Denver media are now reporting that the psychiatrist treating accused mass murderer James Holmes warned a “threat assessment team” at the University of Colorado-Denver about him more than a month before he went on a shooting rampage.
As reported by Reuters: “The Denver Post reported that Fenton raised her concerns about Holmes with the university’s Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team in early June. Denver’s KMGH-TV, also citing unnamed sources, said school officials did not contact Aurora police before the shooting and that no action was taken because Holmes was in the process of dropping out of school.”
Now, I’m not one to take the word of “unnamed sources” as gospel, but if true, what we have here is a bureaucracy that said, “he’s a dangerous nut, but soon enough he won’t be our dangerous nut, so let’s let this one ride.”
You hate to apply 20/20 hindsight to tragic cases like this. But it seems in every one there is a point at which someone, if he’d taken the time and effort, could have thwarted a horrific crime. Why not? In some cases, it’s just laziness or indifference. But in others, it’s a fear of lawsuits or regulatory punishment.
No group in America stands more for privacy than gun owners. About once a month, I get a letter asking that SGN be delivered in a plain brown wrapper, and I know lots of newsstand buyers won’t subscribe because they don’t want the mailman knowing what they’re reading.
But when someone’s not in his right mind, the presumption of privacy has to be weighed against the right of the rest of us to keep breathing. If officials at UC-D shirked their duty on grounds Holmes was not their problem, they failed, catastrophically, the community they serve.