Saturday, January 7, 2017

Esteban Santiago's Mental Health

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A man walks into an FBI office. He tells the FBI that the government was controlling his mind and that it was forcing him to watch ISIS videos. He swears that he is not planning on killing anyone, so they call the local police and send him off for a psychiatric evaluation.

Apparently, they do not put his name on a no-fly list. Once he is sent for a psychiatric evaluation, the FBI closes the file.

The man undergoes two weeks of psychiatric treatment and then is released from the hospital.

His family says that he was undergoing counseling. Apparently, everyone thought that he had mental health issues. This means that they refuse to recognize insanity when they see it. And that they refuse to acknowledge that people who are insane can be very dangerous.

The man was also cited for domestic violence and was thought to be suffering from PTSD. He was never diagnosed with PTSD. One does not know whether or not he was diagnosed as psychotic.

Obviously, I am referring to Esteban Santiago, the gunman who murdered five people and injured many others at the Fort Lauderdale Airport.

The question that arises, and that arose in several other mass killings—committed by Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner and James Holmes—is: why didn’t the psychiatrists do a better job? What are the rules for involuntary commitment in Anchorage? One understands that the FBI is not in the business of providing mental health treatment, or even diagnosis, but still, why did they not put the man’s on a no-fly list? And why did he retain the right to own a gun?

To my knowledge, no one is asking these questions. They ought to be addressed.


Sam L. said...

"To my knowledge, no one is asking these questions. They ought to be addressed."I agree with you. I think the big media will not ask those questions. I do expect one of Mr. Trump's appointees to ask those questions.

Trigger Warning said...

Esteban Santiago. The perfect argument against NSA snooping. In Santiago's case, the dot walked into the office of a "mental health" professional. The dot walked into an FBI office. The dot was in court for domestic violence. No one connected the dot.

But the "intelligence" community tells us they can detect and connect dots based on switch metadata and data mining. Excuse me a moment...


Thank you.

Edward Snowden, you da man. Thx, pal. We owe you one.

Anonymous said...

The cynic in me says they didn't ask Esteban Santiago such questions because it'd be racial profiling. Law enforcement is walking on eggs these days.

Ares Olympus said...

Adult interventions are difficult and someone will try to rationalize craziness away. You have to work really hard to get yourself detained for psychological evaluation.

Think of all the crazy things Donald Trump has said in the last 18 some months. And he tried so hard to avoid being elected, but to not avail. He even boasted incredulously about his supporters "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." He apparently was hoping they would set a tinest limit on their loyalty, but nope, they cheered.

We live in a crazy country and craziness is sometimes contagious, and there are many vulnerable people who are trying to get attention.

Think of those idiotic black boys in Chicago torturing a disabled man and live streaming on Facebook as a joke.

What do you do with people who are so confused that they don't even try to avoid being caught?

I don't even know what to call it. Well, a psychosis obviously.

Ares Olympus said...

On his gun being returned, it is perplexing.
Mr Santiago had walked into an FBI office in Alaska in November, agitated and incoherent, the FBI and Anchorage police said.

He was carrying a loaded magazine but had left his handgun in his car, with his newborn child.

During the later mental health evaluation, he told the FBI he was hearing voices and believed he was being controlled by a US intelligence agency.

But the authorities found no wrongdoing, and the gun was returned in December.

Karen Loeffler, the US attorney for Alaska, told journalists: "As far as I know this is not a person that would have been prohibited from having a gun."

She explained that federal law only allows for gun rights to be taken away from someone on mental health grounds if they are "adjudicated mentally ill".

FBI agent George Piro said earlier that the suspect had travelled to Fort Lauderdale specifically to carry out the attack.

So he would need to be "adjudicated mentally ill". Here's another case...
A court-ordered mental health evaluation of Virginia Tech mass-murderer Seung-Hui Cho in December 2005 found him "mentally ill and in need of hospitalization" and "an imminent danger to self and others." But that never showed up in computer records when he went to buy his gun.

"We ran a state police background check," said Roanoke Firearms store owner John Markell, whose store sold Cho a Glock 19 handgun. "It came back clean."

Federal law is fairly clear. According to the "Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act'' that became law in 1993, anyone who "[h]as been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution" is prohibiting from purchasing a firearm.

The definition of a "mental defective" includes anyone whom "a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority" has determined to be "a danger to himself or other" because of "marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease."

So that sounds very difficult, not just mental illness, but some lawful authority like a court has to rule on that.

Maybe we need an intermediate step. Doctors ought to be encouraged to play it extra safe, and disarm people under evaluation, and be able to set their own intuitive standards for returning weapons.

You can't imagine the NRA would object, oh, I suppose I can imagine.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @January 8, 2016 at 1:17 AM:

"Maybe we need an intermediate step. Doctors ought to be encouraged to play it extra safe, and disarm people under evaluation, and be able to set their own intuitive standards for returning weapons."

Right. Because we all know our Constitutional rights as citizens should be subject to the "intuitive standards" of individual doctors.

You sure have a lot of trust in human intuition. I thought you were a big fan of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. You've cited Daniel Kahneman here regularly. Kahneman's research casts doubt on "intuitive" judgments in such areas. Furthermore, just about all econometric research points to individual biases on a whole host of issues. Would doctors somehow be exempt from these human realities?

Yes indeed, the NRA would object. As a NRA member, I would hope they would... adamantly. And they would likely say "enforce the laws already on the books," of which I am sure there are plenty of. Including involuntary committal. Perhaps that's an objective policy standard we could live with, but it might involve hurting the patient's feelings, or those of his family. We can't have that, can we?

These decisions are never easy because of the consequences and human impact of restricting someone's freedom. People value their freedoms. Did it ever occur to you that the reason doctors might not recommend that a patient's weapon be confiscated because they don't want to be sued?

When doctors -- or anyone else -- are "encouraged to play it extra safe," we all lose our liberty. When it comes to my Second Amendment rights, I'm not willing to take that risk based on some doctor's "intuitive standards." By the way, I'm sure said doctor would need to be government-approved to make such judgments. Perhaps they will have incentives to come down a certain way on such issues? ObamaCare tried to do this by effectively deputizing family physicians to report information about gun owners who have guns in the home, as well as discouraging the gun owners from having guns in the home.

You'd better be mindful of protecting your liberty, Ares... before you lose it. The sword cuts both ways. Might that possibly drive your present state of obsessive, irrational fear of President Elect Trump? It's worth taking a look. Two can play Obama's tyrannical game.

Trigger Warning said...

Ares a "fan" of Daniel Kahneman?? Groupie, maybe.

Sorry valued effendi, Ares is too knuckle-dragging thick to be a fan. He's a Starhawk goo-goo guy, born and bred. His new blog could be called "Undocumented in Minneapolis: A View from the Mailroom".

Shaun F said...

I'd be interested if any information becomes available as to whether the counseling sessions were in conjunction with the prescription of SSRI drugs. I've seen people try to go off these, and the behaviour is questionable. I've heard of people drinking and taking SSRIs and the behaviour morphs into criminal - meaning a violent assault with a weapon.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Tigger Warning @January 8, 2017 at 1:24 PM:

"Sorry valued effendi, Ares is too knuckle-dragging thick to be a fan."

I've never viewed Ares as a knuckle-dragger. If he were a cavemen, he'd realize his brutish strength and crack some skulls.

But I have envisioned him sitting in his high chair banging on the tray demanding more, more, more!

I don't know about the fan/groupie distinction, but I do know Wikipedia has articles about Daniel Kahneman, which is all Ares Olympus needs. Control-C (there), Control-V (here). Fun!

And please elaborate on your referencing this "Starhawk" persona... I don't get the reference.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: And please elaborate on your referencing this "Starhawk" persona... I don't get the reference.

Since our mysteryman "Olympus Ares" has mocked references to Starhawk before, and Trigger Warning has referenced her here, perhaps TW is the anonymous faker?

OTOH, I still consider that IAC's playing ignorant might be an act, to avoid suspicion that he is the faker, so I'm not taking him off my just of suspects quite yet.

Maybe TW will just confess and make things simpler?

Google can trace keywords in blog comments like this:

I see I commented about Starhawk here:

And see TW commented here:

While OA commented here:

It would seem fair to assume TW is the OA faker, but it could still be a tag-team effort.

But IAC confesses the real trouble for me - his belief that there must be no subjective acts of authority over disarming a troubled person.

I accept I don't know how to draw a "safe" line on firearms, after basic proficiency can be demonstrated. And on mental states, any line I'd draw would surely error on the side of caution, and would surely take guns away from 10,000 people for every 1 who would misuse that gun.

The only thing I'm sure of, is I'd prefer to be shot than to shoot someone. We can imagine the situation of being a hero and taking out a mass-shooter in action, but how many of us will ever have that opportunity?

While the more realistic reality is a world where you imagine everyone or anyone is packing means any chaotic situation will too easily escalate into violence and death. You can see why Police would prefer to be the only lawful citizens carrying guns - because then they know who the bad guys are - those who are carrying real guns without uniforms.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @July 9, 2017 at 4:59 AM:

You are so silly. When have I ever lied to you? Why would I?

Trigger Warning said...

Ares, your investigatory skills make Ace Ventura look like Sherlock Holmes. I have such contempt for the witless farragoes you post here that I am delighted to attach my personal imprimatur to my mockery of them.

As for a "tag-team" effort between IAC and I, I take it you're proposing a Half-Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy? Don't flatter yourself.

You should be looking out for

"The Crone, the Reaper... She is the Dark Moon, what you don't see coming at you, what you don't get away with, the wind that whips the spark across the fire line."
--- Starhawk, Wiccan Crystal Mama

Anonymous said...

Trig, a hint on a back and forth you may be missing, along with Schniederman's rescue attempt:

Anonymous said...

Looks like you may have to come to IAc's rescue on the string. [IAC's lookin like a quitter!] And the blog host is in on the action, defending Ares. You need to jump on the string, man

Ares Olympus said...

Thanks TW. I'm content with a pseudo-confession. I can handle contempt, or at least in this case.

And I apologize for my consideration that IAC was the jokester.

Saqib Khatri said...
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