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Knock me over with a feather: James Eagan Holmes was seeing psychiatrist

Friday’s news that James Eagan Holmes was under a psychiatrist’s care hardly comes as a surprise. (James Eagan Holmes is the man accused of murdering 12 and injuring 58 at a midnight showing of the newest Batman.) 

My prediction is that for the next four to six weeks we can expect a pitched battle in the courts and press while Holmes’ defense tries to keep his psychiatric history cloaked. The defense is especially going to try to keep his psychiatric medication history secret. The battle will abate when Holmes’ tox screen becomes available and/or the police find out what prescriptions he’d filled in the past six months.

The stories that are cropping up in the past 72 hours are basically asking the question “What psychiatric drugs was Holmes taking?” (1)(2)(3)(4)

Now, what will Scientology, Inc do about this?

Whatever they try, they won’t do the right thing.

I’ve considered a different approach to solving the problem and I wonder why the church and CCHR hasn’t taken it.

Get one state legislature to pass a law that says this:

If it’s found that the attending physician prescribed a psychotropic drug to a person who then committed suicide or killed another or others, or injured the patient himself or others, the prescribing physician will be charged with culpable negligence in the consequent injuries or death.

The drug companies will fight it, of course, just like the tobacco companies fought the black box warnings on the side of cigarette packs.

But, if the drugs they’re selling don’t result in cutting, or suicide, or murder, the drug companies shouldn’t fight it. They should welcome it.

The physicians may object, saying that “we can’t predict what undesirable side effect drug X will cause!” If that’s so, why did you dispense/prescribe it? That’s why it’s culpable negligence.

Regardless, such a law would not stop a physician from prescribing the drugs.

It would just make it his fault if someone got hurt or killed by the person taking the drugs.

What it would do, though, is prevent a physician from turning a severely depressed or delusionally psychotic person into a fire-and-forget homicide/suicide missile.

What would eventually happen is that if a psychiatrist thought that the use of psychotropic drugs was merited, the patient would have to be committed to a care facility that afforded 24/7 care and assurance that the patient would be administered his medications at the proper dosage on the proper schedule.

(The latter clause gets rid of the excuse “but he stopped taking his meds!” Isn’t it odd that a person that a psychiatrist says isn’t responsible for his behavior is yet considered responsible enough to remember to take his meds?)

Such a care facility would also be charged with ensuring that any psychotropic drug was fully out of the person’s system before the person could be released.

The result would be that every physician would think thrice before arming a fire-and-forget WMD like James Eagan Holmes. Due to the increased expense of caring for people prescribed these drugs, most insurance companies would not cover the payment for and administration of psychotropic medications.

Most importantly, the patient would have been through a commitment process. Which would make his owning a firearm or selling him a firearm…even privately…totally illegal under existing law. Existing law prohibits selling ammunition and firearms to such persons, after all.

If this simple law had been in place, James Eagan Holmes and Jared Lee Loughner and Kip Kinkel and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and Seung-Hui Cho may not have had access to the firearms and ammunition used in their murder sprees.

And instead of having a nationwide argument about denying everyone firearms, we’d be having a nationwide argument about the best way to know which people should be legally denied access to firearms for the safety and protection of other citizens.

And, if this simple law were passed, then the efforts of the medical community would be taken off of psychotropic medications and focused instead on finding therapeutic solutions for the severely-depressed and delusionally-psychotic cases that don’t involve psychotropic drugs.

Yes, it’s true that committing a person to a care facility for his mental health afflictions stigmatizes that person. But nothing stigmatizes a person for life like murdering 13 people and injuring 21 others.

And nothing stigmatizes a person for life like causing funeral costs for killing 12 people and health care costs for injuring 58 others at a midnight showing of Batman.

Isn’t it time something gets done about it?

Isn’t it time that Scientology Inc was actually effective in doing something about it instead of just posturing?

— written by Plain Old Thetan

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5 Comments

missdwh  on July 30th, 2012

See if you can get Tony Ortega to run that word for word in the Vilage Voice. It is very well written, Plain Old Thetan is a Plain Good Writer.

Eileen Clark  on July 30th, 2012

Well thought out and a sensible solution. As you say, Scn Inc would never be that sensible and will probably get it very wrong. However, I do wonder who they have left as a spokesman??

dopR  on August 1st, 2012

What if the psychiatrist prescribed a drug that made the killing rampage less lethal than it would otherwise have been?

plain old thetan  on August 1st, 2012

dopR: I’m afraid that making a “safer psychotropic drug” makes about as much sense to me as Joycelyn Elders’ suggestion in the ’90s that the way to lower crime rates in American inner cities was to make safer guns and safer bullets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqbB4kFtVZU

Perhaps you missed my suggestion that “…if this simple law were passed, then the efforts of the medical community would be taken off of psychotropic medications and focused instead on finding therapeutic solutions for the severely-depressed and delusionally-psychotic cases that don’t involve psychotropic drugs.”

No publicly-traded drug company worth its salt will spend its time “proving” that its psychotropic drug is “less likely” to cause a massacre than another drug. That’s a kiss of death for sales. And to “prove” it, you have to have a certain number of murder sprees so the bodies can be counted and the drug with the fewer bodies wins.

I don’t think Americans will go for that.

It means they still have to be scared of sending their kids to school or taking their wife to a movie.

plain old thetan  on August 1st, 2012

Funny thought: if there is such a law, modern drug company testing procedures will involve giving therapeutic does of psychotropic drugs to lab rats that are armed with little tiny AK-47s. The group of experimental rats with the fewest casualties would be the rats taking the “safer” psychotropic drugs.

The only problem now is where to get those teeny-tiny 100-round magazines.

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