Friday, December 14, 2012

Connecticut Shooting

I’m replacing the open thread because this is something I want to talk about. This shooting in Connecticut has me really frustrated.

First, let me say that I feel incredible sympathy for the families of the victims. This just makes me sick and it’s not something anyone should ever need to experience. I wish this had never happened.

What I want to discuss is my utter frustration with people. This is a tragedy and an outrage and what is the first thing that happens? People go right back to playing politics and trying to avoid responsibility. The left is whining about guns as if this guy wouldn't have found another way to do this -- just as Chinese nutjobs are killing as many kids with knives. Many on the right are talking about punishment, which admittedly was my first thought. But that’s wrong. We need to start looking at who is really to blame here and, frankly, the answers are uncomfortable.

The most obvious fault lies with the killer’s parents... his friends... his teachers... his neighbors... and his employers. They all saw the signs, I know they did. People like this give them off in droves because you don’t just snap one day. These people are hateful, they are creepy, they say and do evil things... and everyone wants to overlook it because they don’t want to get involved or because they don’t want to believe that someone they know could be evil.

This is also the fault of Hollywood for glorifying gun violence and beating people over the head with the idea that violence is the way to solve disputes. This is the fault of the media for making these people famous and turning this thing into an exciting sport. Even now they are playing this game. This is the fault of politicians for spewing hate and telling people that hate and spite are legitimate feelings. Do you really think you can’t run around hating people who are rich or illegal without the idea sinking in that hate is acceptable? And how often have people, especially on the left, accepted violence as an ok practice? This is the fault of people who misuse their religious beliefs to create an us versus them world where we wish ill on those who don’t believe like us. This is the fault of everybody who calls in to sport shows and talks about hurting people, everybody who posts death threats on the net, everybody who spews hate day after day after day.

This is the fault of a society that is genuinely hateful and spiteful and which mixes fantasy and reality, a society of people who are unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions and certainly won't take responsibility to do something when they see something wrong. This is the fault of lawyers who sue anyone who tries to help. This is the fault of juries for enabling them. This is the fault of psychiatrists who do nothing to spot these people. This is the fault of a society that decided in the 1960s to set the crazies free without supervision or control.

But before we cast stones at other people, we need to look at ourselves. How many of us have ignored someone who needed help or who should have been reported? How many of us have encouraged people to hate others?

We are all to blame. And trying to blame inanimate objects like guns or faceless bureaucrats is an excuse, that is all... scapegoats for the things we do wrong every single day. We are to blame... all of us.

This is really depressing.


ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I don't think any apology is necessary.

And as I'm fond of saying, my gun philosophy (which I imagine is shared by many folks here) can be summed up with a Charles Bronson line from one of the Death Wish movies:

"Guns don't scare me. Idiots with guns do."

But how do we make sure idiots don't get access?

Naturally, the nutjob at the American Family Association has proven yet again what a total dick he is.

And I do wish the reporters would just let these kids go home without barraging them with questions.

P.S. While I'm pro-gun, a friend of mine has an interesting attitude about it. As long as they're are guns, he's pro-gun, but he'd rather live in a world without them.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, To me, the gun control arguments are ridiculous. The evidence is in that people like this will kill whether or not they get access to guns. Look at China where young men have been doing mass killings at grade schools with knives.

The anti-gun stuff to me is just scapegoating. Many of the same people who rail against guns are the same people who spew hate at groups they don't like, who revel in revenge films, and who go out of their way to avoid helping people. They also squeal whenever the state tries to lock people up who are crazy.

This is a human race problem, not a gun problem. Guns are just an easy way for some people to avoid looking at themselves.

AndrewPrice said...

On the prayer in schools thing, I will agree with you. I think that religion is a wonderful thing, except the way too many choose to practice it now. Too many turn religion into a way to separate people and hate those who don't believe exactly what they do.

tryanmax said...

So quick is everyone to politicize everything that I actually heard someone on radio calling for heightened gun restrictions before I even heard about what had happened.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think our society is sick. These things are viewed as opportunities now, not tragedies. And so many people are happy to jump right in and use these things for whatever purpose they want.

ScottDS said...

Adding to what tryanmax said, it's sad that, every time one of these things happens, the reaction is so predictable you can set your watch to it!

X will say this, Y will say that, X will badmouth Y, ad nauseum.

(That's just a statement; I obviously haven't revealed anything new here!)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It is. The second these things happen, all the usual suspects run out with their usual arguments and start spewing. But even stepping away from the political aspect, this is a deeper problem, a fundamental problem with people not being willing to examine themselves and change their behavior -- and it's a worldwide problem.

ScottDS said...

I agree with you, though many would also state that it's not a worldwide problem, but a uniquely American one. (Again, just an observation.)

It's weird... we were just talking about Die Hard's portrayal of the media on the film site last week and it's clear nothing's changed at all!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's more political BS. There are as many mass murders in Europe and in China as there are in the US. And if you want to talk about sheer amount of death, nobody beats the Middle East, Africa or South America.

This idea that this is a US problem is pure propaganda meant to politicize something that is a world-wide problem and which needs a much better solution than the ones offered by the people seeking to exploit these things for political gain.

Kelly said...

This is truly sickening to think about. How can anyone shoot kids? It's just beyond belief.

ellenB said...

Andrew, I sympathize with you on this. Our society is so careless in the way we behave and so negative in the way we act toward each other that the real surprise is that we don't have more of these kinds of killings. And the response to these things is deeply cynical.

My prayers are with the families.

ScottDS said...

I think we can all use this today.

"26 Moments That Restored Our Faith In Humanity This Year"

They had me at #1!

BevfromNYC said...

The problem we have is a mental health problem. All of these mass shootings, stabbings, etc. have ALL been perpetrated by people with diagnosed mental illnesses. ALL of them. And there is no recourse until they commit heinous crimes against society. Either we are too embarrasses to admit it, or whatever. We can't stop them because people with mental problems will always find a way.

T-Rav said...

Days like today make me wish we still had "hanged, drawn and quartered" as a method of execution. This is why I refuse to accept the insanity defense in any form. If this guy had lived and been found fully insane, I would still want him executed. Slap a clown suit on him first, if that helps.

Also, to go along with the "don't play politics" comment of Andrew's: I heard Obama's comments on the shooting while I was in the car, and a while later a guy called into a radio station to say that he didn't like Obama at all, but this was the first time he had connected with him on an emotional level, that the President actually seemed to him to care. I have to agree. That ten- or twelve-second pause in his remarks said it all. There are lots of things to attack Obama on, let's not try to nitpick what he said today.

Jen said...

Isn't the left the ones who like to use "rehabilitate" when talking about someone with a mental illness, or something close to it? Like, for example, someone who commits a murder, but it's said the person shouldn't be locked up if they show remorse. I know that's an extreme example, but the only thing I can think of using to describe my thoughts.

Lefties also like to use the excuses of, "Well, just call the police, no need to use a weapon", or "You shouldn't try to defend yourself because you might hurt or kill the other person". A lot of good it did for this person to be in close proximity to the police department.


Jen said...

T-Rav, I concur.

Call me crazy, but after I heard about the shootings today, I started thinking about other mass shootings, and the ones that came to mind are:
Virginia Tech
and thought they all have one thing in common--they're Blue states.
I'm not saying that there is any connection, but that stuck out to me.

BevfromNYC said...

Jen, actually they aren't just in blue states. Arizona is very red state. But what they all have in common is people with diagnosed and/or should have been diagnosed mental illnesses.

Tennessee Jed said...

we have had this kind of thing happen throughout history. Yet, I can't help feel that our shrinking electronic globe has had a hand in the increased frequency of this sort of thing. It does seem to be people who are mentally disturbed. Everything is shown again and again on cable news, while people are feeing l increasingly impotent, polarized, and isolated. Little wonder people who are disturbed play an increasingly deadly game of "can you top this."

Jen said...

Bev, Those were the first ones that came to my mind, and for some reason, Arizona didn't register.

I almost couldn't believe what came out of my own brother's mouth when I brought up a name of someone who shot, and killed his own cousin. The guy had a history of trouble: LINK

I met him, and he was even at one of our farms. He was friends with/played H.S. football with my ex's brother. I also saw him play. He got a full-ride scholarship to play football, but got into trouble with the law several times, shortly after starting college, and had no choice but to drop out.

His friend even got him a job, but he f'd that up too. Then he killed his cousin.

When I brought the name up, I didn't know my brother knew him. They would have gone to school together as well, but my brother dropped out. He said, "What did they do to piss him off?", as though that was the reason the guy killed someone.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Mental illness is indeed the problem. Not only is there a stigma, but people are unwilling to turn in those who need it. They just look the other way for fear of getting involved.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I agree, this is not the sort of thing that you use to attack anyone. Unfortunately, that's not how our system works anymore -- it's attack, all the time.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen and Bev, There is no Blue/Red state link to this. These things happen randomly, they are not systematic.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think the media deserves a lot of blame here for creating a culture that is high pressure, violent and turns these tragedies into circuses. It creates an energy and it tells people that if they explode, they need to explode big.

T-Rav said...

Good news everyone--NBC has officially started in on the "this is the result of having too many guns!!!!" meme.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I'm not surprised. They intend to exploit this for ratings and political reasons and to avoid having their own role in this examined.

Doc Whoa said...

Well said, Andrew. People need to start looking at themselves and stop looking for imaginary quick fixes.

Also, I see now several family friends saying "he was troubled." But as you say, no one stepped in.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, This never just happens. People don't just go crazy at once. Before someone gets to this level, they spend years losing touch with reality and right and wrong. The people who know them need to show some courage and do the right thing and get these people treatment early on.

T-Rav said...

Soooo....Tavis Smiley on Leno right now. His message: We say we care about the children, but we don't, because we're not doing anything about gun control, and Obama completely dropped the ball in his remarks this afternoon, because he didn't make a call for such legislation--not that he's entirely at fault, because those obstructionist Republicans are intimidating him--and no one should have assault weapons that use lots of ammo. Un-freaking-believable.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It's all about exploiting tragedies for their own purpose. All the usual vultures are out in full force right now trying to add a little fame, a little money, and a little political capital to their personal fortunes.

T-Rav said...

For the record, here's the Connecticut state statutes on gun ownership and regulation: LINK

Today's shooter is guilty of breaking at least ten of these laws, and those are currently existing rules. Did that stop him from committing mass murder? Did it?

Someone explain to me how gun control is going to stop people from stealing their parents' weapons and using them to kill people.

BevfromNYC said...

Doc and Andrew- His family should have "stepped in and done" what? I keep repeating this over and over, once a person reaches the age of majority, they cannot be forced into treatment, to take meds, or into any kind of facility against their will. And in many cases, psychotic behavior that leadsmto these kinds of mass killings does not begin to manifest itself until the late teens. So until they do something to harm others, there is not much ANYONE can "step in and do".

Kit said...


Don't we have Bobby Kennedy to blame for that?

BevfromNYC said...

No Kit, we have only ourselves to blame. We let it happen because we allowed and allow our "leaders" to legislate in panic and without reasoned thought of the consequences. We have lost our ability to be reasonable and thoughtful. And we will allow them to continue to legislate us right into total bondage.

Kit said...

Well, what I mean is in the late-60s when Bobby Kennedy attacked the mental health institutions and many states started letting their patients out.

And caused a national crime wave.

But, yeah, we do let our leaders legislate in panic

BevfromNYC said...

Yes, Kit, because he was well-meaning, but short-sighted. Instead of legislating better and higher standard of care, he legislated NO care.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Some states do allow you to report people and the state will get commitment orders. Unfortunately, more often than not, the state won't do anything.

And I'm not even talking about when he hit 20. This didn't happen yesterday. I will bet you this has been going on his entire life. This guy probably needed serious treatment starting as a kid the first time they caught him torturing some small animal or hurting the neighbor's kid.

By I do agree with you completely, this is the fault of the public... us... for not being rational about the laws and instead going with stupid ideas that make us feel better rather than facing the fact that some people simply need to be locked up and treated.

Notawonk said...

andrew: i came and read yesterday and thought about your line that we are all to blame for the rest of the day, and I strongly disagree. I get what you're saying, that society as a whole is culpable, but i have two personal instances where everything was tried to get the person the help they needed, even going to a judge begging to have the person committed longer than the small window that is the norm, but nothing could be done within the law as it stands. what else are we to do when individuals are a danger to themselves and others? yes, lawmakers have been contacted. people within the community have been contacted. law enforcement knows.

those of us involved tried like hell. to say we are all to blame is wrong.

our society is deepening it's trouble day by day. when i saw the news yesterday, one of my reactions was that it's just the beginning. i'm so frustrated with the politics of guns, of mental illness, that all i can do is arm myself and pray i never have to defend my family.

we are in serious trouble and it is our duty to stand against it. for those of us who have already seen the obstacles we have to face in this fight, it's another horrifying day in a sea of laws that does nothing to help.

Kit said...

And then you have movies that seem to compare mental health professionals to the doctors at Auschwitz.

I wonder if Scientology is a part of that.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's the perfect example of what I'm talking about. The idea of gun control is a political fantasy. Laws don't stop people who don't care about them. And even if you banned every gun, you would still have mass murders just like in China with knives or with bombs or with some other method.

Banning bans is a fake solution meant to make liberals shift the blame from their own hateful rhetoric, from their prior decisions to let insane go (which also caused the homeless problem), and from their unwillingness to make hard decisions about people. It's an emotional bandaid.

Kit said...

But, then again, maybe having schools try to intervene prior to a shooting isn't a good idea. Or at least not allow universities to do it.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I meant "all" in a bigger sense. I too am aware of individuals like yourself who have struggled against this insane system we have. But you are too few and far between.

The other 99.999% of us do all the wrong things. Liberals whine that these people have rights and shouldn't be locked up. Conservatives pretend mental illness is made up as an excuse to avoid responsibility for crimes. Both of those groups got the law to the state it's at today.

And both of those groups engage in this destructive points scoring when these things happen. Liberals exploit it to demand gun control -- a nonsense response. Conservative groups demand bigger punishments or prayer in schools -- again, nonsense responses.

And meanwhile, everybody is out there spewing hate and approval for violence to tell these people this is the way to solve their problems. Hollywood glorifies gun violence and makes it seem not only cool but like a genuine solution. The media turns this into a competition and gives you a chance to become historically important. Politicians divide the public with fear and hate -- the other guys are out to get you. And now they are condoning violence (at least on the left). The public calls into talk radio with paranoid conspiracies that feed these people's fantasies. Now they are striking back against hidden forces. They call into sports shows with talk about breaking bones and taking people out. God help you if you start reading comments on almost any internet site -- talk about hate. In day to day life, I constantly hear people carelessly use rhetoric that is violent... "somebody ought to kill that SOB." Look at all the petty and spiteful things people do every day that we see all around us.

All of those things contribute a society that feeds crazy people with insane ideas and rage, a society that refuses to take the steps it needs to stop these people before they reach this point, and a society that would rather blame something stupid like a gun or cops for not arriving on time rather than face the reality that we really need to change our ways.

So please be clear that I absolutely did not mean you because I do fully understand the things you went through, having seen some of those proceedings and found myself shocked that they would let violent or suicidal people go just because they reached the full 24 hour deadline. But I do think that outside of a handful of people like yourself, everyone else needs to seriously re-examine the way they think and act.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, We have lost our ability to be reasonable and thoughtful. And we will allow them to continue to legislate us right into total bondage.

This is the problem. You cannot stop terrorists by strip searching people at airports, but it makes people feel like you've come up with a solution if you do. So we strip search people. It does nothing to stop terror, but it makes people feel better.

Most crime runs in families. It's a small core of people with no sense of right and wrong. But we can't intervene and keep them in jail forever, nor can we take their kids, nor can we sterilize them... that would violate their rights. Instead, we just make more stuff into crimes and lock up more people rather than the right people. Why? Because that sounds like a good solution and the public doesn't want to make hard choices.

Mental illness needs to be researched, learned to be spotted, and treatment imposed. But we can't have that, let's just treat them like criminals after they do something. Will that help anything? Hardly, but it's too hard for the public to see cause and effect.

This is the problem... the easy solution. The public is unwilling to be rational or to make hard choices. They just want the easiest sounding solution. And thus, our political class keeps offering placebos and the public buys them. And an entire industry his been built around these placebos on both the left and the right -- each side spewing nonsense.

Kit said...

"Conservatives pretend mental illness is made up as an excuse to avoid responsibility for crimes."

I remember my Dad, a lawyer, pointing out to me once that the Insanity Defense is typically used because the defendant looks as guilty as guilty can look and the defense attorneys, who have a DUTY to represent the person, have no other option because the guy is so clearly guilty.

Also, on treatment. Dr. Helen Smith, a psychiatrist (and a conservative/libertarian), has talked about treating people before the commit depraved acts of violence -such as school shootings. On her blog when she did this people, typically conservatives, criticize her for "excusing the crimes" and saying the people shouldn't be "treated" but sent to prison for what they did.
Forgetting that she was talking about treatment BEFORE they commit the crime.
She pointed out that its better to treat the person and not have a mass shooting than to not the treat the person, have the mass shooting, and send the person to jail/death row.

Jen said...

I said this:

I'm not saying that there is any connection, but that stuck out to me.

I also posted two links last night--different situations.

Andrew, I wasn't saying that there is a Red/Blue link to this, I was wondering something a little deeper--like what do these states do about mental illness people, someone who is trouble (like you said--it tends to run in families), etc.

Because of what you do, you have seen a lot more of this type of stuff (dealt with it personally), but I noticed something else. I DO NOT have formal training in area of mental illness, etc., I was just pointing out what stood out to me.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Conservatives are blind on this issue. They don't understand that mental illness is real. So they refuse to endorse treatment, they don't want it funded, and they don't want it to be allowed in courts. They also attach a huge stigma to it, which makes it even harder on people who are already struggling with their own minds and emotions.

But liberals are just as blind because they only live in the hear and now. Thus, they say "well, sure he tortured small animals and tried to rape his cousin... but he was only 14, now that he's 18 we should let him go." And if you do lock him up, when he turns 30, they will say, "he's been in soooo long, we should let him go."

And lawyers absolutely are to blame in this as well. Prosecutors only go after the easy cases. Defense attorneys have divorced themselves from the consequences of their actions, they just try anything they can to win. Judges make decisions without adequate information. And then civil attorneys happily sue everyone who made the wrong decision.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, Each state is different, but none of them are adequate.

When I was in WVA, they finally introduced a law allowing involuntary commitment, something that hadn't been allowed since the 1960s. Unfortunately, it was for a maximum of 24 hours and they let these people go no matter what at that point, even if they were still ranting and raving.

Colorado has a law which allows involuntary commitment, but it's hard to use and the cops won't do it if their facility is full -- which it always is. So I know people who've called the cops because their spouse was going crazy and threatening to kill them or other people and the cops told them "let them sleep it off." Unbelievable.

Kit said...

Here is an article about the Feds halting mental health reform. Its 5 yrs old (written in aftermath of VA Tech).

And here is a piece e"7 Myths of Mass Murderers"

BevfromNYC said...

Being in the Mental Illness Capitol of the World - New York, we cannot do anything until someone is pushed off a subway platform into an oncoming train or murdered with a brick. Then the state moves in to take them off the streets. It happens every single day, but there is nothing we can do about it until the laws are changed.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, You are right to a degree. The laws need to be changed to let people do something.

BUT there are other changes people can make:

1. Stop overlooking evidence of problems in their own friends, family and kids. Get these people help long before things go wrong.

2. Stop accepting easy solutions from politicians that don't solve the problem. Don't let people think they can solve problems like this with placebos like gun control.

3. Stop adding anger and conspiracy to the world.

Unfortunately, 2 and 3 are a pipe dream but they are the only effective means of change.

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, Bev, as expected, the press is foaming at the mouth about gun control today. This is the problem. They don't want to solve this, they want to exploit it to further their agenda, just like they do with every other tragedy. They are to blame for this problem because they stand in the way of real solutions. And if you know anyone who is a journalist, tell them that. They caused this and they are causing the next one and the next one.

BevfromNYC said...

As to #1 - That is fine for children under 18, but once they reach the age of majority, there is nothing anyone can do to force an legal adult to seek treatment or to take their med.

2. Yeh, right.

3. Aren't we as much of the problem here in fomenting anger and conspiracy as any place else?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, 1. What is your point? Are you saying since we can't solve the whole problem we shouldn't try?

2. You need to start somewhere.

3. I've been doing my best to debunk the conspiracy theories and the anger.

BevfromNYC said...

No, I am just tired of my opinions...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It is unfortunate that people don't want to do the things it takes to solve problems -- not on any issue. But that doesn't mean we need to give up.

Kit said...

Actually, Bev, I think some states have laws that can allow judges to require people who are both psychotic and violent to receive treatment.

One example is the VA Tech shooter Cho was required by a judge to take medication. Of course, the ruling was aimed at the individual and there was no agency made responsible for ensuring he took his medication.

Individualist said...

In my Org and Behavior class we were taught that if there was a publicized suicide there would be an increase in car accidents were people died running off the road. If there was a publicized murder suicide there would be an increase in accidents where people ran into other cars killing themselves and others.

The idea was that many people have hangups and are of a mindset to do these things but it is not until they see someone else doing it that they get the idea that this is an option.

In the past these incidents were reported, well wishers focused on the families and follow up reports were about how so and so victim was dealing with it.

Today the press seems to focus on why this guy did this, who was he, what was his politics, they publicize every detail of the guy's life. This could be a factor in feeding these events to continue happening.

Individualist said...

Guns don't scare me. Idiots with guns do."

But how do we make sure idiots don't get access?


When you find the secret to idiot proof something, anything be it a gun, a computer or toy soldiers you let me know and we can make millions........

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That's a very good point about the way the press treats these people. In the past, there was very little description given to what happened except the results, the name of the killer, and then a focus on the victims and the families. Today, the focus is on the killer and it's obsessive. They want to explore everything about this guy and turn him into some kind of pop culture icon. That's a huge problem because it tells people that if you want the whole world to notice YOU, then you do something like this.

I firmly believe they should never release the names of these guys or their images. Their words should never be published. They should be dumped into unmarked graves and erased from history.

That won't stop them all, but it will rob a lot of them of the thing they crave -- being somebody.

Commander Max said...

When I first heard of this event, I couldn't help but think what games is this administration playing now. It's not like there isn't a precedent for it, as we all know.

But I think what we are really dealing with is a nut job plain and simple. Something set the guy off, with a nut job it could be anything. Predicting such behavior is nearly impossible, but there are signs of instability. But that doesn't mean people can see it, or are willing to see it.
But until we know more info we really can't say what happened, except people are dead. The libs are screaming to ban guns and it's the fault of conservatives, talk radio, entertainment, etc. etc. I don't think it's any of those things, but it's an easy scapegoat.
I do know one thing, if someone was armed in the area those kids would have had a chance. If the libs get their way, more people could have died.
The question I ask is why are these libs so randy to ban guns? When if they were threatened with the same situation, they would sure change the tune.

tryanmax said...

I've been noticing a number of articles about the shooter that reference autism in the headline. Of course, being the father of an autistic child, I am disturbed by this, but not without reason.

First, the articles I've read make little or no reference to autism following the prominent headlines, so it's unclear whether the shooter even had autism. Why then publicize such a speculation?

Second, such publicity will undoubtedly stigmatize autism. This is horrible. Little is understood of this rapidly increasing disorder, and stigma is the last thing needed at this juncture.

Third, as is the case with other mental disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and even sociopathy, having such a disorder does not automatically prone one to violence. In cases where diagnosed individuals have committed violent acts, additional, observable factors are what moved them to violence.

In brief, I worry for my daughter. She already has a struggle before her. Such unnecessary additions to it are uncalled for.

Also, in a bizarre twist, many of the same articles that obliquely reference autism also make frequent but unnecessary note of the high values of his (divorced) parents' homes. Given the current popularity of "eat the rich" sentiment, I can't help but wonder whether there is an attempt to tie wealth to violence.

tryanmax said...

FYI, the parenthetical "divorced" is not to point a finger to that incident as a factor in the shooting. It is only to clear any confusion that might have arisen from referencing the parents' homes in the plural.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, I don't know if anyone being armed would have changed much. I guess it depends on how quickly this happened and a lot of things.

I totally agree that the problem is that this guy is a nutjob and they are unpredictable. BUT there are always signs. Not one of these guys has ever been normal and then just snapped. They spend their lives giving off strong signals. And people ignored those because they don't want to get involved. And by the time they reach adulthood, you have the problem Bev keeps pointing out, that the system makes it impossible to do anything about them then.

And I don't think we can let anyone (Hollywood, the media, talk radio, the internet, politicians, etc.) off the hook on this because it's all part of the same puzzle. Yes, if we fixed everything, then there would still be the occasional crazy. But right now, we are in the middle of (for lack of a better word) an epidemic of lunatic violence. And I firmly believe that is the result of dozens of factors that send these people the signals that they can make their problems go away by killing someone.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree with you. It's pretty irresponsible to throw something like that around unless there is a specific purpose. It would be like saying, "did you know he Jewish?"

I think what you have here though, is yet another example of a media that (1) doesn't know what they are talking about, and (2) seeks to sensationalize what they report. They hear the word "autism", they don't know what it means, but they report it and start speculating on it because they want to "run down every possibility."

I've seen the same kind of thing throughout my life, where I see things reported in law that are simply not possible and yet reporters run with it and so do the talking heads. I can't tell you how much of what I see reported regarding law is just simply false -- provable false, and yet it becomes conventional wisdom.

And in the case of mental illness, it really is time that people start to understand it. Unfortunately, the people who would make that happen, i.e. the press, are clueless and don't care that they are clueless.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I don't see the divorce mentioned much, just article after article about gun control. The left has turn the exploitation machine up to full speed.

Individualist said...


From what I read this guy may have been mildly autistic but has other more serious issues as well. They are stating he is mentally ill but then again no doctor that diagnosed him is stating this.

One of the things that goes through my mind is was the medicine given to him appropriate. I remember that many of these guys shooting up schools between 16 and 22 were on riddlin.

This is a powerful pschoactive drug. If you mess up the dosage the only way to know you are creating a problem and not fixing one is to get into the patient's mind.

I wonder if the problem is that mental therapy whether for the mentally ill or for normal people relies too much on drugs and not enough on consultation. The mind is very complicated and probably the hardest to cure.

I could be wrong though.

ScottDS said...

Say what you want about Morgan Freeman, but he's spot-on here. (This was posted on Facebook.)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I don't think it is always just one issue -- this is a complex issue -- BUT I agree 100% with this. The media has been turning these people into celebrities. This is a way to become SOMEONE.

As I said above....

That's a very good point about the way the press treats these people. In the past, there was very little description given to what happened except the results, the name of the killer, and then a focus on the victims and the families. Today, the focus is on the killer and it's obsessive. They want to explore everything about this guy and turn him into some kind of pop culture icon. That's a huge problem because it tells people that if you want the whole world to notice YOU, then you do something like this.

I firmly believe they should never release the names of these guys or their images. Their words should never be published. They should be dumped into unmarked graves and erased from history.

That won't stop them all, but it will rob a lot of them of the thing they crave -- being somebody.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, haven't seen the parents' divorce pointed out as a factor, either, and I just wanted to emphasize that I was not making that case myself.

But what do you make of the publication of the values of said parents' homes in stories about the shooting? Yes, they were well down from the headlines, but it's hardly illuminating to know that his father lives "on a sprawling street glittered with multimillion-dollar homes" or that his mother's home is a "four-bedroom, three-bathroom house is estimated to be worth around $537,000, and is situated on 2.19 acres of land." What does that information serve?

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I hadn't seen that, but I do find that troubling.

In the past, I might have seen that as a reporter trying to be poetic or make the point that this could happen to anyone. But that isn't what that sounds like to me. It makes me think that the reporter is deep into the "hate the rich" cult of the left right now and they are trying to suggest that rich people are behind this.

And given the all out "gun control" assault the left is so cynically putting on, it wouldn't surprise me at all if they wanted to tie this in with them being rich.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, We live in despicable times.

tryanmax said...

Indie, I think that was probably somewhat true around the time of the Columbine shooting, but I the mental health community has steered rapidly away from over-medicating, perhaps to a fault. I'd say the biggest issue in mental health now (from my own observation, nothing professional, mind) is simply a lack of human resources.

Exacerbating this is the number of people who seek a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist for things that they would have in the past turned to a friend, relative, or clergyman for. I'm not saying these people shouldn't seek any kind of counseling, only that the isolating factors of our current society have produced a strain on a particular profession.

tryanmax said...

Comment deleted as I extricate my foot from my mouth. Sorry.

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! No problem on the deleted comment. :)

Kit said...

"We live in despicable times."

Apparently State Troopers have been assigned to the victims' families to protect the FROM reporters trying to get the big scoop.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I'm glad. They really should let those people be in peace.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I sent you an e-mail by the way...

Notawonk said...

andrew: i stated to you privately, but will do so publicly: in no way was i offended. but feelings (mine) are raw since the shooting. throw in the election, our show-off diving off the moral cliff, and then reading your post...

besides, i am of the mind that we can disagree, strongly when need be, and still keep the conversations going. d.c. could learn from us.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti.

And let me add something I said privately as well -- I don't mean "everyone" literally. I mean "everyone" in the bigger sense of "we should all look at our own actions," and I certainly didn't mean to rope in people like you, who have struggled against our broken system on issues like this.

And you are right, we can definitely disagree and still be friends and still respect each other. If only DC would learn this lesson, maybe we would have fewer problems?

Jen said...

Am I nuts to suggest that liberalism is the root cause of this?

I keep playing things over in my head about tragedies such as this shooting, and I come to the same conclusion. It keeps pointing back to liberals.

Jen said...

Here is one reason why I suggested liberalism. The liberals are the ones who push for gun control more than anyone else I can think of.

Gun Control: Myths and Realities

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, How did liberals pushing for gun control cause this?

AndrewPrice said...

This is worth reading, it points out that mass killings were actually more common in the past...

And yet those who study mass shootings say they are not becoming more common.

"There is no pattern, there is no increase," says criminologist James Allen Fox of Boston's Northeastern University, who has been studying the subject since the 1980s, spurred by a rash of mass shootings in post offices.

The random mass shootings that get the most media attention are the rarest, Fox says. Most people who die of bullet wounds knew the identity of their killer.


Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century.

Chances of being killed in a mass shooting, he says, are probably no greater than being struck by lightning.

Still, he understands the public perception — and extensive media coverage — when mass shootings occur in places like malls and schools. "There is this feeling that could have been me. It makes it so much more frightening."


Duwe says the cycle has gone on for generations.

"Mass shootings provoke instant debates about violence and guns and mental health and that's been the case since Charles Whitman climbed the tower at the University of Texas in 1966," he said, referring to the engineering student and former Marine who killed 13 people and an unborn child and wounded 32 others in a shooting rampage on campus. "It becomes mind-numbingly repetitive."

"Rampage violence seems to lead to repeated cycles of anguish, investigation, recrimination, and heated debate, with little real progress in prevention," wrote John Harris, clinical assistant professor of medicine in the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona, in the June issue of American Journal of Public Health. "These types of events can lead to despair about their inevitability and unpredictability."

Jen said...

Andrew, I didn't mean that they directly caused this--the shooting that is.

I knew as soon as I heard what happened that some idiot/idiots would say that the problem is no gun control.

I'm still trying to make sense over my own comments because I seemed to have lost my train of thought when I went looking for the link I posted. By the time I got back to what I was writing, I automatically hit 'publish'. Oops, my bad.

Jen said...

Andrew, And yet the media would like us to think otherwise--mass shootings. Am I wrong in saying that most in the media are lefties?

If mass killings peaked in 1929, I'm wondering how many of them occurred after the stock market crash. Somewhere years ago, I had heard that suicide rates were way up that year as well.

ScottDS said...

Jeez, you should read some of the comments on other conservative blogs.

"We should make sure metnally ill people can't get access to firearms"

...which gets replies like:

"Hey, let's not go down that slippery slope!"


"Well, Obama's gonna declare all of us mentally insane anyway, so..."

Good work, citizens. [eye roll]

I'm sure the liberal blogs are just as bad but I really don't read any of them. Some folks on Facebook have brought up the "gun show loophole" but I don't know enough about that. (I've only been to one gun show - I didn't buy anything!) :-)

Notawonk said...

i believe the gun show loophole is that the guns are bought without a background check to the person buying them. if you buy a gun at a retailer they are required to take info and take a look.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That is the reason this bothers me so much. This is one of those times where people need to come up with rational solutions to a genuine problem... difficult answers.

BUT both sides are playing politics. Everyone wants to point fingers at other people so they don't need to accept responsibility for their own actions. It's very, very frustrating.

And honestly, I think the left is worse. They are 100% trying to exploit this for political purposes.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti and Scott, Honestly, I see guns as just a scapegoat here. The problem was the crazy guy, not that he got his hands on a gun. Even if he had found a gun, he would have used something else.

Mr_Severus_Snape said...

I was shopping for Christmas presents, when I heard about this tragedy. I heard two employees talking about it. It shocked the people around me. This one elderly woman near me, started tearing up, when she heard that most of the victims were innocent children.

I agree, Andrew. People shouldn't turn this tragic event, political, i.e. pushing for more gun control, etc. We all, regardless of political views, etc. should come together and show more love for one another. Is that so much to ask? Just turn off politics in your head, just for one day?

What sickens me as much as people turning this political, is the media (both TV and Internet) sensationalizing it. (There are even sick f*cks that started following a person on Twitter, who they thought was the killer!) All it does is turn the shooter into an celebrity -- a household name. That's what sick f*cks like that guy want!

My thoughts and prayers are with the victim's loved ones. It just breaks my heart knowing that all of them lost a loved before Christmas.

I want to use this moment to show my gratitude to the Commentarama community. I love you all! Thanks for making this an oasis, away from the wild jungle that is the internet!

Jen said...

Mr. Snape, I totally understand what you mean (and thanks by the way for your gratitude).

I think it was last week or so, but I saw headlines about the world's tallest woman had died, and the oldest woman in the world had died a few days before. I don't usually search these kinds of things out (saw them when I logged into my email account), but decided to read them. People were commenting on how some "sick f*cks" said some truly awful things. Examples for the oldest woman was, "It's about time", or "How did she survive that long without Obamacare?" I'm only quoting the mild ones.

AndrewPrice said...

Snape, Thanks. I love our community too and I am thankful that everyone around here can be thoughtful and rational and it really has made this an oasis on the internet.

I could not agree more with your sentiments. This is sickening and it just makes it so much worse that everyone is running out to exploit this and turn it to their own political advantage, or using it vent their own troll-like impulses. This is a genuine tragedy and it's disgusting to me the way people are treating this.

And you are absolutely right about people trying to turn this guy into a celebrity. That's how the media reacts, that's how so many people in our celebrity-obsessed culture react. It's sick.

ScottDS said...

Andrew, et al -

I must humbly apologize for the Morgan Freeman quote.

It's not real. (Scroll down till you see mention of it.)

More here.

I'm usually pretty good at detecting Internet BS but this one sounded so... natural.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Thanks for telling us. That's pretty sick. Welcome to the modern world.

Individualist said...


I have a friend I made who I played cards with down in Miami who was on disability from SSN for metal illness. He is about 40 now, has lived with his mother most of his life, and receives disability.

He seems nice enough and is fairly lucent and well grounded but he told me he could not hold a job because he had manic Depression and would be unable to treat people civily at times.

He confided in me that he thought the doctors never tried to get him better and just wrote out prescriptions and signed off on his disability. He is somewhat bitter becasue he realizes that by allowing them to dictate to him his treatment back then he could never hold a job and start helping himself.

I am all for helping the mentally ill but I feel the answer the government will come to is give them pills, give them an EBT card and forget about them. That is not a life, not really!

If someone needs real help someone is going to have to get it for them. Family, charity what have you.....

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I think the psychiatric profession needs to really reform itself. I've dealt with quite a few through my practice and they are almost all, without exception, a joke. They have no ability to predict. They can't really tell the fakers from the really crazy people. And their solutions are basically, put everyone on meds and hope things turn out well.

That said, I'm not big on the rights of crazy people. If someone is a danger, they need to be controlled.

rlaWTX said...

I'm late, but...
Psychiatrists are generally meds folks. Here's what I have seen/heard about: They have a person who interviews the potential patient. The doc takes that info and then meets for 15 min with the patient and decides meds or not.. If they medicate, the patient comes in every so often to report how they think it's working side effects, etc during a 15 min appt. Then the pt leaves until next appt...
If they are lucky, they are referred to counseling. If their luck holds, they can afford it/ find a less expensive place. And if they are very lucky, their therapist is worth a damn, has a clue, tries to work with them, etc. And, honestly, the poor folks who get sent to a Center like the one where I am doing practicum (low sliding scale fees or free) get the luck of the draw. This semester we have some good students... But we are students... If it's something that's truly messed up, we have to refer out because we don't have the knowledge/experience, and then they are back at square 2.

As for forcing folks, there should be a middle path to getting the dangerous taken care of without treading over the line, but as long as opinionated people are part of the equation (which is always), there will be potential for misuse of the system. There were serious problems with the old system that needed to be addressed, instead they threw the baby out with the bathwater.

And about tryanmax's note about bringing in autism, people will talk even when they don't have a clue. and because so few of others have a clue either, they'll buy it. Stupid humans ought to keep their mouths shut.

tryanmax said...

FYI, I've just learned from the Washington Compost that urging people not to politicize a mass shooting is a form of politicization. This is because "don't politicize" is automatic code for "don't take my gun." In other words, the only reasonable, sane, and empathetic response to such a tragedy is to demand the government take the guns, which of course means that by politicizing this recent horror, those doing so are actually not politicizing it. Make sense?

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what the profession has become. Everything I've seen tells me it's quick appointment followed by pills. They really need to reform the profession.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's how liberals do it -- to not agree with what a liberal wants is considered a partisan attack. It's tiring, honestly.

rlaWTX said...

tryanmax, that thudding noise you hear is my head pounding against my desk in sheer frustration at that mindset...

Andrew, I think that the centralization of medical care is going to only make it worse. While mental health parity is a great idea in theory, I think a side effect is expecting exact results from an inexact science/art. Our minds are so subjective and we are infinitely able to find new ways to hurt and protect ourselves emotionally so each method of therapy ends up being different in process and result... /rant off/

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I am a firm believer that anything, including humans can be understood. But from what I've seen in the psychiatric field, they are unwilling to do the kinds of research that will let them unravel the mystery and they are too bound by political correctness to grasp the results they get in any event.

rlaWTX said...

I agree with the PC-ness of research. And I'm not saying things can't be understood - what I think will make things worse is the one of the things that has made medicine worse (I think), bureaucratizing - making everything obey the spreadsheet version of the world rather than recognizing unique responses: Insurance billing requirements!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I agree. The one-size-must-fit all mentality is a problem. Plus, it breeds this idea that everything is settled and all you need to do is follow the procedures for everything to work out. There's no personal responsibility to go beyond.

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