Monday, December 30, 2013

Newtown Report

So after a year of investigating, gathering evidence, and all round wondering why, the report has finally been finished.  I would say that at a thousand pages, it should give us a great deal of insight into this tragedy.  First, I found it disturbing that the shooter (I refuse to use his name) hated his mother, and Sandy Hook Elementary school.  I wonder why, but that is quickly answered, as it was also stated that he resented his mother because he "felt" that she loved those children more than she loved him.  I doubt that is the case, but one never really knows.  I could do many evil things, but my mother would still love me, even if she hated what I did.  It was said by one of his teachers that he was obsessed with death, destruction and war. 

This shows a disturbing pattern emerging in this shooter from a young age.  Furthermore they found several books dealing with Autism, a NRA pistol shooting guide, and a military uniform in his room.  This is bothersome for me as I read over the CNN article about the police investigation.  I admit I have not kept up with this event as I should have.  It was painful, something that each person here can understand.  I wonder why a child showing this type of behavior was not in treatment, I mean he was writing stories so graphic that they cannot be shared with the rest of the class, there were red flags going up everywhere. 

So as we progress through the article, we see that the shooter was in treatment of some kind.  A previous report stated that "had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others. What contribution this made to the shootings, if any, is unknown as those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior."  I am not so sure about that.  While predicting future behavior is nearly impossible, we have a strong history of fantasizing violence against others.  

What bothers me more than the violent stories, is that someone who had dated the shooters mother said that he knew the shooter owned his own weapons, and shooting was used as a form of stress release.  Look, I am all for taking out frustrations on a target, but I am not mentally ill either.  In many ways, that action, using shootings as a means of stress relief in a mentally ill person can create a dehumanizing effect.  I cannot say that the shooter actually attached a mental image of a person to a target, but I will not say it did not happen.  It is also claimed that the shooter and his mother rarely spoke in person, they spoke via email.  Of all the problems the shooter had, this likely made the problems worse.  Then we get down to the blame game.  The father said that he attempted to contact the shooter repeatedly, but the shooter became more withdrawn from the relationship, which was blamed on the mother.  Now, like other factors, I will not assume anything, but if the parents were playing mind games, it is just another set up for a violent outburst. 

This whole thing is disturbing on multiple factors, many of which we can only speculate on, as we can only view what happened through the eyes of witnesses.  Mostly hearsay, which is pretty lousy evidence.  But from the hearsay we do have, we see several problems.  First we have a long history of violent fantasies.  If you look back at serial killers, and rapists you see a trend of violent fantasies along with violent actions, at around a thousand pages, I did not see violent actions mentioned, but I read the entirety of report within the next week and post about it in more detail.  Next, we see that the shooter was in treatment of some kind, but that he was distant from his parents.  He was also withdrawing from these relationships.  These are signs of disassociating from others, not to mention that the majority of his contact within his relationships was through email, that is as impersonal as you can get.  No face to face contact, no real context, nothing but words on a screen.  Next he was allowed to use firearms, in which shooting was used as stress relief.  Also the sole gun safe in the home was open, but undamaged.  I am all for owning firearms, but when someone is mentally ill in your household, the last thing that you should allow is that person to know the combination to your safe.  A worse scenario is that the safe was closed and latched but unlocked.  We will never know about that, the people in the home at that moment are now dead.  There are lessons, very painful lessons to be learned here, but they will be glossed over for more convenient things.  Which will lead to the next tragedy.