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Old November 25, 2013, 03:27 PM   #1
Tom Servo
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Sandy Hook shooting report released

The Connecticut State's Attorney has released their report on the Sandy Hook shooting. The direct link to the pdf is here.

Among other things, Lanza was not found to be taking medication.
Also,

Quote:
There, investigators found a computer hard drive that appeared to have been intentionally damaged. To date, because of the extensive damage, forensic experts have not yet been able to recover any information from that hard drive.

In a typical criminal case, the investigation would remain open when potentially important evidence was still being examined. Given the improbability of any information being recovered from the damaged hard drive, this outstanding piece of evidence is not preventing the closure of
this case now.
I'm not so sure about that. Modern data-recovery techniques are pretty sophisticated.

He had a GPS with routes to and from other local schools in the area. The report also lists video games found in the house, which includes things like Call of Duty and Doom. He was also apparently a fan of Dance Dance Revolution, so the argument that video games were contributors to his behavior becomes a little strained.

He did reading on the Amish school shooting and the Northern Illinois University incident, as well as "photocopied newspaper articles from 1891 pertaining to the shooting of school children." He seems to have researched the Columbine shooting extensively, and there were photos on a hard drive (presumably a different one) in which Lanza held handguns and rifles to his own head. This is similar to some of Seung-Hui Cho's behavior and interests.

He appears to exhibited many of the classic facets of autism and was unemotional towards others.

The State's Attorney has declared the case closed at this point.
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Old November 25, 2013, 04:00 PM   #2
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Columbine was done by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, so I'm not sure I understand this line: " He seems to have researched the Columbine shooting extensively, and there were photos on a hard drive (presumably a different one) in which Lanza held handguns and rifles to his own head. This is similar to some of Seung-Hui Cho's behavior and interests."

Thank you for sharing this report. There's been a lot of upset about it taking nearly a year. I will be reading through it.
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Old November 25, 2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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I believe 100 percent that this incident, as well as many other incidents, are as a direct result of mental illness. Furthermore, I believe the mental health system is not adequate and the mentally ill should not have weapons of any kind. I believe more should be done to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining weapons.

Im not sure what could have been done in this situation of stopping Adam Lanza from obtaining firearms. I do believe that Adam Lanza probably should have been in an institution of some type. His mother was not qualified to deal with his illness.

We have to come together and realize that mental health is the primary issue here and not "gun control". Certain people are dangerous to society and they should be removed from society. Lanza should have been removed from society and treated in an institution, but not sitting at home with his mom.
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Old November 25, 2013, 04:26 PM   #4
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Sandy Hook shooting report released

The problem is, "Who gets to declare you mentally ill and strip you of a right, and how do you guarantee that power will not be abused for personal or political reasons?"

Currently this can be done through a court hearing and judgement. Are you suggesting less judicial involvement?
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Old November 25, 2013, 04:40 PM   #5
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It is common for these sort of folks to fixate on Columbine. That's in the literature of those who have been stopped before an incident. They study Columbine and sometimes buy gear from the stores that the killers actually used.

Posing like Cho is not uncommon either. Mimicking past killers gives them vicarious reinforcement (imagined) for their planned actions. Obviously you won't see the horror you inflict if you plan suicide. So seeing the public reaction to Columbine and VT lets you imagine how yours will be received. This will activate reward centers in your brain.

Taking a year for the report is not a big deal - this isn't an easy one to parse.

As far as predicting violence - that is a terrible problem as no known measures can do so except for a history of past violence. The risk of false positives is tremendous.

A young man fascinated by weapons and studying them?
Posting on the Internet about them?
Has a crappy social life?

- So here comes the SWAT team?

Parents are notoriously clueless about kids' violent intent. Some even encourage gun ownership. Kip Kingles' parents bought him his Glock. Lanza's mom encouraged shooting.

So take my three points above and then have Dad take you to the range and off you go also.

Unless we mandate intensive psychiatric examinations of people, I doubt you will catch the Lanza's and Chos on psychiatric grounds.

What seems to work is when they make violent threats or presentations and are turned in. Cho was turned in and the school was too liability sensitive to act. The guy who shot Congresswoman Gifford was thrown off campus. Should the police have seized his guns or imprisoned him?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but if you used the things known before hand many young men would have gun rights stripped or be sent to the psychiatric gulag.
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Old November 25, 2013, 05:51 PM   #6
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There is also an accompanying Appendix, that includes a lot of evidence and supporting documentation: http://www.ct.gov/csao/lib/csao/Sand...nal_Report.pdf

Dakota, I don't see it in this report (I'll have to read it again), but news reports from the time of the shooting mentioned that Mrs. Lanza had instructed sitters who cared for Adam when he was younger to never turn their back on him. It is clear that she was aware of "issues" -- but she didn't recognize the severity thereof.
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Old November 25, 2013, 06:13 PM   #7
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Do let me say that in a house with such an obviously disturbed person, it was irresponsible of the mother to allow such easy access to firearms. He obviously sat on the more extreme side of the spectrum.

My problem is with blaming anybody mentally ill or suggesting that we use Lanza's pattern of behavior to take away the rights of others in a vain attempt to stop shooting like this. There definitely should have been more responsibility within the family given the circumstances.
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Old November 25, 2013, 06:19 PM   #8
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I guess my point is, are we supposed to take everybody with these symptoms out of their parents' home?
No, and I'd oppose that. But there are other options. We have part-time caregivers and outpatient programs for folks with physical ailments. Why not for someone on the autistic spectrum? If it helps that person live a better life, it's worth doing.
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Old November 25, 2013, 06:23 PM   #9
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I wouldn't oppose that and in a lot of circumstances that's the right thing to do. I know a family who's considering that option because their son (who has an autism spectrum disorder) throws tantrums that can turn violent, and as he's getting older and stronger it's too much for them to control.

I just don't know that I support it being government mandated. Obviously Ms. Lanza didn't want her son living in one of those environments, so the only way that would have helped is if it were government mandated. If so, how do we figure out is mandated to do so if only one out of tens of thousands will do such a thing?

ETA: Tom, maybe I misread you, are you talking about care given in the person's home? That's something I could get more behind but I don't know of a system that would work that out on such a large scale, especially with the costs involved.
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Old November 25, 2013, 06:36 PM   #10
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I'm a bit intrigued about the timeline between officers arriving outside the school and making entry. It seems like there is a bit of a delay there. Common wisdom today indicates that immediate and direct entry is the best procedure to counter an active shooter. Perhaps they were trying to deal with the guy with the cell phone.

(Still, it doesn't sound like it would have made a difference in outcome. Much like the NIU shooting, it was largely over before the police could respond.)
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Old November 25, 2013, 06:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Tom, maybe I misread you, are you talking about care given in the person's home? That's something I could get more behind but I don't know of a system that would work that out on such a large scale, especially with the costs involved.
Yes, in the home. The folks I've known in the autistic spectrum thrive on familiarity and routine, so it would strike me as counterproductive to disrupt their environment.

There are part-time caregivers for the elderly and for folks with various physical conditions. Why not extend that to mental health? It need not be government-run. Grants and subsidies could be extended for providers and consumers.
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Old November 25, 2013, 07:01 PM   #12
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Does the report say "He was not taking medication at the time", or that he'd never been on any sort of medication? If the guy had been on some heavy stuff for years, then stopped taking it a few months before-hand, would they mention it? If all the report says is "he wasn't on any medication", but has no information about his drug history, either to specifically say "he was never prescribed any", or that he had stopped taking it, then it was intentionally left out.

It's been good conspiracy theory discussion material that the major drug manufacturers have been spending millions to keep the MSM quiet about the role various psychiatric meds have played in these types of shootings. While there is no doubt that these people are all "crazy" to some extent, it's not a far leap to say that as they go on/off various drugs, or have their dosage changed, or their entire regimen reworked as they go from doctor to doctor, that it makes them even crazier in some way, and they just need stronger and stronger drugs to maintain... THEN just one little event happens and they instantly hit "full-blown-psychotic".
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Old November 25, 2013, 07:15 PM   #13
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I was reading an article earlier today about a psychology researching that was investigating brain activity of pathological people and discovered he fit the profile himself! Turns out his father side has many generations of murderers in it. He originally believed genetics mostly governed psychology of an individual, but now has changed his understanding to realizing how important the family and environment and personal character is more than genetics. He may have the brain activity and tendencies of a pathological person, but with loving parents and his own free will he has chosen not to engage in violence and leads a productive life. Now he is using this information to try to change his behavior when interacting with others.

So any mental evaluation HAS to include mostly behavior and not just psychological analysis, brain chemistry or brainwaves.
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Old November 25, 2013, 07:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raimius
I'm a bit intrigued about the timeline between officers arriving outside the school and making entry. It seems like there is a bit of a delay there. Common wisdom today indicates that immediate and direct entry is the best procedure to counter an active shooter. Perhaps they were trying to deal with the guy with the cell phone.
I spotted that, too. Almost five MINUTES elapsed between the time the cops arrived at the site and when the first cop entered the school.

Yes, the cop who arrived at the street may have been distracted by the person with the cell phone -- the cop was on that side of the property on the cul-de-sac (you can see it on Google Maps) -- but that cop didn't have direct access to the building anyway -- that entire property line appears to have a high fence along it. The other two (the two who parked "near the ball field") parked a good 100 yards away from the front entrance. That's what you do when you want to set up a "perimeter," but it's not what you do when your assignment is to make an immediate entry and engage the shooter(s).
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Old November 25, 2013, 07:30 PM   #15
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Here's a screen grab of the sandy Hook school site. The street where the first officer responded is at the bottom of the image, at the rear of the building and of the property.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old November 25, 2013, 10:15 PM   #16
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I think Lanza had more then just Aspergers. It is possible to have more then one mental health issue at a time and this was probably the case here. He probably had many different things which go beyond Aspergers.

I see no problem removing someone from society who has a health issue which effects the safety of others. If I had a deadly contagious disease wouldnt it be the right thing to remove me from society for the safety of others? What about the liberty and rights of the people who are effected by someones illness?

Mental health institutions are professional places which offer a higher level of care then you could in your own home. It is a mistake to believe they are these cold dungeon like places which make someones condition worse. Every person who works in such a place is a highly paid licensed professional knowledgable in their trade. On the other hand, the home is not the place for someone with a complex violent mental condition.

As for the police tactics, its easy to armchair quarterback. The truth is that responding to something complex and developing an instant on scene plan is difficult at best. Im certain for many years to come there will be analysis and critical commentary of the tactics the police used, but this is the best to be expected of a complex situation. You will never get a perfect response.

Last edited by johnelmore; November 25, 2013 at 10:22 PM.
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Old November 25, 2013, 11:27 PM   #17
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No laws short of total 100% government control - which is obviously more violent, horrible, and oppressive than daily Sandy Hook incidents - could prevent these from time to time. It's the price of freedom.

The proposed laws, including gun control, background checks, magazines restrictions, blah blah blah... are totally off the mark.

The REAL solution involves:

1) Better parenting
2) Less drugs, alcoholism, and such
3) More respect for man and animals
4) Religion and decency
5) Community - more human interaction and less gadgets (Impersonal)
6) Holistically treating illnesses, not just dosing out drugs
7) Less chemicals, poisons, and toxins in our environment
8) More sense of freedom and fairness in society (police, government, courts...). People FEEL that our processes are broken, and that's frustrating for people.
9) Real leadership in the world. Less reliance on 'role models' like athletes and movie stars and musicians. Honest, hard working, truly 'good' leaders.

Sadly, we are going away from all of these solutions
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Old November 26, 2013, 12:10 AM   #18
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Johnelmore, some of your opinions scare me.

I have worked in inpatient mental health for 4 years, and have a Master of Science in Social Work, and am a Licensed Social Worker in my state. I want to repond to some of your comments, in their context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnelmore
I believe 100 percent that this incident, as well as many other incidents, are as a direct result of mental illness. Furthermore, I believe the mental health system is not adequate and the mentally ill should not have weapons of any kind. I believe more should be done to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining weapons.
Define mental illness, and the level of which should preclude someone from exercising their constitutional right. Then tell me who should be allowed to make those diagnoses. Then tell me how stripping rights away from the mentally ill is going to encourage those people to be honest, truthful, and follow through with treatment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnelmore
Im not sure what could have been done in this situation of stopping Adam Lanza from obtaining firearms. I do believe that Adam Lanza probably should have been in an institution of some type. His mother was not qualified to deal with his illness.
Give me evidence that suggests that Lanza needed hospitalization prior to his shooting spree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnelmore
We have to come together and realize that mental health is the primary issue here and not "gun control". Certain people are dangerous to society and they should be removed from society. Lanza should have been removed from society and treated in an institution, but not sitting at home with his mom.
And the crux of your argument. First, determinig who is dangerous and who isn't is not as easy as you think. Yes, there are some very clear cases, but others are less so- been there, done that. Had many a debate with an MD about who is considered an "immediate threat to themself or others," because that has to be justified and documented to have someone admitted to a hospital for even just a few days.

See, we used to institutionalize people we thought were "dangerous" and "a menace to society." That system collapsed. Today, very few hospitals or treatment centers do more than acute psychiatric care- finding long term residential psychiatric care for adults is almost impossible. The reason is the number of people who cannot get the help they need on an outpatient basis is very small, often too small to justify the expense of running a facility to keep people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnelmore
I think Lanza had more then just Aspergers. It is possible to have more then one mental health issue at a time and this was probably the case here. He probably had many different things which go beyond Aspergers.

I see no problem removing someone from society who has a health issue which effects the safety of others. If I had a deadly contagious disease wouldnt it be the right thing to remove me from society for the safety of others? What about the liberty and rights of the people who are effected by someones illness?
Again, evidence of his danger to society prior to the event at Sandy Hook

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnelmore
Mental health institutions are professional places which offer a higher level of care then you could in your own home. It is a mistake to believe they are these cold dungeon like places which make someones condition worse. Every person who works in such a place is a highly paid licensed professional knowledgable in their trade. On the other hand, the home is not the place for someone with a complex violent mental condition.
OK, I will defend my profession, but let's be real here.
Of the typical staff for an inpatient psychiatric unit for adults you have:
8-14 Patients, on average
1-2 Registered Nurse (at a time; 24 hours a day)- Equivalent to an Associates Degree/Undergrad depending on the state.
1-4 Mental Health Technicians (at a time; 24 hours a day)- assist with documentation, monitoring patients, facilitating groups, etc. High School Diploma minimum, although most have at least an associates, and when I worked as a MHT, many of us had undergraduate degrees.

These numbers vary based on the severity of the patients on the unit, the number, and the time of day (i.e. more people during the day shifts, less at night).

You also typically have 1 Social Worker for every 10-15 patients (in the facility I work in, for example, we have 7 Social Workers for a 100 bed facility). That person has at least a masters degree, and depending on the state and facility may or may not have a state license. My state, for example, does not require most acute care providers to have a license, although many of them do.

Throw in the Psychiatrist, art/play/activity therapists, and the person who conducts the level of care evaluation (that's where I fit in this picture), and you see that the number of "licensed professionals" is about half the staff (or less).

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnelmore
As for the police tactics, its easy to armchair quarterback. The truth is that responding to something complex and developing an instant on scene plan is difficult at best. Im certain for many years to come there will be analysis and critical commentary of the tactics the police used, but this is the best to be expected of a complex situation. You will never get a perfect response.
The same can be said for making mental health policies.
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Old November 26, 2013, 12:37 AM   #19
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Thank you, JimmyR, for setting the record straight.

While we can all agree (more or less) that mental health is a problem for many of these situations, the correct answer is a hydra-headed answer. There is no easy solution, contrary to popular (and widespread) belief.
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Old November 26, 2013, 12:40 AM   #20
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Who cares why these mass shooters do the things they do, thank god the media makes sure everyone knows his name and his hobbys and turn him into a celebrity for trigger happy would be school shooters that will do this again, just because they get famous. Stop blaming these idiots and work on practical solutions. Because taking away anyones right to own a gun, can not stop them from getting a gun. Criminals dont care and if the only thing that stops them is killing them at the scene, maybe work on killing them faster..
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Old November 26, 2013, 01:30 AM   #21
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Quote:
Who cares why these mass shooters do the things they do
I do, for one. Do we need to turn them into morbid folk heroes for others with similar inclinations? No. Do we need to study their behavior in hopes of preventing at least some future occurrences? Yes.
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Old November 26, 2013, 01:32 AM   #22
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Should someone be able to walk around free although their medical condition may effect others negatively? Lets say I had a deadly strain of some new contagious disease. Would you defend my rights to walk around in public?

I know the issues are complex, but I dont think a society can throw up their hands and simply not address it. First responders every day see the obvious issue of mental illness. In fact, if mental illness were not an issue in society then there would be a lot less first responders on the job. That is the reality.
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Old November 26, 2013, 02:00 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnelmore
Should someone be able to walk around free although their medical condition may effect others negatively? Lets say I had a deadly strain of some new contagious disease. Would you defend my rights to walk around in public?
Apples are red, Bananas are yellow.

You are comparing the behavior of a biological contagion (typically of the single celled bacterial variety) with the complexities of human behavior.

Glenn nailed it earlier:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer View Post
As far as predicting violence - that is a terrible problem as no known measures can do so except for a history of past violence. The risk of false positives is tremendous.
What you have been suggesting is that we institutionalize people who may be a danger, but with no hard evidence. Bacteria are simple organisms that act much more predictably than humans. We know how bacteria act in the human body, and how they spread. We know a lot of triggers that can cause someone to become violent, but the number of false positives would be unacceptable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnelmore
I know the issues are complex, but I dont think a society can throw up their hands and simply not address it.
I agree, but a response without regard for the rights of all persons involved is just as reprehensible as doing nothing.

This is not the first time we have run into this dilemma. During WWII, the US Government decided to intern 100,000+ people of Japanese decent, many of them American Citizens. Was there a real threat? Probably, but the act of incarcerating the innocent minority to protect the majority has NO PLACE in the our country. Whether we discriminate based on race, mental illness, or lifestyle, we cannot infringe on the rights of others until they present an immediate risk to the community as a whole.
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Old November 26, 2013, 02:30 AM   #24
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From my point of view, here are some of my proposed solutions:

1) Operationalize the definitions of mental illness that would disenfranchise someone of their right to own a firearm. Currently,

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATF and US Code 922
  • Is a danger to himself or to others
  • Lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs
  • Is found insane by a court in a criminal case
  • Is found incompentant to stand trial, or not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility, persuant to articles 50a and 72b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. Sec. 850a, 876b
In this case, all the decision in placed on a judge, working in conjunction with mental health professionals. I would like to see the definitions more strictly behavioral, describing more clearly the behaviors that would provide clear parameters for judges to make their decisions. Examples might include: having a chronic history (more than 4 in 2 years; one of which muct be involuntary) of inpatient hospitalizaion for threats to self or others, abuse of drugs or alchol, or inability to carry out daily tasks due to psychosis; being found permanently disabled due to mental illness; etc.

2) Improve State compliance with the sharing of mental health records, giving NICS the information they need to process Instant Background Checks.

3) Notify a person, in writing, when they have been found to meet the criteria disqualifying them from gun ownership, and explain the process for regaining those rights, by following up with prescribed treatment, recieving reccomendations from both family and professional references, and a review from an independent qualified mental health professional.

4) Incentivize EAP benefits with employers, and perhaps open them up to high schools making it easier for teens to access mental health services.

5) Improve the Medicaid system, so that persons with persistant mental illness are not relegated to community mental health programs.

6) Ban the practice of administratively discharging patients who miss 2-3 consecutive appointments without allowing them to return for a period of time.
Quote:
Side story: the above is very real in my state. The community mental health provider for outpatient psychiatric services will kick someone out if they miss 2-3 appointments, and will not let them come back for 6 months or more. Further, since Medicaid pays so little, most private facilities won't accept it at all, and even fewer for adults. 6 months without medications for the chronicaly mentally ill is asinine. I understand their logic, but I still hate it. [/rant]
These are just a few, but from my experience, these would all improve the mental health system related to firearms.
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Old November 26, 2013, 02:38 AM   #25
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What if there is no pattern, no 20/20 hindsight, no game plan?

I'm 42 years old, in the 99th percentile in most every test, and I still do not understand the choices, the impulses, depressions, unshakeable memes and surprise emotions I've weathered as a human being.

I think we are all a stone's throw from the chasm Lanza, Oswald and all the rest fell into.

We may have to accept this kind of evil as something we all carry as the downside to free will. Maybe some of the outrage is just the sense you can't live amongst other people without this happening now and then because we are all carriers of the disease.
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