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  1. #1
    Jenna's Avatar
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    How can we prevent shootings by upstanding citizens with no criminal record, about whom it will later be claimed that "all the signs were there"?

    How can we prevent shootings by upstanding citizens with no criminal record, about whom it will later be claimed that "all the signs of mass murderer potential were there"?

    News coverage of the psychiatric problems of Steven Kazmierczak, the mass murderer at Northern Illinois University, made me wonder about this. Most of us probably know people who exhibit the same "signs" that Kazmierczak exhibited. But how can we actually tell if they are likely to lead to violence, and even if we could, what could we actually do? Every time a mass murder is committed by someone with no criminal record, people claim that it could have been prevented with the proper intervention. But what kind of intervention would actually work?

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    "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" Edmund Burke.
    "the world is a dangerous place place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who do not do anything about it" Albert Einstein

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    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    How can we prevent shootings by upstanding citizens with no criminal record, about whom it will later be claimed that "all the signs of mass murderer potential were there"?

    News coverage of the psychiatric problems of Steven Kazmierczak, the mass murderer at Northern Illinois University, made me wonder about this. Most of us probably know people who exhibit the same "signs" that Kazmierczak exhibited. But how can we actually tell if they are likely to lead to violence, and even if we could, what could we actually do? Every time a mass murder is committed by someone with no criminal record, people claim that it could have been prevented with the proper intervention. But what kind of intervention would actually work?
    On a serious note, this is what I like to call JAJT or for the civilians out there - "Just Another Jenna Thread". The title is just bait and the original post is devoid of much thought.


    The fact is that Kazmierczak was not "normal". No matter what crime or tragedy you read about; friends and family will usually say that he was a great guy and they never saw it coming - if not outright deny that he was involved. It was reported that Kazmierczak stopped taking Prozac for either Depression or Bipolar Disorder. He stopped taking his meds and reverted back to his problems. It is pretty simple.

    Some reports said that he may have had prior suicidal thoughts but that he has never hurt anyone else before. I don't buy it. Anyone who wants to or does hurt themselves or someone they care about (friends, family) is a danger to themselves and ALL others.

    If they will do that to themselves or someone they care about, there is logically nothing stopping them from hurting someone else that they don't care about. For that reason it is my belief that people who have mental disorders, specifically those dealing with possible suicidal thoughts, should not be allowed to purchase a firearm. Currently the law only bars those who were institutionalized from owning a gun. People who are treated as outpatients are not preventing from owning a gun. I feel that is dangerous.

    Additional gun laws will not prevent those from obtaining a gun if they want one. I know that not all people with mental disorders will kill others. But in the interests of public safety and keeping the 2nd amendment in mind, I think it is reasonable and prudent to take away the right to bear arms from most if not all people with mental illness.

    I don't know exactly why you choose to label Kazmierczak as an "upstanding citizen" but the "no criminal record" part makes me laugh. Every criminal had their first offense. Some were caught others were not. If we let things slide or denied the person was responsible because they were caught for the first time - they would never start their criminal record. It sounds like an excuse I hear often on traffic stops. "But I never got a ticket before." Sadly there is a first time for everything, including murder.
    "never bring paws to a gunfight" - Jenna

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    I don't believe it can be prevented. Two reasons that I can think of. One is profiling. The general public representatives (ACLU) with no knowledge of behavioral patterns would never allow people to be catergorized,or profiled, into groups considered dangerous just because of behavior. This would not be allowed for enforcement purposes I should say. Of course it is allowed for treatment. Problem is the magic pills they are suppose to take for treatment are often times not taken. As in the case you are referring to. Unlike the "general public" who do not see these problems on a regular basis this comes to no suprise to law enforcment officials who are on the job for more than a day. I know I see a person with diminished mental capacities of some form every day. I'll bet it would surprise you to know what kind and how many profiles there are for people who commit such atrocities. My first class as a detective was "Advanced Investigative Techniques". It delt with criminal profiles. In this instance it would probably be considered psychological profiling.
    The second is money. If the above were not a true statement and profiling for, say even, the enforcement of treatment was allowed the money it would take to pursue such an endeavor would be incredible. Imagine how much it would cost to assign an "enforcer" to groups of persons suffering from a variety of mental issues to ensure they take their medicine every day. If it would even be possible.
    Unfortunately, in my opinion, there is no preventing these incidents. They will continue to happen and more than likely with greater frequency.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewisipso View Post
    I don't believe it can be prevented.
    Agreed.

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    Jenna's Avatar
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    Thanks for your responses. My use of "upstanding citizens" is an ironic reference to all the news reports about Kazmierczak being such a great guy, good student, etc. prior to the shooting. I sympathize with those who say someone should have caught the warning signs and "done something", but like many here I don't really see a way something can be done given the obstacles that Lewisipso pointed out. I just wish there were things we could do.

    Articles like the one below are what got me thinking about this.


    Before tragedy struck at NIU, signs were there

    By Marilyn Elias, USA TODAY

    Steven Kazmierczak, who killed five students and himself at Northern Illinois University on Thursday, gave some strong clues in his final weeks that he could become violent, and learning to heed such clues might help prevent similar tragedies, mental health experts say.

    Kazmierczak, 27, called his girlfriend, Jessica Baty, the night before the shootings to say goodbye and asked her "not to forget about him," she told CNN.

    A graduate student at the University of Illinois, Kazmierczak was an anxious person with obsessive-compulsive tendencies who had been prescribed Prozac but stopped taking it three weeks before the shootings because the pills "made him feel like a zombie," Baty said.

    And the young man's call to his girlfriend asking that she not forget him, pointedly saying "goodbye" when he always said "see you later," calling her "Jessica" instead of "Jesse" is behavior that should set off alarm bells, says psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz, director of the New York University Child Study Center.

    There are almost always such warning signs if someone is about to commit suicide or mass killings, he says. "People are embarrassed to intervene, but they should go see a person who seems to be saying goodbye or acting out of character.

    "Let the person know you don't want them to go anywhere or do anything till you get there. If they won't listen to you, contact their parents, roommates or someone else. Reach out to see that they get some kind of help," Koplewicz says.


    The person involved may get angry, he says, "but ignoring the signs they've thrown out can be much, much worse."

    Contributing: Janet Kornblum
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/...s_N.htm?csp=34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    How can we prevent shootings by upstanding citizens with no criminal record, about whom it will later be claimed that "all the signs of mass murderer potential were there"?
    hopefully not coming across as crass, but you CAN'T.

    i posted this last night on another forum regarding the VT shooting:


    "it simply goes to show that there are risks taken and prices paid for the freedom we enjoy every single day. Sometimes these prices are paid by soldiers, sometimes by cops, and sometimes by your average joe. It is terrible every time it happens...but not as terrible as the price we (and future generations) would pay by losing our freedom as a people."

    I dunno if it comes across the right way or not....but freedom truly isn't free.
    --

    Ender

    "And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon..."

  10. #10
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    Evil has existed in this world since Cain killed Abel. There are simply people on earth that are susceptible to thoughts that end in evil acts. The closest we will ever come to doing anything about this is to educate people to be less "sheep like" and to pay attention to other people and the things they say and do. Even this would only protect the individual because there are few systems in place for reporting and dealing with people exhibiting danger signs or symptoms. I have no clue how to do this but strengthening the family support system would be a great beginning.

    Personally I believe these people have always existed but in the past their thoughts did not culminate in violence because violence was much less socially accepted. Movies, video games, news media, and an increasingly cynical society have desensitized society and made it easier for people to commit horrendous acts because they do not "shock the conscious" like they did in previous generations.
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  11. #11
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    I think we could reduce them exponentially by simply applying a little effort in the right place.

    1. Gavin De Becker is a loudmouth and full of himself, but he figured out a good way to predict these problems in schools and busineses. Some of his ideas and perhaps a variant of his software could be employed in the University Setting.

    2. Stop disarming the willing in those settings. Once a couple of these assholes get blown up the way they would in Israel, for example, the appeal is reduced as a target.

    3. Stop the self fullfilling prophecy of media copycats by restricting that information provided to media outlets immediately following these events. Make them wait until the investigation is complete (which is legal to do) and by the time they get the story it won't be leading because it's bleeding.

    Now none of these things would eliminate or prevent all such shootings, but I think we can reduce them.
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    oldtrooper is offline Rookie
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    Good post Cidp24. Even if a person like him were prohibited from possessing a firearm because of his anxiety and medication what damage could he have done with a sharp machete concealed under a coat.

    There is no absolute way to prevent such happenings. Over 40,000 traffic fatalities for the last several years in this country and the bleeding hearts have not mentioned banning automobiles. We can only as someone has already said "not become sheep". We are responsible for our own safety and well being to a great extent.

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    oldtrooper is offline Rookie
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    Mac I think you are on the right track. The media turns them into a celebrity and in effect provides night classes over the tube going into detail about how they were able to do the deed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    I think we could reduce them exponentially by simply applying a little effort in the right place.

    1. Gavin De Becker is a loudmouth and full of himself, but he figured out a good way to predict these problems in schools and busineses. Some of his ideas and perhaps a variant of his software could be employed in the University Setting.

    2. Stop disarming the willing in those settings. Once a couple of these assholes get blown up the way they would in Israel, for example, the appeal is reduced as a target.

    3. Stop the self fullfilling prophecy of media copycats by restricting that information provided to media outlets immediately following these events. Make them wait until the investigation is complete (which is legal to do) and by the time they get the story it won't be leading because it's bleeding.

    Now none of these things would eliminate or prevent all such shootings, but I think we can reduce them.
    So true...Look at Columbine...after this incident, i think school shootings (at all levels) have increased...The amount of attention given about the shooter, almost as a celebrity attention, have given these "shooters" something to think about. "All my life, no one has even noticed me..now I can make millions of people notice me"

    Unfortunately, sensational news sells, and the media thrives on sensation.

    We need to stop supporting the media that puts these nuts on like a celebrity
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Smart Ass View Post
    So true...Look at Columbine...after this incident, i think school shootings (at all levels) have increased...The amount of attention given about the shooter, almost as a celebrity attention, have given these "shooters" something to think about. "All my life, no one has even noticed me..now I can make millions of people notice me"

    Unfortunately, sensational news sells, and the media thrives on sensation.

    We need to stop supporting the media that puts these nuts on like a celebrity
    +1

    In the Nebraska mall shooting, didn't the shooter leave a note saying something like "now I'm going to be famous?"




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    I touched on some of this already in the News section, but here it is again:

    1) This guy was far from normal. He had spent time in a psych hospital, was psychologically discharged from the military, and was on powerful medications to control his disorder. So, we need to first eliminate the idea that we are trying to stop "normal" people.

    2) We need to accept, as a society, that violence exists in our country. We can't hide from it, and we can't behave as lambs waiting for the slaughter when it finds us.

    3) Arm those citizens that are capable, willing, and able to possess a firearm. The best way to fight fire is with fire. One or two legally armed students in that large lecture hall could have stopped that whole mess, possibly without any innocent folks being killed.

    4) Stop turning these guys into media sensations! These misfit losers feed off of that stuff, so stop making them into idols for the other aspiring misfit losers. How about overtyping on every picture of them the words: "I am a coward"? Maybe that would detract from the sex-appeal of mass killings...

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    You also have to remember some people that are completely normal (used loosely) will have something happen in their life that makes them snap and go on a rampage (heat of the moment).

    You can not predict what this is or when it will happen. You would have to know every thought patern the person has to be able to predict, but even then it would be to late because heat of the moment is something that happens on the spot and usually is not forseen.

    I dont think you can prevent everything no matter how hard you try, Hell if you could THERE WOULD BE NO POLICE

    I

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    To Buttercup, yes he did leave a note saying he was going to be famous now. Also the lady he was living with, just got served a search warrant, the police officers found more guns and drugs, she was arrested.
    Life is not measured by the breaths we take,its measured by the moments that take our breath away

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    Thanks for your thoughtful responses.

    I've known a lot of depressed people, and heard them saying things that could potentially be interpreted as suicidal, such as "life is pointless" or "I won't want to live if X happens" (and then X happens). None of them have hurt themselves or anyone else, fortunately; the people I've known who killed themselves didn't talk about it in advance.

    But if any of the many people I've known who have sounded potentially depressed or suicidal ever do kill themselves, or worse kill other people, I'm sure I'll feel extremely guilty and think that I should have done something to prevent it. So I sympathize with all the people who knew seemingly law-abiding people like Kazmierczak and supposedly had access to "all the signs" that he would become a mass murderer, and are therefore blamed by the media for not picking up on "the signs" and "doing something" to prevent it.

    When I've heard people sound potentially depressed or suicidal, I've never "done something" beyond trying to cheer them up or encouraging them to see a psychiatrist, because I figured that there was nothing I could do to get them help they didn't want. A disturbed person can't be forced to get psychiatric help unless he admits in front of cops or psychiatrists that he wants to hurt himself or others, and high-functioning people like Kazmierczak are unlikely to admit that, since they know it will result in involuntary confinement.

    And even if he is forcibly sent to a psychiatric hospital for a few days, will that really stop him from wanting to hurt himself and others after he gets out? I'm skeptical about the assumption that psychiatric help is some kind of panacea; I think that sometimes it doesn't work or even makes people worse (like when putting them on the wrong medications, or putting them on medications that they suddenly stop taking like in Kazmierczak's case).

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vengeance05 View Post
    On a serious note, this is what I like to call JAJT or for the civilians out there - "Just Another Jenna Thread". The title is just bait and the original post is devoid of much thought.


    The fact is that Kazmierczak was not "normal". No matter what crime or tragedy you read about; friends and family will usually say that he was a great guy and they never saw it coming - if not outright deny that he was involved. It was reported that Kazmierczak stopped taking Prozac for either Depression or Bipolar Disorder. He stopped taking his meds and reverted back to his problems. It is pretty simple.

    Some reports said that he may have had prior suicidal thoughts but that he has never hurt anyone else before. I don't buy it. Anyone who wants to or does hurt themselves or someone they care about (friends, family) is a danger to themselves and ALL others.

    If they will do that to themselves or someone they care about, there is logically nothing stopping them from hurting someone else that they don't care about. For that reason it is my belief that people who have mental disorders, specifically those dealing with possible suicidal thoughts, should not be allowed to purchase a firearm. Currently the law only bars those who were institutionalized from owning a gun. People who are treated as outpatients are not preventing from owning a gun. I feel that is dangerous.

    Additional gun laws will not prevent those from obtaining a gun if they want one. I know that not all people with mental disorders will kill others. But in the interests of public safety and keeping the 2nd amendment in mind, I think it is reasonable and prudent to take away the right to bear arms from most if not all people with mental illness.

    I don't know exactly why you choose to label Kazmierczak as an "upstanding citizen" but the "no criminal record" part makes me laugh. Every criminal had their first offense. Some were caught others were not. If we let things slide or denied the person was responsible because they were caught for the first time - they would never start their criminal record. It sounds like an excuse I hear often on traffic stops. "But I never got a ticket before." Sadly there is a first time for everything, including murder.
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