Mass murderer Buford Furrow
Clayton Cramer has some interesting insights on the killer at the Jewish Community Center a few years ago.
Apparently he was committed to a mental institution (generally requiring a judicial finding that he was a physical danger to self or others) in 1998. He'd cut himself, and told police he had a drive to commit mass murders at a shopping mall. While being evaluated in the institution, he threatened to stab two other patients.
Instead of being committed, he was released, then charged with felony assault after he attacked an attendant trying to get committed again. He said he wanted to be committed because he had a compulsion to commit a mass murder. At the sentencing, he told the judge about his compulsions... and was given six months in the clink, with orders to take his medications while on parole.
The Ninth Circuit solution was, of course, to uphold a suit against a gun manufacturer....
The news coverage points out a problem in psychiatric nomenclature. Folks say he wasn't insane, but driven by irrational hatred.
Irrational hatred is not a "mental disease" but a "character disorder." On the other hand, being killed due to irrational hatred is just as permanent as being killed due to mental disease. In fact, the former is more dangerous. Most truly delusional persons are not very aggressive (apart from the paranoid schizs). If far enough out of it, they could care less about you. Had one in Virginia who simply lay down on our car's hood and lay there smiling and talking to himself, happy as a clam. Other tend to be terrified of you: only risk is they might run over you trying to escape if they think they are cornered. A person driven by murderous ethnic hatred, on the other hand ....
I think a decent case could be made that, if we are trying to get people off the streets who are likely to kill due to their mental state, "character disorders" should come at the head of the list rather than not being on the list at all. Sociopaths, severe narcissists (who figure heavily in mass killings that end with their suicide, since their state involves both feelings of godlike power and inner self-hatred), etc.
De-institutionalizing the mentally ill has a cost, just like keeping the mentally ill in state or other hospitals has a cost. The public has yet to make the connection thanks to a press, which has deliberately avoided the issue. In the absence of right to carry laws (open or ccw) the law abiding citizen is (again) at the mercy of the law breaker.
Posted by: RKV at November 7, 2006 05:35 AM
Can you believe it? A rational honorable person who knows that there is something wrong with him. He has a compulsion to commit a mass murder, that he doesn't believe he can control. He tries to get himself commited. Then he tries to get him self jailed. They give him only 6 months.
You can't expect him to kill himself. He is trying to do the right thing and nobody is helping him or believes him.
He loses control and commits the act and everybody acts suprized.
He did what he could to fight his demons, a honorable man. To bad nobody listened.
Posted by: Dan Hamilton at November 8, 2006 10:17 AM