Slatest PM: Oregon Gunman's Motive a Mystery

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 12 2012 3:57 PM

Slatest PM: Searching For Answers in Oregon

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Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The Mall Gunman Unmasked: Associated Press: "The gunman who killed two people and himself in a shooting rampage at an Oregon mall was 22 years old and used a stolen rifle from someone he knew, authorities said Wednesday. Jacob Tyler Roberts had armed himself with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and had several fully loaded magazines when he arrived at a Portland mall on Tuesday, said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts. The sheriff said the rifle jammed during the 22-year-old's attack, but he managed to get it working again. He later shot himself."

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Motive Remains a Mystery: Los Angeles Times: "He was wearing a hockey-style mask and a protective vest and began firing with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, stolen from someone the suspect knew, police said. There were also several magazines of ammunition. Police said it was unclear how many shots were fired, but there were estimates of between 10 to 20 shots before Roberts turned the weapon on himself. Police were still searching for a motive but have ruled out the idea that the shooter was specifically targeting anyone."

Searching For Answers: Oregonian: "A middle-aged man standing on the porch of a Southeast Portland house where some of Clackamas mall shooter Jacob Tyler Roberts' possessions were registered said Roberts had lived with him for a few months earlier this year, and that the 22-year-old's life plans had recently been dashed. He was moving to Hawaii and had recently sold all his possessions, said the man, who declined to give his name. 'He couldn't stop talking about it.' But, he said, 'four days ago (Roberts) called to say he had missed his flight.' The man said he hadn't heard from Roberts since. ... Asked whether Roberts may have been depressed and might have just snapped, he replied, 'I think that's exactly what happened.'"

It's Wednesday, welcome to The Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

Speaking of Romney's Questionable Ad Strategy: Washington Post: "Senior Republican campaign operatives who gathered over beer last week in Alexandria for a post-election briefing were taken aback by what they were told. A nonpartisan research firm presented data showing that President Obama had far outperformed Mitt Romney in managing the largest single expenditure of the campaign: television advertising. Romney’s spending decisions on advertising look like 'campaign malpractice,' said one person who had reviewed the newly circulated data. Obama and his allies spent less on advertising than Romney and his allies but got far more.... All told, from June through Election Day, the Obama campaign and its allies aired about 50,000 more ads than Romney and his allies, according to the research firm’s data."

The Word From the Fed: Washington Post: "The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will take unprecedented steps to bolster the economy, saying it will continue to stimulate growth until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent or the inflation rate reaches 2.5 percent. The Fed said it did not expect unemployment to reach that benchmark until 2015. It was a historic move that for the first time explicitly spells out the Fed’s goals for the nation’s economy and how it will respond to changing conditions."

What a Mandate Looks Like: Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama won the public argument over taxes so decisively that almost half of Republicans now say he has an election mandate to raise rates on the rich. Majorities of about 2-to-1 also read the election results as an endorsement of Obama’s pledge to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits, according to a Bloomberg National Poll of 1,000 adults conducted Dec. 7-10."

Scuds in Syria: New York Times: "Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have fired Scud missiles at rebel fighters in recent days, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday. The move represents a significant escalation in the fighting, which has already killed more than 40,000 civilians in a nearly two-year-old conflict that has threatened to destabilize the Middle East, and suggests increased desperation on the part of the Assad government. A fresh wave of mayhem struck the Syrian capital Damascus on Wednesday, reports from the region said, including a deadly triple bombing outside the Interior Ministry. One American official, who asked not to be identified because he was discussing classified information, said that missiles had been fired from the Damascus area at targets in northern Syria."

Rockets in North Korea: Reuters: "North Korea successfully launched a rocket on Wednesday, boosting the credentials of its new leader and stepping up the threat the isolated and impoverished state poses to opponents. The rocket, which North Korea says put a weather satellite into orbit, has been labeled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States."

On That Note: New York Times: "Whether this winter turns out to be warm or cold, scientists say that climate change means the long-term outlook for skiers everywhere is bleak. The threat of global warming hangs over almost every resort, from Sugarloaf in Maine to Squaw Valley in California. As temperatures rise, analysts predict that scores of the nation’s ski centers, especially those at lower elevations and latitudes, will eventually vanish. Under certain warming forecasts, more than half of the 103 ski resorts in the Northeast will not be able to maintain a 100-day season by 2039, according to a study to be published next year by Daniel Scott, director of the Interdisciplinary Center on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo in Ontario."

Somehow We Doubt This Will End the Speculation: Hillarly Clinton sat down with ABC News' Barbara Walters for an interview that will air tonight. ABC with the preview: "She told Walters that she doesn't have a plan for what she'll do immediately after leaving political life but that she wants to continue contributing to society in some way, perhaps in philanthropy or academia. But when pressed on whether that her future includes a widely-speculated 2016 run for president, Clinton maintains that she still does not plan to run. 'I've said I really don't believe that that's something I will do again,' she said. 'I am so grateful I had the experience of doing it before.'"

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