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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:20 pm 
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TuxedoCat wrote:
bastah wrote:
But the weird thing about him being completely out of it is that... he would need a lot of concentration to make those "sophisticated" booby traps and to come up with the whole scheme that he did (all the preparation--the body armor, the gas canisters, etc)

That is the part that is tripping me up too. Absolutely. There has to be some organization of thought to do that.

I think he really thinks he's the joker.

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I'm really uncomfortable with trying to label him with a mental illness. It may be he's mentally ill, but being a murderer doesn't automatically mean you're mentally ill. There is no mental illness that turns you into a mass murderer, and mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. There's lots of reasons why he could appear dazed, its not unheard of for killers to feign mental illness (such as Berkowitz claiming he was possessed, which after his conviction he admitted was a hoax), lots of killers do not have a mental illness, and I feel when we attempt to clinicalize violence we can distance ourselves from it. The fact he appears dazed isn't indicative of anything, he just killed and injured a lot of people and that could be affecting his conscious or he's shocked now that its done.

Through all the psych classes I've taken (I'm studying to be a therapist,) if there is anything I've learned, it's that someone doesn't just do something like that without there being something terribly wrong with them. It might be true that many killers do not have mental illness, but it is also true that many killers do.

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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:36 pm 
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starrynight87 wrote:
Through all the psych classes I've taken (I'm studying to be a therapist,) if there is anything I've learned, it's that someone doesn't just do something like that without there being something terribly wrong with them. It might be true that many killers do not have mental illness, but it is also true that many killers do.


Its still way too early to speculate, and a little ignorant to assume its only mentally ill people who are capable of being violent. Violence is a terrible, complicated problem in our society, we can't dismiss it as some loon and distance ourselves from it.

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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:57 pm 
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But no ones saying all mentally ill people are violent or violence is only perpetrated by mentally ill people. We talk about murders all the time without bringing up mental illness. Even mass murders. That guy that shot up Lane Bryant, George Zimmerman, 9-11, etc. those were all really horrific but not exactly random or without clear motive. When someone walks into a movie theater and kills strangers, it's different. And I don't think anyone's distancing themselves from it by thinking about it. To me, speculating that it's something like schizophrenia that hits people later on in life at random makes it very real and close to home. That's saying, hey guys, that mental illness that leaves people in anguish over their lives and without full control over themselves - we could wake up with that, before burning him at the stake, let's see what he was working with.

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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Fee wrote:
But no ones saying all mentally ill people are violent or violence is only perpetrated by mentally ill people. We talk about murders all the time without bringing up mental illness. Even mass murders. That guy that shot up Lane Bryant, George Zimmerman, 9-11, etc. those were all really horrific but not exactly random or without clear motive. When someone walks into a movie theater and kills strangers, it's different. And I don't think anyone's distancing themselves from it by thinking about it. To me, speculating that it's something like schizophrenia that hits people later on in life at random makes it very real and close to home. That's saying, hey guys, that mental illness that leaves people in anguish over their lives and without full control over themselves - we could wake up with that, before burning him at the stake, let's see what he was working with.


There's a chance, but no one aside from his doctors is capable of diagnosing him if he has a mental illness, and i don't think schizophrenia is something that most people take personally and are empathetic about, given most lay people seem to think its the same as split personality disorder and "schizo" is a common ableist slur. Of the mental illnesses, schizophrenics are probably one of the most likely to encounter ableism.

I did find a good article that speculated what might be wrong with him while clarifying that he might not have anything wrong with him at all, or if he does have a disorder, it might not be anything severe.

Quote:
“People want to believe that someone who does something like this must be floridly psychotic,” said Louis Schlesinger, professor of forensic psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, who has studied mass killers since the 1970s. “They think, ‘ah, he’s mentally ill; now I understand.’ It makes people feel they and people they know would never behave this way.”


http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/25/ac ... er-profile

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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:11 am 
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I've found the coverage if this - particularly locally - to be bizarre and annoying
Colorado public radio dedicated about 15 minutes of an interview show today to explaining what all the different types of guns and ammo are. That's just grasping to make another story of this event. Then, there's the talk of clusters of violent events - this shooting and Columbine. I'm sorry, Columbine was in 1999. My family had just moved to Colorado and I was high school aged. Relatives and friends were calling my family to make sure I was ok, because they weren't sure if I was in high school and if so, what school I attended. I just turned 31. The two events have little proximity in time. They are unrelated but for the fact a lot of people died in an awful, tragic, violent way.


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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:01 am 
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The thing that makes it evident that he probably has a mental illness is that he doesn't have a history of violence. That coupled with the other recent changes in his life and his age point to a mental illness that has just kicked in.

This isn't a case of "Who would do that? He must be mentally ill." There are clues that point to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:14 am 
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Yeah, I don't know anything about this guy's health or psychiatric history but my brother's mental illness (first serious schizophrenic breakdown) came in his lateish twenties when he was a top academic science student who was preparing for med school. Suddenly, everything that mattered so much (academics, aspirations) and all that he'd been working for for years didn't matter to him at all anymore, and in a startlingly short period of time, his paranoid delusions completely took over.

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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:24 am 
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bastah wrote:
The thing that makes it evident that he probably has a mental illness is that he doesn't have a history of violence. That coupled with the other recent changes in his life and his age point to a mental illness that has just kicked in.

This isn't a case of "Who would do that? He must be mentally ill." There are clues that point to it.



We don't know yet if he has a history of violence. We know he doesn't have a criminal record, but lots of people inflict violence on others and on animals without getting caught. Only he really knows.

We know he didn't have a good semester and failed his exam in June, but he started buying guns in May and may very well have been putting thought into this for a lot longer.

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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:29 pm 
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Does mental illness necessarily preclude one from planning something like this? Specifically, would someone suffering from paranoid delusions or schizophrenia be fundamentally incapable of purchasing weapons, ammunition, body armor, etc. over a period of time, and then designing and executing a mass murder that involves little more than sneaking in through the back door of a theater and killing moviegoers at random? Or of assembling explosive units and booby traps over an unknown period of time? I'm genuinely curious, as I know next to nothing about psychological disorders of any stripe, but I get the sense that some posters here find the planning element of this to be uncharacteristic of people suffering from mental illness, yes?


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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:54 pm 
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chop_socky wrote:
Does mental illness necessarily preclude one from planning something like this? Specifically, would someone suffering from paranoid delusions or schizophrenia be fundamentally incapable of purchasing weapons, ammunition, body armor, etc. over a period of time, and then designing and executing a mass murder that involves little more than sneaking in through the back door of a theater and killing moviegoers at random? Or of assembling explosive units and booby traps over an unknown period of time? I'm genuinely curious, as I know next to nothing about psychological disorders of any stripe, but I get the sense that some posters here find the planning element of this to be uncharacteristic of people suffering from mental illness, yes?

Speaking strictly from personal experience, being present for my bro's breakdown: My brother was fully capable of all things, his intellect was untouched, it was just his mind took over and he became completely fixated on one point to the exclusion of all else (i.e., that he was being persecuted). He had an elaborate theory of the Mafia being after him and set out scouting out the neighborhood and writing down pages and pages of license plate numbers of people he believed to be following him, he was sending letters to people he felt were following him (like a local Mafiosi he'd read about in the paper who'd been recently jailed or something and neighbors he was convinced were spying on him. And these were very cognizant-seeming, intelligent and perfectly expressed letters, such that people reacted angrily to them, didn't see the illness/paranoia behind them). It was overkill type behavior, all the energy he put into his surveillances. What kind of makes me suspect is how heavily Holmes tripped his apartment. Also, how he phsyically manifested the joker with the red hair dye. My brother believed he was other people and would physically transform himself to the best of his ability to fit that mental image. Holmes apartment explosive set up had to take a ton of planning as did his arming and armoring, and from what I'd seen from my brother's behavior, I would completely believe that paranoia could fuel such meticulousness. I don't know though, obviously, this is one person's personal experience. My brother doesn't have violent tendencies so he didn't act out with violence, but his constant surveillance and intelligent, methodical planning in that respect and actions during that period arose from his acute paranoia yet it was all thoughtfully and coherently done, it was the idea that fueled all this behavior that was completely incoherent and unreasonable.

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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:44 pm 
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seitanicverses, thanks for sharing. My initial reaction to all of this was to suspect that the kind of methodical planning that went into the shootings and explosives set-up was fueled by some sort of deluded "reasoning" on his part. Not that this necessarily points to mental illness, but this strikes me as very different than something like a politically motivated mass killing (a la Timothy McVeigh). It also seems to differ from many incidents of school shootings in that Holmes both actively protected his own life and, as far as we know, did not have a prior history of self-aggrandizing, voicing obsession with death and murder, etc. as did Kip Kinkel and the Columbine shooters.

I know these discussions don't seem particularly productive to some, but I think it's important to consider the possibility of mental illness. I'm an hour or so away from where the shooting took place, and many of my friends frequent that theater regularly. Since the shooting, my facebook feed has been saturated with really horrifying sentiments: "the cops should have beat the shiitake out of him," " I hope he gets raped in prison," "he deserves to be shot," etc. While I know a lot of these statements are coming from places of fear, anger, and sadness, I also think acknowledging the possibility that Holmes may not be psychologically healthy has the potential to turn the problematic discourses that have arisen out of this tragedy--advocating police and prison violence, encouraging people to invest in deadly weapons, etc.-- into productive discourses about how we might better go about recognizing the need for and providing help to people who may need it.


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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:49 pm 
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chop_socky wrote:
seitanicverses, thanks for sharing. My initial reaction to all of this was to suspect that the kind of methodical planning that went into the shootings and explosives set-up was fueled by some sort of deluded "reasoning" on his part. Not that this necessarily points to mental illness...

Yeah, the key components of the schizophrenic breakdown I witnessed first hand would be, if I had to choose two words, fixation and obsession - fixation as a powerful focus on one particular idea, and obsession to the point where the sufferer's subsequent actions exclusively begin to serve that idea. Where these behaviors direct themselves can manifest very differently depending on the case, the person suffering the illness, their circumstances, background, etc. Whatever's wrong or not wrong with Holmes, when I read the broad strokes of his story, I recognize a couple of hallmarks of a behavior I've seen closehand before, just manifesting itself in very different ways but who knows, that's my thousand-miles-away-internet input on this horrifying and unbearably tragic situation. The mind is such a broad and complex thing, and it's disorders seem so much more difficult to pin down than any apparent physical illness. Just going from what I've read, I wouldn't be surprised at all if he's diagnosed as schizophrenic when all is said and done.

I should also add that long bouts of lucidity and normalcy were apparent in my brother. He carried on with his regular life throughout much of his breakdown, which took a couple of months, I'd say, from first evidence of problematic fixation and beginnings of obsessive behavior to hospitalization (like Holmes going to a bar, acting normal with patrons and so forth in the days and weeks before the tragedy) my brother went to classes, attended his med school interviews, etc., but there came a point where he could keep all his balls of being a regular guy in the air no longer and his torment completely took over. This is not out of keeping with my witnessed experience of that particular illness, either.

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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:24 pm 
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Court documents released today say Holmes was seeing a psychiatrist who specializes in schizophrenia: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ ... story.html


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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:05 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Before Gunfire, Hints of ‘Bad News' (very long article)
There are about a dozen red flags in here:
Quote:
The text message, sent to another graduate student in early July, was cryptic and worrisome. Had she heard of “dysphoric mania,” James Eagan Holmes wanted to know?

The psychiatric condition, a form of bipolar disorder, combines the frenetic energy of mania with the agitation, dark thoughts and in some cases paranoid delusions of major depression.

She messaged back, asking him if dysphoric mania could be managed with treatment. Mr. Holmes replied: “It was,” but added that she should stay away from him “because I am bad news.”

It was the last she heard from him.


Quote:
Sometime in the spring, he stopped smiling and no longer made jokes during class presentations, his behavior shifting, though the meaning of the changes remained unclear. Packages began arriving at his apartment and at the school, containing thousands of rounds of ammunition bought online, the police say.


Quote:
Yet Mr. Holmes was descending into a realm of darkness. In early June, he did poorly on his oral exams. Professors told him that he should find another career, prosecutors said at a hearing last week. Soon after, he left campus.


Quote:
He volunteered little information about himself, his interests or what he dreamed of doing with his degree, said one graduate student who, touched by Mr. Holmes’s shyness, tried repeatedly to draw him out. Attempts to engage him in small talk were met with an easy smile and a polite reply — if only a soft-spoken “yo” — but little more.

“He would basically communicate with me in one-word sentences,” one member of the neuroscience program said. “He always seemed to be off in his own world, which did not involve other people, as far as I could tell.”


And so on.

Why did no one help him?!?!? What the bloody fork?!?!?

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 Post subject: Re: Aurora shootings
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:43 pm 
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I've been thinking a bit lately about these cases. I feel deep pity for Holmes and Loughner as it seems both are also victims of a different kind. This doesn't excuse their actions, but I feel that they could have been helped, if only.

But. I feel nothing but blazing hatred for the Virginia Tech shooter. I can't even type his name. And I hate that he was given a memorial stone on the drill field along with his victims.

Compassion is easier from a distance, I suppose?

Mental health awareness has a long way to go still. It is also very difficult for people to fully advocate for their condition in many cases. All is well when things are sunny, but when they aren't things like remembering meds and appointments are nearly impossible.

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