James Holmes Alleged Shooter Was Seeing A Psychiatrist Specialist in Schizophrenia
Dr. Lynne Fenton, the director of student mental health services at the University of Colorado and a medical school professor appears to have been seeing Holmes prior to his carefully planned and horribly executed rampage to kill. Holmes was a first-year graduate student in a neuroscience Ph.D. program, and he had just withdrawn from the program without completing it.
12 died and 59 were injured in Holmes’ mass shooting inside a crowded movie theatre in Colorado a week ago. Holmes apparently sent his notebook to Dr. Fenton, his lawyers claimed in motions to the court Friday. The notebook is said (by rumor since none of the media has seen it) stick figure drawings depicting a mass killing, but it remains unclear when the notebook reached the university, seeming to have sat in the mail room not having been delivered to its addressee.
Holmes’ lawyers from the public defender’s office
1. asked the judge to find out who leaked information to the media about the notebook and its contents,
2. arguing that Holmes’ privacy and constitutional rights have been violated.
I can hear the howls of outrage about Holmes’ privacy and constitutional rights. The dead, including a child, a father of two children, young people just starting in life, had no privacy nor constititutional rights from Holmes after he shot them and they lay dying on a dirty and bloodsoaked theatre floor.
But, there will be due process for Holmes. In likely the narrowest sense of the laws of the land, he will be given what he gave none of his victims. An actual long set of daily chances to defend himself.
As I understand the notebook situation, the officers had two different warrants to search and seize, and that Holmes told them about the notebook himself, and Holmes’ told the officers also about his mailing of it to a certain person at U of Colo, Anschutz Campus.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and Cho at Virginia Tech all had their notebooks too… and made videos of themselves telling of their intensely disturbed states of mind, and what they wanted to do. It is sometimes forgotten that at Columbine the computer video teacher and the English teacher both brought Klebold’s and Harris’ papers and videos submitted in class, to the principal for the teachers were so distressed by their contents. Even then, it was seemingly ineffectively brushed away. Sometimes it is forgotten that teachers at Virginia Tech also asserted that Cho was a disruption to the class and seemingly not well. But, it was seemingly also brushed aside.
People often speak of others ‘snapping.’ But, that is not likely in deep mental and unmedicated illnesses such as paranoid schizophrenia. Often the illness is long in deepening from early adolescence onward, a brain/ brain chemical deviation it appears. It becomes more and more apparent as the person’s delusions grow greater and greater and negative and unwarranted projections are cast over others who then ‘must be punished’ in order for ‘purifying others’ or purifying self, or ‘purifiying the world from evil’ that only the homicidal (and often suicidal) see.
Remembering a delusion has a basis in fact, but a grandiose distortion of its meaning that is not concommitant with consensual reality.
Just for a moment, a pretend scenario through the eyes/mind of a person with delusions: Thereby, move theatre runs films showing people in heroic and in depraved situations. True. They are films. True. But delusional person decides movie theatre is the hole in the earth through which Satan rises into the world, and all who go to films must be stopped or ‘saved.’… by killing them.
From 4 decades of work with persons in varying states of grief, sorrow, remorse, broken heart… and early on my internships with those who suffered from various psychoses, I can say that the former group represent a garden variety in a way– of humans just struggling to find and live in true self again. But, the latter group have serious mental disorders that distort reality, making the person unstable in terms of moral conscience, and sadly often leading to self harm that is permanent, and sometimes grave harm to others.
We do have medicines that control most psychotic symptoms. One of the most pressing issues is, will the person with a hallucinatory or delusional mental illness be compliant in taking their medication if there is no adult to supervise them? Sadly, the answer is, sometimes not to often not. Which puts the not well person at risk, and sometimes, those around them as well.
Dr. Estés is a practicing psychoanalyst and post trauma specialist who worked at Columbine High School and community for three years after the massacre, and also worked with Victims’ Assistance on both east and west coasts to help assist survivor families of the 9-11 bombings of the Trade Centers. She is currently on mission teaching post-trauma recovery protocol to citizen helpers and healers in the many communities affected by sudden homelessness, loss of animals and possessions, in the five major forest fires that blackened the skies in so much of Colorado and burnt over 100,000 acres of wildlife land to the ground in the last many weeks. Her post-trauma protocol is used throughout the world, most recently in Norway after the shootings, in Queensland after the massive earthquake, and in Japan in the aftermath of the tsunami.