Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Really Sad: Alexis' Final Note

From the September 25, 2013 Los Angeles Times:
The Washington Navy Yard shooter believed he was being subjected to an “ultra low frequency attack” and left an electronic note saying this was “what I’ve been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this,” the FBI revealed Wednesday.

Aaron Alexis, 34, a computer technician for a private Navy contractor, killed 12 people and wounded four others in the Sept. 16 rampage as he fired a sawed-off Remington 870 Express shotgun in which he had etched several statements, including “End to the torment!”
The hallucinations that a schizophrenic experiences are as real as what you and I experience every day.  They hear voices, they see things, they sometimes feel things crawling under their skin -- and they are like a nightmare from which you cannot wake.  No surprise that those suffering like this do some incredibly crazy and horrible things.

There were several chances to prevent this, and alleviate his suffering before his suffering turned into the suffering of many others.  And we blew it.

UPDATE: Someone is paying attention.  From the September 24, 2013 Los Angeles Times:
A Utah man was behind bars Tuesday on charges of planning to attack a Salt Lake City shopping mall and a cinema to kill “as many people as possible.”

According to a variety of local media, including  newspapers and the Associated Press, Jack Harry Stiles, 42, told a crisis counselor that he was planning his attack for Wednesday, the anniversary of his mother’s death. The counselor contacted authorities, who filed felony criminal charges of threat of terrorism on Monday. Stiles was being held in lieu of $1-million bail.

Authorities said Stiles, who has a history of mental illness and of making threats, didn't have any weapons but was planning to buy two guns with silencers and stock up on ammunition.
He is bearing charged criminally.  I suspect that this is simpler than hospitalizing him.

UPDATE 2: The news account about Alexis mentions that he had carved "End to the torment!" in the stock of the shotgun.  I suddenly remembered last night that Patrick Purdy, a mentally ill drifter who murdered five children in a Stockton schoolyard in 1989, had carved "Hazbollah" in the stock of AK-47.  Can anyone think of any other examples of mass murderers altering the stocks of their guns?

5 comments:

PhaseMargin said...

He is bearing charged criminally. I suspect that this is simpler than hospitalizing him.

True. A friend's mentally ill daughter was committed for threatening suicide repeatedly. She could never be committed for much more than a week since as soon as she was on her meds she settled down and became "normal" and had to be released. But she wouldn't stay on her meds when she got out because she didn't like the side effects and would wind up being committed again.

By doing criminal charges they'll be able to keep the guy in treatment far longer and he may be able to learn to maintain normalcy with his meds. You have to remember that in most cases these guys have grown used to thinking abnormally and thinking "normally" is actually disconcerting to them.

Sigivald said...

Planning to buy two guns with silencers?

Unless he has serious black-market connections, that's like "planning to buy a tactical nuke and blow up the city" - easy to say, very hard to do.

(Not that I think he shouldn't be put away out of the ability to harm himself and others, but that that "plan" was more of a "goal" than a real "plan" in the normal sense.

We "plan" things we can actually do, and you can't just wave your hands around and make a suppressor appear without NFA approval, without criminal contacts or your own machine shop...)

Clayton Cramer said...

Utah is one of the states where silencers are legal. Depending on whether his previous mental illness had resulted in an involuntary commitment, it was at least within the realm of possibility that he could have bought a silencer. Without a silencer, still a real concern.

RS said...

On his last psychotic episode, our schizophrenic son tried to beat a man with a crowbar for the offense of wanting to mow his own yard, which our son believed to be a direct threat to him.

We are told by mental health authorities that he needs TWO more violent attacks before they will even consider a court order for forced outpatient treatment and monitored medication.

Now, who is exactly is insane here?

Gladorn said...

I work in corrections and too often I see jail being used as an alternative to treatment. LE has the option of using a "Green Warrant" (Juvenile) or a "Temporary Detainment Order" (Adult) on persons showing symptoms of an altered mental status.

But if they do that, then they have to do all the paperwork and footwork... And they may actually have to sit with the subject while they get their initial evaluation. Obviously the officer/deputy's time is much too valuable for that. (I'm being sarcastic.)

However, if they arrest the subject and incarcerate them, then it becomes a problem for the jail. And since the jail has a protocol for those who may be a danger to themselves... Well, they are no longer eligible for a lot of mental health services because THEY ARE NO LONGER A DANGER!

I have seen people sit in jail for months at a time for menial charges because mental health won't get them evaluated or treated. But the positive side is that when they come back to our facility for the same menial charges we already have their medical history and can often get them back on their medications quickly.

To paraphrase a popular quote by our security and medical staff: Jail- Quickly becoming the popular alternative for mental and medical treatment for LE everywhere.