Virginia Tech

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  • 04/20/2007
I agree with Bob Goldberg's recent post refering to the uses of anti-psychotics and how they might have helped control the Virginia Tech killer, if they were taken, a big IF.. I also believe that universities should be able to mandate ongoing psychiatric care for someone like this - "if you don't like it, then leave the university."
which is not the say that a treating psychiatrist would have been able to intervene in time. It is not for sure that the killer would have revealed his plan beforehand. But if he had, then the treating psychiatrist would have had an obligation to admit him for acute homicidal ideation. It is also obvious that a person like this, with such a known psych history, especially with violent ideation, should not be allowed to purchase guns, and certainly computers could be used to create such a useful databank that gun stores could adhere to.
There is another issue to address - one that I have written extensively about in my book False Alarm: the Truth About the Epidemic of Fear.
Namely that it is too easy to personalize what you see in the news, too easy to attach yourself voyeuristically to a crime like Columbine or this one and feel as if it is going to happen to you.
THis kind of fear is infectious, and the killer knew this, which was one of the reasons he may have chosed a Columbine-like model.
My friend Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk, formerly of CNN radio, has written about this fear factor today in his blog and cited my book.

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