The student who shot another student and then himself with a shotgun at a suburban Denver high school was an ardent leftist who mocked Republicans on his now-apparently-defunct Facebook page.
The shooting occurred on Friday afternoon at Arapahoe High School. The gunman was senior Karl Pierson, who was seeking to settle a score with the speech-and-debate coach, according to fellow students.
Before he shot another student and killed himself, Pierson, 18, spouted quite a bit on social media, reports The Denver Post.
In one Facebook post, for example, Pierson ridiculed Republicans. He wrote “you republicans are so cute” above an image saying: “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?”
In another Facebook post, the scholarly senior attacked 18th-century classical economist Adam Smith.
“I was wondering to all the neoclassicals and neoliberals, why isn’t the market correcting itself?” Pierson wrote. “If the invisible hand is so strong, shouldn’t it be able to overpower regulations?”
In a separate Facebook post, the high school senior called himself “Keynesian.”
Students generally described Pierson as deeply opinionated.
“He was always the type that wanted to be right,” fellow senior Max Minne told local ABC affiliate KMGH. “He would always argue with the teacher about scholastic things, whatever we were talking about, he always had something to say. Never wanted anyone to tell him he was wrong.”
Minne added that Pierson “wasn’t a violent person, he was just verbally aggressive.”
Brendon Mendelson and Carl Schmidt, two Arapahoe High seniors who knew Pierson, told the Post that Pierson’s political views were “outside the mainstream.” They provided no additional details.
“He had very strong beliefs about gun laws and stuff,” junior Abbey Skoda told the paper. “I also heard he was bullied a lot.”
Pierson’s exact views about gun laws are not clear.
According to a student who was also on the debate team, Pierson was furious that he had been suspended for his remarks about killing the debate team coach, Tracy Murphy.