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Crazy like a fox?

Posted By Barbara Simpson On 07/29/2012 @ 3:54 pm In Commentary | No Comments

People just don’t understand what it means to have a psychologically troubled person in a family, no matter what their age.

Following the horrific shooting at the theater in Aurora, Colo., media have been filled with pundits presenting themselves as experts on how to handle such situations.

In case you’ve mentally moved on, or forgotten the aftermath of the rampage – just impress on your mind that 12 people were killed and 58 wounded.

Oh, make that 13 killed, as news reports today indicate Ashley Moser has miscarried and her unborn child died. The 25-year-old Moser is the pregnant woman who was critically wounded in the theater – shot in the neck and abdomen. Her 6-year-old daughter, Veronica, was killed in the melee.

Veronica was the youngest victim of the shooting – until now, as her unborn sibling takes that dubious honor.

It was reported last week that Mrs. Moser initially hadn’t been told of Veronica’s death and when she was, she was distraught. The family hasn’t said if she knows about the miscarriage, and there’s no information on planned funerals.

While this human tragedy plays out, the families of the other victims are enduring the grief and trauma of their losses and the ritual of funerals and services honoring the innocent dead. Simultaneously the legal machinery moves along –  24-year-old James Holmes, is in custody and will be arraigned July 30.

Leaks to media that Holmes sent a package containing a notebook to a psychiatrist has resulted in Holmes’ attorneys seeking the source of the leaks and that any communications between Holmes and a psychiatrist be kept private. There are questions of Holmes’ right to a fair trial being jeopardized, to say nothing of a violation of a court gag order.

Until this, it wasn’t known that Holmes had seen a doctor. While there’s no proof of his reason for the consultations, it raises the question of whether he was being treated for a specific condition or if he spoke of his plans for the theater attack.

Dr. Lynne Fenton is the psychiatrist identified in the case. She sees University of Colorado students and is the medical director of student mental health services at the school.

Was she treating Holmes? How did she “treat” him – with counseling or medication or both? What mental condition did/does he have? Did he see her of his own volition, or did someone else recommend her?

In either case, why? Did he confide his plans for the shooting? If she knew, what did she do about it? If she knew and did nothing, why not?

The law requires that knowledge of intent for such mayhem be reported to authorities.

Did she or didn’t she? At this point, who knows?

Reports are that Holmes’ lawyers will likely claim insanity as a defense. Holmes behavior and appearance in court last week clearly gave support to conclusions he’s “crazy,” but perhaps it’s all an act. He’s now alleging amnesia.

Clearly, Holmes is educated and highly intelligent; he was in a Ph.D. program at the university.

Given the details and organization involved in his preparation for the attack, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that he’s faking now to support an insanity plea.

If I sound skeptical or cynical – probably both – it’s because I am.

Just because someone commits a horrific crime doesn’t mean they’re stupid or unable to be clever and deceptive. The fact that they can deceive is what makes them all the more dangerous.

Let’s face it: He didn’t just “plan a shooting,” he also set up a complicated and dangerous bomb situation in his own apartment. Someone merely opening the front door would have blown the building to kingdom come, killing and maiming who knows how many people.

One problem in the aftermath of such horror is the kneejerk reaction raising the issue of gun control. If we didn’t have those darn guns, nothing like this would happen.

Of course, there were no guns in his apartment, which was potentially as lethal as his guns.

There are people railing against movies and books and video games. They’re also railing against the families and friends of such people, saying that if they see problems with a person, they should seek help.

That’s easier said than done.

If the person is underage, a parent can seek help from counselors or physicians, but even there they may run into the “privacy” rights of the child. Can the counselor be forced to reveal what the child tells him? Probably not.

If the child or family member is over 18 – there is literally nothing a parent or anyone can do to force treatment or counseling, other than to suggest it.

If the person refuses, it won’t happen, unless the person threatens harm to another or to himself. Without that, the family is helpless.

If the person seeks counseling at school, the law prevents the parents from being notified.

So much for vapid pronouncements like this from David Brooks that “relationships” will prevent killing sprees: ” … when one person notices that a relative or neighbor is going off the rails and gets that person treatment before the barbarism takes control.”

It should be so easy.

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