The image of Lafayette, Louisiana mass shooter John Russell Houser that is emerging suggests that he could be the poster boy for much of the GOP base/Tea Party or the membership of The Family Foundation here in Virginia. He apparently held anger towards women, liberals, the government and a changing world and hated gays - all standard memes in today's GOP. And, thanks largely to GOP opposition to sane and rational gun control laws, Houser was able to get a gun and tragically end the lives of two young women and damage the lives of numerous others. It's a story line that is frighteningly more and more common, yet nothing will likely be done to end America's gun violence carnage. The only winners will be the gun manufacturers who bank roll the NRA. The New York Times looks at the image that is emerging of Houser. Here are excerpts:
[O]n Thursday night, Lafayette, which boasts of being the happiest city in the country, joined Chattanooga, Tenn.; Charleston, S.C.; Aurora, Colo.; Newtown, Conn., and so many others on the long list of cities scarred by gun violence. The gunman, John Russell Houser, became the latest figure in a gallery of angry men with weapons who walked into a movie theater, a church, a school or a workplace and shattered the lives of people there.Charleston and now Lafayette. The common thread? Both gunman were right wingers. When are state and local authorities going to recognize the danger that right wing extremists pose to law abiding citizens and the need for a major overhaul of our gun control laws?
Accounts from acquaintances, law enforcement officials and court records portrayed Mr. Houser, 59, of Phenix City, Ala., who also took his own life, as a man with a diffuse collection of troubles and grievances — personal, political and social — who had a particular anger for women, liberals, the government and a changing world.Because he had been accused of both domestic violence and soliciting arson, though never successfully prosecuted, he was denied a permit to carry a concealed pistol. His family repeatedly described him as violent and mentally ill; his mental health had been called into question going back decades, and he spent time in a hospital receiving psychiatric care.
Given his history, he should not have been allowed to own a gun, said Sheriff Heath D. Taylor of Russell County, where Mr. Houser lived.
Mr. Houser’s instability and fury had been evident for years, said Calvin Floyd, the former host of a television talk show in Columbus, Ga., that frequently featured Mr. Houser as a guest in the 1990s.
Mr. Houser believed that women should not work outside their homes, and “had a lot of hostility toward abortion clinics,” Mr. Floyd said. He was the sort of person who believed “that all the trouble started when they took Bibles out of school and stopped prayer.”On Twitter, antigovernment discussion boards, and other forums online, a person using the names Rusty Houser, J. Rusty Houser, and John Russell Houser praised the Westboro Baptist Church, whose members, driven by a loathing of gays, stage protests at military funerals; Timothy J. McVeigh, who bombed a government building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168; and even Adolf Hitler. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and antigovernment groups, said the posts were all from Mr. Houser.
Mr. Houser legally bought the gun he used in the shooting from a pawnshop in Phenix City last year, law enforcement officials said. A purchase at a store requires a federal background check, and serious mental illness can be grounds for denial, but the database of prohibited buyers is imperfect.
In 1989, he was accused of trying to hire a man to start a fire at a Columbus law firm that represented pornographic theaters, which Mr. Houser opposed. A grand jury declined to indict him . .
“He was crazy,” Ms. Bone said outside the home where Mr. Houser flew the Confederate battle flag. “But I didn’t think he would kill someone.”
It is unclear what led to the shooting in Lafayette, said Colonel Edmonson, of the State Police. “To put a motive to it is just something that we simply can’t do right now,” he said.