'Deinstitutionalization': Mass Murder and Untreated Madness

We do not yet have all the data on James Holmes, the accused killer in the Aurora case, but he fits a pattern that I have found common when I was researching my new book: very, very intelligent, and yet when Holmes’ mother was contacted by the news media, she did not for a second question the possibility that her son was the killer.

When you watch a relative spiral down into severe mental illness, you know that there is something terribly wrong, but our legal system has made it nearly impossible to provide help to those who are insane. In late May, a mentally ill man named Ian Stawicki committed mass murder in the Café Racer in Seattle -- read his father’s anguished description of watching this disaster in preparation, and being unable to prevent it.

The mainstream media, of course, are using this tragedy in Aurora as an argument for restrictive gun control. But the core problem -- the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill -- is simply being ignored.