Here’s the narrative: mass killers are almost always white men. The Daily Kos recently published a piece with this headline: “How come we can’t tell the truth about the White Mass Killer Problem?” It asks, “Just what the fracking hell is the matter with all these mass-murdering white people?” Certainly mass killers are almost always men. But they’re not almost always white men. Overrepresented? Perhaps. But almost always white? No.
Chris Harper Mercer walked into Oregon’s Umpqua Community College and killed nine people, wounding nine more. On a dating site, Mercer, whose father is white and mother is black, referred to himself as “mixed race.”
The Los Angeles Times implied that Mercer was white. The Times, in a sub-headline, said he had “white supremacy leanings.” The original article said: “A federal law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said, though, that authorities had obtained some of Harper-Mercer’s writings, as well as a note he left behind, suggesting that he supported white-supremacist causes and opposed organized religion.” The Times later changed the solitary law enforcement source to “two” sources, but added a line stating, “However, he identified as mixed-race on a dating website and lived with his black mother.”