But if you want to talk about laws effecting mental health and the ability to buy guns, then we also have to talk about poor, non-existent coordination between law enforcement entities/agencies, lagging tech, too many databases and the information never put in them in the first place.
Not the first time this blog has asserted the reality jumping off the main title; in fact, that concrete building block goes back to one of the first articles posted via the author deconstructing Virginia Tech and other violent acts where guns weren’t even present. Detailing the distinction between legal and illegal firearms only matters to law abiding persons, probably not the ones willing to engage in mass shootings in the first place; positing the unlikelihood prohibition of gnus entirely for public citizens would do anything except result in creating smarter criminals who will find a way to kill people, if that’s what they want to do. Highlighting all the way back nearly a decade ago, chronicling almost a decade before that, guns stolen from grandparents in the case of 2 Jonesboro school shooters, guns taken from a stepfather’s gun cabinet to commit the Oklahoma mall shooting rendering who legally bought the gun again irrelevant. Underscoring gaping holes in American mental health treatment stymieing people from access, healthcare structures and insurance companies routinely refusing to pay for the professional needed to treat your psychological condition, combination thereof, who will only pay for one portion of a treatment plan conative/behavioral (AKA talk) therapy or medication: usually medication because it’s effortless, you allot the funds to pay for pills and you’re finished. Bringing up necessity for better, updated drugs along with stopping trends equivalent to warehousing sufferers then forgetting them, piece originally written in 2008, published 2009. America’s mass shooting epidemic a recurring theme, talking about Jared Loughner going down the laundry list of missed and dismissed warning signs; community members who saw a troubled family, father building walls around their home’s property line, a child who wanted to come out and play but wasn’t allowed, him once showing up to school drunk upset his father yelled at him, police called but child services not, or they didn’t find anything worthy of removing him. Closer to his Tucson rampage he had been arrested for drug possession twice, was posting disturbing videos on YouTube and had people in online forums discussing things like, popular then movie/documentary Zeitgeist, who believed he was schizophrenic. Friends noted an obsession with lucid dreaming, going days without sleep; while his current community at school thought he would become a school shooter. Math teacher afraid to turn his back on him for fear he would find him with a gun; known for writing nonsensical poetry and indecipherable equations such as this taken from a math quiz: eat + sleep + brush teeth = math. Known both to the school counselor and campus police who were called 5 times in the 7 months he attended, took at minimum an extra officer to tell him he could not return to school pending a psychological evaluation; story commentary at the time chastising his community for failure either as citizens, police officers or school officials to use the tools provided in that state, arguably one of the easiest to remit someone to a standard 72 hour psychiatric hold. Possessing a hotline anyone can call to dispatch a team to assess person X, police having expanded powers to remit someone to said hold; realistically meeting the standard criteria for a person remitted to a mental health hold forgoing extended options in Arizona. Equally blasting the professional psychiatric community saying it could not accurately predict mass shooter tendencies, behavior from simply manifestations of the mentally ill, either non-violent or dangerous to self more than others; agreeing with the Dr. Phil guest deconstructing the shooting and the clearly devolving mental state of Loughner. Who noted he was rejected by the army, deemed too dangerous to go to school, too dangerous (ejected) from a Pilates class, too incoherent day of the shooting to carry on a conversation, yet left off a list deeming him too mentally compromised to get a gun. From that point onward calling for the Arizona model to be adopted U.S. wide and key, used; incredulous to later find out the chief reason it wasn’t was because Arizonians are largely unaware of it. Identical blog author coming to many of the same conclusions about Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes seeing a school counselor specializing in schizophrenia, that counselor contacting both his mother and alerting the school threat assessment team, groups schools had developed by then, but essentially turning him loose in the community when he dropped out of school and local law enforcement wasn’t notified; his methodical planning notebook detailing his impending rampage sent to said psychologist, found days later caught up in the university’s mail system. Countering the much ado made about the fact he bought large portions of his arsenal/ammo on the internet, clamoring to either ban or regulate gun, gun accessory sales in cyberspace explaining that even if international legislators could come together doing something like the copyright acts of the 1970’s, the revised digital version in 1998, sellers would simply move the IP addresses to tiny countries we can’t reach; to say nothing of the explosives rigged in his apartment whether bought at the local hardware store or larger quantities online, you end up with both the same and different problem. The same in regulation becomes next to impossible because sellers simply move their online operations; different meaning explosives aren’t guns, represent an escalation, evolution of mass violence carried out by deranged, psychotic individuals. An author who especially called out the American public regarding Sandyhook shooter Adam Lanza and how unfathomable his motive was, scathingly enumerating what didn’t add up about the local narratives being spun regarding him from neighbors, family friends; exquisitely painting a picture of a 20 something young man damaged by his aloof, seemingly unfeeling mother, possibly having Asperger’s herself, what was once categorized as a milder form of autism, now recognized as on the autism spectrum. Pouring more of her efforts into the elementary school children she worked with than him; harboring his own mental illness getting up that day realizing he could do something about the neglect, trauma, abuse he felt he suffered. Swiftly and excellently eviscerating supposed doctors like Keith Ablow noting the veterans mental health system was broken; stopping at that sentence to segue into the detriments of violent entertainment, his pet peeve ‘violent video games,’ their implied impact on navy yard shooter Aaron Alexis’ mental state. Ignoring textbook psychosis experienced by him via auditory hallucinations documented in a police report; where he told 9-1-1 operators people were following him, keeping him awake by talking to him and sending microwaves though his body, switching hotel rooms 3 times one particular night because of this. His reported heavy drinking possible budding alcoholism documented by friends, having visited a VA doctor complaining of insomnia; prescribed sleep medication apparently ineffective. Chronic insomnia known to lead to diminished capacity, if not outright psychosis, mimics psychosis to the poorly trained eye. Setting aside the Ambien effect where it, similar sleep aides mean people sleep eat, sleep walk, sleep drive, do multiple things in a semi-conscious state having no memory upon waking the next day, but his primary problem was prolonged exposure to violent videogames. Rightfully asking what the navy yard itself was thinking hiring him to begin with, citing his criminal record including 2 instances of unsafe gun handling: shooting out someone’s tires in what he described himself as a rage filled blackout, using PTSD related to helping rescue efforts after 9/11 convincing police to let him off with a warning, firing a gun into an apartment where he was staying; going back to his time in the military kicked out of his army barracks for constantly nuisance reporting phantom noises in those barracks hinting at his battle with hallucinations beginning years before that 9-1-1 call. Subsequently giving them a written variation on a head smack pondering why, in a post 9/11 world, he would be able to walk into something as important as the navy yard absent passing through a metal detector, swipe a security badge sans anyone searching his bag, where he hid his recently purchased sawed off shotgun. Whatever focused subtopic aspect of mass shootings, violence discussed, never straying far from, yes mental illness is an overwhelming factor, but how social structures can help or hurt a mentally ill person’s chances, how American society’s bureaucratic red tape is almost designed to make a sane person go mad, struggling for basic resources, meeting one’s rudimentary needs exacerbates mental illness’ role in mass violence. As far back as 2012 educatedly speculating maybe if we stop saying inaccurately ‘immigrants are taking all our jobs,’ cease referring to people who wear turbans as towel heads, forget assuming they are Muslim, therefore by default, terrorists we have less instances like the Sikh temple shooting tipping mentally vulnerable and marginalized persons over a precarious edge; if we stop supporting people like the Chick fil-A owner who randomly one day turned his restaurant into a pulpit ranting against gay marriage— rumored to have been in part why an obviously tortured, conflicted gay man went into the Family Values Research Council building and opened fire. Further putting forth business was the wrong place for that owner espousing the views he does because business demands he work alongside and hire varied people, not all of whom will agree with him, some of whom will be gay, and he can’t discriminate seeing as being gay holds no bearing on ability to make a sandwich, take a person’s order, operate a fry machine, fill out inventory/supply order forms, clean or close the restaurant. Addressing situations like James Holmes from a definitively different angle, surpassing shunning the mentally ill, painting getting help a sign of weakness is our cocktail of heartburn drugs, endless anti-depressants in a society that thinks constant positivity, no matter what, is a prerequisite for breathing, ADHD drugs where children really need recess and teachers who will treat them like kids, not little drones. Yet no better/new drugs targeted toward treating severe psychotic illness, side effects of the ones we do have a major factor in why sufferers refuse to take them, suddenly and routinely go off their medications predating tragedies. Blog purposefully calling out sports commentator Bob Costas, sports writer Jason Whitlock, news anchors Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Shultz et al. for boiling football player Jovan Belcher’s shooting of girlfriend Kasandra Perkins down to ‘they would both be alive if he hadn’t owned a gun,’ absent ever asking why he wanted to hurt his girlfriend; honing in on he was so far gone mentally he shot his girlfriend in front of his own mother, getting in his car, driving to the practice field to kill himself in front of his coach. Naming our cultural problem not an antiquated interpretation of the 2nd amendment, but being a culture of violence; pushing back against the utopia gun control advocates think would be generated if guns were removed from citizen hands referencing the often recurring example stabbing death of a Harry Potter and The Half-blood Prince extra post England’s banning of citizen owned guns, knife crime quickly mirroring former gun crime statics there. Paralleling domestic abuse case, George Huguely and Yeardley Love; Love dying on her dorm room bed after a head injury sustained in a fight between the 2 where her head was thrown into the wall by Huguely. Rejecting their tie in of violence plaguing Chicago’s streets calling it gang related and possessing already known, tried solutions, preventions; rejecting the young, male, testosterone plus violent sport, plus ability to get a gun spells tragedy, needless death argument counting just how many football players own guns and don’t do what Belcher did, neither are most conceal and carry, avid gun owners. Planting the beginning seeds in readers’ minds about what we need to do before closing gun show loopholes, more thorough background checks and keeping assault rifles out of every day persons’ hands; mental health at the top of the list closely followed by finding the root of their violence, tendency toward domestic abuse. Writer hardly backing away from agreeing with the controversial, unpopular opinions believed right i.e. conceding NRA spokesperson Wayne Lapierre’s assertion once a bad guy has a gun the only thing capable of stopping them is a good guy with a gun; caveat not letting that bad guy get a gun. Defining clearly what is meant by a ‘good guy with a gun’ juxtaposed to right wing notions; said good guy being trained police, military, security, not merely someone who obtained a permit and spent a few hours at the gun range. Equally dismissive of his blaming chronicled violence on videogames; chastising left leaning politicians for blowing off his idea of armed officers in every school versus schoolboards voting on whether trained teachers will be allowed to carry, haphazard gun handling, training sessions popping up nationwide and that preverbal redundant question, what could go wrong? Obviously offended by the naiveté Mark Kelly, husband of Gabrielle Giffords, exhibited during their Diane Sawyer interview; Kelly whose only rebuttal to the good guy with a gun mindset at the time was to say he didn’t believe people willing to do this could/would buy a gun illegally, later talking about a good Samaritan there that day who had a gun and nearly shot innocent bystanders. Second only to the gal radiating off Piers Morgan, Christopher Kennedy Lawford compare and contrasting a same day to Newtown knife attack happening in China sickeningly calling it a victory because all the children lived; words shouting off the page, victory would truthfully be it not happening to begin with. Appalled at talk show hosts a-la Joe Scarborough guesting conservatives like Campbell Brown resurrecting the violent entertainment scapegoat hypocritically simultaneously talking up the rich quality of cable TV during that time; calling on the FCC to better regulate violence on TV, yammering about the tooth and nail fight for meaningful ratings on movies, music, videogames and TV while labeling Quintin Tarantino a pornographer of violence as if he were the worst, only one. Chiefly because, he doesn’t control the release date of his ‘gratuitously violent’ movies or the award shows where he won; then praising Edie Falco’s foul mouthed nurse Jackie. Utterly ignoring ratings on TV, music, movies and videogames is a battle they won, now up to the public to use them or that the most violent videogames are marketed to the largest gaming population, 18-35 not 18 and under; making her continuous harping rattling off simulated, fiction/fantasy, media/entertainment violence’s cataloged negative impacts on kids a soundless gong. Held up against the viral blogger who boldly said ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’ revealing her struggle to get her very mentally ill son help navigating a maze of doctors, diagnoses, insurance companies, fragmented health systems, medications and programs only accessible to kids already in trouble with the law; doctors at a loss to identify such disorders, leaving them guessing when it comes to treatment, hit or miss if it works. It (our blog and author) said as much countering Arthur Chu naming toxic masculinity, misogyny and racism the ‘real’ reasons for white mass shooters as opposed to those of any other color; reminding readers Eliot Rodger had been in therapy for years and from an early age. His parents had sent police to his college dorm/apartment to do a welfare check concerned about primarily his mental wellbeing, him writing just after they left if they had seen his guns he probably would have been locked up in jail; who sped toward his Isla Vista community college after receiving disconcerting e-mails, in an attempt to stop him, but, arrived too late. Dylan Roof exhibited standard signs of a troubled youth transient in school before dropping out, caught with drugs usually used to countermand symptoms of heroine withdraw, arrested for trespassing connected to asking people nonsense questions at the local mall, complaining to law enforcement who picked him up about parent pressure he get a job. Asking who said Dylan Roof wasn’t a racist or his being possibly also mentally ill was mutually exclusive to likewise being a racist; proposing perhaps racism, white supremacy and toxic masculinity were indeed individual manifestations of their specific mental illnesses combined with their personalities, life experiences unto the devolving onset of illness. Especially updating outcomes for surviving mass shooters exposing when Jared Loughner, initially found incompetent to stand trial, was short time post apprehension diagnosed schizophrenic, forcibly medicated and became lucid he sobbed to his psychologist and begged in court to be executed. James Holmes by the time jurors saw his psychiatric interview with the court appointed psychologist was already on a combination of anti-psychotic and anti-depressive medication telling said psychiatrist he’d fantasized about killing from an early age; he thought he was under surveillance, believed federal agents would stop him, trying to call a mental health crisis line standing outside that theater, final verdict on his mental state, legally sane still profoundly mentally ill. Early fantasies also a hallmark of the Lone Star College stabbing perpetrator; violent thoughts beginning at roughly age 8 could be almost nothing but mental illness. Again underscoring the fragmented mental health system, in Connecticut, contributing to what Adam Lanza was able to do intertwined with both a mother and school system more interested in accommodating him than treating him; a parent who then let him immerse himself in violent video games and guns, took him to the shooting range because he liked it, attempting to connect with him. Neither are we looking at the first, second, third, even the dozenth time proposed solutions have included tighter gun restrictions stalled by more than inarguable congressional cowardice. Meaning is it much of a surprise politicians again stop short of demanding reinstatement of the assault weapons ban; much of a surprise they, as vehemently as we don’t like it have a point, when the difference between any automatic gun and a semi-automatic gun is its small metal pin easily removed by someone with minimal manual dexterity and mechanical ability? Evolving nature of shootings, mass killing attacks preempted proving throwing more laws at the issue won’t create the utopia often described by leftist, liberal, progressives if we could suddenly remove all guns from civilian hands; what made Donald Trump and Jeb Bush right going into the 2016 election when laying out their perceptions of policy on the topic. Also like Lanza, noting Christopher Shawn Harper-Mercer had no reason to seek a gun legally or illegally when there were approximately 8 guns, not used in the Umpqua community college shooting, in his home registered to his mother. Blog author by this time adding to their thoughts on preventing mass shootings stating candidate Clinton could, if making it to office, reinstate the Mental Health Services Act providing government resources to states for maintaining mental health services/facilities revoked by Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s in favor of local care in the community, care starkly evident the community can no longer provide; demanding to know too, how much of president Obama’s signature legislation Obamacare was devoted to diagnosing, treating mental health, maintaining good mental health the way we try to educate patients into good physical care. Angrier by now that laws haven’t been crafted that would have prosecuted Arizona’s law enforcement officers for having the wherewithal to bring extra personnel to tell Loughner he couldn’t come to school pending a psych eval but didn’t remit him to a hold under their expanded laws; wondering where charges were for James Holmes’ psychiatrist who called mom, who called school threat assessment but not police, especially when he dropped out. Somewhat backing off their long held stance to not describe select things in their writing lest they give criminals, terrorists and deranged persons ideas to paint readers the real and gruesome reality of removing guns only to have them replaced with explosives, Molotov cocktails, bullet wounds replaced with crush injuries from hammers, tool shed contents or other heavy object in an effort to get us all thinking twice. Blog writer thinking outside the box when it came to both the Planned Parenthood and San Bernardino incidents calling out right wing rhetoric, what we currently know as fake news, as the cause of what happened in Colorado when it meets, merges with mentally ill persons like increasingly reclusive Robert Dear, who opened fired on the facility in an effort to save the babies. Readily proven unfit to stand trial when he couldn’t get through an in person court appearance without calling himself ‘a warrior for the babies,’ shouting ‘protect the babies’ and having to be removed from the room. Agreed with an early CNN guest San Bernardino might have been the outcome of workplace bullying about his beard, being cajoled into attending a Christmas party as a Muslim who doesn’t thus celebrate Christmas. Similar thoughts held on Omar Mateen the Orlando nightclub shooter perhaps trying to reconcile his homosexuality with his religion, atone before his god prior to death rather than merely hating gays; being LGBT and keeping it a secret known to cause or increase what, mental health problems. Again challenging Chauncey Devega’s characterization of media narratives analyzing Jason Brian Dalton and our tendency to call white shooters average Joe’s further leaving them alive and the black, brown or Asian ones dead after mass shootings and resulting confrontations with police. Starting with bold statements all the shootings he wants to lump together are not the same, don’t hold enough similarities to be judged equally; militia standoffs by the Bundy’s were handled differently because, despite the presence of guns, there was not an active shooter situation, and like every standoff, better defused with negotiation. Killers often categorized by how or where they kill, type of killing they do, not just snazzy names to sell newspapers, create online clickbait disguised as a news article; workplace shootings not just named so because the person waving a gun works there, or used to, but because there are particular elements in play behind why and how they do it, snipers different in analysis than serial killers exc. Spotlighted were inescapable realities police were many times called to scenes with bad, incomplete information directly influencing their approach and actions ultimately spelling the death of a person of color; likewise listing police or civilians brought up on charges for the deaths they caused. Naming the deciding factor in who lives to stand trial for mass shootings carried out and who dies on scene isn’t race, preference to preserve the life of the white guy, but resistance; those who resist are shot, those who still pose a threat when police arrive are gunned down, while those who offer no resistance, flee the scene and are apprehended later both removes immediate tension and increases chances of taking the person into custody alive. Pointing out too, how few mass shooters live to stand trial usually shooting themselves, placing themselves deliberately in the line of fire to be shot by police, in a phenomenon known as suicide by cop. And what did we, along with police, find out about Mr. Dalton when arrested and questioned, he thought the Uber logo was a ‘devil figure’ talking to him, giving him an assignment, making his body like a puppet; resounding chorus I don’t know what else says mental health problem better than that. Suppositions reinforced by his in court behavior where outbursts had a victim sobbing in terror, escorted out when he refused to abide by the judge’s simple commands; followed by his bizarre jailhouse behavior that has to date encompassed monitored phone call threats to slit guards’ throats, kill a particularly disliked deputy via placing a hit out on him, something he believed he would be able to do from jail, assaulting officers transferring him from a bathroom to his cell, fighting with inmates, found howling in his cell. Is it possible, even plausible he’s acting, pretending to bolster an insanity defense, sure; is it equally as possible he’s severely mentally ill if not textbook insane, absolutely? So when president Donald Trump, speaking about the Texas gunman who mowed down 26 people in a tiny church, said it was about mental health he’s right; although he has no conceivable idea what that means or the intricacies behind his statement toward solving the problem, which in turn renders his statement next to useless. But in the era of justifiably calling out Trump for being wrong on virtually everything according to polls for roughly 70% of the country, worth remembering is mental health’s correlation to mass gun violence preceded him and should endure long after him until we stop it’s tendency to become routine, people to become numb.
And the mental health component has paralleled apace the ‘easy access to guns’— should be easy access to weapons because not everything used, regularly used is a gun, gun alone— narrative/mantra. By persons committing not singularly mass killing crimes, school shootings but workplace violence/rampages, domestic violence incidents, apparently random serial killings, several newer trend airport shootouts well before we ever heard the names Steven Paddock, Devin Kelly or Kevin Neal. In addition to Jason Brian Dalton and Cedric Ford, happening just after in Kansas, having far less to do with a Facebook video of him firing an AR15 semi-automatic rifle, look closely out in the middle of nowhere; rather post receiving a restraining order to stay away from his ex-girlfriend. An order that should have meant his legal access to firearms was terminated, except he got another ex-girlfriend, Sarah T. Hopkins, to supply him with guns; throwing us all the way back to Columbine, the shooters who got older persons to buy guns for them and the man, William Spengler, let out of jail after serving years in prison for killing his grandmother, who started fires in his neighborhood to lure first responders then kill them, guns he used also obtained by a girlfriend, Dawn Nguyen, later charged. Further pertaining to Ford, whose shooting at vehicles on the highway striking 1 driver in the shoulder, next stealing a car could have been done with a standard shotgun, hunting rifle; rendering the make and model of gun almost, seeing a pattern, irrelevant. Better focus, that most recent girlfriend who, where have we heard this before, described him via court papers as violently abusive being in desperate need of medical and psychological help; proving it wasn’t the gun that symbolized the problem instead what he wanted to do with it, what he wanted to do with it directly tied to mental health resulting in 4 dead 14 wounded including Ford. There was Arthur DaRosa responsible for the deadly Massachusetts mall stabbing, but what we need is more gun control, tighter restrictions on who can get guns and a shift in so called ‘gun culture’ where everyone thinks they need one, it’s cool to have one; except, oh wait, there wasn’t a gun used in this case rather a knife, no special variety, and another girlfriend saying in abuse prevention order court papers he had tried to harm himself, once telling her she should be scared for her life. Integral here instead of a gun, family reports DaRosa was manic depressive, and absolutely key, was released from a local hospital the day before where he sought help for those manic depressive symptoms but was sent home. Willfully turned out into the community to crash his car post attending his son‘s soccer game, run around his local area breaking into homes, stabbing an old lady, stealing a car and ramming it into the mall’s Macy’s. Then stabbing persons throughout an adjacent restaurant; final death toll at least 2, injured 4 including the old woman’s daughter and a pregnant waitress. Dionisio Garza III, former military, who left California, came to Texas to hang out with friends, try to find work ended up leaving 2 dead, along with himself injuring 6 in a memorial day 2016 Huston shootout; probable cause PTSD and/or a family described mental breakdown, Garza plagued by conspiracy theories of a collapsing dollar convinced the world would end imminently soon. The Dallas shooter Micah Xavier Johnson who opened fire on police and protesters alike speaking out against the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, ultimately having to be killed via robot to prevent anymore loss of life, was a former army reservist. Having also had his weapons taken from him during his last tour of duty for sexually harassing/sexually assaulting a fellow female soldier in his unit and possessing drugs belonging to another soldier on his person as well as a grenade, yet was still given an honorable discharge for inexplicable reasons. His practicing bomb detonation and combat drills in his backyard plus police uncovering what they rightly called a manifesto should be a no nonsense window into his plainly deteriorating mental state concurrently unearthing no ties or interest to terrorism. Tennessee’s Ricky Swafford seemed set off by a staff/worker meeting and came back to his job housing a singular purpose, killing only his 2 supervisors then entering a bathroom to kill himself; however it doesn’t take an advanced degree in psychology to see there had to be a mental health element to his actions. Knowing most complain and kvetch about their job, quit, actively seek to get fired, get drunk, perhaps smoke a little weed after a hard day, but don’t shoot their bosses, no matter how theoretically tempting, nor kill themselves. Washington mall shooter Arcan Cetin‘s family says he suffered from mental illness they were attempting to get him treatment for; and we know from blogs like that of Lisa Long, who wrote “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mom,” what an arduous undertaking it can be, multiplied exponentially when the person you’re trying to help is legally an adult (for a quick reference look what it took for the parents of Britney Spears to obtain a conservatorship and finally separate her from her predatory, later discovered to be drugging her, manager) Police finding Cetin walking down the street in what they characterized as a ‘zombie like state;’ 5 shot dead with a long rifle at Macy’s. Speculations his previous girlfriend worked at said Macy’s, a girlfriend who filed 2 domestic assault charges against him and he was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation, avoid alcohol or drugs to defer prosecution; no results from that evaluation released to the public, if it had even had time to take place, but high school classmates recall him being bullying and sexually harassing towards girls there. Nathan DeSai was a lawyer who appears to have snapped firing 50 shots into his Huston neighborhood outside his condo complex with a laser sited rifle injuring 9; law enforcement’s only clue Nazi materials found in his car and possible problems with his law firm. Former colligate classmates able to fill in some blanks, possibly spelling racial identity issues as he was part of a Jewish fraternity and was known to them as Niren in the early 90’s, court records registering his name change in 2001; unresolved struggles with identity issues be it race, gender, sexuality or something else again known to negatively impact mental health, usually unto either suicide or extremism, if not both. South Carolina teen kills father then opens fire on elementary school, sounds eerily like Adam Lanza; more so when reports indicate he too was home schooled and yelled ‘I hate my life’ before or during his bullet laden rampage. The opposite of difficult to suss out, he suffered some form of mental illness and harbored resentment for his father; locals again knowing the family well, suspect 14 having to be pulled from public school years before. Utah’s high school stabber was a straight A student, no history of trouble before he injured 5 fellow students; stabbing himself in the throat was probably a clear indicator of his, at minimum, unbalanced state, potentially succumbing to grade pressures, social pressure, undisclosed family turmoil. Later telling police he did it to see what it felt like to kill; added to being potentially deranged it could signal an emotional or sensory processing problem often blamed for kids’ self harm, cutting who say they do it in order to feel something. Oklahoma City’s airport shooter requires much less deciphering considering ramp agent Lloyd Buie was suspected of working under the influence of alcohol, quit after refusing to be tested only to return, set up a sniper’s nest killing the first supervisor he could lay eyes on; Michael Winchester, though not his immediate boss. Alcoholism, whether we like it or not, surpassing an addiction expanding well over into a mental health problem, causing compromised mental health the longer a person goes without treatment, acknowledgement of their addiction. 2016 closing with alert parents able to stop a school shooting tragedy noticing changes in their son’s behavior and 2 missing guns from their gun cabinet, racing to their child’s junior high to talk him down; any listed motives denied the public, more focus placed on the parents’ willingness to put community above their child in this instance. Opening of 2017 sent us back to the airport in a bizarre budding trend of airport mayhem; another army veteran Esteban Santiago who lawfully placed his legal firearm in checked baggage in Alaska only to retrieve it, load it in a bathroom at the Fort Lauderdale terminal and fire indiscriminately at anyone in front of him, then lay down spread eagle awaiting police apprehension once he ran out of bullets. Santiago known to the FBI having walked into an Anchorage field office saying he was being mind controlled, forced to watch ISIS videos, having terroristic thoughts, held for 4 days reportedly given some aspect of mental health treatment, released with his gun. He had a domestic violence arrest for attempting to strangle his girlfriend, remitted to anger management courses; family saying he was hallucinating, talking about voices in his head telling him to join ISIS, unable to get help from the veteran’s hospital in Porto Rico, where he grew up, doubtlessly because of his discharge for unsatisfactory performance. January was, in retrospect, a bad month for Florida seeing as a mere 3 weeks later set up tip lines thwarted a middle school plot to execute a Columbine style shooting event; perpetrators initially telling students who didn’t want to be shot to wear white t-shirts, eventually divulging to querying law enforcement blood looked better on white shirt, frightened students using the school’s anonymous tip line to report what turned out to be more than rumor. Maryland’s Catoctin High school plot was circumvented by one more alert parent, her own father who read about it in a diary, determined not to survive her rampage; telling because it depended upon bomb making materials, fireworks and chemical contents available via any hardware store or automotive shop nationwide more than the single, normal, non-high powered shotgun she had obtained from an undisclosed somewhere. News not leaving off she had a, known to school personnel, struggle with again undisclosed mental health issues, thus wasn’t, like the Florida case right before her, fed-exed to juvenile detention or adult jail citing her age (18) but hospitalized for an emergency mental health evaluation, though later found competent to stand trial; miniscule silver lining for school officials expressed, she was going to get the mental health help she needed. San Bernardino’s, another hard hit area in recent years, school shooting was the ultimate act of domestic violence when husband Cedric Anderson walked into the school saying he had something for wife Karen Smith, a teacher there; tragically 2 students caught in the crossfire aimed at her, shortly thereafter turning the gun on himself. Problems in their fledging marriage, already separated during 3 months of wedlock, Anderson with a violent past including a gun charge, a theft charge and previous domestic violence charges from an ex, who in restraining order documents claimed he threatened her with a butcher knife and tried to smother her with a pillow, yet no convictions. No word on where he got his gun since the order of protection should have kept him from buying one, possible he owned it beforehand; however, that he ended by killing himself and a note was found detailing things in his life needing closure, describing feeling disrespected suggests he too fits the category of suicidal persons grappling, even temporarily, with mild but present mental illness at time of death. Remember Cleveland’s Facebook murderer Steve Stephens, named so because he was originally thought to have live-streamed his senseless killing of 74 year old Robert Godwin sr. on the social media platform, only ever posting the recording after it happened. Carrying an underlying similar theme, his recent posts on the site talked about having lost everything due to gambling, upset he counseled people through their problems (mentoring foster kids at a mental health facility) but no one seemed to be there for him, even alleging he’d killed 13 people and was hunting number 14, no evidence to support that claim; Easter Sunday this year Stephens then drove around, spotted Godwin, approached him and asked “can you say Joy Lane, she’s the reason why, um this is about to happen to you,” pulling the trigger, pointing to he was upset with his girlfriend about an undefined something. Days afterward spotted by an alert McDonald’s worker states away in Pennsylvania killing himself once landing on the losing side of a police chase; Ms. Lane speaking out as things unfolded saying she saw nothing that would have told her to expect his actions, nothing indicating he was upset with her, just that he had quit his job and moved out of state. Despite Good Morning America’s law enforcement correspondent’s belief these people don’t just snap their issues build causing people to launch, react violently, we have to define snapped as Stephens defines it to understand that’s likely what he meant; things got so bad for him he couldn’t take it and whatever tether he had to law abiding, rational, if not exactly sane per say, behavior giving way, perfectly describing what took place. Kori Ali Muhammad’s shooting of 6, killing of 4 in Fresno was aptly treated as a hate crime based on his stated hatred and targeting of white persons; still, independent references to Islamic extremist rhetoric, it harkens back more to what Bill Maher said about Dallas. It’s not right but it’s understandable when police have been allowed to indiscriminately mow down black persons, video is present in several cases and juries continue to acquit, stricken friends and loved ones can’t get an indictment to start the justice process on visibly bad cops. To say nothing of the ridiculous excuses, justifications and defenses trotted out by police union representatives, sheriffs, police administrations nationwide; throw in varying mental illnesses, vulnerabilities, varying degrees of the above and you have Kori Ali Muhammad in spades. The pool party shootout was a tragic spin on a domestic dispute Peter Selis depicted by family as distraught and despondent, depressed over a recent breakup with his girlfriend, suffering financial difficulties; 2 major triggers identified on mental health questionnaires. Victim lawsuit alleging just that, they should have known he was a ‘walking time bomb,’ danger to self or others based on those factors and behavior he was exhibiting. He went from one minute sitting in a lawn chair at a 50th birthday party presumably for someone he knew, to pulling out a standard handgun and opening fire, calling up that girlfriend and making her listen to the chaos, doubtlessly blaming her for it too, stopping to reload, killed by police when he aimed at officers. Both guns used in the domestic disputes and the pool party incident even the ‘black separatist terror act’ regular handguns, no high powered assault rifles, things that belong in the hands of soldiers, used in war/combat zones, only thing remotely unusual— the large caliber of Mr. Anderson’s choice weapon, though still a handgun; no weapons found on Mr. Ali Muhammad instead a speed loader for a revolver and 357 caliber bullets, handgun type firearms accessories all. Same day as the pool party deadly maelstrom, a hunting knife wielding student, Kendrex White, initiated a stabbing spree on UT Austin’s campus; White who had obvious mental health problems according to police and had been involuntarily committed to a mental facility in another city. Followed 2 days later by a gun wielding assailant at Texas’ north lake campus labeled a murder suicide; Adrian Victor Torres walked into a classroom and shot Janeera Nickol Gonzalez, yelling “you know who I am, shooting her 3 times then killing himself.” Torres had apparently been stalking Gonzalez for a lengthy period of time but she was unconcerned believing him harmless and having enrolled in another nearby school; stalking an ardent sign screaming mentally unhealthy. Aaron Saucedo charged with 9 spree killings in Phoenix fit the profile for serial killers, isolated, unremarkable, attending an alternative high school a mere few years before, lacking the typical criminal or psychiatric history making him so successful. Saucedo apprehended the same day North Carolina foiled another school plot by a student with weapons including knives, firecrackers, gasoline and a hit list; immediately remitted to mental health and not charged. End of May 2017 taking us back to a different Florida airport, unlucky target Orlando, where a man, Michael Pettigrew former marine, waving a fake gun was attempting suicide by cop; alternating between taunting present law enforcement and begging police to shoot him while waving the ‘gun’ around, pointing it at officers. Staying in Florida John Neumann stormed into the back of his former workplace making awnings for RV’s and campers to quote the news “with a semi-automatic pistol in his hand, knives in his pockets and revenge on his mind;” exhibiting the precursors we’ve come to know, criminal record for previous DUI, minor drug possession and was investigated for violently beating a co-worker 3 years previously, neighbors depicting him as broke and stressed, absent a driver’s license biking to work when he had a job, turning the gun on himself after shooting specific targets and hearing police approaching. Going up the eastern seaboard next was the murder suicide in a Pennsylvania Wies Market grocery store leaving 4 dead including the gunman, committed by Randy Stair, whose online postings praised the Columbine shooters and expressed “a deep frustration about the world around him.” Journal writing excerpts bringing up possible gender identity issues, one quote reading: the girl in me is clawing to get out; local police conceding the blatant mental health element attached to his actions. Crisscrossing the country back in California, a San Francisco UPS driver opening fire during a worker meeting before that shift left for their deliveries; Jimmy Lam apparently upset about what he called excessive overtime succeeded in killing 3, wounding 2 more then killing himself. Pictured by co-workers as a juxtaposition between a person who never raised their voice or said bad things regarding anyone, to a hothead, short tempered who got into arguments with co-workers regularly. Can anyone forget the loner man, James T. Hodgkinson, who middle of June without warning opened fire on a congressional baseball practice wounding congressman Steve Scalise almost to death, injuring 2 secret service members providing security; fellow players reporting Hodgkinson asked are those republicans or democrats shortly before spraying them with bullets? Hodgkinson’s online footprint, a little odd that he had one at 66, was filled with anti-Trump, anti-republican sentiments; news correctly connecting that digital rage translated into real-life violence. Violence, notice the redundancy, nothing new to him having several minor brushes with the law including a domestic disturbance where he allegedly slapped a woman and hit a neighbor in the face with his shotgun; just over a year before taking aim at that baseball field police were called to his residence about wild and excessive gun fire, determining he lawfully owned the guns, they left. Arriving in Alexandria Virginia for unknown reasons he was living out of his van and employees at the bar he frequented found him odd, introverted, the opposite of warm; likely exhibiting the devolving mental states repeatedly seen in older persons who do this, older persons in the beginnings of decline, organic brain disease, dementia or purely psychological disturbance, for more on that keep reading through to paragraph 5. Up north by the end of June there was the fired doctor, Henry Bello 45, who went back to his New York hospital using a lab coat to hide an assault rifle killing at least one person in the wrong place at the wrong time covering a shift for a co-worker wounding 6, trying to set himself on fire prior to turning the gun on himself. Ranting mere hours ahead of his spree about what he believed was wrongful termination for ‘bogus’ complaints apparently of sexual harassment and threatening a colleague on par with depictions by fellow hospital staff who said he seemed to have a problem with everybody, was a problem all the time; textbook picture of a middle aged person unraveling. Glaringly exhibiting mental health’s importance, centrality of a coordinated effort between members of the public and law enforcement entities, take the senseless gunning down of veteran police officer Miosotis Familia by Alexander Bonds; bigger perhaps than his career criminal rap sheet, burning hatred of police stemming from bouts of incarceration, expletive filled rants about police on Facebook was his family history of mental illness. Placed in foster care as a child due to a breakdown experienced by his mother, was his own mental health history, manifested decline in stability a slim week before snuffing out Miosotis Familia’s life seemingly so cold bloodedly. Family members telling news outlets he had been hospitalized on and off for years, been given a diagnosis of bipolar and schizophrenia, medicated and did well on his meds but not off of them or mixing them with alcohol “a few drinks;” abuses he suffered in notorious Attica correctional facility known anecdotally for its brutality and harsh abuse of prisoners not helping his mental state or his perceptions of police also something talked about in Facebook posts, conveniently left out of his career criminal alone characterization in other papers. Hospitalized the month before, post a conversation with his sister prompting him to seek help, New York’s approach to mental health appearing to be treat and street as fast as possible, releasing him a week prior to the violent altercation; decisions creating a perfect storm convergence of non-support ending in tragedies, Bonds’ tale paralleling one from 2 and a half years ago. The night of his final descent into madness his girlfriend had called police alerting them he was pacing, manic, paranoid, acting erratically and irrational, off his medication but didn’t think he was either armed or dangerous; unmentioned, what if anything police did about her warnings, found hours later on surveillance camera killing the officer. Going to the heart of the south there was the tense standoff at a Georgia Wells Fargo one day later where Brian Easley claimed to be holding a backpack containing explosives calling an Atlanta ABC news affiliate listing his demands delineating to reporters his 2 tours in Iraq, disagreements with the local VA and fears he was about to become homeless, starve sans money for food; hours later as bank hostages ran out police SWAT teams ran in killing Easley, little else known. Bringing us up to September’s school shooting in Spokane Washington where 15 year old Caleb Sharpe brought multiple guns to school wounding 3, outright killing the lone student who tried to talk him down. Well into a vicious cycle at this juncture of reading, more telling than his YouTube video shooting what the news labeled fake guns likely blank ammo or pellet varieties, very real guns gotten from his father, guns’ origin one final time inconsequential, is his suicide note from a week before, warnings and notes for friends “in case something bad happened, he did something stupid causing him to go to jail;” warnings that were given to school administrators but not police. Additional details say one friend knew he made IED’s out of chemicals and white gas, Sharpe offering to show the friend how, information never getting to school or police; administrators suspending him and ordering a mental health eval before resuming school. Unclear then what he was doing there or what the eval revealed if done, but again it’s what he told detectives about why he did this; to teach everyone a lesson about what happens when you bully others, elaborating he’d been seeing the school counselor for suicidal ideation (thoughts). Giant boulder sized indicators of mental health disturbances not blatantly ignored but poorly dealt with leaving others to pick up the tragic pieces.
Moving us directly to Steven Paddock, Devin Kelly and Kevin Neal the latest names we wish we didn’t know; fitting a different pattern of mass shooter, not the young middle, high school or college age shooter despondent about a girlfriend, not having a girlfriend, lagging job prospects, rejected by the military, facing other derailed career plans, not former military or disaffected young men battling trouble readjusting to civilian life, but older persons, middle agers gone, quite suddenly, off the rails. Paddock who was in his retirement years post being an accountant and IRS agent, who lived in a retirement community, had no criminal or mental health history beyond being an unusual eccentric who liked to spend his upper middle class or higher retirement gambling before showing up in Vegas, losing significant sums of money. Whose only possible red flags were sending his fiancé on an out of country trip to visit family and the fact he bought the guns with him; some will immediately clamor that in and of itself should have presented red flag enough. But nothing that should have immediately, automatically prevented his owning a gun from the outset, owing as many as he could obtain permits for, nothing that should have set off more than thought standard security procedures. Criminal profilers yes able to piece together a portrait of a devolving man, “descending into madness, losing weight, exhibiting a diminished physical appearance, described crazy eyes,” yet nothing that could be seen with the naked, layman’s eye except for his eyes, a feature that didn’t draw attention upon check in, cause fellow gamblers or hotel guests to voice concerns. That Paddock has a tenuous connection to Orlando, having family there, that his father once held classification as a psychopath after trying to run over FBI agents with his car post escaping prison on bank robbery charges, that his brother has since been arrested on child porn charges, nearly a month after the Vegas shooting, are interesting facts maybe pointing to a history of family problems, underlying seeds of mental illness; however, if we start reaching too far, blaming either man for the other’s crime or the cliché troubled childhood without sufficient specific pieces of personal history to back it up, we lose the correct cause and any path to prevention. Most damming evidence on Steven Paddock alone, he might have battled compulsive gambling, a characterization his family likely disagrees with, still he owned two Nevada homes in Mesquite and Reno respectively, was able to send someone in the Philippines tens of thousands of dollars, likely his girlfriend or her family; fitting brother given description calling Paddock a wealthy guy who went on cruises excelled at, and liked, video poker. There was no, profoundly no connection to terrorism, though ISIS did try to claim credit for the 58 person death toll; his recent months abnormal financial activity detailed by the news consisted of the money sent to the Philippines, that’s it. A gun shop owner now grappling with the fact he sold Paddock guns remembers the sale as normal, no red flags in either his look, demeanor, mannerisms, or standard background checks, licensure checks; substantiating the Paddock bother’s knowledge he was a licensed gun owner. In all honesty he holds more in common with the Florida man, Randal Drake, police came around to question on child pornography allegations; surprisingly finding an arsenal of guns, knives, at least one cross bow, homemade bombs, a baseball bat embedded with nails, plus aerial maps of area schools and a note reading it part, “I shall have my bloody revenge then the world will burn,” though none of the thought to be present porn. Drake possessing no prior mental health records, contact with police, not on their radar, authorities unable to determine motive, because he refused to talk to them. Returning to Steven Paddock, he holds one major thing in common with movie theater shooter James Holmes, his methodical planning of the attack, checking into multiple hotels, previous seeking other potential targets, Chicago, maybe Boston, setting up cameras in and around his hotel room including one on a room service tray outside, a note containing numbers representing wind speed, bullet trajectory and height to maximize accuracy hitting his targets. Reports of again, explosives found in his car, indications he was initially planning his escape; flash hiders and a bump stock, virtually turning a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic, both astoundingly perfectly legal, granted rarely heard of. Too, had Holmes not been seeing a school psychiatrist all we would know on the back end of the shooting is he dropped out of school, he was always a quiet awkward boy, his notebook likely uncovered at his apartment; extrapolating then Holmes and Paddock were both likely criminally insane, capable of being methodical, planning, calculated, but clearly not all there, reflected in the jury verdict at Holmes’ trial where jurors could not agree on the death penalty settling for life in prison. Police frustrated by a lack of discernable motive either propelled by ideology, racism, tangible parameters of mental illness, political grievances, writings, social media posts usually giving off clues all absent in Paddock’s case. Commenters on video news segments suggest he was perhaps a sociopath, adept at fitting in until he no longer wanted to, which would explain his girlfriend, spending habits, former and current girlfriend in complete shock finding out it was him who did this, appearance of utter normalcy alongside capability to do something like the horror in Las Vegas. Whatever the core reason mental health is doubtlessly at the center of it considering he took Valium for anxiety; a prescription for it found in his suite, and gambled almost continuously then orchestrated and executed something as detailed and elaborate as the bloodbath in Vegas. Devin Kelley by contrast is the exemplar of persons you don’t want buying guns, why persons with domestic abuse histories are legally prohibited from purchasing fire arms, carrying all the warning signs and exhibiting classic behavior of a habitually violent, dangerous person truthfully best kept away from society. Not only did Kelley physically abuse his wife, hitting, choking and yanking her hair, cause her to live in constant fear of him, once putting a gun to her head and asking if she wanted to die over a speeding ticket; he injured his toddler stepson unto a broken clavicle (collarbone) and severe skull fracture circa 2012. Serving a 1 year sentence in a military prison and receiving a bad conduct discharge; the former of which should have immediately removed him from a list of persons legally eligible to possess or purchase firearms on the grounds of domestic abuse or being a convicted felon either one, added stipulation striking him from legal gun ownership, his sentence for domestic abuse was a full year or longer. Former girlfriends telling news outlets he was possessive and obsessive, perverted taking the virginity of a 13 year old (he was 18) while they were ‘dating,’ stalking her once she broke up with him, and once married to his second wife offered, to have that ex-girlfriend come live with them, him take financial care of her if she agreed to continuously walk around topless. He, around the time of trial stemming from his first wife’s domestic abuse charges and additional charges related to the stepson, escaped a New Mexico mental health facility to carry out death threats, tried to sneak weapons onto Holloman air force base where he was then stationed; he also faced a sex assault complaint in 2013, had to have been just after his release for military prison serving that sentence. Stalled investigations when he moved to Colorado seems questionable as integral persons of interest, potential suspects in violent crimes, rape related actions are usually told not to leave town. Nevertheless unable to avoid trouble in the centennial state either charged there with animal cruelty in 2014, reportedly punching and throwing his entire body weight onto a puppy then dragging it back to his RV lot space; ticketed, ordered to serve 18 months unsupervised probation, once done his case dismissed. Witness residents at the RV Park able to recall another incident where he threw a dog up in to the air, it landing on the ground and him once more dragging it away. At some point returning to Texas in time to buy his 4 guns and have an altercation with his former in-laws, showing up at church days before giving the pastor a bad feeling. Coming back to Sunday services looking to harm his ex-in-laws, his mother in-law who had received threatening texts from him; deliberately targeting anyone he could reach, depicted as showing no mercy even to crying babies and children when his initial targets were not present. Methodically shooting anyone still moving after his opening barrage flattened churchgoers trapped inside the tiny building; things ending in Kelley’s suicide when pursued by neighbors drawn to the commotion by sounds of gunfire and at least one fleeing person screaming hysterically about what had transpired, 2 hero locals credited for stemming the carnage with said pursuit. Devin Kelley who did not own a gun permit, licensure, Devin Kelley who only passed a background check because the air force did not enter any information about his conviction, military equivalent of a felony, into the FBI database; a seemingly deliberately, negligent act as they have put merely one singular case into the database pertaining to, under domestic violence rules in years, and already established it wasn’t his. Here certainly not the place to denigrate lowly clerical clerks who can never find their desks inputting paper records, facing years’ long backlogs they can’t even attempt to dent or catch up to; David Pakman 1,000% correct in breaking down the political ramifications of gun positions e.g. conservatives, republicans who scream regulations don’t work never adequately funding them up front, denying democrats, other party leaders efforts to better fund, staff facilities, purchase servers toward correcting record gaps. Asking a should be chilling question: are you saying conservatives, second amendment zealots the United States military can’t adequately fund data entry staff to put records like Kelley’s in the FBI’s database; easily asked, a next/secondary question, are you saying the military has that much of a problem with domestic violence, violent crimes barring people from handling guns, mental health disturbances there are so many records to keep up with? If that is the case then it illuminates a whole different set of problems the military would do well to get on top of, yesterday. Devin Kelley whose police report related to his mental facility escape described him as someone with mental disorders, a threat to self and/or others which should have remitted him back to the mental institution under an involuntary commitment separating him further from people legally eligible to buy guns; if nothing else the police report alone, especially considering what he stated he escaped to do, “carry out hits on members of his chain of command.” Caught trying to sneak guns onto the base probably why he was offered mental health help pending his domestic violence trial; the military smart enough to know he might not be completely mentally well. But contrary to following through on that instinct unclear what happened to him post his institution escape apart from being turned over to local police, sometime later tried in a military court, sentenced to one year in the brig, upon completion of sentence handed a bad conduct discharge and they subsequently washed their hands of him, no documented psych care while confined, no exit evaluation, no built in warning for the community. Kevin Neal was another less obvious case than Kelley but still a man who had a history of recent run-ins with local law enforcement, potential domestic violence issues; his wife’s body found under his home’s floorboards, speculated to be the catalyst behind his rampage. Had already been court ordered to turn over his owned firearm(s) a condition of bail on an assault with a deadly weapon charge involving his alleged stabbing of a neighbor earlier this year, part of a larger ongoing dispute encompassing several adjacent property owners; at least one neighbor who subsequently took out a restraining order against him presumably pending the outcome of the assault case, telling news they collectively had alerted police they were afraid of him. Those same neighbors complaining he was shortly before the shooting recklessly firing weapons close to their homes for days, so being characterized as a crime officers needed to see before being able to arrest Neal, set up surveillance cameras; California’s rural school shooting happening before police could collect required evidence. Kevin Neal described by family members as someone who unequivocally had no business possessing fire arms, said by that family member to be suffering from “full on paranoia, delusions,” another violent person whose mug shot can’t pass the does he look sane test; keeping in mind the mug shot/provided photos of names like Cho, Loughner, Holmes, Alexis and Dear where you can visibly see something is wrong with them, probably in the mental health arena. Kevin Neal another person who did not have a gun permit, licensure, possibly even before being told to temporarily forfeit his owned weapons, who according to news footage, bought gun components online and assembled them at home coming up with the 2 semi-automatic assault rifles used to pump 30 rounds into that school; variation on a trend of homemade, unregistered, perfectly legal guns, a trend only going to increase with the proliferation and popularity of 3D printers. Guns made from non-standard, other materials than metal currently mainly the things of TV fiction investigative shows (NCIS New Orleans Season 4 Episode 5), there using glass bullets; but representing merely a matter of time, plastic ones already being churned out of said printers. Active shooter situations/gun crimes tethered to mental health that didn’t stop with those 3 names, how could we ever think they would; there was the workplace shooting in Maryland, manhunt crossing Delaware state lines where Radee Labeeb Prince gathered his co-workers at his factory machine operator job then opened fire killing 3 with a handgun. Prince arrested a staggering 42 times, usually for failure to appear in court on charges related to lesser crimes, having a habit of refusing to show up until charges are dismissed, skirting convictions, sentences on technicalities; still racking up a whopping 15 felony convictions making him one more person by law prohibited from owning, being in possession of what, guns; emphasizing the reality acknowledged by law enforcement discussing Kelley, if someone wants a gun, they’ll find a way to get it, there are plenty of illegal ways to find one. Charges Prince racked up mirroring those of Alexander Bonds in terms of assault, domestic abuse, his latest addition to his arrest record pre-rampage reading as follows ‘Prince’s most recent Delaware arrest before Wednesday occurred in January 2016 when Prince “grabbed” and “started to punch” a 35-year-old man at a Newport home, according to court documents. The man is the same person who was shot in the head by Prince inside a used-car dealership in Wilmington on Wednesday, The News Journal has learned. “Radee was talking crazy stating, ‘I don’t care what you got. I can take what you got. I don’t care you’re rich,'” the victim told police in 2016, according to an affidavit of probable cause.’ Talking crazy may be a purely colloquial term covering several kinds of behavior some mental health related, some miles from it, but as seen is probably closer to the truth than not. The Georgia high school plot involving 2 students who planned to kill select classmates and staff via a bomb plot, had social media pages celebrating Columbine, a personal diary with detailed plans in Alfred Dupree’s home and a homemade explosive in the home of Victoria McCurley; police investigating if mental health issues played a role. Not much known about the parent who took a teacher hostage in Riverside, California relatives of the man imploring police via news persons to let them speak to him before things escalated to injury or death describing him as a good kid having an emotional breakdown; later pronounced dead at the hospital, shot by police when SWAT teams moved in once hours of negotiation failed and the teacher’s condition was unknown, teacher unharmed just panicked, all happening after Steven Paddock and before Devin Kelley. Since Kevin Neal there was the ‘classic serial killer’ man who escaped from a Hawaii mental ward with rumored inside help having had sexual relationships with at least 3 staff members; harkening us all back to Joyce Tilly Mitchell prison tailor shop worker who confessed to helping inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat break out of a New York prison purportedly flattered by their attentions to her, feeling respected, describing them as being nice to her, making her feel special, having sex with Matt, sending naked pictures to Sweat. Smuggling tools to the inmates in frozen hamburger meat, one giving her pills to drug her husband whom they planned to kill so they could all be together according to her; depicting herself as caught up in the fantasy until their alleged threats gave her cold feet. Mental illness playing a likely different factored role seeing notable impacts to the people interacting with these criminals, on par with those willing to marry serial killers they previously didn’t know, willing to have sex with decidedly inappropriate persons/patients under your care, inmates, mental ward occupants exc.; Tilly Mitchell coming off as someone particularly pathetic, having low self-esteem and who knows what other mental disturbances. Sarah Nicole Henderson exemplifying other examples of those disturbances, reportedly suicidal according to a 9-1-1 call placed by her husband hours before she later woke him saying “babe I just shot the kids;” apparently planning to kill both her husband and herself but when she tried killing him the gun malfunctioned, heard in the background of the second 9-1-1 call reporting the fatalities of her children saying, “god what did I do?” Sadly retuning to schools, we found the New Mexico shooter, William Atchison, who disguised himself as a student to gain entry into the high school pulling out his gun in a bathroom and firing on one student as he entered then another he encountered in the hallway, killing himself upon police arrival. Note in his pocket saying work sucks, school sucks, life sucks, more uncovered by authorities saying work at 6:20 a.m., die at 8:00 a.m., hints it could have been worse another portion of the note stating he planned to hold a class hostage and go ape sh-t; Atchison known to the FBI having been interviewed along with his family by them in 2016 after his social media postings included asking which gun works best for a mass shooting, investigation later closed. Heartbreakingly continuing, more kids, more murder suicides and what exactly is going on in Texas; this time a father, Chris Dawson, gunning down his similarly young children, mixed stories from neighbors who saw warning signs: “He was very, very controlling of Rachel, to the extent that after a certain point, he no longer allowed her to be friends with us,” Borg told KPNX of Chris, who had reportedly worked as a surgeon. “We saw warning signs, but it’s hard to know when to step in,” Borg said. “I just feel like we should have done more,” to those who observed them putting up Christmas decorations, dad and kids finding them normal. More college campuses more death, this time an employee at Penn State, a chef, Lesli Kelly gunned down by her husband William Kelly while he dropped off Christmas gifts for their children then turning the gun on himself. Christmas itself haunted by the possibility of 2 terror plots, one thankfully thwarted, in Pennsylvania and San Francisco respectively, first Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty targeted police at 3 separate locations gunning down officers in their cars before forcing a shootout; El-Mofty yet another individual having served in the military, possible terrorist angle stemming from his recent trip to the middle east. San Francisco looking like the more traditional plot we’ve become all too familiar at identifying, straight out of the updated ISIS playbook Everitt Aaron Jameson planning to use a vehicle, guns and homemade explosives to descend on popular fisherman’s wharf; picture showing him with obligatory Muslim beard and taqiyah head covering. Christmas eve brought us the naked Ohio postal worker who shot his 2 bosses, one outside her apartment complex the other at the post office where he worked, angered about his pending job loss; brings new meaning to the Relient K song chorus ‘merry frickin Christmas.’ And we couldn’t make it a single week to New Year’s Day without at least 3 more headlines involving guns and shots fired less because guns are so prevalent and more because people are so stressed, psychologically compromised or otherwise ignored without the gun in their hand. Another man, another law firm; a recently fired lawyer walking into their holiday party shooting 2 senior partners and then turning the gun on himself. 1 sheriff’s deputy killed 4 injured responding to a noise complaint turned domestic dispute between a Denver man Matthew Riehl and his roommate, cops ambushed when they showed on scene; shooter known to officers but had no criminal record. New year’s eve, in what’s unfortunately fast turning into a trend, one Russell Lawrence Ziemba was arrested inside a Huston hotel for assaulting a hotel officer and trespassing only for them to find also a small cache of weapons while trying to arrest Ziemba calling him drunk and belligerent; police concluding he had ‘no unlawful intent to use the weapons based on the small amount of ammo. Here these 3 original major cases prove it’s not that we don’t have laws regulating guns, who gets them, in certain places the kinds and types you can legally own, it’s that the laws we have wouldn’t and shouldn’t have stopped Steven Paddock; on the other hand, there is no excuse why he was able to get 23 guns, most of them large, assault rifle type guns at that, bump stocks, flash hiders and various forms of camera/surveillance equipment into his hotel room, past hotel security sans so much as question one. Gun laws not what was needed in his case as opposed to unfathomably basic public place security, doing baggage checks just like they do at airports for exactly the reasons Paddock demonstrated in killing 58 people. It isn’t that we don’t have laws preventing violent people from getting guns, expressly barring people with domestic violence convictions, orders of protection against them, convicted felons from legally buying firearms; it’s lack of enforcement because the information is never put in the database either willfully, negligently or through years long backlog also yet to make it into the system. 3 cities, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco suing the Pentagon’s department of defense precisely for this and what was uncovered both about and because of Kelley; not only was his not put in the FBI national database but multitudes of others weren’t either, potentially going back 20 years to 1998, if not longer. It’s the fragmented nature of arrest records for differing cities, states, counties, municipalities making piecing together a person’s entire arrest record a challenge; how no one put together domestic violence, animal cruelty and alleged sexual assault leaving Devin Kelley roaming the streets when he rightfully should have been locked up either in a jail cell or secure mental health facility for the criminally mentally ill in the interest of public safety. Kevin Neal able to get then keep his guns through lagging legislation against gun assembly kits you can order on the internet and poor implementation in laws already on the books; because, no in his case due to his bail status, court order to forfeit all firearms pending trial and the restraining order against him, police did not need to see him randomly firing weapons to arrest him on a reckless gun charge. Considering his status they had legal right to search his home, upon finding any firearms arrest him, throw him back in jail petitioning the court to revoke his bail and hold him until trial, charge him with added offenses e.g. unlawful use and possession of a firearm if they so chose; curious why then police told public and news outlets the opposite. Periphery, lesser information available stories proving it’s how often murder bent, unstable criminals co-opt others into legally buying guns in their name for the ineligible persons use, how good some criminals or psychiatric patients are at manipulating those around them End of the day, mental health is a house we have to get in order finally exemplified by the wounded officer shot by a man before being killed by police just inside the hospital for inflicting aforementioned wound; that it was a psychiatric hospital is really all that needs to be said.
Nor is it the first time, this blog, the author has repeatedly and relentlessly pointed out absent laws, misapplication of laws and errors caused by the accompanying byline’s sentiment having led to tragedies that never had to happen. Rewinding all the way to Virginia Tech, had the school properly understood privacy law, mental health laws and had the state statute read verbatim identical to federal ones on people barred from buying guns due to mental instability Seung-Hui Cho wouldn’t have been in class let alone been legally able to buy a gun, but because the state law was worded slightly differently…Here is where most would say states’ rights could take a flying leap, it was much the same living through the devastation of hurricane Harvey dealing with the chemical sites there; one prior explosion leveling a nursing home, residential apartment building and 3 schools why, a complete absence of, literal legal prohibition against zoning laws. Things also prohibited by state law, fire codes or public transparency of what chemicals are stored, and where, throughout the state. Jared Loughner, as stated above, by the time he was told he could not return to school unless psychologically evaluated first should have progressed to eligibility for a standard 72 hour psych hold; he had also been through 2 drug diversion program stints stemming from 2 minor possession charges, they didn’t include counseling, a mental health professional didn’t ascertain there was more going on psychologically? All that had to happen to keep Arron Alexis away from the navy yard temporarily enough to forestall a massacre was to forward his police report about people following him, sending microwaves through his body, keeping him awake by talking to him to his employers, following the procedure already in place. Dylan Roof was able to pass a background check for the love of a clerical error listing the wrong precinct where he was picked up on trespassing charges rendering incomplete information he admitted drugs on his person were his, an automatic disqualifier for legal gun purchase in South Carolina; mindboggling how information must be collected there that the location mattered so much when the more pertinent detail was his admission. Questioning precisely what we put in these databases and are we filling them with less important minutia in favor of most needed knowledge for a background check, a judge to get a good picture of a defendant, police to see person X is legally barred from gun possession when responding to calls; hardly anyone able to forget Columbine happened in the midst of an assault weapons ban. States’ rights again a negative factor in Ohio where a gun shop owner was lauded circa 2016 for not selling a weapon to customer James Howard, though marking no on the metal health portion of the application and passing a background check saying he “just didn’t look right;” good thing too, since Howard had been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility and had recently stormed out of Ohio University promising to return with a gun. Gaping hole in the system, Ohio is one of 5 states, also California, Arkansas, Utah and Michigan not mandated by local law to submit mental health records to the national database as it pertains to those stricken from buying guns because of mental illness; relying on statewide records cross-referenced for gun sales, however he still passed the given background check demonstrating their ineffectiveness. By all means unequivocally ban bump stocks immediately, as fast as you can type the legislation and put it up for a vote; at the same time understand Nevada is one of the few states who authored and passed in their state legislature laws to regulate person to person gun sales, eliminate the so called ‘gun show loop hole’ requiring all gun purchasers pass a background check, even those buying off friends or relatives. Problem, reported interagency squabbles between state officials and the FBI about who specifically will do the background checks, yet that’s drastically oversimplifying it beyond states’ ‘inability to dictate how FBI resources are applied;’ because, you don’t want ordinary persons having unfettered access to FBI databases solely for the purpose of doing background checks as a private gun seller doing the gun show circuit, willing to sell to your friend/acquaintance. The potential for misuse far too great previously seen in police who’ve misused said databases more than to check up on their daughter’s boyfriend, son’s girlfriend; usually to search information on ex-girlfriends leading to domestic violence, as the AP’s profiled police sergeant did. Police in other states caught selling database information, trading it for sexual encounters, creating fake traffic tickets, searching women associated with strip clubs, targeting a county commissioners husband and daughter as well as a state representative, targeting/harassing a state trooper for pulling over a fellow cop going over 120 mph no emergency, no lights, no siren, no reason apart from he thought he could. Who remembers the man facing potential prison time for reading his wife’s e-mails after her leaving the password randomly out in the open throughout their shared home, also using work resources to try and contact his stepson’s biological father and retain sole custody of their biological daughter post finding her reconnecting with an abusive ex allegedly taking their infant on rendezvous to have sex with him; what was disclosed in court was while it was his employer’s policy not to use those resources for personal use, he was never informed. Official intermediaries creating many identical problems, ethical questions correlated to what they can learn about people, what they’ll do with their gained knowledge, envisioned system rife for pending corruption, people paying off intermediaries ‘pass’ background checks, intermediaries ‘failing’ people they don’t like, have a grudge against. But too often forgotten are the periphery things we can do completely divorced of gun regulation, legislation, separated from mental illness, greater mental health awareness; example, after the Aurora and Lafayette’s shootings select large scale movie theaters began banning backpacks, others instituting bag checks. Why not install metal detectors, trial basis armed guards wanted by the public, the former of which should now be standard and the federal government should be aiding localities in providing them and technicians to calibrate plus maintain them. Because, while right now malfunctioning metal detectors is a thing of TV story lines (Criminal Minds season13 episode 9) without proper calibration, after moving from one location to another, part of a building to another, just like in the show it won’t work properly; either allowing people with weapons, metals on their person to get through or generating false positives resulting in long lines, complacency or their permanent, for the time being, removal. Mirroring Aaron Alexis at the navy Yard, where a basic bag check would have meant an additional hurdle, if not a metal detector, regardless Cedric Anderson being known to school staff, how was he able to sign in, walk to his estranged wife’s classroom without passing through a metal detector or showing office personnel the ‘something’ he had to give her; for that matter, why was he allowed to randomly walk in and disrupt her classroom while she was supposed to be teaching students? A metal detector would have minimally made it harder for Randy Stair to get his pistol grip shotguns into his workplace, would have provided a moments hesitation for the New Mexico High school shooter disguising himself as a student, blending in as students filed in unpacking his arsenal in a bathroom opening fire on 2 students who dared enter. We’ve unfortunately come to associate metal detectors and a visible security presence with a gestapo state since they are rarely ever seen outside urban schools where the black and brown kids go not in white suburbia, but they aren’t, they are a tool in keeping the public safe; particularly metal detectors, full body imaging screeners because there is no threat of them suffering a mental health breakdown and suddenly shooting people they were meant to protect. Information to come out of the TSA’s latest security drill abysmal failure is they possess new 3D technology that can give a far better picture inside passenger luggage; the question why hasn’t it been proliferated beyond the TSA may be perhaps premature but is it really considering our mass shooting phenomenon? It would be perfect to scan/screen guest luggage sans wholesale invading their privacy still picking up on Steven Paddock’s arsenal of guns, ammo and bump stocks; at which point staff would have said hey, we’re not holding a gun expo in the lobby, what are you doing? He would have been henceforth held, questioned, told at least that he could not check in with that many, those type of guns, such a significant amount of ammo, and don’t tell readers giant hotels in Vegas can’t afford such technology. Scratching our heads at the TSA, what’s laughingly called airport security even well into a post 9/11 world, why oh why are people allowed to put ‘secured’ guns and ammo in checked baggage; obvious, a scenario like what played out in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando’s fake gun scene, only next time it won’t be fake, is the eventual end result. Flipside, what are the best options for transporting guns, the safest way possible for fire arms owners who are moving, people carrying weapons who may be traveling for work, jobs in security, gun instructors, police officers, active military? In theory it, new 3D imaging technology, should be ideal for that New York hospital interfering less with the metals laden medical equipment where the fired doctor/doctor wannabe only had to use a white lab coat to conceal his large assault rifle; yet rewind, there was no security at say the employee entrance, probably where he entered, no interspersed security throughout the hospital? Who are trained to recognize things like guns in pockets (jackets or pants), tucked into waistbands, concealed under a shirt (i.e. taped to someone’s back, knives or explosives for that matter either); security who should have known him being fired he wasn’t supposed to be there unless being treated, unlikely wearing a white lab coat? No one was aware enough to see something, begging the glaringly obvious question viewing a picture of Bello’s gun on the news, how did he hide a gun that big under a lab coat; further, fellow staff told news reporters he said he would come back to kill. And you didn’t say anything to hospital security, the police, hospital administration; if you see something say something doesn’t singularly apply to terrorist events or school shootings, it applies to any type of violence, slightly different wording than those used to combat child abuse and domestic violence, surely as a fully grown adult you know that? Related to the guns themselves, these stories vividly illustrate it isn’t solely about federal, state, county, city restrictions on who can buy/own guns but the network of interconnected circuity laws, systems and supports that should work in conjunction with each other to keep both legitimate gun owner’s rights intact and the public safe. For instance, what is with the habitual pattern of never charging violent persons with their actions independent race; unlike those sent to drug diversion, anger management, ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation, swiftly remitted post violence to a mental health facility, the vast majority aren’t charged, ever put before a judge on lower level incidents that could have preempted tragedy with aforementioned diversion, if not jail time. Aaron Alexis again interacted with police called to different scene issues a handful of times yet never charged for his unsafe gun handling, maliciously and rage filled shooting out someone’s tires, never sent to a diversion program; John Neumann was investigated over the beating of a co-worker 3 years before his firing, no charges filed. James T. Hodgkinson had the predictable history of run ins with the law including police called to a domestic disturbance where he was accused of striking a woman and hitting a neighbor in the face with a shotgun, misdemeanor charges dropped, last March police called to numerous shots fired around his home; still because he had a valid firearms I.D. and ‘no law was broken,’ nothing was done. Mystifying how no law can be broken when unsafe gun handling potentially endangering your neighbors goes against common sense period, let alone on gun safety. Allowing judges to see complete arrest records from across the country coupled with people put in front of a judge for their previous unsafe gun handling could have meant they saw a devolving Aaron Alexis, James T. Hodgkinson offering them help; judges’ rulings in domestic abuse and other cases ordering mental health evals, anger management and such programs before strict jail time signals they are not averse to it, see the benefits. Indicating centralizing state, city county, national and federal criminal databases, no fly and terror watch lists along with complete criminal histories, arrest records is crucial; as is eliminating the need for physical input of records, disbanding also the requirement for compliance between agencies, because when someone is arrested, charged, convicted, or resolves their law enforcement issue i.e. paying their fine, renewing their expired drivers, hunting, fishing license, gun permit it is recorded for all to see when looking up name, birthdate and social security number. Meaning allocating the resources, making the investment in the technological infrastructure to do so nationwide, no matter how small or large your city, police force, precinct, leaning on the tech companies to create the servers (that don’t crash every other week) capable of holding that much data. Implementing the algorithms needed to automate those databases effectively instead of using ones that are drastically flawed producing false and outdated warrants for something already handled; if the algorithms we have don’t do what they were supposed to, we don’t have algorithms that can do that, design ones that do, undertake this instead of giving us the i-phone 50, the latest defunct windows product needing 5 update patches by the time it’s bought off store shelves. Continuing, we know the correlation between mass violence and domestic abuse, if they’ve done one they’re more prone to do the other, yet as a judge you told Arcan Cetin to abstain from drugs and alcohol part of his diversionary program for 2 domestic assault charges, but ignored guns by failing to include that restriction, confiscate any firearms he may already own until completion of the program, never mind social media pages filled with pictures of him holding a wide variety of varyingly lethal weapons? Esteban Santiago was compelled to attend anger management courses post strangling his girlfriend, with that court record, how could he get a gun considering the law regarding domestic abuse perpetrators barred from buying firearms; assuming he already had it, the gun, what you didn’t tell him to turn it over until confirmed end of his program? Had he gone through the entirety of his program, if he hadn’t finished, why was he allowed to travel outside work, and with a gun? On the mental health front better treatment for our military vets, reservists, a large chunk of the persons profiled hold some prior affiliation with varying military branches; who cares what their discharge status is, give them the mental health and related support so they don’t come back presenting a danger to society. If the Dr. Phil Show can arrange local home city, home state counseling, evaluation, psychiatric services, support groups and other pertinent resources, so can the United States military. Speaking of which, you don’t provide exit psych exams for soldiers to assess their mental health, see if or what services they might need, can be coordinated upon their return home; especially knowing what you had to do with Micah Xavier Johnson’s military issued weapons? The military knew enough to know the threat guns in the hands of a probable sex assaulter was, but didn’t complete processes to make sure he couldn’t buy guns as a civilian; is there such a process, and don’t you think it’s time you get one if you don’t currently have it? Matthew Riehl described in press articles as ‘U.S. veteran with a grudge, easily added another U.S. veteran with a grudge. Better screening of who gets into, passes military training in the first place; top 2 high profile, headline military disgrace cases Bradly Manning, when it was Bradly, and Bowe Bergdahl were unfit from the very beginning, period. It isn’t to say transgender persons cannot serve in any and all branches of the United States military, it isn’t to say transitioning persons cannot serve in any and all branches of our military, ideally because they have sorted out the psychological turmoil, understand who they are and function stably; it is to say Bradly Manning had so many mental health related problems the military is the last place he should be, well before the Edward Snowden anti-hero features made him national news. Bowe Bergdahl wanted to be Jason Borne providing stark proof he may have trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy; missing piece in the shocking case where 2 tweens lured a classmate in the woods stabbing her repeatedly to please the fictional internet urban legend slender man, one diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia the other schizotypy translating to exactly that, an inability to properly distinguish reality and fantasy, which is an actual psychiatric condition not a product of social media, it’s precursor television, would have arguably happened with newspaper like leaflets or comic books. Both attackers found mentally unwell by a jury forgoing jail for extensive mental health treatment; likewise Facebook isn’t to blame for ‘glorifying’/causing the actions of Steve Stephens. On the contrary, a consequence of social media’s intersection with mental illness, comprehending his video was up 2 hours not 2 days, weeks, months or years; social media equality instrumental in finding him as more of the public was aware police were looking for him, had enhanced visuals of his face instead of hard to decipher sketches or outdated mugshots. Returning to the military’s shameful history of taking the worst America has to offer, Esteban Santiago received an unsatisfactory performance discharge, his never rising above private first class with a decade of service was a sign he was a bad soldier; Michael Pettigrew, like Devin Kelly, received a bad conduct discharge his for pulling a knife on, stabbing a fellow marine. Micah Johnson’s honorable discharge doesn’t make any sense, Aaron Alexis’ was supposed to be a general discharge, not an honorable one, Dionisio Garza’s military discharge information isn’t publically available so we can’t speculate. Outside the military’s tragedy, not comedy of grievous errors with serious consequences, how did Santiago pass his mental health evaluation since the FBI took one look at him, barely coherent and remitted him to mental health, not pass as in squeak by, likely disturbed but not enough to hold him against his will, but sufficiently enough to be given his gun back, no stipulations? Or if he did fall under the mentioned gray area, why did they give him back his gun; did they know about his domestic violence charge, diversion, restraining order? If so he was no longer permitted to have a gun, should have been extradited back to Alaska and put in front of a judge to decide his ongoing fate. Assuming momentarily his contact with the FBI happened before the domestic abuse; again why give him back his gun when you found him to be mentally unstable during your contact with him, visible just by looking at him, basic observation? The only thing this author agrees with concerning independent media’s Kyle Kuliski’s commentary on the latest California elementary school shooting is, considering the pending charges against him, why was he given bail at all? Exacerbating the problem, why didn’t police know about Neal’s bail status and due to that status understand they had a right and a duty to search his home based off his neighbor’s complaints of his repeated shooting off a gun; if you knew about his records, why tell news persons surveillance was needed, why wasn’t his home searched for guns? Bringing us back to it isn’t a lack of law; it’s a lack of enforcement. Similarly the FBI knew of New Mexico school shooter William Atchison due to his years’ long postings on social media right wing rhetoric websites, praising columbine specifically and advocating school shootings generally, asking about where to get a cheap rifle. Where were you in continued observation, remembering back FBI personnel had Sikh temple shooter Wade Michael Page on their radar, under observation not due to his growing stockpile of guns, but his flagrant affiliation with numerous white supremacy groups; why was it less important to protect high school kids from the known quality of school shootings versus the lesser known attacks, even now, on houses of worship? Why wasn’t a condition of closing Atchison’s case a psychological evaluation, establishing regular appointments with a counselor, connections to resources toward a GED, post-secondary education if that’s what it took to put this young man, 16 then, on the right track? Neither is it the size, type or number of guns owned by the perpetrators contrary to our Vegas millionaire gun owner proclaiming enough is enough post Steven Paddock’s carnage; combing through finer details realizing shooters like Jared Loughner only needed one handgun to do his damage, the Sikh temple shooting also was carried out with a singular handgun in spite of the vast amount of guns he owned, dido Aaron Alexis, workplace horror done using one shotgun. In addition to the AR15 designated assault rifle carried by James Holmes he had a shotgun and 2 handguns; on top of the high powered assault rifle style guns (2) Adam Lanza loaded for bear he had 2 variations of handgun as well, important leaving most of his arsenal and ammo at home. Eliot Rodger used only handguns and knives, finally resorting to running over people with his car; significant, killing an equal number of persons with his knives as with his guns. Christopher Shawn Harper-Mercer had 5 hand guns and 1 long gun (not used) in his name, access to 8 more at home registered to his mother, used only 3 to summarily execute students at Umpqua community college; Jason Brian Dalton used 2 handguns to kill 6 and wound 2 while being an Uber driver, switching guns after one malfunctioned interestingly again leaving his other 15, including long guns, at home. Almost identical to Caleb Sharpe taking 3 guns to school switching weapons when one jammed, though his being tackled and held until police arrived by the school custodian predictably had more to do with the low death toll than type or number of guns; cataloged above, the lengthy list of domestic disputes, domestic violence and murder suicide scenarios involving a singular run of the mill gun, Esteban Santiago checked a standard handgun with his baggage, following legal procedure flying from Alaska to Florida and laid down spread eagle waiting for police when his bullets were spent. Gun accessories can turn a standard rifle, long gun, shot gun into a snipers tool a-la the one used by Nathan DeSai or Lloyd Buie using sites or scopes. Brian Easley virtually took over a bank saying he had explosives in a backpack, unclear if he actually had any, and gun plots, weapon stockpiles of mass shooters going back to Columbine always include a combination of guns, explosives, knives firecrackers, crossbows exc. For all the ‘assault rifle’ designation of Devin Kelley’s AR15 witnesses chillingly recount his repeated reloads, walking up and down aisles methodically shooting anyone still moving; his greatest asset, having victims trapped in a tiny space. Kevin Neal greatly hampered by school lockdown procedures implemented when shots were heard from a quarter mile up the road; active shooter drills credited with saving students’ lives, not what kind of gun her did or didn’t have.
Adjoining mental health are medical diseases, defects and conditions that can, are known to compromise mental health; example, an autopsy on Robin Williams revealed not only was he depressed, likely physiological side effect of his newly diagnosed Parkinson’s, but suffered from a secondary related diagnosis not discovered until after death, Loui body dementia, doubtlessly explaining his rapid noticeable mental decline and sudden suicide. There are now commercials alerting Parkinson’s sufferers and caregivers of new medications to curb the hallucinations and delusions associated with the motor neuron disorder. Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots football player convicted in the death of Odin Lloyd, had that conviction vacated when autopsy results, post his jailhouse suicide, uncovered he suffered from the football related brain disease CTE; not just diagnosed, but coroner commenting it was the worst case he’d seen for someone Hernandez’s age. BMX biker Dave Mirra also had CTE committing suicide in early 2016 sounding the alarm it isn’t just pro football athletes and parents of youth soccer players using the now contested heading of the ball, who need to be alert to brain injury. Prompting the question is that why Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend then himself coupled with the unseen pressures less to do with fame in the NFL but constant fear of losing what is your job, constant injury/pain? Workplace bullying we already understand is a thing that happens far too frequently; pro football not immune roughly a year later administrators suspending a player after systemic abuse of a teammate, was it a combination of both things? Reading the Bleacher Report article on Belcher, conscious of methods used by those like Alabama coach Nick Saban, especially accounting for his contact with kids much younger than college, it’s worth more intense scrutiny, where suck it up and deal, be a man can’t always be the answer. Just released information from doctors studying CTE in professional athlete football players have discovered a disturbing similarity in deceased soldiers exposed to combat blasts, IED’s explosions, very likely explaining the sudden violent behavior of ex-military persons cataloged here doctors already having documented a cluster of psychological and physical symptoms; also knowing CTE is progressive and degenerative worsening, sometimes significantly, over time. Delving into another present day conundrum along these lines, currently we have a president both medical and mental health professionals fear has a serious mental or brain disorder ranging from narcissistic personality disorder to Alzheimer’s or other dementia related would-be diagnosis noting his demonstrable lying, his seemingly unquenchable need for praise and adulation from those around him, the American people, examples of his thin skin, inability to let trivial things go, tendency to fly off the handle, reported astoundingly short attention span, credible questions about can he read, how precisely literate is he; concern ratcheted up several notches almost a month ago when announcing his administration’s Israel embassy decision slurring his words and noticeably struggling to complete his remarks. Explanations range from concerns about his mental and physical health, news anchors and so forth remarking about family members battling Alzheimer’s, end of life maladies, could he have been having a mini-stroke, growing questions regarding what we don’t know about his physical health, to simple things like failing denture glue; Whitehouse reasoning, dry mouth. 27 mental health and related professionals participating in the coauthoring of a book making the psychiatric case of Donald Trump, just a representative sample says the editor after a conference called duty to warn discussing, fleshing out the ethicacy of commenting publicly on a patient they’ve never met or treated, violating the previous standard known as the Goldwater rule after presidential candidate Barry Goldwater’s seeing a psychologist was used against him during the presidential race against Lyndon Johnson in the mid 1960’s. So it isn’t much of a shock people are somewhat confused about age related mental decline; meaningful discussions we’ve never had on a societal, national level laying out how age can exacerbate even mild, undetected, marginally effecting the person’s life mental health disorders, how varying forms of dementia, disease could be mimicking mental health problems. An awareness condition that needs to change; our blog author wondering aloud if in America, along with aging baby boomers is a growing, unaddressed senility problem that gave us the jarring political upset of Donald Trump as president. Worse are the persons who look older, otherwise normal but may not be, may be in the early stages of mental disorders, decline best exhibited in an also found plethora of YouTube/social media videos and viral headline trends featuring older persons doing outrageous things ranging from the mildly humorous/entertaining to appallingly racist, to heartbreakingly sad or dangerous. Behaviors we too quickly shrug off as defending ones property, defending themselves against disrespectful young people who’ve gone so far as to kill elderly and homeless persons, prone to robbing and publically harassing them, or shake our heads chalking it up to growing violence trends sidestepping the age and mental health elements, how they intertwine. A frumpy latter middle aged woman apoplectic about bicycle rules proceeding to throw her drink onto a cyclist who had stopped moving to film her tirade, police officer noting colloquially her mental instability. A woman calling 9-1-1 for cigarettes and chicken wings too drunk to drive for them herself, representing a whole category of stupid 9-1-1 calls; meltdowns on busses, not even the most spectacular represented by the woman linked below. Road rage solidifying guns aren’t always, even most of the time the biggest problem, man using a metal pipe-like object to break another person’s car window over a landscaping job dispute. Rants against people speaking Spanish to each other in stores, airports, those with any sort of accent asking to be excused while passing in a store aisle; rants against Muslim, Arabic, middle eastern style dressed persons, who in the despicably intolerant white woman’s case had offered to let her, and her much lesser cart of items, go ahead of her in line. To the increasingly dangerous, think the retired school teacher who frightened students and a school bus driver by jumping on the hood of the bus, demanding he stop, allegedly upset at something thrown out of the bus at his car, when the bus did stop at a light trying to push his way on and confront the kids in the back, though he could not know which one had thrown the object, if they indeed had at all. A Florida man filmed on cellphone video shooting out the tires of AT&T trucks working on utility or phone poles, why they were parked in front of, or next to, his driveway. Lastly in the sampling of bizarre older person behavior signaling something deeper, the man who shot his neighbor in the face then ran over her with a lawnmower irritated she was mowing her grass at night. Before James T. Hodgkinson or Steven Paddock, Kevin Neal, Robert Dear, there was John Russell Houser, who randomly appeared in Lafayette Louisiana to shoot up a movie theater; holding a more traceable mental health history than Paddock, but not having a mental health history says little contemplating the staggering number of persons suffering and not diagnosed, once court ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after accusations he hired someone set an attorney’s law office on fire, whose family put out an order of protection against him for domestic violence, who spray painted a swastika on his business, had a habit of calling in rants to his native Georgia radio station and did a stent in an Alabama psychiatric facility. Police unable to piece together where he got his gun, fitting the pattern of middle age and older adult, usually men who are angry, aggressive, estranged from their families, reclusive; Robert Dear was living in a cabin in the woods, Hodgkinson had a home and a wife in Belleville, Illinois no clues as to what he was doing in Alexandria, VA let alone living out of his van. We have to come to grips with this isn’t normal behavior, loved ones doing this there is something wrong with them and get them seen by a doctor for testing checking physical health, remedying vitamin/mineral deficiencies, scrutinizing are they over medicated taking too many pills from too many doctors, taking things from years before no longer applicable to their current health situation, are they having a-typical drug reactions common in senior populations, ascertaining mental decline, dementia possibilities as well as psychological issues and treating them. Connecting the dots solely to guns, today digesting staggering Alzheimer’s projections, rising global dementia rates, the delicate conversation isn’t just when to take the car keys away from mom and dad/grandpa and no shortage of grandmas; it’s likewise when to take away their guns, for their own, the general public’s safety. You can’t help but wonder if dementia, brain disease, age related mental decline was the reason Curtis Reeves took a bag of popcorn for a heavy object hyper escalating his fear causing him to shoot Chad Oulson in the chest or why his daughter was able to get up on the stand talking about his family life, grandchildren, carpentry, tool work he’d hoped his arthritis would improve so he could get back to, yet was allowed to get/keep his conceal and carry permit when he can’t manipulate tools. Instead of broaching that conversation it took a tragedy before Reeves’ family even considered the fact their father owned guns; daughter telling the court her brother confiscated their father’s firearms and he would not possess access to them if released plus 2 bail hearings for him to receive bond. Recall too John Spooner who accused his 15 year old neighbor of stealing his guns, using one of his remaining firearms to confront the teen as he took out the trash, shooting him when he denied taking said guns, whole thing caught on Spooner’s home surveillance system; is brain decline/disease why he then came to court pitifully stating he didn’t mean to kill him, though any logical person can deduce bringing a gun into the mix that’s precisely what will happen? Lock step with the accidental shooting inside a church no less as locals discussed, of all things, their response to mass shootings like the one in Texas, when an 80 year old showing off his gun shot himself in the hand and his wife in the abdomen; no one questioning why an 80 year old has a gun, why he thought it was a good idea or at least ok to not singularly be ‘showing it off,’ but to pull it out again when another parishioner asked can I see that, then choosing to pull the trigger, insisting it wasn’t loaded, while pointing it at people. Or that David Pakman is again 1,000 % correct in saying accidental discharge should still be a crime whether you pay a fine, whatever legal penalty mild to severe depending on the situation, injury to anyone; better on your first offense you are remitted to mandatory training and safety classes, gun range practicums where a qualified instructor must sign off on your fitness to continue carrying a gun, second or 3rd offense lose your gun privileges. Reminiscent the 19 year old who startled locals in a Missouri town accidentally discharging his lawful conceal and carry firearm giving himself life threatening injuries; and, perhaps we should ponder yes at 18 you are legally an adult, can vote, go to adult jail, but you must be 21 to drink, 21 to consume recreational marijuana products where legal, hell even Dylan Roof’s family waited until he was 21 to gift him a fire arm, maybe the legal age to own guns should be 21? Same region over the thanksgiving holiday that had local law enforcement reminding conceal and carry permit holders, who have their weapon in their vehicle, to secure it, then lock their cars after a rash of reported gun thefts by motorists. Extrapolating from there making obtaining a permit not merely about did you pass a background check, pay the money for licensure, permits, firearm(s) and ammo, but having a certified instructor sign off on ‘this person has been taught and can demonstrate safe gun handling;’ classes including doing the direct opposite of the aforementioned 80 year old, how to properly remove a gun from its holster while attached to your person, how to safely check a gun to ensure it’s not loaded, properly render it safe. For conceal and carry persons properly securing your gun both on you while in public and in your vehicle, how to prevent it’s theft by the growing number of criminals, crazies and utterly out of controls you probably bought it to protect yourself against, yearly refresher courses for new laws passed in your city, county, state. Have testing processes mirror driver’s license exams; you must pass a written and practical test, if you can’t, no gun for you; following the driver’s license model one step farther, once you reach a certain age, 70 for driving, should be 60 or 65 for guns to ensure maximum safety, to renew your permit, keep your permit you must retake both written and practical exams. Confronting something else too pushing gun control advocates to total gun prohibition for the citizen population, tragic accidental shootings, paramount those where children shot themselves or playmates after finding their parent’s or playmate’s parent’s gun; another aspect of obtaining a permit providing proof you can safely store your firearm(s) away from any children residing in the home or who might at any time be present on a frequent basis. Classes too on checking your panic instinct to reach for your gun every time you hear a noise, if living with others especially, forestalling the tragic shooting of teens sneaking back into the house after curfew, shooting your son/daughter’s boyfriend/girlfriend, household members who forgot their keys, avoiding shooting rounds into walls, windows because the cat is bumping around at night, the dog knocked something over; using virtual reality and simulations now calibrated for military and police to test permit seekers reactions, if you are susceptibly jumpy to such things maybe don’t get a gun permit. Worth emphasizing, our current lack of these things isn’t thanks to the NRA, the Washington gun lobby and the endless insanity to spew forth from them getting more people to buy guns for erroneous reasons, laws in Wisconsin that would have allowed toddlers to hunt with guns. Certainly the NRA would fight the suggested classes and monetary resources to use virtual reality training, restricting the rights of older gun owners, increased testing, but when haven’t they fought something to do with regulating guns? No, these gaps can be traced to the laws American citizens assume we already are using, congresspersons, governors exc. already assume are on the books; gun instructors like the one who gave shooting lessons on an Uzi to a 9 year old at a gun range, and beyond that ridiculousness, failed to implement standard gun safety for teaching inexperienced shooters, i.e. children even learning on a hunting rifle, sports shooting, marksmanship rifle. Firstly, placing yourself in a position being able to grab the gun muzzle should it start to go out of the student’s control, on an initial try have the child sitting, bracing her elbows on the visible platform before firing; independent walking off the job if forced to do such a thing with a gun more often seen in the movies wielded by on screen villains than anywhere else, no indication his boss ordered him to provide the instruction he did. It’s not the NRA when government worker gun holders— police, rangers, land management exc. can’t keep track of their guns, their off duty, at home firearms go missing and many times they don’t report them; totally forgotten element in the controversial case where an illegal immigrant killed innocent citizen Kate Steinle, it wasn’t his immigration status that led to her death, but the found gun he literally picked up off the ground, off a park bench wrapped in a t-shirt, shifting stories about shooting seals or it going off in his hand. A gun originally stolen from a federal worker from bureau of land management’s locked car, not by illegal immigrant Francisco Sanchez, but someone else who being a reckless criminal, indiscriminately discarded it when finished with it; literally hundreds reported lost or stolen in such a manner yearly. Despite the conspiratory nature of the YouTube alternative scenario quoted below, stranger things have been proven fact over fiction and remain plausible noting documented police corruption. “Something fishy going on here…Here’s the real story. The agent who supposedly had the gun stolen from his car was dating that girl and he gave the Mexican the gun and told him to shoot her because he was married and did not want his wife to find out so the Mexican shot her because the agent threatened to ship him back to Mexico. There, how’s that??” Either way, law enforcement mandated or allowed to carry guns needs to get its act together ASAP; the missing gun in the Steinle case was apparently reported, but that represents the practical exception rather than ahearence to the given rule, only for those guns to then turn up in the commission of a crime by habitual criminals. Relatedly, combination of common knowledge and realistic primetime police drama television shows tells us police destroy the guns they take off the streets no longer needed as evidence to solve cases, reasonable presumption they do the same thing with their old guns and ordinance, as they army funnels older military gear to police in an effort to reuse perfectly good equipment and properly outfit law enforcement to increasing dangers; not all of it bad, a military tactical vest saving minimum one officer shot in a residential standoff near St. Louis in December. As for destroying their old guns and ammo not so fast, many states and precincts sell older guns to the public, through licensed gun dealers, in order to pay for newer firearms for officers. On top of the Salon story featured account of Texas’ failed firearms buyback outdone by a man holding a homemade sign and offering more money was the flabbergasted reactions of Texas law enforcement when their guns inevitably ended up in the hands of criminals. Speaking of police, it isn’t the NRA, the prevalence of guns, even adding in conspiracy theories or right wing propaganda so rampant spelling violent tragedies that could be reduced with less guns available, no guns in the hands of ordinary people when authorities were called to the home of Nathan DeSai a month before his spraying bullets all over his neighborhood; responding to reports he was pointing an assault rifle at roofers working in the condo complex where he lived. Insufficient evidence to bring charges simply because DeSai said he didn’t point the weapon at the roofers, information not given, if they checked his gun permit/licensure; there had to have been something they could/should have been able to do, like remit him to a gun safety course. Starker case, police knew about Matthew Riehl; his law school alma mater sending a warning to students to contact campus officers if seen on school grounds, giving both a picture of him and description of his car, after outrageous, vulgar, alarming posts about the school and staff where found on social media. Hands tied by mental health statutes summarized as follows, “Wyoming statutes are pretty clear: If someone is not making an immediate threat, they cannot be held for a mental evaluation. They are very tough cases,” UW Police Chief Mike Samp told the AP.’ Still police in Colorado, forgoing his familiarity with law enforcement there, additional posts on social media threatening police entities in the centennial state, and here’s a hint if you have to keep responding to noise complaints, domestic issues, roommate disputes, perhaps it’s time to connect people with mental health resources, walked in there as if it was any old other noise complaint, roommate dispute; independent said disputes being some of the most dangerous, unpredictable calls for officers, never mind for someone with a known history with them. Reminiscent of the ambush attacks on 2 New York officers, 3 plus years ago, in the Bronx and the protocols enacted only after their deaths, rudimentary things that would protect their lives every day not just in a crisis, not just in light of violent sentiments and actions toward police; not doing patrols alone, not wearing your uniform in public when not on duty, a continuous, vigilant awareness of your surroundings, being careful about what you post on social media. Likewise police know what swatting is, have experienced a rash of such calls nationwide, so it’s no wonder the family of the innocent dead man is suing, not just as something that’s done in such situations, but because police should have checked their information especially once on scene; details the 9-1-1 call came from out of state, piling onto problems with this case, the now charged caller has a history of such offenses having served jail time. At the same time we’re left in slack jawed shock at police unpreparedness, absent critical thinking of police, if you want to investigate lizard people, believe Alex Jones who thinks people exist who are 80% gorilla/80% pig/80% human, can look at Alex Jones and not think there is something mentally, brain disease level wrong with him, have people believing these things it isn’t the success, popularity of fake news, the alt right it’s mental illness’ lens on said topics; educated theorizing solidified knowing the man who waved guns, claiming to have also had a conversation with Donald Trump via a call to warn him about stated lizard people proceeded to admit he snorted meth to lose weight and was on prescription morphine, is approximately 55. Even The Young Turks panelist covering the tragic story of 2 parents attempting to protect their daughter from her neo-Nazi boyfriend, shot by him, underlined mental health’s impact on that 17 year old over the neo-Nazi rhetoric; asserting assign both their due responsibility for what happened, but don’t forget mental health’s role. Opposite side of the coin providing real life proof of a ‘gun nut,’ gun enthusiast who can have oodles of firearms, permits for them and present virtually no danger to the public (assuming you abide the endless signs posted on his property and don’t trespass) watch link 46 below.
Concluding, guns were never the core problem, merely a matter, weapon of convenience; no, our core problem has always been violence. When victim congressmen Steve Scalise, after being nearly fatally shot, can accurately say no he doesn’t want added gun control; eye opening why, because in part: “whatever the weapon is going to be if it’s not a gun it’ll be a hand grenade,or it’ll be a knife or an ax…”(yay he gets what this author has been saying for years), when children in 4th and 5th grade can laser focus on, if you want to enact the video game violence in the real world then there is something mentally wrong with you, the problem was never the gun, the violent video game, but those things meeting poor, compromised mental health. Supporting anecdotal testimonies for rural, Midwestern areas stating they had guns in their trucks when attending high school, planning to go hunting after school but never would have thought to, dreamed of going to their truck and attempting to solve a dispute with that gun. Paralleling more modern scenario before schools felt compelled by events, current headlines to go zero tolerance crazy high school kids used to carry them with few problems again never thinking to solve their disputes and issues more apt to open containers help a teacher open a box than opening flesh. Bottom line, you will never be able to stop all violence, killing or domestic disputes, just look at the man who was convicted of killing his girlfriend with bubble wrap, domestic partners, wives, girlfriends, resulting children bludgeoned with bats, women set on fire or attempted to do so. Moving away from purely domestic violence, the high school dean who ran over a bicyclist then fled the scene. What we can do is mitigate that violence understanding mental health plays a much bigger role in domestic abuse, murder suicides of bosses, girlfriends, wives, ex varieties of either, mass shootings or otherwise, than society is ever ready to admit. Supplanting the snark and ridicule given persons like Jake Lloyd, bullied out of Hollywood and any further interest in acting by the cruel reviews of his performance in The Phantom Menace Star Wars installment finally diagnosed schizophrenic after leading police on a high speed chase and a stint in jail, or Sinead O’Connor, article describing her missing person’s report and later mental illness fueled, rambling Facebook post opened with the subheading “We don’t know how to talk productively about disability and mental health, and in times like this it really shows,” with treatment, support and compassion whether dealing with a celebrity or man on the corner, woman next door. Caroline Shannon-Karasik’s Salon piece exposing a jaw dropping problem in our approaches to mental health, when you go to the hospital seeking aid for physical symptoms and they determine there is nothing wrong with you in that regard, they simply send you on your way. Having flagging at best psychiatric wings, consults through something like the ER, where she entered the health system when her irrational mind weighed down with a prolonged battle with depression and anxiety sent her, non-existent, incomplete, totally haphazard leaving mental health sufferers to continue suffering. Or you get the opposite, what my friend’s husband encountered being a frequent repeat customer of the ER one summer questioned by a psychiatrist who wrongly deduced he was suffering psychosomatic symptoms brought on by stress stemming from inability to effectively control his diabetes. Problem was he’d come in through the ER after being blown off by his primary care doctor, lectured on health management; mainly taking medication he couldn’t afford to buy, making regular appointments he had no insurance to cover, the state being uncooperative about qualifying him for adult Medicaid independent multiple medical conditions and low income that should have qualified him. Oh his problems were related to his diabetes alright but were completely physical; findings ascertained when an attending physician was brought in at the request of his irate wife to once and for all get to the bottom of her husband’s issues. He was diagnosed with diabetic related complications and prescribed medication including an acid reducer that quelled his chronic vomiting; he’s had no more similar symptoms even without being able to continue his medication for lack of financial means. Most following Shannon-Karasik’s sad, negligent experience; inconceivable what might have happened or happily not happened if Seung Cho had remained in supportive services, not necessarily special ed., through his final year of high school, there had been transitional services counseling, life coaching to see he settled into college living well at V-tech. If any one of the people who encounter Jared Loughner in their professional capacity had even suggested he get more extensive help knowing he was at the prime age for a first psychotic break from schizophrenia, what he was later diagnosed with, let alone if his father had had help available to him; mental illnesses often running in families and carrying a genetic component, why it’s important people know their family’s mental health history just as well as they know their standard medical history. Aaron Alexis saw a VA doctor about insomnia, no indication they asked about drinking or drug use, though they prescribed him medication, never appeared to ask about his mental health despite insomnia being part of the symptom cluster for schizophrenia, alcohol and/or drugs the choice of self-medication for, poorly managed, undiagnosed mental illness. While I personally can’t go to my primary care doctor without answering questions in addition to have I been to any other relevant doctors, treatment facilities, ER’s, hospitalization of which they need to retrieve records, about pain level, depression, drugs or alcohol use including marijuana despite changing attitudes on the natural plant; granted almost 5 years have passed and medical protocols have changed to identify people suffering addition or mental health issues, battling pain to better treat them. But the approach Alexis encountered is particularly unconscionable for a veterans hospital treating soldiers who may be experiencing insomnia due to PTSD, afraid to sleep because of nightmares and trained to be tough, suck it up and deal, indoctrinated with needing help is a sign of weakness, all they can give you in their current state is they showed up, walked into and stuck around for their appointment. Migrating to civilian medicine, a doctor prescribed Steven Paddock valium, though why you would give such medicine without a psychological consult and to a possible thrill seeking compulsive gambler should constitute medical malpractice; while mandating psychiatric drugs for things like generalized anxiety, depression not be prescribed by regular MD’s nurse practitioners with prescription writing capabilities may seem like an unnecessary, insurmountable hurdle for the already disadvantaged mentally ill, Steven Paddock represents why it should indeed be the rule. Adam Lanza should have been followed up on by child services when his mother decided to home school him, question did she submit the required paperwork and state testing results all homeschool parents have to hand over in compliance with state law, and when and if she didn’t why wasn’t more done for him? Same story with the South Carolina teen; why do we keep allowing these troubled kids to be yanked out of public education in favor of ‘home schooling,’ which is code for parental isolation at home because they don’t want to accept their child’s problems or believe the school system is unduly infringing on their right to parent, never to be heard from again until the commit an act of violence? Both Arcan Cetin and Devin Kelley were characterized as bullies in school by classmates who knew them then, the former specifically to girls up to the point of sexual harassment yet no help was ever offered to them when we know bullying is a symptom of much deeper problems; things schools weren’t completely oblivious to even when 26 year old Kelley and 20 year old Cetin were in school. Gavin Grimm the trans teen who took on his county schoolboard for the right to use his gender identity corresponding bathroom had similar insight on how schools fail to deal with bullies, unwilling to deal with uncomfortable issues, put their foot down on how students treat others while letting horribly abuse and suffering kids coping with family problems, who are also bullies lip through the cracks, squandering the potential and intelligence of children who don’t fit into the one size fits all, cookie cutter education system magnifying both chances and effects of bullying. Bullying known to negatively impact teen and adolescent mental health was part of the catalyst for Columbine, and the Washington high school shooter among many more; bullying responsible for significant percentages of suicides among the same population. To that end, why was nothing done about Caleb Sharpe, William Atchison less from the school and FBI’s point of view and more from the parents; you’re child writes a suicide note you find, are made aware of, is handing essentially goodbye notes to friends and seeing the school counselor for his suicidal thoughts you may not have known about, and you do what, all appearances say nothing. You were assuredly notified he, Caleb, wasn’t allowed to come back to school pending a psych eval, did you get him one, seek resources from the school to get him one, simply talk to him about what was going on, pay attention to his social media pages? Then again, skipping over momentarily the absurdity some states operate programs only admitting kids who have to first be in trouble with the law, mental health related conditions are the only aspects of medicine, where even when you do have insurance, you can’t easily access care, can’t be sent a list of your carriers mental health approved doctors cataloged by what specifically they treat specialize in, think family counseling versus bipolar disorder; whereas, if you’re looking for a cardiologist, an optometrist, a dentist, an orthodontist you can get those listed by treatment area. If you don’t have insurance, depend on Medicare/Medicaid help is fairly impossible; compounded by both the ‘there’s nothing physically wrong with you, go home’ pat on the head mentality and their treat and street procedures brought on by shrinking budgets and a complete disconnection with what can happen when you turn the wrong person away. 3 years ago a gun store owner credited with stopping a potential mass shooting when an agitated man came into his shop talking about an unnerving experience he’d had at the hospital refusing to go another day without a gun on him, specifically asking for high power, destructive ammo to go with his gun; turns out he was released from the hospital because they couldn’t find a bed for him, not necessarily because he was well enough to actually be out, shop owner stalling him, calling police, they taking him into custody a remitting him to a hospital psych ward, where he should have been all along. California’s latest batch of wildfires bringing into sharp focus just how few psychotic hospitals and long term beds there are when 3 were serving a population in 1 singular county of about 850,000 people and when one shut down due to natural calamity it threw an already in crisis system into chaos echoing conditions nationwide. Making the problem with Donald trump naming Texas’ shooting and probably the other larger stories detail here isn’t just his rolling back of an Obama era rule meant to render it harder for mentally ill persons to get guns, mimicking his announcement on the opioid crisis, no new federal monies are going to mental health research, pharmaceuticals, maintaining facilities, opening new ones, budget expansions for more mental health professionals, outpatient counseling services or assessment teams like the ones in Arizona. There remain hardly any outreach or awareness campaigns alerting community members to mental health options in their local areas as it is, no new money going to states across the country to such purposes. How might things have been different if there had been more resources for John Russell Houser’s family to access in getting him help, Steven Paddock had known where to seek out mental health help instead of endless gambling and stockpile of guns; how might outcomes have changed, not only for the family/friends of James T. Hodgkinson but the nation, not to mention Steve Scalise if the gunman’s wife had known his behavior fit a profile indicating he needed to be seen by a medical professional right away. Lack of trying a prevailing plague on the psychiatric wing of medicine even if people willingly meet them halfway, imagine if they had kept Arthur DaRosa as opposed to turning him out into the cold to figure out his mental health on his own; his family telling press hospital personnel couldn’t even get his name right. Alexander Bonds didn’t have to become a career criminal if his mother had gotten the proper mental health treatment to then be able to raise her children spearing him the known scares of the foster system, didn’t have to continue down the path of career criminality if he’d gotten his diagnosis and medication sooner, been able to maintain better care of his mental health well before landing in Attica. Raising the serious question of should we continue operating prisons that degrade the mental health of yes inmates, people who have done something wrong but whose systematic abuse doesn’t fit the crime, ensures your putting back out into society angry, rage-filled individuals having picked up more criminal skills and zero work skills, coping skills with huge sides of trauma to go with it. Picture what didn’t happen if the police doing the wellbeing check on Eliot Roger had been those directly trained to interact with the mentally ill, if when Alexander Bonds’ girlfriend called about his erratic behavior, being off his medication or when Sarah Nicole Henderson’s husband called 9-1-1 saying she was suicidal they had dispatched a specialized team dedicated to dealing with mentally ill persons, had had a team to dispatch like the ones in San Antonio, Memphis, repeatedly mentioned Arizona who could have pointed either of them toward resources for mentally ill persons locally, made the basic suggestion to Henderson, for the time being, remove the guns for the house. Kevin Neal called his mother days before his shooting rampage saying among other things “it’s all over now I’m on a cliff and there’s nowhere to go;” had she been able to dispatch a police mental health team one student might not have been hospitalized, another mother might not have been fighting for her life after the mundane task of dropping her son off at school and an entire, small though it was, wouldn’t have traumatized students who witnessed such horror. Things never would have escalated to evacuating a typical size Midwestern town’s movie theater thanks to a man waving a gun had someone listened to him beforehand because he plainly told bystanders he needed to go to the hospital because he was “losing his mind;” sadly not apprehended by law enforcement. Doubly magnifying all the problems with the medical system, mental health system, shortages in beds, funding, research, treatments, medications that work, we don’t teach people how to care for their mental health; where all of us know the importance of a healthy diet, exercise, preventative screenings, taking any prescribed medications and adequately managing any chronic illnesses, no one tells people how to safeguard their mental health, tell them the normal parameters of grieving for a deal loved one or beloved pet, normal feelings associated with a job loss, natural disaster. Warning signs for prominent mental health problems by age, onsets of schizophrenia manifesting in the early 20’s depression and suicidal thoughts as well as anxiety dominating the teen and adolescent group; what to do when something doesn’t feel right about your mental health, things feel off, you’re hearing voices, seeing things, believe you’re being followed with no reliable evidence. Not just removing stigma, ridicule and snark around the subject of mental illness, reiterating to the public there is nothing wrong with seeking mental health help if you believe you need it, telling people where to go, how to broach those conversations with their primary care or other healthcare professional, how to choose a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist that’s right for you, how to spot bad or unscrupulous ones for your own protection that of your loved one whom you’ve convinced to seek help. Gun violence is the symptom not the overarching problem welcoming in 2018 it’s time we realize that and galvanize solutions toward that understanding and functional solutions, where the number of guns won’t matter.