CNN’s Kiran Chetry couldn’t help but inspire the ire of risk management professional, Peter Smerick, a former FBI profiler among other things, whom she was interviewing this morning. She wanted, maybe hoped that he would say, yes, we can know, we can prevent. (I’ll update with the transcript when available.)
But he refused to buy into her, and many others, beliefs that dots existed that could have been connected and prevented the killings at Virginia Tech on Monday.
Only the reporter with whom John Roberts spoke shortly after Chetry’s segment raised the real concern: troubled kids. I’d make it even more general: kids. And then, not even kids. The shooter in Virginia was 23. Lots of folks out there don’t want 23 year olds to be seen as kids, and we know there are individuals well beyond 23 who commit mass murders.
Soul search the security industry and how we can improve disaster/emergency communications all you want. But those measures won’t do a thing to stop people whose minds need attention. For those people, the last thing you want to do is decrease the likelihood that they will talk or express themselves to people who can help – help those individuals as well as those who may be in danger.
You think Cho didn’t talk much until he made his video? Just imagine the damper the threat of expulsion or further ostracizing would do to someone who needs mental health assistance.
And a final note: In less than five seconds, I was able to think of four women I know who have taken anti-depressants, under the guidance of psychiatrists and therapists over the last five years. They all have children and they all have masters degrees and employed husbands and homes and families around them. Should those kids have been removed from the home? Should those mothers have been removed from the home? Have you ever thought, really thought, about all the pharma ads on television suggesting that you should take this, that or the other medication for your blues or lack of energy or sad thoughts? Did your sad thoughts ever make you homicidal?
Who exactly do you think is a danger?
Read this from NAMI, if you don’t know the answer to that question.
And then think long and hard about what you think would actually help troubled people.