The horrific massacre of the innocents in Newtown was bound to result in a search for preventive action so that nothing like it could ever happen again, and hence also for its real or final cause. (Snip) Second, even if he had agreed to consult a psychiatrist, there is no certainty that the psychiatrist could have done anything for him and thus averted the disaster. Nor would the psychiatrist necessarily have had any reason to suspect a mass killing as a possible outcome in this case; the best predictor of future behavior is, after all, past behavior
Comments: Dalrymple (Dr Anthony Daniels, a psychiatrist himself), on the low likelihood of a psychiatrist predicting the mass murder.
Excellent and badly needed essay. If only people will read it.
False predictions of rare events (such as mass killings) generally outweigh true ones by a large factor—an important point to remember, especially if you wish to grant or withdraw civil liberties on the basis of such predictions.
Here at last is someone talking sense. Long time fans of Theodore Dalrymple have rarely been disappointed by his writing. He is always interesting. He is usually right. And he is never dull.
There is something natural and healthy and in any case unavoidable in the human response to horrors such as Sandy Hook. Who is to blame? What caused it? How can future things like this be prevented? All necessary questions demanding attention and investigation.
Leaping to conclusions that are in almost all cases derived from strongly held preexisting convictions gives a sense of control and provides targets for otherwise unfocused helpless anger. This may give relief and feel good; it is less certain that it does good.
Journalism adds no laurels to its crown by its reckless, ideologically driven coverage of these terrible killings. Public officials, by their stubborn and inexplicable refusal to make all reliable information available as soon as possible, provide a kind of dark, dank public soil for every kind of mushroom, including some that are poisonous, to sprout and grow. False narratives are quickly formed that do not necessarily disappear when the true story is known, becoming instead part of the cultural milieu.
I believe the kid´s mother is largely responsible for what happened.She knew full well that her son had a disorder that was making him more difficult to manage as he got older.Why then would she go out and buy firearms and take him to the firing range in order to teach how to use the weapons? What did she have in mind? She´s the culprit in this case.
Based upon reports from those who were close to the Lanza family - both friends and relatives - her difficulty with Adam was fairly recent. He had been diagnosed with Asperger´s syndrome - that is not a violent disorder. That is what she would have dealt with throughout most of his life. And it does not usually lead to anger and violence.
She talked recently with friends and relatives about the changes in his demeanor. He stopped talking with her. But under current law, he could not - as a 20 year old - have been examined, treated, or committed without his consent unless he demonstrated that he was a danger to himself or others.
Let´s stop blaming the mother. All reports say that she was a warm, intelligent, very caring woman who was dealing with a son with Asperger´s. Whatever mental illness Adam ended up with was another story.
Predicting a mass murder isn´t the point. Eliminating delusional thinking is the point. We don´t say to avoid seatbelts because we can´t predict which travels in cars would have resulted in fatal accidents. We say that there is a reduced risk of fatality in an accident for those who use seatbelts. Similarly, there is reduced risk of violent behavior among the delusional who are properly treated.
Delusional thinking is neither illegal nor, so far as I am aware, conclusively linked to violence. No evidence has been released to suggest that the Sandy Hook killer was delusional, though it is possible that he was. We do not know what professional help he may or may have received. We do not know whether there were any previous episodes of violence or threatening behavior. We do not, as a matter of fact, know enough at this point to conclude with certainty that his chronic mental problems, severe as they seem to have been, were the major factor in his actions, which were from a certain point of view, chillingly rational and even understandable. The scenario has narcissistic rage and suicidal despair written all over it. It is intuitively comprehensible. It can be explained without postulating a loss of contact with reality. Indeed, it can be explained precisely by the killer´s contact with, and inability/unwillingness to deal with reality.
The one person who might be able to provide some answers is not available. His mother.
I believe she did the best she could with what she had. A shy, quiet, briny kid, Adam Lanza´s seeming to go dark was a recent development from accounts of those to whom she did talk. It was about withdrawal. Refusal to speak to her. Staying in the room in the basement.
Excellent essay. There can be signs for a parent. Just today in Phoenix a young girl (16), transgender, was arrested after posting a threat on Youtube about killing her classmates. She´d been acting odd, and when she asked her dad about his guns he locked them up. She admitted she didn´t know if she would have gone thru with the threat. Nine times out of ten she would have done nothing. How can you know. Do we lock everyone up or do we try to make assistance available to the parents.
WASHINGTON — Senate Democratic and Republican leaders reached final agreement on a deal to reopen the government and extend its borrowing authority into February, with votes in the House and Senate possibly to begin this afternoon, according to aides familiar with the negotiations. Senate Republicans have gathered for a final review, but lawmakers have given no indication they will block it. A government shutdown into its third week yielded virtually no concessions to the Republicans other than some minor tightening of income verifications for people obtaining subsidized insurance premiums under the new health care law.
In 20 or so years of political speechwriting, the only condition I have ever set down in advance of being hired is that I would never, under any circumstances, assist any candidate or officeholder in promoting the cause of abortion. (Snip) Come to think of it, I first learned about the “abortion rights” cause and about the ruthlessness of industrialized farming around the same time, at the age of 13 or 14, and my reaction to both was similar: You just don’t treat life that way. Look at pictures of the victims in each case, at the thing itself, and
On his radio show the other day, Hugh Hewitt caught me by surprise and asked me about running for the United States Senate from New Hampshire. My various consultants, pollsters, PACs and exploratory committees haven’t fine-tuned every detail of my platform just yet, but I can say this without a doubt: I will not vote for any “comprehensive” bill, whether on immigration, health care or anything else. “Comprehensive” today is a euphemism for interminably long, poorly drafted, and entirely unread – not just by the peoples’ representatives but by our robed rulers, too (how many of those Supreme Court justices
In the small but cohesive Mormon community where he grew up, Hans Mattsson was a solid believer and a pillar of the church. (Snip) But when he discovered credible evidence that the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, was a polygamist and that the Book of Mormon and other scriptures were rife with historical anomalies, Mr. Mattsson said he felt that the foundation on which he had built his life began to crumble. Around the world and in the United States, where the faith was founded, the Mormon Church is grappling with a wave of doubt and disillusionment
Sanford, Fla. - George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, igniting a national debate on racial profiling and civil rights, was found not guilty on Saturday of the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. He also was acquitted of manslaughter, a lesser charge. After three weeks of testimony, the six-woman jury rejected the prosecution’s contention that Mr. Zimmerman had deliberately pursued Mr. Martin because he viewed the hoodie-clad teenager as a criminal and instigated the fight that led to his death. Mr. Zimmerman said he shot
SANFORD, Fla. — The jury deliberating George Zimmerman´s fate has reached a verdict. They reached the verdict after deliberating all day on Saturday. Late in the evening the jurors asked for clarification on the instructions regarding manslaughter. At about 6 p.m. ET lawyers for both sides appeared in court where Judge Debra Nelson conferred with them about the manslaughter question and then recessed court.
Just when I thought the George Zimmerman "trial" couldn´t sink any lower, the prosecutorial limbo dancers of the State of Florida magnificently lowered their own bar in the final moments of their cable-news celebrity. In real justice systems, the state decides what crime has been committed and charges somebody with it. In the Zimmerman trial, the state´s "theory of the case" is that it has no theory of the case: might be murder, might be manslaughter, might be aggravated assault, might be a zillion other things, but it´s something.
Justin Rose is the first Englishman to win the U.S. Open in 43 years. Rose shot a closing 70 Sunday at Merion Golf Club for a 1-over 281 total and his first major championship. He finished two shots ahead of Phil Mickelson and Jason Day. The 32-year-old Rose overcame his share of misadventures on a challenging course. He took the solo lead for good when Mickelson and Mahan both dropped shots at No. 15.
PARIS — World number one Serena Williams clinched her second French Open title when she beat defending champion Maria Sharapova of Russia 6-4 6-4 in the final on Saturday. The 31-year-old American, who won her first Roland Garros title in 2002, became the oldest player since tennis turned professional in 1968 to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup after overpowering the second seed on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Imagine this: Newspapers and broadcasters in China suddenly start to denounce the British government. They call it a ‘regime’. They say that its treatment of its Muslim minority is cruel and unjust. (Snip) All the time, foreign media report in a wholly one-sided way, credulously trumpeting British government ‘atrocities’ without verification. And then all the major countries in the world agree to permit the direct supply of weapons to the rebels. Absurd? Wait and see. Something quite like this actually happened on a small scale in Northern Ireland, where American individuals helped buy guns and bombs
Renowned author Dan Brown woke up in his luxurious four-poster bed in his expensive $10 million house – and immediately he felt angry. (snip) The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was swamped in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.”
Mark Sanford has won the South Carolina special election in a competitive race for what in normal circumstances is a safe Republican seat. The former governor beat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert Busch, for the state’s 1st congressional district. The AP called the race for Sanford early in the evening, with the Republican leading Colbert Busch 54 percent 46 percent.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that he is considering running for another term in 2016, when he would be 80 years old. "I´m seriously thinking about maybe giving another opportunity for you to vote for or against me in a few years from now," McCain said on KFYI-AM in Phoenix. "I´m seriously giving that a lot of thought." [1-minute sound bite] Asked by host Barry Young to clarify if he was saying he might run again, McCain said: "That would not be wrong." The New York Times´s Mark Leibovich, who is in Arizona following McCain, first tweeted the news.
While the president of the United States pitched his crumbling healthcare program like a late-night infomercial barker, the Army´s chief of staff made a shocking admission about national defense. Gen. Ray Odierno told a Washington conference Monday that the U.S. Army had not conducted any training in the last six months of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. And, he said, there currently are only two Army brigades rated combat-ready. That´s less than one-third what ‘s regarded as necessary for national security. [Snip] All this to comply with Obama administration orders to drastically shrink the Army and military spending.
That was America standing behind President Obama in the Rose Garden this week as he stammered, and droned on and on, trying to explain away the epic disaster that Obamacare has become even before it has begun “About three weeks ago, as the federal government shut down,” he began.Expectant and hopeful, America stood tall on the steps behind him for as long as she could. She was proud and gazed at the nation’s new top health care provider proudly. But as the excuses and mistruths mounted and the barrage of words rolled on and on and on, she could not
A federal judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss a case that could fatally cripple the Obamacare health insurance law. The Affordable Care Act forbids the federal government from enforcing the law in any state that opted out of setting up its own health care exchange, according to a group of small businesses whose lawsuit got a key hearing Monday in federal court. The Obama administration, according to their lawsuit, has ignored that language in the law, enforcing all of its provisions even in states where the federal government is operating the insurance marketplaces on the error-plagued Healthcare.gov website. Thirty-six states chose not to
In addition to the damage done to the GOP by his penchant for right-wing antics, of which the shutdown fiasco was only the latest, Jim DeMint, the president of Heritage Foundation, has ushered in a new era in the once-proud conservative think tank’s history. Under DeMint, Heritage Foundation has been subsumed to the interests of its sister organization, Heritage Action. As a result, Heritage Foundation is suffering a grievous slide in intellectual integrity and influence. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is the latest of many conservatives openly to express concern about the think tank. He told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd this week, “Right
On Sunday night, I wrote a short post soliciting stories from my readers about how Obamacare has already immediately impacted their lives. I asked that all of these emails be directed to ObamacareMakesMeSick@Yahoo.com. I expected a response; I didn’t expect it to be quite so overwhelming. Over the last 24 hours, my inbox has been flooded with hundreds of emails. What you’ll read in this post represents a portion of them. I’m only one guy (with a fulltime job and twins) — I wasn’t able to go through every single message just yet. Some, I left out because the information
Juan Williams has a clear grip on responsibility for the failure of a program that got passed in Congress with no Republican votes, and implemented with no Republican management in a Democratic administration. Williams claims that the White House would have delayed the rollout of ObamaCare’s exchanges except for the opposition of the GOP to the program as a whole. As a result, Williams argues, Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius had no choice but to lie about the exchanges and let it unfold. Come on — you knew the media would eventually get around to this argument. You just didn’t
A top Senate Democrat said that a leading House Republican told President Obama that they could not ´even stand to look at you´ during negotiations over the government shutdown. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a Facebook post that the alleged confrontation happened during a meeting between Republicans and the president. "Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn´t try hard enough to communicate with Republicans," Durbin said. "But in a ´negotiation´ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: ´I cannot even stand to
After a shutdown fight that had Republicans in Congress taking sides against one another, the Senate minority whip put out a plea for unity today in the form of a Fox News op-ed. “In recent weeks, the national media have been obsessed with highlighting divisions and disagreements among Republicans on Capitol Hill. It’s time for GOP lawmakers to remind the American people of what unites us,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wrote. “Republicans are united in our desire to dismantle President Obama’s health care law and replace it with patient-centered alternatives that reduce costs, expand quality insurance coverage, and improve access to
President Barack Obama didn´t know of problems with the Affordable Care Act´s website -- despite insurance companies´ complaints and the site´s crashing during a test run -- until after its now well-documented abysmal launch, the nation´s health chief told CNN on Tuesday. In an exclusive interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CNN´s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked when the President first learned about the considerable issues with the Obamacare website. Sebelius responded that it was in "the first couple of days" after the site went live October 1. "But not before that?" Gupta followed up. To which Sebelius replied,
On Wednesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) revealed that he was working on a bill to delay the Obamacare individual mandate. He said in late September that he would support efforts to delay the individual mandate, but this is the first time that Manchin has signified that he will lead a legislative effort toward such a delay. Manchin’s spokesperson, Jonathan Kott, said Manchin will not back Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) proposal for an indefinite delay to work out insurance exchange glitches, but that he would instead work on a bill “to delay the pena
Hard-line conservatives aren’t just sticking it to the national GOP by shutting down the government and bringing the nation to the brink of default — they’re also refusing to pony up to help their party defend the House in 2014. With a little more than a year until the midterm election, many leaders of the shutdown strategy have yet to donate to the National Republican Congressional Committee, records show. At least eight of the debate’s 20 or so most outspoken figures have not given any money to the NRCC, and others have forked over token amounts. Their refusal to contribute