9 Exceptional Stories on the Roseburg Shooting

National media has driven and elevated coverage of the Umpqua Community College killings.

This morning's edition of The New York Times contains an extraordinary aftershock from the mass shooting in Roseburg, Ore.: One of the survivors, who crouched under an Umpqua Community College desk as a gunman killed nine people on Oct. 1, says he now wants to buy a gun.

"It's opened my eyes," 19-year-old J.J. Vicari told the Times. "I want to have a gun in the house to protect myself, to protect the people I'm with."

The story that follows—explaining how many Roseburg citizens have grown only more committed to gun rights—is typical of the high quality of reporting produced in the wake of the Umpqua Community College shooting.

The killings brought a flood of national media into the state. While local outlets have done excellent work, the reporting in Oregon has been driven and elevated by top-tier reporters parachuting in.

Here are a few of the most striking stories visiting reporters have filed from Roseburg—some illuminating, others simply heartbreaking.

Mother Jones broke several stories about Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin, including finding his letter to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden opposing gun-control legislation and discovering that Hanlin had posted a Facebook video alleging the Sandy Hook school massacre was a conspiracy.

The Los Angeles Times talked to the father of a shooting survivor. The Oct. 4 narrative subtly makes the point that many of the day's bravest people were killed.

—On Oct. 4, Vox delivered an astonishing figure: "America has 4.4 percent of the world's population but almost half of its civilian-owned guns."

The Trace, a gun-violence journalism startup funded by Bloomberg, took a nuanced look at the pro-gun rhetoric of the Roseburg News-Review and its editor.

The New York Times has filed the nation's strongest coverage of the Roseburg shooting. On Oct. 3, it placed the killer, Christopher Harper-Mercer, in a lineup of isolated, angry men whose only distinguishing feature from other, similarly disaffected men is their decision to kill. It also examined where the shooters got their guns: mostly legally.

—The Times followed those reports with a devastating Oct. 5 story about Harper-Mercer's mother, who for years offered advice on Yahoo! Answers about raising a son with Asperger's syndrome. "He's no babbling idiot nor is his life worthless," she wrote. "My 18 years worth of experience with and knowledge about Asperger's syndrome is paying off."

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.