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April 05, 2013

Campus Cops Were Warned About Aurora Movie Theater Shooter James Holmes, But No One Followed Up

Pretty amazing.

Prosecutors fought to have the evidence of these warnings -- from Holmes' psychiatrist, who reported that Holmes was sending her threatening messages and had thoughts of suicide -- kept under seal.

Why? It's possible that the prosecutors thought that if these documents were released, it might prejudice the public against Holmes (and thus possibly lead to a mistrial/vacated judgement later on), but it's also possible, as Ed Morrissey suggests, this information was suppressed in order to spare police embarrassment.

On a tangential note: I think many bad, self-serving motivations hide under a "good," permissible, non-self-serving motivation. That is, while prosecutors may have talked up to the judge and among themselves the "good" motive of not prejudicing the public against Holmes, secretly (and perhaps even secretly to themselves) they might have been more motivated by ass-covering and doing favors for other members of the law-enforcement guild.

So, several important things here:

Cops continue to ignore the very serious threat of stalkers and harassers. These people are dangerous. Cops blow it off because no one's been assaulted or killed... yet. But the type of brain that gets off on threatening others is clearly a brain gone bad. Think about how frigging messed up someone has to be to serially threaten or harass someone (and think about the problems such threats cause the victim, even if the threats are not carried out).

And yet these cases continue being treated at very low levels of priority. People who do this have announced both motive and means to commit murder; only opportunity is holding them back. They deserve far more scrutiny, and persistent threats should receive prosecutions and jailtime. It's offensive and destructive behavior in its own right, and it just might serve to reduce the number of murders.

The NRA -- and most of the country -- tells the political class "You have enough laws to enforce; enforce the ones you have, before you go asking for new ones." But the political class, whether due to incompetence or agenda, continues refusing to do so. James Holmes could have been prosecuted for making threats against someone -- that is a crime. He wasn't. He could have been tangled up in the machinery of investigation and prosecution, which doubtless would have uncovered his cache of weapons. But he wasn't. He was left free, and he killed a great number of people. And the political class' response is "make more things illegal."

How about working with what you have?

BTW: Heurfano adds:

t was CYA, plain and simple. I remember quite a lot of speculation about the psychiatrist's dereliction of duty in not contacting authorities that could have been answered before her reputation was trashed in the media.

True. I remember a lot of that -- Why didn't the psychiatrist say something? Should we toughen up laws requiring psychiatrists to report patients that confess a desire to commit violent crimes?

Well, she did.

And btw: Psychiatrists deal with lunatics all the time. A lot of lunatics fixate on their psychiatrists, and threaten them. So psychiatrists see a lot of this behavior.

Point is, they're not babes in the woods. They've seen it all. And when a psychiatrist says about one of her many lunatics, "This one is dangerous, this one is scaring me, this one has thoughts of murder," you should probably take more action than absolutely none at all.*

* Stolen from Plinkett.

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posted by Ace at 02:21 PM

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