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For some time, the NRA has been saying that the police and courts should enforce existing gun laws – rather than create new ones. Recent events have highlighted the truth about “gun violence.” In the Isla Vista murders, six cops visited psycho-killer Eliot Rodger’s abode to investigate the suicidal/homicidal maniac. They failed to check California’s gun registry or watch his evil, illegal YouTube video. They failed to take Rodger into custody, remove him from society and revoke his guns rights for five years (as per 5150). So now the Golden State’s pandering pols are pushing to create a “gun violence restraining order.” Wrong answer. Let’s shine the light on a similar case out of Connecticut . . . [NB: autoplay video after the jump]

Days before a Connecticut Guardsman killed his wife and himself, his military counselor was so concerned about his demeanor during a phone conversation she called the police, a Guard spokesman said Friday.

City police visited the Henderson Street home of 1st Lt. Alexander Ryng on May 31 — for the second time that day — but police said there was no reason to take any action.

On June 4, Ryng fatally shot his wife, Kyla, then turned the gun on himself, leaving two of their three young children running next door to their grandmother’s house for help.

Now you might think that a “gun violence restraining order” would have helped avert this tragedy [reported by courant.com]. That assumes Alexander Ryng couldn’t have secured a firearm or some other deadly weapon if the cops had taken his guns. You wanna bet your life on that?

If you accept the fact that a mentally ill or just downright evil person can get a firearm even if the government takes his or her legally purchased firearms away then you have to think, hmmmm, maybe the best solution is to take the disturbed/crazy/bad guy off the streets.

This thought did not occur to the police. Or if it did, they ignored it.

When police received the call from the counselor last Saturday afternoon, two officers were sent to the house and spoke with both Alex and Kyla Ryng, Det. Lt. Kevin Morrell said.

[Det. Lt. Kevin ] Morrell said he didn’t know further details of what happened when the officers visited because he didn’t have the reports, one of which wasn’t finished, he said.

He said if either person had an injury, the officers would have made an arrest.

There was no record of domestic violence between Kyla and her husband, and no restraining or protective orders. But there were “red flags,” said Karen Jarmoc, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“These things just don’t happen overnight. There has to be a previous pattern,” she said.

One of the people who seemed to notice red flags was Kyla Ryng’s mother, Michele Brasley.

In a taped call to 911 after the murder-suicide, Brasley told police, “I knew he was going to do this.”

Remember: both the mother of the murdered woman and the murderer’s shrink didn’t keep that conclusion to themselves prior to the attack. Also: the Constitution State has laws allowing involuntary commitment.

III. Emergency Confinement

A. Detention by Police. Any person may apply to the appropriate probate court alleging that another person has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or others or gravely disabled, and needs immediate care and treatment in a hospital for psychiatric disabilities. The court may then issue a warrant for his apprehension. After the person is brought before the court, it must order that he be taken to a general hospital if it determines there is probable cause to believe that he has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or others or gravely disabled. The person must be examined within 24 hours and cannot be held for more than 72 hours unless he is committed on a physician’s emergency certificate under §17a-502 (§ 17a-503(b)).

A police officer is also authorized to take into custody any person whom the officer reasonably believes meets the criteria for commitment. The officer may take him to a general hospital for emergency examination. He must be examined within 24 hours and released within 72 hours, unless detained and committed on an emergency basis under §17a-502 (CGS §17a-503(a)).

So the police didn’t think to commit Alex under the above statute – despite calls from the National Guard behavioral counselor warning of his mental condition. And what’s needed here is another piece of legislation that would leave [supposedly disarmed] dangerous people on the street while putting sane, lawful gun owners at risk of unwarranted confiscation. Yeah right. [h/t RC]

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34 Responses to CT Police Dropped the Ball in Murder/Suicide

  1. We’re just a single law (or layer of laws) away from safety, peace and love for all. Can’t you just feel it?

  2. “How in the world could a disarmed, distraught man get ahold of a gun? It’s impossible!” These gun grabbing fools don’t seem to understand that evil criminals will always do as they please because they don’t obey your silly laws. I guess it’s impossible for evil doers to murder, rob or rape your family just because you passed a new “LAW”. Look at how well prohibition worked, and our current drug laws are making us all much safer.

  3. Yep hammer home the cop failure. Kinda like Hillary disavowing the get Iraq vote or any responsibility…for ANYTHING. What difference does it make? Maybe children with a parent.

    • I don’t think the point is to “hammer home cop failure”. My take is that we have laws that allow the police adequate discretion to arrest individuals evidencing a likely risk of violence.

      (While the subject of this thread is mental illness, I believe the rational is equally applicable to criminal violence irrespective of the presence of mental illness.)

      Our problems are two-fold:
      – First, the difficulty in balancing the aggressiveness vs. reticence to be used by police. Suppose the laws are adequate; however, society (through its judges) convey to the police that they are to be highly reticent to execute the authority. Police will eventually get the message. They will not arrest an individual exhibiting a likely risk of violence until it is so severe that they believe a DA and a judge will uphold the decision. Giving the police another law does nothing whatsoever to empower the police/DAs to act where society – and its judges – want likely violent people at liberty.
      – Second, society has to ask itself whether it wants to error on the side of liberty or public safety. Is society better off with a hair-trigger being sufficient to deprive a suspect of his liberty – even for so brief a time as 72 hours? Or, is society better-off with an 8-lbs trigger-pull before the police encroach upon liberty? It’s unlikely that society can ask it’s police/DAs/judges to error equally on each side. Readers of this blog are – by-in-large – apt to favor error on the side of liberty as opposed to the police arresting individuals on slight probability. (We readers might hold differently as respects aggressiveness in prosecution of criminals rationally in pursuit of their chosen profession.)
      Perhaps society has successfully communicated to its judges its collective value judgement; whether that be a wise or imprudent choice. Now, then, whence the final line of defense against those violent individuals wrongly left at liberty? It’s all very well that the elite have little to fear from the violent at-large amoung the rest of the population. The law allows the poor the same right as the rich to cloister themselves in gated communities and hire retired police to bear arms in their defense.
      My conclusion is that we must reach the 99% of the population who cannot afford to live in secure communities. Either they armor themselves for their personal security; or, they delegate more power-of-arrest to the police. The latter is a far more dangerous choice.

  4. I completely agree about the commitment, not sure I want it to be the police. You really not need an extra special gun violence restraining order.

    The problem is there is no magic way to know which people will do this. “red flags” are not predictive. While 100% of people who do this have red flags, only 2% of the people with the same red flags end up homicidal.

    But,if you force the police to lock people up, who are really not trained in mental health, they will commit everyone and let a judge sort it out. That means lots of “innocent” people locked up. Nor are police family counselors.

    On the other hand, if you leave it to the family, you are really leaving it to a bunch of (probably) codependents. Or worse, soon-to-be-exs that just want to get revenge or a bigger slice of the settlement.

    Neither the police nor the family want to lock people up on a small chance… and by the time is a large chance, the danger is well, imminent.

    Honestly, we make a big deal about these sensational cases. But, these are out of the ordinary. Most of the plain vanilla murder is of the criminal enterprise kind.

  5. “maybe the best solution is to take the disturbed/crazy/bad guy off the streets”

    Or maybe not. Maybe a better answer is to stop making his potential victims defenseless with gun control.

    I say, stop with the mindreading and soothsaying, deal with the problem at the site of its occurrence, i.e., if somebody starts shooting, shoot back! But that “go after the crazy people” is just another giant step down the slippery slope to not only confiscation, but mass incarceration for thoughtcrime.

    • I see the danger in encouraging commitment. Not to go all Godwin, but the Nazis and Russian use and abuse of “mental health” to further their tyranny is well-documented. And horrific.

      But there are times when a person is clearly unhinged. And there are protections for people subject to a mental health hold. So if you have to choose between involuntary commitment mistakes and “gun violence restraining order” mistakes, and I think that’s just the way it is, I choose A.

      • I think the trouble is that we are on a Dead End street. Trained psychologists are spotty on identifying patients who are homicidal but when they do and they call the police then the police have to do an evaluation. So the patient goes all Hannibal Lecter and turns on the charisma. Okay-nothing to see her folks. I don’t know the percentage of potential murderers who will have gone batshit crazy and don’t care who knows it but it appears to be small. So you end up with someone who is going to commit murder, people who know him have raised the flag, the police do an evaluation and he is calm, cool and collected so you don’t lock him up for observation and you don’t take his guns. Enlighten me as to the process that will change this. Understand that I accept that when people have gun rights some people will use them for murder.

    • Agreed, the first victim and a smoking-gun are dispositive. Very little room remains for second-guessing that the “suspect” might not, after-all, go-cutlery or go-postal or go-Glock. Once the first victim hits the floor the remaining question is: What will the body count ultimately become.
      There is an argument that the law-abiding, background-ckecked, armed citizen might be mistaken or hit an innocent bystander. We have empirical evidence on the probability of such occurrences: it is nearly nil. What could possibly explain such a low incidence? Perhaps it’s the fact that no law-abiding, background-checked citizen is eager to put his personal freedom, family and estate on-the-line before a DA, judge and jury Monday-morning quarterbacking his decision.

  6. And what does shannon have to say now? Maybe she should have provided her bald-headed armed guard in the interim?

  7. A man that size doesn’t need a firearm to murder his wife, his fist is bigger than her head. If they are going to take his guns, they better take all his carpentry tools, baseball bats, golf clubs, and kitchen knives as well. The only way to equalize the force in this contest would be to arm the wife.

  8. So the cops left Ryng and Rodger to their own devices and, as a direct result, nine people are dead. And yet, if either Ryng or Rodger had been a fuzzy little puppy, the Sanitation Department would still be scraping his body off the front lawn.

  9. Here, to get someone committed, is extremely difficult.
    1-a two physician hold. Find two Doctors willing to risk lawsuit to commit you for 72 hours. By then you are in front of a judge.

    2- if police think you’re bat-crap crazy. We then call mental health. They send an intern from the local university who is in their masters program. They do an eval. They can then call for a different person to do an eval.
    Then they try to get the 2 Docs to have you committed.

    Not easy.

    • We have a similar process in MA.
      1- Run in the Democrat primary
      2- Win the primary and then run against a RINO in the general election
      3- Win the general election by a six to one majority and get sworn in as the newest psychopath in the state legislature.

    • The process of initiating a 5150 in Ca is somewhat flawed, to read the few comments in the PBS interview that RF participated in, with Assywoman Skinner, who to her credit, had been working in committee on improvements, including better training for LEOs and more money for facilities, which are so overwhelmed that the truly disturbed are either bused out of town, or dumped in a skidrow, like LA’s. That was the true lesson of Lanza, Holmes, and Loghner, and in again in Rodgers’ how to get better, faster help for the insane, without depriving them of privacy in the doctor-patient relationshp, or undermine personal freedom and due process, in temporary confinement for evaluation.

      When Rodgers commited his knife-gun-car crime, the CA legislature, eager for redemption from its own shame in Sen Lelad Yee, was eager to transform that to a guns measure rather a mental health measures. And the predictable spin from Progtard gun grabbers was not far behing, as was the obvious collusion and coordination of reliable propagandists in the State Run Media, including, sadly, PBS.

      Now batty old DiFi is on her horse, obviously coordinated via her staff and WH briefing, on why this matters now. Anything tu distract from VA scandal, Gitmo swap.

      So the REAL needs, of the many mentally disturbed, early intervention, and more beds in good facilities, falls to the wayside while pols highjack the work of others, and lead with a measure likely to be dereated for simple and narrow over-reach, taking away the right of the rest of the majority, to self defense.

      The self aggrandizement and cynicism of Democratic pols is no news, but what I find despicable, is the decision of the media to play along, and validate the propaganda of the activists, to dance in the blood of victims now, while ensuring more will be created, by twisting the true lessons learned, to suit the short term gun grabbers agenda, vs really help the mentally ill, the professionals who care for them, the coos who have to handle them, and most tragic of all, the families, like Lanzas mom, or Rodgers mom, who have no where to turn. That Moms Demands Action is not speaking to this obvious need, since Sandy Hook, tells you everything you need to know about motivations and agenda.

      That even PBS originally created to provide unbiased news, has bought into this agenda, and is blood dancing with taxpayer money, is the sign that the capture of old media to serve as organs of the Progressive State, is complete.

      And the only way to resist is to ignore them, go around, and use alternative news, radio and internet, to tell the truth with facts. No wonder Harry Reid wants to tell the FCC who can use the airways, by political party, or Diane Feinstein wants to change the law to control who deserves the press protection, by taking it away from bloggers. Or DOD and WH decide what goes on VOA – in Africa…it will be something like, organize and talk about peace…yeah, that will work for them, just as it did for women and children in Syria, gassed by islamic nutjobs on the shia alaweed left, or butchered and beheaded by recruits and imported AQ sunni trainers on the right.

  10. After every crisis, whether economic or criminal or political or any other sort, there’s always a call for a new law, new regulations, and new agencies. New rules. Every time they call for those, I always hear in my mind the squeaky voices of the idiot kids we used to be and how any conflict or perceived injustice on the playground, in the sandbox, or in the backyard would always be met with a cry for a “New rule……!”

    Always a childish new rule, each one precariously piled atop previous, useless new rules, correcting or countermanding each other, until eventually, someone proposes a toilet paper border down the middle of a shared bedroom. Of course, no one realizes at the time that the border divides the room such that the entry door is in one’s zone while the bathroom door is in the other’s zone; an untenable pseudo-solution spiraling out of control until………you guessed it………someone proposes yet another……new rule!

    Here’s a new rule: DBAD. The one rule to rule them all. Now, leave me and my household self-defense firearms in peace.

  11. Passing laws to suspend a citizen’s civil rights, based on a third party’s opinion regarding future behavior, will not deter angry people determined to kill or injure others. Such laws will effectively reinforce the idea that our rights are merely theoretical, subject to curtailment at the whim of our moral superiors.

  12. I live in CT and while yes, police have that statute, they are not trained to ask the right questions or evaluate the situation. The state very recently allocated money for training because police are not trained to look for the signs of a problem or probe with the necessary questions.

    I had to deal with this for a family member. It was like pulling teeth. We were finally able to find a nurse who worked in a psychiatric ward who could come out with the police and do a proper assessment with the police.

    They then were able to take the family member involuntarily to the hospital (kicking and screaming literally) — they then were able to commit this person for 72hrs. Now here is the fun part, while we helped get the family member to the hospital and one family member went in the Ambulance with the family member in need of help, once that person was there, the hospital cannot even acknowledge they are in the hospital and you cannot even get a status to their condition. After the assessment, they are able keep a person for 15 days. After 15 days, a probate court after assessment from a third party from a different hospital can take steps to keep the person longer. There is actual a probate hearing with the person being forced to stay, the family and the hospital and lawyers for each party.

    Ultimately, the key in the CT and the CA case was that the police are not properly trained to make the assessment. Unless there is a local mental health crises counselor, nurse, doctor the police will not know what to do.

    In our case, the first time they came the police were quick to write it off as a domestic dispute

    In many, many, many cases they wait until someone physically injures themselves or others or threatens them before any action is taken. This is why so many mentally ill are also shot by the police.

    The crises in mental health is that back when they decided to close all the mental health faculties because of the well documented abuses, the politicians failed to replace it with anything. We have replaced one type of neglect with anther type of neglect and in many cases use prisons instead of hospitals for treatment of the mentally ill with some states (NY) have 1/3 of their prisoners as mental health cases and not criminals.

    With all the soldiers who are returning from the wars, with families already in emotional stress, financial stress and other life complications, it will not get better — and no a bill simply taking away gun will NOT do anything because once again, nobody actually wants to address the real problems because politicians cannot find a way to get a political gain in the polls for their actions — because sadly that is the only way they measure the effectiveness of any legislation.

  13. There is no feasible way to lock up all the crazies. This is one of the fundamental disagreements I have with most commenters on TTAG. There are way too many f&cked up people in this world. Lanza, Holmes, Rodger, Boko, and whoever else is still on the street, improperly medicated, developing homicidal fantasies, and living in the bushes next to the freeway.

    Visit your local skid row and spend some time in the area of places like 545 S. San Pedro St. Los Angeles, CA. I dare you to park your car on the street overnight. The south side of Chicago has its own equivalent, as does virtually every major metropolitan area in the US. There are hundreds of thousands of bums, mental cases, and at-large criminals in this nation. If we were to raise federal and state income taxes by 10%, we still couldn’t afford to incarcerate them all at $27-35 K / year apiece.

    I will not support efforts to empower government at the local, state, or federal level to create additional methods of incarceration. Many at the federal level already consider TTAG readers to be crazy for having the audacity to defend themselves. The 2nd Amendment is protection against federal over reach as well as against the local nutcase. Let’s continue to use and expand it.

    While 5150 W&I (CA mental case) has a clear definition, the application of the same is a whole lot more sticky. One can be psychotic without being crazy. The deliberate killer can be a chameleon – changing to a normal attitude for short periods of time so that his sick plan does not get thwarted.

    Further, those psychiatrists and psychologists who comprise the judgement end of the mental health field are often users of their own medications and treatments. Their opinion is variable from person to person, and possibly from day to day. Many shrinks would be happy to define the desire to own firearms as a paranoia.

    So I’ll continue to support freedom, and punish those who murderously abuse it with extreme prejeducie. Until that time, we shall all be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    • “So I’ll continue to support freedom, and punish those who murderously abuse it with extreme prejeducie. Until that time, we shall all be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

      HEAR, HEAR!!!!!

    • @Tom

      I’m right there with you. It’s very much a case of be careful what you wish for.

      IMO that is the rub between freedom and “public safety” or government intervention. Without that tension between the competing interests of maintaining liberties and promoting “public safety” we know we have gone too far to the “public safety” side of it.

      At what point is it acceptable to allow very lenient standards for incarceration in a case like this? I don’t know but I do know for sure but the prospect of it scares the shit out of me. It could be abused by anyone in the process with the power of judgement (that is potentially the police, a mental health professional, and a judge) not to mention the ability of anyone with an agenda to essentially SWAT you into involuntary custody. That should be reason enough for anyone to find such a plan highly suspect. I’ll stick with liberty thank you.

  14. Robert, stay on this theme and shove it ever so politely down their throats. It shows time & again, selective enforcement get citizens killed everyday. Reason….law enforcement builds their own castles and transfers cost anyway they can.

    To Richs’ point. The right of EVERY CITIZEN to lawful self protection is the framework for a constutitional admendment.

    • “To Richs’ point. The right of EVERY CITIZEN to lawful self protection is the framework for a constutitional admendment.”

      I’ve always said, if they go to the trouble to throw a Concon, we should turn out in throngs and overwhelmingly vote to abolish the 16th.

  15. “For some time, the NRA has been saying that the police and courts should enforce existing gun laws – rather than create new ones.”

    And if the NRA ever starts saying that the police and courts should NOT enforce existing gun laws, then I’ll think about joining.

  16. These are truly NO WIN scenarios…..if the authorities don’t prevent such actions they are blamed for not doing enough….essentially for respecting the civil rights of the person who’s conduct is being questioned.
    If they act to arrest, disarm and incarcerate someone who has DONE nothing other than perhaps make statements that may or may not be an indicator of imminent violence then they again are the bad guys who violate rights and abuse their authority. And even if someone is “under a doctor’s care” there is truly no way to really know for certain what may or may not occur. There is simply NO WAY to accurately predict which angry disturbed person is the one who will act out and who is just venting.

    The ONLY true method of defending oneself from such events is to be PERSONALLY ready and PERSONALLY prepared to take whatever defensive actions are needed…..NOT to rely on LEO, the
    courts or anyone else.

  17. Like other cases where both the husband and wife wind up dead (e.g., Tacoma police chief and his wife), we will never know what the final trigger was that caused the shooter to lose control so violently. There are some recurring themes though. In general, men don’t open up and reveal their feelings to anyone other than their wives. And the most opaque are often men in positions of control and authority, like military and law enforcement officers, where any hint of emotionality is regarded as a sign of character weakness. The one exception seems to be in the sanctity of the bedroom, where men like this feel safe and trust their wives (for whatever reasons, Freudian or not).

    When the wife violates this trust, the result can be overwhelming feelings of sadness and despair in the husband, who now has no one to turn to (the last people of all would be supervisors, therapists, or coworkers). And 1LT Pyng got a double whammy. Not only was Kyla having an affair, but she was abandoning him through divorce, taking his children with her (possibly to the new man’s lair). I am sure that he (as with the Tacoma police chief) perceived it as the loss of everything that made him a man, and by extension, everything that made him a person. Faced with that devastation, what choice did he have. He couldn’t just commit suicide as borderline personality types often do. He had to play things out by showing that he was the one in control, and exact his revenge by killing her. And since he was no longer a person in his mind, then killing himself was probably as inevitable as the suicide bombers in their final moments before annihilation.

    The military has recently spent several hundred million dollars for training in “resilience” to reduce the likelihood of soldiers getting PTSD, but they, like law enforcement, have overlooked basic elements of forensic psychology. A little education could go a long way. Whether it is clergy performing pre-marital counseling, or military social workers indoctrinating wives when their husbands join macho, high authority units (like Special Operations at Fort Bragg, NC), the basic principles can be introduced and then reinforced using some of the many case examples out there. Don’t cheat on your husband, don’t flaunt it if you do, don’t threaten him physically or emotionally, and don’t abandon him are pretty basic and simple to understand. And bring in the wife’s parents, who frequently add the gasoline to the flame through their petty interferences. Not that wives won’t cheat and get divorced, but there is clearly a much better way to do it than that chosen by Ms. Pyng and many others before her.

  18. Like other cases where both the husband and wife wind up dead (e.g., Tacoma, WA police chief and his wife in 2003), we will never know what the final trigger was that caused the shooter to lose control so violently. There are some recurring themes though. In general, men don’t open up and reveal their feelings to anyone other than their wives. And the most opaque are often men in positions of control and authority, like military and law enforcement officers, where any hint of emotionality is a potentially lethal character flaw that criminals and enemies will exploit. The one exception seems to be in the sanctity of the bedroom, where men like this feel safe and trust their wives (for whatever reasons, Freudian or not).

    When the wife violates this trust, the result can be an overwhelming feeling of sadness and despair in the husband, who now has no one to turn to (the last people of all would be supervisors, therapists, or coworkers). And 1LT Pyng got a double whammy. Not only was Kyla having an affair, but she was abandoning him through divorce, taking his children with her (possibly to the new man’s lair). I am sure that he (as with the Tacoma police chief) perceived it as the loss of everything that made him a man, and by extension, everything that made him a person. Faced with that devastation, what choice did he have. He couldn’t just commit suicide as borderline personality types often do. He had to play things out by showing that he was the one in control, and exact his revenge by killing her. And since he was no longer a person in his mind, then his dying was inevitable, just as much as the inevitabilty that suicide bombers feel in their final moments before annihilation.

    The military has recently spent several hundred million dollars for training in “resilience” to reduce the likelihood of soldiers getting PTSD, but they, like law enforcement, have overlooked basic elements of forensic psychology. A little education could go a long way. Whether it is clergy performing premarital counseling, or military social workers indoctrinating wives when their husbands join macho, high authority units (like Special Operations at Fort Bragg, NC), the basic principles can be introduced and then reinforced using some of the many case examples out there. Don’t cheat on your husband, don’t flaunt it if you do, don’t threaten him physically or emotionally, and don’t abandon him are pretty basic and simple to understand. And bring in the wife’s parents, who frequently add the gasoline to the flame through their petty interferences. Not that wives won’t cheat and get divorced, but there is clearly a much better way to do it than that chosen by Ms. Pyng and many others before her.

  19. I didn’t proofread adequately. The next to last sentence should read: “And don’t bring in the wife’s parents, who frequently add the gasoline to the flame through their petty interferences.”

    In laws frequently intrude because they perceive their daughters (the wives) to be wronged, oftentimes without knowing the full story (most wives don’t point out that they have been cheating on their spouse, and instead deflect all suspicion and blame on the husband). This generally exacerbates the situation, adding frustration and anger to the husband’s catastrophizing thought process.

  20. @Alba Onze

    How exactly do you know she was cheating? Did you know her, hang out with her? Are you the other guy?!?! Keep your shallow, low life opinions to yourself. You have no idea what she may have been going through. She had 3 children and was not just a full time mommy but going to school as well. She was trying to better herself everyday, and if that means leaving the man that she’s been with since HIGH SCHOOL then so be it!! Everyone has a right to make their own decisions without being murder for it.

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