Elliot Rodger (courtesy heavyeditorial.com)

“More money for mental health won’t stop these mass murderers,” former Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Professor Dr. Arthur Berg and pro-gun academic John Lott declare in a New York Post editorial, Why psychiatrists can’t stop mass killings. Their logic is inescapable: most mass murderers were in psychiatric care before they committed their heinous crime. Specifically, Elliot Rodger (Isla Vista), Ivan Lopez (the recent Fort Hood shooter), Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook elementary), James Holmes (“Batman” movie theater) and Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech). Which raises two important questions . . .

Why didn’t the shrinks prevent the attacks and what can we do to stop deranged people from going postal? I think you know the answer to the second, so let’s hear what Berg (and Lott) have to say about why “psychiatrists failed to identify real threats”:

Psychiatrists have strong incentives to get the diagnosis right. Besides their own professional pride and desire to help, they have legal obligations to inform authorities of a threat. Families of those killed by Holmes sued his psychiatrist for not recommending that Holmes be confined. Similar legal action may face Rodger’s psychiatrists.

The psychiatric profession is aware that it is very difficult for mental-health professionals to accept that a patient could pose a serious violent threat. They tend to deny it to themselves. In other words, psychiatrists frequently underestimate threats to safety.

The problem is severe enough that a whole academic literature is devoted to it. Explanations include psychiatrists trying to prove their fearlessness and becoming desensitized to the dangers. It’s possible that added training to understand these unusual cases may help improve their diagnoses.

Yet it’s also simply hard to predict these extremely rare outcomes.

Monday morning quarterbacking is always easy. What seem like obvious telltale signs in retrospect are not so obvious before the attack, even to the experts.

Yes, well, we’re not talking about subtle hints here. Rodger’s shrink(s) knew about videos in which he threatened to kill people. Anyway, point taken. Hubris happens. Incompetence happens. Shit happens. To be fair, we never hear about any of the psychos psychiatrists managed to intercept before a spree killing – because they forestalled that event. And HIPPA.

Set aside the fact that half of Rodger’s killings were stabbings; it’s just not hard to get guns illegally in this country — especially if you’re willing to spend months or years planning your attack, as virtually all of these killers do.

There are no cheap or easy answers. If someone poses a true danger to others, why not lock them up? Or provide outpatient care-givers to monitor them?

No one wants a dangerous person to have a weapon. But our mental-health system simply can’t be the last line of defense. There are just too many mistakes. Potential victims need to be able to defend themselves.

And there you have it. In the New York Post, no less. A happy day for common sense firearms freedom.

125 Responses to Harvard Shrink: Don’t Look at Us. Arm Yourself Against Crazies

    • Being in any print publication kind of devalues it to some degree. This can’t be the only shrink who not only doesn’t want to be blamed for his patients murders, but also sees the hypocrisy in insisting that gun owners should be. I’d say it’s a moral victory.

    • It ain’t necessarily the elitist intelligensia we need to reach. Consider them “gone” if you want.

      It’s the fence sitters that have their whole lives not even heard the counter-point to the mainstream media / progressive disarmament narrative.

      I’d be willing to bet some of those fence sitters read the Post and will see this article. One ‘Hmmmm, really. Hadn’t thought about it that way before’ at a time is ground gained.

      Think “Small Ball” not swinging for the fences at every at-bat.

    • No, they cannot dismiss it- its the facts and its by two authorities who reference those facts. The Post is the 50% of the New York population that primarily deals with the reality of the street, and the real world, so its actually MORE powerful than being in NYT, which is never going to happen anyway. See more below.

      The Harvard doc is pointing out the obvious,

      which is the common sense realization that quickly emerged from the Isla Harbor tragedy, that its about the person, not the gun.

      Thats why the progressive anti-gun activists were so silent so long, and why they are trying desperately to ignore or obscure the fact – witness the pitiful spin even PBS put on it, in the interview a couple days ago with Representative from that area.

      The narrative and talking points are out there –
      every progtard entity is pushing their stale and irrelevant agenda:

      its anti-women (HuffPo),
      its hunting rifles good, assault rifles bad (VPC, Brady, etc etc),
      its about how we talk to one another and how we need to do that properly, in good approved proletariate progtard directed prose (Shawagunk)

      So lets not get sucked into that by addressing those deliberate shifting of the topic- and point it back on them- its about the person, and getting that mentally disturbed person help, not taking more rights to self-defense away from citizens, who are at most risk, when the nuts are on the loose.

      This will be proven again in civil court. Watch that, and refer back to other cases, to make the point, over and over.

      • In all cases, it’s been a deranged person, yes. But something that doesn’t get mentioned but needs to be shouted from the rooftops. There is one other factor, which is directly under our control. Every single one of them happened in a so-called “gun-free” zone. Get rid of gun-free zones, and there won’t be as many shooting galleries for the deranged.

  1. The only way pre-crime intervention works is to lock up many people who are not actually a threat. Who wants to sit in prison or a high security mental institution because someone heard them venting or joking? Better safe than sorry, right? Who needs due process?

    • Sounds a little like the new law being proposed in the New California Republic.

      • Not quite. The new law will only seize guns subject to a hearing wherein the judge–with probably less than adequate evidence–will have to decide whether person should be deprived of his firearms for up to a year. But no detention of the individual. That is covered by Welfare & Institutions Code 5150/5152 (the former a 72 hour hold for “evaluations and treatment”, resulting in a five year loss of gun rights, and the latter a two week renewable involuntary detention (requiring a judicial proceeding) resulting in a lifetime gun ban).

  2. One of the many reasons that I carry everywhere is that I’ve known some of the “crazies”; personally and otherwise. Some are still professionals today; physicians, attorneys, etc. From those experiences, it’s my opinion that one is prudent being armed whenever possible. 😉

    • The only time that I am not armed is in the shower and in my dreams….even then I either have a weapon or am looking for one…sometimes naked and wet. 😉

  3. Armed resistance leads to these clowns killing themselves. If they meet that armed resistance sooner than later, there will be fewer victims. Rather than waiting for police to show up and bring force which triggers the coward mode in these psychos, why not have it be an armed citizen? It’s empirical, armed citizenry will be the only way to curb these things and minimize body counts, but in all the places these things have occurred citizens aren’t armed and are prevented from being armed (by force of law).

    • In at least three different places in Rodger’s Rabid Ramblings, he stated that he had to pick less desirable dates for his murderous actions because he believed that armed resistance would be too high (in this case armed police) for him to carry out his plans. If the People weren’t prohibited by law and societal pressure from being armed, these criminal rampages would either be stopped very early or deterred from even beginning.

      • Really? I watched most of the seven video compilationvand all if his final video, but I don’t recall hearing him address that. I recall him posposting the attack due to illness and him mentioning that had the police searched his room it all would have been revealed. However, I don’t remember him mentioning anything about anticipating armed resistance at any particular location. I do know that others, like Holmes, have specifically cited resistance potential in their target selection, but I didn’t know this one did so explicitly. I’m not saying he didn’t, just that I didn’t know about it. Good info.

        • Yep. I read every word of his My Twisted World — The Story of Elliot Rodger. I had posted one of the lines in comment on a previous article. There are at least three (perhaps four) places that he stated this. If someone is genuinely interested, I can pull the quotes out and post them here. It will take a while to find them again (perhaps search the PDF for “police”).

          Additionally, his father told media that the family is anti-gun and the children were raised in that environment. His French aunt has called for Obama to do something about the availability of firearms in the USA. A family friend, or perhaps his mother or latest therapist, was quoted as saying that Elliot gave no indication of interest in firearms. In the writing, he purchased his first firearm and asked, “Who is the alpha male now?!” Like many “progressives”, he obviously believed that the mere presence of a firearm made him superior.

  4. And… another article for the echo chamber.

    It’s not that I don’t agree, it’s just that I can only see the same article/editorial/piece (not just on this site) so many times before I start getting bored.

    The problem is that antis don’t use logic. They take “guns are bad” on faith. As RF has said before, there’s an element of phobia there.

    So if we accept that gun grabbers believe what they believe based on faith instead of facts…

    Well, ever tried arguing with an ultra religious person about anything you disagree on?

    I rest my case.

    • They (the anti’s) have had decades to control the “dialog” on this topic, and be the only ones having their message heard.

      YOU might get bored hearing it, but please consider that every time it’s said, someone may have their light bulb moment and realize just how wasteful (of human life) civilian disarmament is.

      In other words, it’s not the rabid anti’s we are trying to get the message to. It’s those that have only heard one side…they can be swayed. They can be convinced. And, they are voters.

      Do you think this article would have appeared in the NYP 15 years ago? Very likely not. We are gaining ground, but we won’t continue to do so by being silent and giving them free rein over the dialog again.

      • JR, you make some good points that clearly explain why we must not let up on articles discussing MDA and other anti-gun efforts that are time and again addressed here at every opportunity. We must employ the same tactic of redundancy that the anti’s have been using for a long time. In politics, schools and media theirs has been an effort to hammer into the public’s consciousness that ‘guns’ are evil in and of themselves, and all gun owners are second class citizens who are unstable ticking time bombs because they have…guns; only “common sense gun control” can contain the threat.

        Well we must apply the same tactics to expose the corrupt fallacy of the antis’ logic, falsehoods and methods in order to set the record straight on the gun issue. And it must be repeated over and over until our positions and the reality of the absurd efforts of the antis’ sinks in with people who are willing to listen, and continue the drum beat for those who aren’t. Call it reverse indoctrination.

        We’ve been hearing the antis’ continuous false mantra for decades. Well, it’s time to hammer back with a vengeance. In the case of gun rights and our Second Amendment protections, if it’s worth saying once, it’s worth saying a thousand times, or more.

        TTAG, keep it up!

    • You present a good point and it is why I sincerely believe that this nation will see armed conflict one day. The so-called progressive influence in our society makes it inevitable, IMHO.

  5. “Potential victims need to be able to defend themselves.”

    Including those in schools and other Free Crime Zones.

    This seems such a basic, fundamental fact that one truly has to wonder at the motivation of those clambering for “no guns in schools…EVER!”

    The list is long of people we can ask about disarmament zones…Suzannah Hupp, Nikki Goeser, etc. There simply is no moral justification for this to continue.

  6. a couple weeks after the birth of our first daughter, my wife and i were heading home when we decided to make a stop at a convenience store. at the time, i had just received my ccw permit and was carrying. on my way back to the car, some crazy guy started harassing me for money while moving his harms around erratically and constantly fidgeting with something behind his back. what really put me on edge was how quickly the man was closing the distance between himself and us. long story short, i addressed him firmly and he eventually gave up and beat it.

    i’m pretty fit (if i may say so myself), but if that guy had decided to go ape on me, the results wouldn’t have been pretty.

    that day made me realize the necessity of bearing arms and investing in a carry permit. what it also made me realize was the necessity of having the misses carry as well. had the guy chosen to show up at my car while i was still inside the store, my wife would have been left defenseless.

    i’ve been lucky enough to travel to many parts of the world. although there are many things i love about home, there’s no doubt that we have a serious mental health issue in this country which needs to be addressed. if the powers that be decide to do something about it, great. in any case, i’ll continue carrying vigilantly to protect myself and my loved ones.

    • As informed and intelligent people, RKBAers should never expect the “powers that be,” i.e. the government, to ever do anything effective or efficient to address the mental health problem, as we are the first to admit and/or recognize that the government causes more problems than it solves.

      As individuals, we should be supporting mental health facilities, be they homeless shelters, “shrinks” doing pro bono work, or other assistance entities. The fact that we no longer feel responsible as individuals, to help our fellow man is a major reason this country is circling the toilet bowl.

      This was not to flame your post, which I admired for your obvious maturity and self-reliance. And congrats on the new addition (though it seems to refer to a point in the more distant past) 🙂

      • no, i agree with you completely. society has become largely individualistic and most people are indifferent to the plight of their fellow man.

        although i’d ideally like my taxes to be used to address these important issues, i think you’re absolutely right in your assessment of the government’s willingness to do anything about it. if change is to come about, it’ll be through grassroots movements beginning with ourselves.

        as the poet saadi says,

        human beings are members of a whole,
        in creation of one essence and soul.
        if one member is afflicted with pain,
        other members uneasy will remain.
        if you have no sympathy for human pain,
        the name of human you cannot retain.

        thanks for taking the time to point out the flaw in my post. my discontent with the direction our country is taking makes me a bit bitter at times.

        • People always have been “individualistic”. This is nothing new. And, much of those taxes you refer to are stolen monies. Just food for thought…

    • Good post. The fact that you are in good physical condition, may not have meant much if the guy had of been a skilled martial arts expert.
      Good thing you had the gun.

      • Yep, a firearm truly levels the playing field. In my case, the guy had a significant height and weight advantage over me. It’s possible that I could have taken him on, but hand-to-hand combat would have probably left me in a world of hurt. Also, I wasn’t sure if he had a weapon on him because his hand kept on fidgeting behind his back.

        By the way, this incident isn’t a story of the distant past. I’ve only had my CCW permit for about 11 months and this ordeal went down soon after I got it. If any of you on here don’t carry on a daily basis, I’d highly advise you to consider otherwise. I know that day completely changed my wife’s outlook on concealed carry. She recently got herself a M&P Shield and will be getting her permit soon.

  7. Actually, having it in print in the New York Post, written by two proven authorities is a very good thing. The Post is the common-sense antidote to the New York Times. Its the street level news and entertainment.

    This author is pointing out the problems with the mental health laws, and the problems for cops trying to abide by them, which was the ostensible purpose of the CA law, in work in committee, that got spun into the Gun Violence Restraining Order whatever it has become, now that the anti-s got their hands on it. Ironic, isnt it, that the real problems, the very difficult challenges that have long existed, both in handling dangerously disturbed people like Rodgers, and the funding needed to address them, as well as facilities for them, vs dumping them in jail, already overcrowded, and where these sick folks will be permanently damaged, is being disregarded and perhaps delayed even further, in obedience to the top down narrative- to seize guns.

    In addtion to being blood dancers, the MDA and the StateRunMedia, and all their associated enablers in the Democratic Party and activists who feed off the non-profit funding mechanisms, that funnel Bloomberg and Soros money,

    are actually going to be responsible for further delays for helping sick people like Rodgers, Lanza, Holmes, and Loughner- and how many victims in the future, who would not have been harmed, if they were in care, instead of without.

    Thinking along those lines, I am actually surprised the entire medical profession in CA is not outraged that the progress in California towards more mental health common sense, is being hijacked and harmed by MDA and Brady and VFC, and their collaborators in the Democratic Controlled State of California.

    The blood is on their hands for being silent, too.

    PS; In a similar way, the Daily Mail is the antidote to the Guardian in London. And its a sad commentary on US media, that we have to get better investigative journalism out of the UK, on the US, than we get from NYT, WAPO, CNN, MSNBC and even sadly, PBS,

    in order to get any facts published that are contrary to the Progressive narrative.

    More, and Faster, Please!

    • You’re absolutely right. The Post is the everyday working New Yorkers’ paper, read on the subway by those who wish they could own a gun in a city where crime is still a problem. The Times is on the commuter trains from the suburbs with the Journal and the News, who cares!

    • The Post is VERY antigun. Printing this article must have given the editors and publisher a really bad case of the vapors.

  8. “But our mental-health system simply can’t be the last line of defense.”

    Our mental-health system was not designed or intended to be a “line of defense”. Our mental-health system is a very efficient method of generating income for it’s practitioners and the pharmaceutical companies. We do not require mental health professionals to produce results that even approach justifying the resources we expend on mental health care. Just to be clear, we reward gross incompetence as a matter of course. A drug/alcohol treatment program that has a 30% success rate at a 1 year follow up is an outstanding achievement! Increasing the scope of the inclusion of mental health professionals in deciding who may exercise their civil rights is the most effective tactic gun banners could devise to destroy the RKBA.

    • BIngo

      The Union of Amalgamated Witch Doctors wishes they had gotten to the trough before the pshrinks coven. About as effective.

    • The mental health system doesn’t just generate income. It generates consistent, constant, repeatable income. Treatment lasts forever and nobody is cured. It’s a bonanza.

      • Yep.

        We’ve had over 100 years of head pshrinkage, and we have more lunatics than ever.

        • I say quit the mindreading and soothsaying, and hold people accountable for their actions, not for their alleged thoughts or alleged intentions.

  9. Sadly, this is how this article will be misconstrued:

    Medical and psychiatric care cannot prevent killing sprees.
    Killing sprees occur in gun-free zones, weapon-free zones, and anywhere else.
    Background checks are useless to determine mentally disturbed individual’s plans
    Age prohibitions are useless with private sales.
    Private sales are useless to prevent ineligible people from buying weapons.
    Given these facts, “we’ve” tried everything. Therefore, the last resort is to ban and confiscate all firearms, except for law enforcement, soldiers, government workers, rich people, and bodyguards.

    Nevermind the obvious fact that rights come with responsibility and accountability. The blind “public safety” argument goes against individual freedom.

    But truthfully, I believe that the medical community is announcing this to avoid costly litigation when a patient slips through the cracks.

    • Well the blind public safety meme defies any sense anyway. There’s far and away better things to spend time, money, and legislation on than guns if all you are worried about is public safety.

    • MichaelB, if the gungrabbers want to try to sell a program that takes guns away from 100 million sane people so that ten insane people can’t get them, I’m fine with that. They will go down very hard.

  10. Totally off subject, but do you think it would be in bad taste to print out his picture and paste it to the target stand at my local range? Asking for a friend.

  11. This makes too much sense to dismiss, so of course the extreme leftists will, since all they really want is to outlaw guns for the vast majority of legal, law-abiding Citizens. That would result in an increase in violent crime and spawn a huge criminal industry in Black Market guns. Many more would die, or be maimed for life, when only the criminals and police/military are armed.

    It changes my mind somewhat from calling just for better mental health investment to also setting standards that psychiatrists/psychologists need to strictly follow that are more stringent. I hate to say it, but this kind of inverts the old notion, “better a guilty one go free than an innocent one be put in prison”, in the case of persons with diagnosed mental conditions and/or illnesses. Right now, it seems, psychiatrists/psychologists have too much discretionary judgement in assessing the threat potential of a given patient, and, if Berg and Lott are to be believed, too much ego and professional pride coloring that discretionary judgement.

    Just as many of us agreed with Joe the Plumber’s statement, “your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights”, we may have to agree it would be better to forcibly commit a few people to mental health care facilities and have it turn-out they are not a threat to anyone else, than to keep giving the benefit of the doubt and having the few deeply disturbed commit acts of mass violence. The principle is pretty much the same, namely, a few pay a price for the rights and safety of the many. If so it needs to be, so be it.

    • Wait. What?

      Are you seriously advocating locking people up, most likely against their will, because you think they MIGHT do something in the future?

      Thoughtcrime?

      Or, not even that.

      What if on the day he’s interviewed / treated and deemed “not a threat to others” he really does not have that evil in his heart…but, the next day he DOES.

      Are you saying just because someone has been diagnosed with X mental disorder that they be caged?

      I seem to remember reading some interesting documents from 1930’s Germany on this subject…the beginnings of what came to be the Final Solution started just this way.

      Be very careful what you wish for …

      • Right now in California AB1014 proposes to allow ANY person willing to sign a sworn affidavit obtained from a State website to accuse ANY person of being dangerous for cause of mental issues and that enables the State to obtain a “Gun Violence Restraining Order” against that named person. It also allows the State to enter their home, arrest them and seize their firearms. There is no “fault” to the accuser for a false accusation, but the named person (victim) has to prove he/she is not “dangerous” as accused.

        If this law passes in California, similar laws will be passed in other States and what you are fearing will be reality.

        I am saying give psychiatrists/psychologists standards to follow for patients already under their care (diagnosed with a mental condition or illness) and if that results in a few patients getting forcibly committed that are not dangerous that is an acceptable risk. It is not ideal, but, then, nothing in this matter seems to be.

        But if you are okay with letting your children be at risk from the person some shrink did not commit because he/she thought it might reflect poorly on their professional reputation, I am quite okay with that, too.

        Could someone committed, then found “not a danger” be released and then commit a mass murder? Of course they could! There is no way to remove all risk from this situation. Maybe someday, but not today.

        Your analogy of 1930’s Germany cuts no ice with me because in that case the State (NAZI Party) had a specific agenda of “racial purification” and used their unrestrained power to imprison and kill Jews, mentally ill, homosexuals, Gypsies, Jehovah’s WItnesses, intellectuals, dissidents and anyone else that crossed the radar scope of their agenda.

        The California law will basically give the same power to anyone who has any grudge against anyone else. (if passed as written, which I have my doubts will happen [ i hope]).

        I am fine if you and others cannot see my point of view. I wasn’t expecting anyone else to like it, but it does represent a valid option and high-lights how intractable this issue is. If you have a better option, put it out there. I still favor Nationally sanctioned Open Carry for law-abiding Citizens as a measure against this issue, but people will still get killed (that’s a given) and I do not in my wildest dreams see Politicians supporting that measure. They will likely enact some iteration of AB1014 well before they would support National Open Carry.

        Thanks for your comment.

        • Whats-her-face said in that radio discussion (RF was part of it) that, IIRC, three other states already have such a law in place. She specifically mentioned Texas. I asked in comments on the write-up if this were true. Nobody answered. Does anyone know?

        • I had not heard that, so cannot verify or debunk. The information here in California is that AB1014 is somehow a “new” tactic, but that could be hysteria. The proposal in California may be much worse than any other State already having such a law (what a surprise!).

        • “Your analogy of 1930′s Germany cuts no ice with me because in that case the State (NAZI Party) had a specific agenda of “racial purification” and used their unrestrained power to imprison and kill Jews, mentally ill, homosexuals, Gypsies, Jehovah’s WItnesses, intellectuals, dissidents and anyone else that crossed the radar scope of their agenda.”

          I’m talking about before it grew to that point…that’s why I said “what grew to become The Final Solution.”

          In the earliest days, the eugenics philosophy specifically targeted the mentally ill.

          Just as you are advocating.

          Research the history of those actions and thought processes that cut no ice with you. This link will get you started:

          http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics/topics_fs.pl?theme=9

        • Okay. I get your point and you are correct that it started with “mentally ill” persons, then progressed to the FINAL SOLUTION.

          What I am advocating is to put the onus of declaring people a “danger to themselves and others” for cause of mental instability on the psychiatric profession, who seems unable, for various “reasons” (cited by Berg and Lott) to be more likely to give the benefit of the doubt and enable some few of the mentally ill to act-out their violent delusions.

          However, I also recognize this is not a great solution, nor will it work in all cases, nor would it prevent a psychiatrist/therapist from having a reasonable doubt and still letting a person, like the SB spree killer, be free to carry-out a violent act. There would be no way to actually insure every such person would be stopped. It is not possible.

          In States that allow Open Carry or are “shall issue” Concealed Carry, Berg and Lott’s advice to “arm yourselves because we cannot (or will not) stop every mentally ill person plotting violence from executing their violent plan” (paraphrase), it is not a problem. But in States where Open Carry is “illegal” and CCW permits nearly impossible for enough ordinary citizens to be armed in public places, Berg and Lott’s advice is functionally useless. It amounts to saying, “Get ready to be killed or have your family and friends killed because we cannot predict which of our “patients” will go over the edge and commit mass murder. Sorry ’bout that.”.

          John in Ohio, Ardent, Rich Grise and I pretty much argued this to a conclusion I am dead wrong, so if it makes you feel vindicated, I recognize it is not a tack we should pursue. Armed citizens having the legal status to carry in public places will serve as a satisfactory deterrent/defense. Now, if we can just get THERE in all 50 States….but it still pisses me off that the “trained psychiatric professionals” are so reluctant to actively restrain their patients and everyone else thinks that’s okay. I’ll keep it to myself, though, going forward.

    • I think the mental-illness path to 2A disablement is the most serious threat to 2A rights we face. There is no good way to resolve this problem.
      We could get more aggressive and compel health professionals to report their patients; i.e., at a trigger-point lower than current reporting requirements. The difficulties with that approach are that: patients will be reluctant to speak candidly with their health professionals; and, gun owners will be summarily reported to minimize the professionals’ liability. Both are counter-productive.
      What might be a safer and more productive route is reporting by certain laymen. Some, if not most, of these psychos exhibited dangerous behavior in a public context: in school; at work; among friends or relatives. Roger’s mother reported her son to the police. If police/public-health officials had an effective protocol to react to such reports, some of these psychos might be picked-up, evaluated, and given effective treatment, including commitment.
      I do NOT argue that such a protocol would find the needles-in-the-haystack that cause mass-gun-killings. We should be so lucky. These are too few in a haystack of lots of dangerous psychos walking among us. E.g., psychos who push subway riders onto the tracks.
      If we quarantine individuals with infectious diseases and trace contacts of people with VD, we ought to be able to design an analogue to deal with criminally-dangerous mentally ill people.

      • Agreed. This is not a pleasant line of discourse, but it has to be explored because it may be the “best” option to address an issue that has no good options.

        • No, it doesn’t have to be explored beyond compelling government to no longer infringe upon the individual right to keep and bear arms. Deterrence and culling will solve the relatively infrequent rampage non-issue.

        • How do you think “deterrence” will work with people whose grasp of reality and morality is non-functional? What do you mean by “culling”?

        • If you understand anything about mental illness, you will realize that very few are so far gone all of the time as to not perceive some bit of reality. Those who fall into your straw man category ought to be institutionalized or at least under close guardianship.

          Culling means exactly what it sounds like. Those not deterred from these crimes will, hopefully, remove themselves from society through death, incarceration, or institutionalization.

        • Just quit trying to be mindreaders and soothsayers, and simply hold people accountable for their actions.

          There! Problem solved!

        • @ John in Ohio, So, you just fundamentally agreed with me. Some are not so far gone as to fail to see the reality various deterrents and will not attempt to act-out their violent fantasies. Some are unable to see reality other than what they create in their sick minds, like the Newtown killer and the SB killer, and they need to be institutionalized or placed under close supervision BEFORE they can act out their violent fantasies, (which is what I am suggesting).
          Your concept of “culling” seems a bit deliberately vague. Some will die, some will be incarcerated (we are incarcerating many now because there are not enough mental health care facilities to hold all of them) or institutionalized (the lucky ones), perhaps as the result of acting-out or attempting to act-out their violent fantasies. They usually end-up dead (by their own hand), and that usually entails taking out innocent people before they are dead, or captured. We should try to prevent that, or reduce it, but there is still an inevitable probability it will happen.

        • and they need to be institutionalized or placed under close supervision BEFORE they can act out their violent fantasies, (which is what I am suggesting).

          Nope, we do not agree. Elliot Rodger probably wouldn’t have qualified to be institutionalized or kept under close supervision for very long. His personality disorder could only possibly be treated once he, himself, wanted to improve. Except for his last few weeks of life, there was very little evidence to deny him freedom.

          I’m not trying to be vague at all regarding “culling”. If a person commits a violent act then those on the scene can kill him or apprehend him. The criminal (mentally ill or not) may wind up dead, incarcerated, or institutionalized. Now, let’s stop playing silly games where you feign not understanding what I mean by “culling”, shall we?

        • You just said the same thing I said, so we can stop playing silly games when you stop making them up.

        • Show me with quotes, DerryM, because I don’t see it and frankly, I don’t believe you.

          Remember, context counts. 😉

          Edit: I’ll help you out… it appears to me that you’re aiming to figure them out and protect. I’m saying no, except in very extreme cases. With the rest, let, as Rich indicates, “Darwin” sort them out.

        • In California’s proposed AB1014 the Politicians are allowing anyone to accuse anyone of being potentially about to commit violence with a gun for cause of mental instability. All the accuser need do is fill-out an online forma and submit it, then the Police can take it to a Judge and obtain a “Gun Violence Restraining Order” which allows them to go to the named persons residence, search it and seize any firearms that belong to that named person, or that said person has access to in the residence. There is some provision for detaining the named person, as well.
          What i am saying is that instead of that egregious system, put in place a law that makes it easier, and even imperative, for professional psychiatrists treating patients, like the SB spree killer, to either forcibly commit, or create a cause for law enforcement to obtain something like the GVRO, when the trained, licensed professional suspects the patient may be contemplating a violent act against anyone else. A key point of Berg and Lotts’ article was that psychiatrists often hesitate to suspect a patient is contemplating violence for some rather personal reasons, then whadda ya know ? their patient goes out and commits a mass murder. Put some liability on the psychiatrists. It will not work in all cases, but the California law would put every California gun owner at risk of being falsely accused of plotting “gun violence” and subject them to the GVRO, seizure of firearms and other pain to possibly stop one or two people like the SB spree killer. If AB1014 is enacted you have your “slippery slope” applicable to anyone in California. I am saying put only those already seeing a psychiatrist in that jeopardy, not millions of ordinary citizens.

        • What i am saying is that instead of that egregious system, put in place a law that makes it easier, and even imperative, for professional psychiatrists treating patients, like the SB spree killer, to either forcibly commit, or create a cause for law enforcement to obtain something like the GVRO, when the trained, licensed professional suspects the patient may be contemplating a violent act against anyone else.

          We do not agree. If I wrote something that you believe agrees with this, then please quote it. I do not want to see it made “easier” or “imperative.”

          I am saying put only those already seeing a psychiatrist in that jeopardy, not millions of ordinary citizens.

          We do not agree. If I wrote something that you believe agrees with this, then please quote it. I do not want to see anyone put further in that jeopardy, those already seeing psychiatrists or not. I do not support your compromise.

        • I agree that we do not agree. I also agree that the idea I put forth was flawed precisely because it would put the patients being treated at risk of having their rights violated. I think the divergence in our points of view on this is quite clear, and I respect your opinion on this, as well as Ardent’s and Rich Grise’s. So, I am not going to pound a square peg into a round hole and waste your time by trying to quote where I thought you said you agreed with me. You did not in words and I acknowledge that.

          California’s AB1014 will put millions of sane gun owners at risk of being falsely accused of plotting/intending gun violence and can cause them to lose their firearms and freedom to own firearms.
          If some other States have this kind of law, I am willing to bet they are somewhat “saner” than what is proposed for California. I am also willing to bet some other States may follow California’s model if AB1014 is enacted. I think the onus of declaring someone a danger of perpetrating violence (by any means) for cause of mental illness belongs to the psychiatric profession, not to the Public at large.

          Often we spend a lot of time “preaching to the choir” in these posts and comments. I find it necessary to stir the pot now and again, by deliberately posting things that people won’t like. It makes us think about our ideas and gives the “newbies” some different insights to their own thinking.

          Thanks for a lively debate, gents! I have no need to be ‘right’ about this and I think we have reached a point of beating a dead horse, so let’s all agree to move on. Hopefully, no hard feelings remain. None here.

        • Thanks. Let me re-emphasize that I have a LOT of respect for your opinion John in Ohio 🙂

      • My proposal is to give the mental health care professionals directives that take their egos and reputation biases out of the equation and lets them do with their patients what AB 1014 wants to let anyone do to anyone anonymously. I have no expectation of many people liking it, but I wanted to emphasize it might be better to step on a few peoples’ rights through a trained psychiatrist therapist than millions by any “Tom, Dick, Suzy or Jane” with a grudge against someone else.

        Forcible commitment might not be needed. AB1014 wants to enable law enforcement to obtain a “Gun Violence Restraining Order” (GVRO) from a Judge based on the anonymous “sworn affidavit” submitted by anyone through the web. Perhaps, the same kind of order could be obtained on the advice of the psychiatrist, which would enable law enforcement to search and seize any weapons, documents, videos and so forth from the patient, evaluate the evidence and prevent another mass murder.

        At any rate, I am presenting an idea that might work. I have no illusions it’s a great idea, but it might cause someone else to see a better option and present it in rebuttal to what I am saying. I am thick-skinned enough not to care if people don’t like what I say, as it may go nowhere, but it may spawn an actually useable idea, which would make me very happy. I have no ego about it. I just want to find a way to, at least, reduce the incidence of these kinds of things so I don’t have to watch the anguish and heartbreak of another Dad, like Christopher Michaels-Martinez’ Dad.

        So, if all my remarks get me is a bunch of abuse…I am satisfied that I tried.

    • As you as you can say that 2+2=5 you can go. What? No, you have to really believe 2+2=5, and that Big Brother loves you.

      There should be no incarceration for any cause but by due process. Just like the psychiatrist in the article said, armed up and defend yourself. Taking away anyone’s freedom outside of due process for a quantum of safety is a sure leap onto the slippery slope. Better that ten maniacs go free than one sane person be forcibly hospitalized.

      • It doesn’t have to be forcible commitment, it could be a restraining order such as included in California’s AB1014. If you’re not in California, then you are not facing the prospect of being subjected to a “Gun Violence Restraining Order” based on a web form submitted by anyone else against you with no chance to confront your accuser, your home searched, weapons seized and possible detention without any “due process”…
        I don’t expect to get much approbation, just stimulating a discussion to see if any better ideas come forth that might prevent some of these kinds of incidents. If nothing comes of it, I am okay with that, nonetheless, thanks for your comment.

        • Here’s the better idea: Stop disarming people and allow them to defend themselves against these relatively infrequent acts. Deterrence and culling as I stated before.

        • In my reply to JR, I stated unequivocally that I favor Nationally Sanctioned Open Carry for all legal gun owners implicitly for the purpose of deterrence to all criminals and mentally unbalanced spree killers. I don’t think the Politicians will relinquish their requirement of Permits for Concealed Carry, but they ought to. So we agree on that.

        • In a way, we agree. However, when licensed carry is all that is permitted then government has infringed. Licensed/permitted carry is a privilege. Government doesn’t have legitimate authority to disallow or permit carry. Currently, government’s activities in those areas constitute tyranny. Hopefully, this nation will return to shall not be infringed.

        • When I say Nationally Sanctioned Open Carry, I mean free of any infringement, unregulated Open Carry, as it should be. Concealed Carry probably ought to be an option of free Open Carry, but I do not think that will happen. It will remain a “privilege”.

        • We are on the same page about carry. But, I rather expect that the USA will have un-infringed carry one day (open and concealed), either after bloody conflict or political restoration. Sadly, my money is on the former.

  12. the truth i found in his videos was that he was a mentally unstable incel misogynist who had access to kinves and firearms. This might be a regressive thought but getting laid might have helped him.

    • After reading his writings, I’m convinced that getting laid wouldn’t have improved his narcissism. If his parents forced him to carry his weight earlier in life then it might have reduced his sense of entitlement a little. But, I think this guy was doomed to a nasty end regardless by the time of his late teens.

  13. Crazy people that want to kill will. I agree that more armed citizens will thwart knife wielding, gun toting psychos. But they will evolve to other methods such as bombs or cars running into crowds. You won’t stop them, but we should keep all the guns we want.

    • Michael,

      You have touched on a point that I have stated before: if a spree killer is going to carry out his/her plans, I desperately hope that they opt to use a knife or a firearm rather than cars, bombs, fires, and poisons … because once the spree killer starts with a knife or firearm, an armed citizen can promptly stop them and minimize the number of casualties. Unfortunately, once a spree killer starts with a car, bomb, or poison, NO ONE CAN MINIMIZE THE NUMBER OF CASUALTIES.

      • Serious point. Among those who plan-out their actions, nothing stands in the way of a bomb or poison plot. A road-rage rage might be stopped by another vehicle. I saw today a posting about a guy in a truck who crashed into a teen on a rampage with a stolen car.
        Given your point, we need a mental-hygene public health program with commitment-teeth if we are to deal with bombs/poison/etc. Armed civilians can only stop criminals and crazies with guns/cutlery/blunt-objects.

        • I stand with John, just NO! Better that a few die in these insane attacks than innocent people are detained without due process. I’d rather die in an explosion than be confined to a mental hospital being forcibly administered mind altering substances. There is no worse possible idea than giving government one more way to lock us up.

  14. I don’t understand how an article like this can be written without referencing the potential contribution that SSRI drugs have had on the proliferation of mass murderers. Every single one of these killers, to a man, is on some sort of chemical cocktail featuring SSRIs to help them cope. The psychiatrists specifically and the medical establishment in general has refused to admit that violent outbursts are a possible side effect of SSRI use. Billions of dollars at stake. I predict that in 20 years we will look back on the common use of SSRIs to help otherwise healthy people cope as being unbelievably stupid.

    • “I don’t understand how an article like this can be written without referencing the potential contribution”

      Because this article was not about the causes of the behavior. Rather, it was about the role the mental health field should play and to what standard it should be held accountable.

      Essentially, the article said, “For a variety of reasons, we cannot predict human behavior. All the hindsight about how obvious it should have been is just that…hindsight.”

      • Wow, the big pharma lobby weighs in. JR, the article at its core is about the causes of these behaviors, read the opening sentence. “More money for mental health won’t stop these mass murderers.”

        Ralph, you highlighted my point and there is no need for simple correlation/causation examples. The only way to differentiate between correlation and causation is with hard data gained through scientific study. The medical establishment in tandem with big pharma simply refuses to acknowledge the possibility publicly or even bother studying it seriously. That was my point.

        • You cannot have read the article if you think it is at all about what causes the behavior. Holy cow.

          I read the full article in the NYP before it was even posted here on TTAG, and it is written to address questions about the role and culpability of the psychiatric community in cases where patients commit atrocious acts.

          And what’s with the “big pharma” comment? I think you didn’t read my comment with any more comprehension than you (supposedly) read the article, or you just like making wild a$$ed assumptions with precisely zero evidence in the real world.

    • Every single one of these killers, to a man, probably spent way too much time jerking off, too. Correlation isn’t causation.

      Of course insane people are on drugs. Just like people with pneumonia are on antibiotics. And some of them die. So the antibiotics must be killing them. Right?

    • Let’s not confuse correlation with causation. Psycho-active pharmaceuticals are not prescribed to people who do NOT suffer from mental illness. It might be interesting to conduct a large scale study to see if humans with no symptoms of mental illness exhibited dangerous behavior after being treated with such pharmaceuticals; but, this is more-or-less an academic thought. The criminally-insane people who have committed these murders were mentally-ill. Their behavior was more likely caused by their illness than by their treatment.
      I WILL grant you that the introduction of the psycho-active pharmaceuticals coincident with violent behavior is worthy of study. A study might reveal that untreated patients are less violent; patients who have been treated for a long period of time are less violent; however, patients just beginning a course of treatment with a particular drug or class-of-drugs are for a time more violent. If a study revealed such a coincidence that would be useful. It might suggest that patients beginning a course of pharmacological treatment need to be monitored intensely until the therapy has taken effect and the patient has stabilized for a time. Or, we might discover that such a precaution would be desirable, but cost prohibitive given the incidence of violent behavior during this transition period from un-treated to successfully treated.
      Generally, FDA-approved drugs have proven efficacy. We don’t want to condemn a drug that has proven its efficacy scientifically because of rare dangerous side-effects.

    • The fail is strong with this one. Ralph hit it on the head. Crazy people get put on psych meds so most crazy people are on psych meds but most people on SSRIs are not crazy. I would bet that SSRIs have prevented far more suicides and murder/suicides than you would imagine.

      • OK, Ralph, Wes, et al. We are beyond the over simplified correlation/causation examples. Understand the concept there fellas. Now, prove that the chemical cocktails we are feeding the mass murderers don’t make them more prone to violence. You can’t prove it because the studies simply haven’t been done. Too much money and liability at stake so it is conspicuously ignored. You can’t rule out correlation until you have done the work to find the root contributors.

        Look at the other side of the coin which I personally think is a bigger contributor than the SSRIs themselves. Let’s face it…people like Holmes, Rodgers, and the like are fed the drugs to allow them to mostly act normal enough so that people like us (or their parents, teachers, school mates, co workers) cope with them in regular society. The treatment doesn’t necessarily fix their issues, it smooths them over just enough so that they don’t have to be institutionalized. I would argue that 30 years ago, every single one of these guys would have been locked in a facility and not out on their own “living life.” From that perspective, the drugs work great, until they don’t.

        • Ahh…The ole proving a negative conundrum. I have no burden to prove this because there is no evidence that SSRI cause homicidal urges. I can’t prove that a ceramic rabbit the size of Jupiter won’t crash into Earth killing us all. That doesn’t mean I get all worked up about something that I can’t prove insinuating that a giant ceramic rabbit will kill us all.

        • We’re talking about so few people who turn to murder while on these drugs compared to the number taking them that what you’re doing is arguing that the drugs to work. They allow people to function in society. The few who commit mass murder (and we’re talking about a statistically irrelevant number here) weren’t helped by the medication. What you seem to advocate is institutionalizing millions of people to avoid a tiny few committing bad acts. It won’t work in the first place, the infrastructure doesn’t exist for it, it would certainly drive many away from treatment of any kind, it’s immoral and it’s illegal (mostly because it’s so immoral as to be properly called evil). It smacks of the absolute worst sorts of trading liberty for tyranny to gain some miniscule potential safety and its a craven and callous way of doing it at that.

        • I haven’t seen anything definitive in media that proves Rodger was on medication. I’m not claiming that he wasn’t. It’s just that I haven’t seen anything concrete to that effect yet.

          Apparently, he had Vicodin and Xanax as part of his planned suicide but he had recently refused antipsychotic medication from a psychiatrist.

          The doctor ended up dismissing it by prescribing me a controversial medication, Risperidone. After researching this medication, I found that it was the absolute wrong thing for me to take. I refused to take it, and I never saw Dr. Sophy again after that.

          To end my life, I will quickly swallow all of the Xanax and Vicodin pills I have left, along with an ample amount of hard liquor. Immediately after imbibing this mixture, I will shoot myself in the head with two of my handguns simultaneously.

        • @Ardent: +1000 – You expressed my thought as well. I’m stunned to think that other free individuals would actually contemplate that “compromise”.

        • @Wes: ” I can’t prove that a ceramic rabbit the size of Jupiter won’t crash into Earth killing us all. ”

          It’s not ceramic; it’s unfired clay. You know it’s true. Stop denying it.

  15. This New York Post article illustrates a small subset of the larger problem. The larger problem is that “other people” — whether mental health professionals, school staff, parents, court officers, law enforcement officers, or whoever else — often fail miserably to stop a violent criminal from attacking good people. The specific reasons for the failure are irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that violent criminals commit at least 1 million violent crimes every year in the U.S. That being the case, I refuse to depend on other people to keep me and those around me safe.

    Look at it this way. Violent criminals attack 1+ million people in our nation every year and “other people” keep failing to stop it. This has been happening for several decades. And yet many people keep putting their faith in “other people” to stop violent criminals. Please tell me why the axiom doesn’t apply: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

    • mental health professionals, school staff, parents, court officers, law enforcement officers, or whoever else Fundamentally, in a free society none of these people have a duty to protect or secure your butt. At least notionally, they all have some other primary purpose (mental health “professionals” being a possible exception) that does not involve ensuring anyone’s security. Essentially not their problem.

      The security of any individual is their’s alone (or for a minor, their parent). Take care of yourself don’t depend on a nanny.

    • Well said.

      The very debate is statist … that personal security is not a personal matter, but a state | profession | institutional matter.

      This article hits it home in the very last sentence. No matter what social | legal | formal barriers are put into place, ultimately, the buck stops with the individual, who MUST have the means and tools to defend him or herself.

  16. Not sure what the actual title is but I’m pretty sure all the psychiatrist get together once in a while and update the catalog of psychiatric health issues. Somewhere there’s a committee preparing to define the felt need to defend one’s self as a mental illness. Private gun ownership problem solved.

    • I have the same concern. Asperger’s Syndrome was originally a form of Autism and some years ago was reclassified to a subset of Autism and re-defined as a “condition” not an illness. Both the SB, CA and Newtown, CT spree killers were diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome.

      • A close family friend told media that the family suspected Asperger in early childhood but that there was never an official diagnosis. Based on the videos and the “manifesto” it is more likely Narcissistic Personality Disorder mixed in with severe social anxiety.

        • I based my remark on the report that he was diagnosed with “highly functional Asperger’s Syndrome” pet family. That was early in the reporting, so it may not have been accurate, however on reading about Asperger’s, many of his symptoms seemed to conform to those displayed by officially diagnosed Asperger’s patients.

        • There has been at least one report since that disputes if there was ever an official diagnosis. Really, it doesn’t mean much as with enough money and/or persistence one can get a diagnosis of such for their child. It’s surprisingly not that difficult of a task. I’ve seen a fair share of shopped and parent instigated diagnosis.

          Nothing that I’ve seen really points to Asperger except the social anxiety. Might he have had a tinge? Sure. But it was the narcissism and paranoia that drove the act. His writings make that crystal clear. I also wonder if he wasn’t strung out on Xanax, Vicodin, and alcohol as he wrote that he planned on using some of the pills he had left.

        • We’ll probably get a final correct report on what he was diagnosed with eventually. Whether Asperger’s or narcissism and paranoia doesn’t make much difference, it was sufficient to propel him into the murder and violence he committed.

  17. I’ve argued long that these type of tragedies have nothing to do with guns.

    Our mental health system is not a line of defense at all – first or last.

    That said, it is still failing in its practice. Political correctness has crept into the system, where the concern is more focused on avoiding “stigmatization” rather than curing the patient. The end result is that people who have no business being out in public are being “mainstreamed.” Even in this article it’s not a matter of being unable to identify these people, it’s that they are unwilling to identify them.

    You cannot deprive a person of their freedom – even the mentally ill – without the strictest scrutiny of each individual case. Society cannot be allowed to have the circumstances of mental illness to be abused. Not only must the person be truly mentally ill, but they must either be incapable of caring fore themselves or they must be a real and present danger to themselves and/or others. The tragedy is compounded in that many – if not most – of these could be treated or even cured and returned to society.

    While I’m not a qualified mental health professional, based on the background of many of these mass homicide events it seems clear to my layman perspective that the person had no business being loose in public. I do know, though, that failing to make the correct diagnosis because it is uncomfortable is the worst form of malpractice.

  18. At last, a voice of sanity is heard in the Land.

    The gun-grabbers would like to set the standards of Liberty for our civil society on the lowest common denominator of sanity. They think our freedoms should be based on the behavior of the violent psychotics who have been forced to remain in that society, instead of being removed to an asylum, where if they can’t be helped, they can at least be controlled.
    The mentally disturbed were not “mainstreamed” into society. All of civil society is being transformed into one vast asylum, with all the rules, regulations, and restrictions required to monitor and control homicidal inmates, ignoring the rights and liberties of sane citizens.
    It is wrong-headed and a threat to all of civil society. We cannot permit the “psychoing down” of the Liberty of citizens to the standard that we are all viewed as potential homicidal maniacs.

    “Laws that criminalize conduct not wrong in itself to prevent crime before it occurs make the behavior of criminals the measure of the rights and scope of liberty that the law will permit to the innocent . . . 

    A law which restricts the liberty of the innocent because of the behavior of the guilty, that rests on the principle that the conduct of criminals [or psychos] dictates the scope of liberty for the rest of society, in no sense ‘fights’ crime.” 
    For society has permitted its fear of crime, and craving for safety, to turn the force of law against the innocent and law-abiding. Far from fighting crime, the criminalization of otherwise innocent activities represents a society in retreat from crime. This is a society desperately accommodating itself to crime.”
    — Jeff Snyder

  19. The gun grabbers don’t want reason and common sense. They want your guns out of your hands and into the hands of the authorities. They want to blame everything but the one thing that should be to blame. They used to blame rock music and musicians for suicides to. Please lets just end the BS some people are just plain crazy and stupid. You can’t fix either one. Morality and respect for life can’t be legislated.

  20. Check out “The Insanity Offense,” an excellent book about the changes in mental health treatment which started in the 1960’s and are thought to be partially responsible for as many as 4,700 murders in California alone, 1970 – 2004. People who should have been locked up, people who families begged to have institutionalized and weren’t because the bar for involuntary treatment was set too high, went on to kill.

  21. And most psychiatrists are Democrats who deny that mental illness exists in many cases, such as homosexuality and sexual identity disorder (trannies). They have a political motive for defending crazy people from incarceration for their mental illnesses.

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