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Friday, July 20, 2012


We would be remiss if we did not take a moment to note the massacre at the movies in Aurora, Colorado. Pure evil. The worst madness. Just 20 miles from Columbine.

"I slipped on some blood and landed on a lady. I shook her and said, 'We need to go; get up,' and there was no response, so I presumed she was dead," said Tanner Coon, 17....

Mr. Rohrs jumped between the seats for cover, still holding the baby. He stumbled and crawled trying to figure out what to do, clutching his son to his chest as he went. "Do I run out the door? Is he going to shoot the baby? What am I to do?" Mr. Rohrs said, his voice quavering. But he, his fiancée and the baby eventually made it out.

God rest the dead and help the wounded. May we all take time to sort out in our own minds who bears responsibility for the horrific losses we have suffered. And may those who are tempted to use this event to push a selfish agenda hold their tongues for a while.

Comments (23)

Well said Jack. Thank you.

It's usually one picture that brings a tragedy of this magnitude home. Maybe it's anguished parents or a victim. Remember the picture of that fireman holding the mortally wounded baby in Oklahoma City?

This morning was different though. It wasn't a powerful picture that captured it for me - although I'm sure we'll have one soon enough. No, the moment I felt the magnitude of this horrific scenario, came in one detail of a newscast.

It was the report that a police officer had put 5 shooting victims in his squad car and raced off to the hospital.

When things are so dire that the best option you have is to put shooting victims who have not been treated at all by paramedics, into a squad car - that is a tremendously horrific situation.

You are essentially throwing out the emergency response playbook, and hoping you can get them to an emergency room before they bleed out. And that shows how bad this really was.

Who knows? Maybe these particular victims were not that badly hurt, but to make the decision to move before you even assess their condition, speaks of great chaos. It also makes me want to thank the officer who did that. That's really jumping in and trying to help.

The only other time I've heard of this was when John Lennon was so badly shot that the police officers knew his only chance was to rush him to the hospital in the back of a squad car. There was no time to wait for paramedics to perform even the basics.

And in Colorado there were so many shooting victims. There probably weren't enough ambulances available right away, anyways, so the officer basically filled his car with shooting victims - 5 packed in - and took off.

Of all the horrific details, that's the one that really got me.

You have 70 people hit. God help us.

The trip wires in the apartment.
This is playing very badly. grieving sorrow

Rather than concentrate on punishment, gun ownership or weapon purchase, I hope the nation focuses attention on mental health. Not in a way that seeks to seek out potential criminals, but to allow people to feel that there is a place to go and that someone cares how they are doing. In Portland, there are so few psychiatric beds in area hospitals, that people in crisis are sometimes sent to Salem just to find treatment. Tragedy occurs in mass shootings on a single day, and in individual cases over time. May the people of Aurora find hope and comfort in their grief.

All of the above. And well said, Bill.

It's almost unbelievable to read comments elsewhere, like the WaPo, that somehow link this to Obama. The need for mental health services isn't limited to gun purchasers, it seems.

Bill, if you listen to the police dispatch recording, you'll actually hear it was more than one police officer who did that. There weren't enough ambulances and they asked for permission and were told to "load them up and get them out of here." and several cops started making runs to the hospitals with people loaded into their cars, though usually one or two at a time.

I wish the media would heed some of this advice.

Along with mental health, I would add one thing that's surprisingly common in these shootings: Was the shooter on any drugs - specifically anti-depressants?

Wait, isn't this speculation? Isn't this trying to exploit the story before we know much about the shooter?

The problem is that powerful pharmaceutical companies do not want us dwelling on the known cases where a seemingly normal, functioning person is given one of their products and goes off. For example, we know what one of the Columbine killers was on, but the other one's records have been sealed.

At a certain point, this is no longer a medical privacy issue. If this young man was being treated with any drugs, we need to know what they were, in case that was a factor.

Just based on 13 school shootings, including the one right here in Springfield, Oregon, the chances that there was some sort of powerful anti-depressant present here are pretty good.

A drug can be beneficial to a hundred thousand people - let's say - put there are often warning labels for the 1 in 100,000 who reacts negatively to the treatment. When drugs are making billions, it's hard to find out about the cases that can lead to violent decisions like yesterday.

That's why we have to get out in front of this, and demand to know if this man was being treated with something. How do you make it through society to his age, and then go off this badly? Did he snap on his own? Was this just him being evil? We have a right to wonder why this happened, and if he was on something, or even withdrawing from something, we need to know what it was.

A couple of summers ago my neighbor stepped out on his front porch to the sounds of a woman's horrific scream of terror. While her two small children were playing in the driveway an escaped "pet" dog from blocks away had wandered by and began savaging their family cat just feet from her kids. When my neighbor -- a big guy -- noisily charged the animal it released the cat and fled into a nearby garage where it was trapped.

The PPD responded instantly, and one of the officers immediately drove the injured cat, wrapped in a blanket, to the nearby animal hospital.

Whenever I grit my teeth hearing about the behavior of "Thumper" Humphreys and his ilk, I calm myself recalling our local officer who, probably against regulations, took the injured animal to get assistance.

It helps a little to remember that most people are good.

The thing about anti-depressants is, if we understand the mechanisms correctly, they don't really make somebody suicidal or suddenly wanting bad things to happen to others -- but sometimes when being started on them, that boost in motivation before they start thinking differently is enough to push people over to do something they wanted to do but just couldn't find the resolve to get off the couch and attempt it prior. But at the heart of it, they are doing what they wanted to do.

This episode instantly reminded me of the terribly mentally ill guy who killed those people at the Pittsburgh Psychiatric Hospital (a few years after a psycho violent event here that the Port of Portland police and DA Shrunk swept under the carpet). When I heard that this guy was also a grad student studying brain function (neuroscience in this case), that seemed a bit more than just coincidental.

Nolo is on the beam. It's good that this maniac killer was captured alive. Our society needs to find out what's been going on in that guy's head, his life, and his pharmaceutical history.

Furthermore, it is immoral to medicate people like him just so they can be sentient and cognizant enough to be engaged spectators at their death penalty trials.

"Never let a tragedy go to waste." Famous lines uttered by a familiar voice.
The media is once again turning this horrible crisis into a reality show of the month. Listen to all of them with the PC "Our thoughts and sympathy s go out to all of the victims." Then the drum beat starts to pound with the hour long specials and the hourly updates. New realty spins offs and stage plays, the evils of humans.
It makes me sick and want to turn away from caring when they spew it all out. Just stop it media and devote the time to a small and tasteful dose.

I noticed that, just as they did with the Gabby Giffords shootings, ABC and others were quick to link it to the racist, homophobic, terrorist Tea party types. Great "journalism" there, guys.

I also note that so far this weekend, as is so often the case in Chicago:

At least 21 people were shot, three fatally, across the city Friday night and Saturday morning.

Or as we used to call it, "Another Friday night." For some reason, the media doesn't bother with these mundane, weekly stories of slaughter.

By no means do I minimize the horror of the Aurora event; it was, and is, terrible, and like so many others, my thoughts go out to those injured - and those bereft. And it could have been worse - one man pulled the emergency door leading to theater 8 shut as the murderer tried to enter, and held it closed as the gunman pounded on the door.

For all the horror, there were doubtless many acts of heroism.

I'm glad to hear much more reasoned comments hear on this blog (from both the righty-tighties as well, as from the lefties) than on other blogs.

As to this: " Did he snap on his own? Was this just him being evil?"

Good questions. But the preparation (massive body armor, 6,000 rounds of ammo) he did, over months, while staying under the radar ( with only a single speeding ticket ) means that the chance of early detection of people like that would seem to be very low. Honor student in neurological-science major, getting into a PhD program, then exiting out.

I think the public is still missing key info. One thing I would like to know is why the mom, when she first heard of the massacre, immediately thought it might be her son.

I echo Nolo's comments.

This problem will never go away, but we should approach prevention of future events from a mental health perspective. Dying his hair reddish orange and acting out a Joker Fantasy is a clear indication this dude was decompensating, or worse.

Nevermind the fact that those intent on mass murder are unlikely to be deterred by more restrictive gun/ammo/magazine laws. And anything that has been outlawed is still available, for a price: the internet makes sure of that.

"Nevermind the fact that those intent on mass murder are unlikely to be deterred by more restrictive gun/ammo/magazine laws."

So we will always have the possibility of cunning psychos doing more of this, regardless of any additional laws restricting guns n ammo.

My theory was to have more CWP folks carrying. If there are only 5% of the general public licensed to carry concealed, we should increase that to 10% or 20%, with incentives or regulations.

I'm now officially enhancing my theory to add the following:
A- add CCGM, so that citizens can carry concealed gas masks as well, or be able to hold their breath for a minimum of 2 mins.
B- add requirements for CWP-ers to alternate hollow points with armor piercing rounds, every other round, in case the bad guy's wearing protection.
C- of course, now we need to increase the magazine sizes to accommodate twice the number of bullets.

Once you commit a crime like this your medical history and records are no longer private..
That's my opinion.

I realize you're being sarcastic, Harry. But your first three paragraphs are spot on.

It will be interesting to learn if any off-duty police officers or CWP permit holders were at the theater and armed. Early reports suggested at least two of the security guards were daytime cops.

If anybody had returned fire, the shooter would have (at least) been distracted. That might have saved a few lives.

A gang-banger with a saturday night special might have stopped this shooter given the chaos and closed quarters.

Many veteran police officers could have knocked him down with a higher caliber handgun...The body armor will stop a bullet, but the energy transmitted by the bullet is still enough to knock most people down. Then they could have shot his feet or sides.

These events are natural disasters, no more, no less. There is no reason to dwell on them any more than we would dwell on the intricacies of geological events. Mass-murderers are wired for their fate, biologically, and it is simply a senseless waste of time for the media to be mawing about it, or even for us as citizens, to spend much time analyzing it.

But like earthquakes, some of this miscreants show warning signs, and the detection and response to those warning signs are where the focus should be, in the aftermath of these events. Sounds like this event may have been as unpredictable as a white shark off of Atlantic City. But the Jared loughner case had screeching sirens going for months, and no effective social response mechanism was engaged. One of his community college teachers emailed admin he was afraid to face the chalkboard in class because he feared the kid would pull a gun when his back was turned. A classmate emailed admin, "I sit by the door and keep my purse handy". The Fort Hood shooter was so bizarre he had his psychiatry residency attending physicians discussing whether he was psychotic or not. His "case presentation", which was a requirement for graduating psychiatric residency training, was a raving rehash of Koranic verses, that bore no relation to any case of psychiatric study, except in so far that it clearly revealed his own insanity.

Until effective detection and alerting systems exist, our general strategies are Limited to avoiding crowds (so easy, for those of us who dislike them intensely anyway),, carrying a weapon (and be very well-trained in its use...who has the time for all that?), or to ignore the whole mess and carry on living. Chances obeen countering such an inferno are low. My advice is to warn every young person over whom you have influence to be aware that there are mad dogs, then there are those who may appear to be sane, but are mad dogs anyway, and to be very, very careful. Rule of thumb, the diseased are typically men under the age of 30, and almost always under the age of 40. The tragic other edge of the Y chromosome, which has otherwise been a prolific source of human ingenuity and advancement.

I would also like to express my condolences not only to the victims and their families...and kudos to the first responders...but also my heartfelt empathy to the shooter's family. What a terrible and grevious situation they are in. I hope the public and the media understands this as well.

A note on further restrictive "gun control" laws:

If someone is planning to shoot people in so far as to dye his hair and booby trap his apartment with explosives, the last thing they are going to be concerned with is a felony weapons charge when they have 13 Murder 1 charges, as well as 50+ attempted murder charges on the indictment.

in the immediate aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy, there was lots of commenting on the expiration of the so-called "Assault Weapons Ban." The only problem is that if you count the amount of expended rounds, and divide by the number of empty magazines found, every gun and accessory he had was legal under that particular piece of legislation, regardless of expiration.

Gun control laws are only useful for restricting rights of people who wish to be legitimate owners. It's the same as automatic death sentences for drug-related murders - the people committing these murders will end up dead if they don't kill their target; and the drug gangs and cartels are much less dainty about their executions then our government is.


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