Mental health issues have been once again placed under spotlight after last week's mass killings at Umpqua Community College, Oregon. A 26-year old man who was claimed to have mental health issues, deliberately shot and killed nine people before killing himself.
Chris Harper-Mercer was described as a man with few words. He is withdrawn and he lived in his mother's apartment most of his life. However, there is one topic he would gladly open up about: guns. According to neighbors as reported by The New York Times, he loves to collect guns of all sorts and would go to the shooting range often with his mother.
They lived in California for a long time before deciding to move in Oregon in 2013. However, shortly before leaving, he was heard talking to a neighbor about how fascinated he is with guns and that they were excited to move to get a fresh start. Two years after, he committed the worse shooting incident in the history of Oregon.
His mother opened up that both of them suffered from Asperger's syndrome and they both shared the same fascination with guns. On blog posts and forums years back, she took pride in her knowledge about guns and she had several ones in her home. She said her son is much knowledgeable on anything about guns, NY Times reported.
Police officers were able to get some of his things from the site and discovered how he felt frustrated for not having a girlfriend and how the world has been working against him. Mental health issues linked to public shootings are now highlighted as one predicament the government should work on.
New Jersey Governor and 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie aired his opinion that America should get tougher on mental health issues, as reported by ABC News.
"I'm very concerned about the mental health side of this. We don't want to involuntarily commit them, to put them away. We want to protect others and get them the help they need," he said.
He said stricter law enforcement on guns and focusing on mental health issues are important steps in battling public rampages and killings.
Chris Harper-Mercer used a username commenting on posts about not having a girlfriend. A police officer said that based on the writings the killer made, he did not like his life and he felt like nothing was going right for him.
Moreover, in a blog dated August 31 reported by NY Times, he expressed his sympathy for a television reporter who killed two of his former colleagues during a live broadcast by saying, "I have noticed that people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are."
He added, "Seems the more people you kill, the more you're in the limelight."