Early news reports have identified the Arapahoe High School gunman as Karl Halverson Pierson, an 18-year-old student. Pierson is believed to be responsible for wounding one other student before shooting and killing himself with a shotgun. The Denver Post reports that Pierson had “very strong political beliefs” and that one Facebook post he authored tore into Republicans as the political party that wanted to let people die:
“[Y]ou republicans are so cute” his post reads, with an image that says: “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?”
Pierson also described himself in a Facebook post as “Keynesian” when it came to economic thinking, and criticized free market thinkers:
In one Facebook post, Pierson attacks the philosophies of economist Adam Smith, who through his invisible-hand theory pushed the notion that the free market was self-regulating. In another post, he describes himself as “Keynesian.”
Pierson’s classmates described the suspected gunman’s political beliefs as “outside the mainstream,” and Pierson as “an outspoken kid about what he believed and a good political thinker.” Another classmate said Pierson held “very strong beliefs about gun laws.”
The Los Angeles Times quotes friends who described Pierson as an advocate for gun rights. In its lengthy report, The Los Angeles Times does not, however, include the information about the Facebook posts wherein Pierson describes himself as Keynesian or mocks Republicans as wanting people to die.
Apparently, Pierson was picked on in school but also “had a multitude of friends.” Right now it is believed the shooting was motivated by a confrontation with a teacher, a debate coach who kicked Pierson off the debate team. The Los Angeles Times says “Pierson was kicked off the team and suspended from school in September for a few weeks after threatening the coach.”
For an American mainstream media always eager to exploit tragedy for political gain, yesterday’s horrific shooting will not give them much to work with. The gunman’s politics have little in common with the Tea Party, and the state where the shooting took place, Colorado, passed almost all of the media’s gun control wish-list about six months ago.
More bad news for the media came in the gunman’s weapon of choice: a shotgun, which is also Vice President Joe Biden’s weapon of choice.
As we have seen time and again, the length of the media’s fascination with this kind of tragedy is directly connected to how much the media are able to exploit the event for political gain. As of right now, because there is nothing to mine for political gain, it looks as though the media will have forgotten all about this shooting by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC