ruined his life.”
Yesterday, Michael Martinez and Stan Wilson of CNN reported that Pierson changed schools recently. A neighbor said that Pierson's mother transferred him "because her son had been subjected to constant ridicule and physical altercations."
Martinez and Wilson wrote,
"at times, he acted 'weird' and alienated peers with rants about communism and his aggressiveness to win every argument..."
As reported at the Examiner yesterday, Senior Max Minne described Pierson as having a "combative personality."
Senior Chris Davis, 18, said he was a "weird kid." He continued to say that Pierson was a "self-proclaimed communist, just wears Soviet shirts all the time."
RealClearPolitics posted a video of classmate Angie Mock saying of Pierson,
"He was friendly enough. Very proud of being a socialist. He was very outspoken on his political views."
His parents were divorced in 2011, he switched schools, he got suspended for threatening a teacher and was kicked off the debate team. Although Pierson's actions were a shock, the CSMonitor notes that "there seems to have been an accumulation of events – warning signs, perhaps..."