Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Real Scandal Behind the Virginia Tech Killings

ABC News is reporting that "a court found that Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho was "mentally ill" and potentially dangerous. Then it let him go."

According to the "Temporary Detention Order" obtained by ABC News, psychologist Roy Crouse found Cho's "affect is flat and mood is depressed.

"He denies suicidal ideation. He does not acknowledge symptoms of a thought disorder," Dr. Crouse wrote. "His insight and judgment are normal."

That information came to light two days after Cho, a Virginia Tech senior, killed 32 people and then himself in a shooting rampage on the university's campus.

'An Imminent Danger to Himself'

The evaluation came from a psychiatric hospital near Virginia Tech, where Cho was taken by police in December 2005, after two female schoolmates said they received threatening messages from him, and police and school officials became concerned that he might be suicidal.

After Dr. Crouse's psychological evaluation of Cho, Special Justice Paul M. Barnett certified the finding, ordering followup treatment on an outpatient basis
Apparently, Cho never went for that followup treatment. Nobody followed up. If they had they might have discovered the man capable of this.

Few people realize that a generation ago, for a variety of reasons, most states dismantled most of their inpatient mental health facilities. Nearly everybody is promptly released. In my community we call them the walking wounded. They are everywhere. Mostly they end up in jail, but only after they commit a crime. Apparently they are allowed one free murder. Then society will act. Just today
the Supreme Court heard the case of Panetti v. Quarterman which asks the question, just how crazy does a person have to be to avoid the death penalty? Apparently nobody is asking the more important question, just who was responsible for letting Panetti walk around Texas in the first place given his mental history? Make no mistake Panetti, like Cho, was known to be crazy, but was allowed to walk around right up to the moment he killed his in-laws.

The real scandal highlighted by Virginia Tech is that in the name of personal freedom, but really in the name of lowering State taxes, America seems to have adopted a rule that every crazy gets one free chance to commit murder.

Here is a link to MSNBC's slide show and video. It is very revealing. Cho wasn't just a young male loner. He was psychotic. He was psychotic two years ago, and somebody decided to let him loose. I wonder if it was because Virginia needed to free up his bed.