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“James Holmes called a University of Colorado [hospital] switchboard nine minutes before he allegedly opened fire at movieplex in a Denver suburb on July 20, public defender Tamara Brady said in court Thursday.” CNN reports that “The number can be used to get in contact with faculty members during off hours.” The likely person Holmes was trying to contact . . .

Dr. Lynne Fenton [above]. Dr. Fenton is the University of Colorado’s director of student mental health services at their Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. She was Holmes’ psychiatrist.

Dr. Fenton “testified that her contact with Holmes ended on June 11, and that she later contacted campus police because she was ‘so concerned’ about what happened during that last meeting, though she declined to elaborate.”

Oh please do, as Holmes sent Dr. Fenton a notebook [allegedly] foreshadowing his murderous plans, which killed 12 people and injured 58 others. I guess we have to draw our own conclusion from court documents that reveal that Holmes was “denied access to the school after June 12, 2012, after he made threats to a professor.”

As in the Jared Lee Loughner spree killing in Arizona, it’s increasingly clear that Colorado University allowed a dangerous young man to slip through the cracks, washing their hands of responsibility once they ejected Holmes from their community.

The University of Colorado has “hired a former U.S. attorney to conduct an independent review into how the school handled Holmes.” A lawsuit against Holmes by the families of the people gunned down by the failed doctoral candidate ought to focus the attorney’s mind wonderfully.

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  1. The psychiatrist did the right thing, but the campus police dropped the ball. Or should I say notebook. How is it that none of the officers thought it might be a good idea to pay Holmes a call in person? At his apartment. While he was building bombs. Maybe they had a frat party they had to break up.

  2. She can’t. She was his doctor. She is bound by law not to release that information. It sounds like she did everything she legally could to prevent this horrible act. It has to be awful for her.

    • I may have misunderstood your comment, but as far as I know, the psychiatrist can release a patient’s name to the police if the patient threatens murder and the doctor believes the threat to be sincere. This is why she gave them the notebook.

      • Biofire is right. It’s called the duty to warn or a Tarasoff warning. One of the very few legal (and ethical) ways to break doctor-patient confidentiality.

  3. Dr. Fenton “testified that her contact with Holmes ended on June 11, and that she later contacted campus police because she was ‘so concerned’ about what happened during that last meeting, though she declined to elaborate.”

    One of the many reasons why no one should ever seek “help”.

  4. The overwhelming majority of these peckerhead shooters have made family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances nervous about their mental state long before the shootings happened. When it specifically comes to these whack jobs, folks from all ideologies and both sides of the aisle need to quit fucking around, leave the gun issue for another day and actually tackle a complicated issue like stopping these freaks. Do I believe arming more folks is a deterrent and may save lives? Hell yes but who really wants to have to shoot someone if they don’t have to? Pro or con guns are a band-aid for a bigger much more complex issue. As long as there are gun free zones there will be some malcontent schmuck willing to exploit it.

    As I said, each of these shooters has raised numerous red flags from family, friends, teachers, coworkers etc. Anyone who’s read any of my posts concerning mental health and guns knows exactly where I stand. Having said that I think we can do much better flagging folks like that for a closer look. The mental health system in this nation is severely lacking and society’s basic understanding of mental health issues is abysmal. Unless and until we endeavor to become more aware and understanding of the massive variances in mental illness we will trample rights and never, ever prevent these kinds of shootings.

    The blanket term of “mental illness” encompasses everyone from a person needing some help through a traumatic time like a divorce, death of a family member or stress on the job to folks that have a biological chronic issue. Even then the line is vague. There are folks needing temporary help that commit heinous crimes and there are folks with major chronic issues that never hurt a soul. The manifestations of mental illness are as varied as people’s personalities are.

    If we ever get this nation to a point where mental health is adequately understood and properly funded then we have an outstanding shot at identifying the folks that are a threat. It could be that if enough family, friends, coworkers, fellow students etc came forward with concerns for an individual the information could be reviewed by a panel of mental health experts and if deemed a potential threat the individual in question could be summoned for an interview among a judge and 12 peers. Depending on the interview the individual can either walk or face further outpatient supervised evaluations. This just just an “off the top of my head after many beers” theory but….

    • This sounds completely fair to me. I’ve seen a lot of stupid things posted on this site about the mentally ill by people who don’t understand that such a phrase could mean a wide variety of things.

      I’ve been a productive, peaceful citizen for my entire life. I take one Wellbutrin a day because I inherited a common disorder in my family. My brain does not get enough of certain chemicals so I take medicine to remedy that and guess what?

      You think being a gun owner is tough? You can never tell anyone that you’re on anti-depressants. Ever. People don’t understand and don’t care to understand.

      • Michael B.: You could just tell them you’re trying to stop smoking. 🙂 When they say, “I didn’t know you smoked,” you can say, “See? It’s working!”

        Jest aside, if you’re taking it to combat mild depression, or the chemical imbalance that could lead to it, would that make you, by definition, “clinically depressed?” I’m not poking fun; that’s a serious question, because it occurs to me that that is something you often hear after someone snaps, that they had been “diagnosed clinically depressed.” Again, I’m not casting aspersions at you, I’m more interested if that shows just how meaningless a phrase “diagnosed clinically depressed” actually is.

        • I was over a decade ago. Clinical depression doesn’t make people go out and commit murder. The typical WORST case scenario is someone that’s depressed and isn’t getting treatment commits suicide. Even then I’d wager that a majority of depressed people aren’t suicidal.

          Most of these spree killer types are schizoids, schizophrenic, or psychopaths and all of those are a whole other ballpark. Is it possible they’re depressed too? Possibly. But it’s also possible that the standard non-psychiatrist MD has no idea what the **** they’re talking about when it comes to psychiatric issues and shouldn’t be diagnosing people with mental illnesses or prescribing medication to treat them because they’re generally not qualified to do so.

        • Oh, OK. You’re right. The “diagnosed clinically depressed” line usually follows a suicide, not someone snapping and attacking others. I had it mixed up, thus rendering my whole line of thought to be irrelevant. Nothing to see here, move along.

  5. Penn State, University of Colorado, BATFE…let’s see what do they have in common besides receiving huge amounts of money taken from tax payers??? Oh yes, they are public organizations that believe in covering their azz and unconcerned with events that gestated under their umbrella unless it comes back to harm them.

  6. it’s a never ending juggling act, to protect the rights and privacy of all but still trying to intercept the very few that are this dangerous. it may simply be that the occasional tragedy like the movie shootings is the price we paqy for having a free society. all the more reason that the honest and law abiding amongst us should go armed.

    • In the case of mental illness there are procedures. The issue is most states do not spend the money necessary to have trained officers. CT has a program run by all the major hospitals to train the local PD and those officers trained can with a second trained person take a person for a psychological veal where the person still retains his rights unless the doctors during the veal period diagnose a mental issue or he his let go. If the person must remain for more than 15days there is a probate hearing to decide if the person can be held any further. CO has a similar system in place but I doubt the campus rent a cops have been trained nor where the local PD. CT has a similar system with problems because the training is not mandatory and many PD chiefs do not want to be involved and rather leave it to social workers. The entire mental health system and infrastructure is a mess because in many states the first time the people with mental issues get help is in prison.

      • What do you mean by “…veal…”? The only meaning for veal I know of is the meat that comes from a calf. If you know of another meaning please elaborate. I would really like to know what a “…veal period…” is.

      • Spending public money on mental health is communism and must be fought tooth and nail at every opportunity. Government can have no input whatsoever in our daily lives, because we are all so much smarter and better equipped to deal with any problem than a bunch of bureaucrats. After all why should I pay any taxes to help the less fortunate or less able than me?

        Until the large number of backward people who believe that BS (ie republicans) can be re-educated there will continue to be high profile cases like this on the margins where somebody who could have been helped slipped through the cracks of society and did terrible things. Of course limiting the ability of people to buy firearms would also have helped in this case too.

        • re-education has been tried. and oddly enough in communist countries. every post you make more of your true colors come through. at one time i thought you were an intelligent girl. that opinion has changed.

        • Re-education happens just about everywhere in the world – from AIDS awareness PSA’s in Africa, to drink driving PSA’s in the good ol’ US of A. Running a series of PSA’s to re-educate the ignorant about how life actually works in the 21st century would not be communist in the slightest – how can giving facts to the public be anything but good?

          That is unless said facts run counter to your own interests and you wish them suppressed. For example you will never see a PSA about how there is no evidence to support any religion, and that people who proclaim to believe in such nonsense are idiots who do more harm than good. Likewise you will never see a PSA about how the US healthcare system is the worst in the developed world when it comes to treating its citizens. Why? because big money and power interests find religion a useful tool to marshal the stupid behind them, and they are making far too much money out of private healthcare to ever give any of that up either.

          Any kind of education of the masses runs contrary to the interests of the powerful, it is much easier to control the ignorant and get them to go against their own interests in favor of the interests of the powerful if they lack basic education, as you demonstrate so succinctly in everything you say.

        • if you’re trying to prove how intolerent you are, consider it proven. i don’t claim a religion but i respect those that do. “good ol’ u.s. of a”. yep, your true feelings come dripping through. keep it up, you’ll convert any fence straddlers away from your thinly veiled cause.

        • You really shouldn’t use big words like “intolerant” when you don’t actually know what they mean jwm.

        • little ol’ low brow me shouldn’t use the words reserved for elitest like you. intolerant is just another way of saying bigoted. would you like to continue this spankfest?

        • Nothing to do with elitism jwm – it’s just Freudian slip after Freudian slip with you, isn’t it?

          The point was that when you say someone is intolerant when in fact they are not, nor have they given any evidence to that effect, it makes you look like an idiot. Perhaps when you have made yourself look like an idiot enough times you just don’t care any more?

        • so you just didn’t say that there’s no evidence to support any religion and those that believe in such nonsense do more harm than good, or words to that effect. elitest i think is a valid charge against you. as for someone making themselves look like an idiot so often they no longer care, just look in the mirror. talk about freudian slips.

        • There ISN’T any evidence to support any of the world religions, and they DO do more harm than good.

          Those are what’s known as “facts” – you can see what that big word means in a “dictionary” if you are having trouble understanding it. And one of the interesting things about “facts” is that “facts” cannot be elitist, they are merely “facts”.

          All you have achieved so far is show the world what a huge chip you have on your shoulder, but please – keep on playing.

        • your attitude and disdain for others is what shows the “elitest” in you. as for that big book, yeah i do know how to read. but rather than waste more effort on you i will close with an old saying that applies to you. if it has feathers like a duck, webbed toes like a duck and quacks like a duck, there’s a damn good chance it’s a duck. in this case an elitest duck.

    • It is a juggling act, and I don’t trust other people who may or may not be doing their job. I do trust my EDC Glock 27, Smith 340, Ruger 556…


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