Great moments in government: Let's take an insane killer to the Fair!

Nothing builds confidence in government’s ability to make choices than to find out that the state of Washington took an insane murderer on a field trip to a county fair — and lost him.  Not only did Washington take him from the hospital for the criminally insane to the state fair, they put $50 in his pocket, enough to buy a bus ticket to get out of the area (via Power Line):


A criminally insane killer from eastern Washington is on the run after escaping during a field trip to the county fair that his mental hospital organized.

Why such a dangerous person was out in public was a question many, including Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, were asking as authorities searched for Phillip Arnold Paul.

Authorities at Eastern State Hospital, where Paul is a patient, are being criticized for allowing him to visit the fair despite his violent criminal past and a history of trying to escape.

Paul murdered an elderly woman in 1987, soaked her body in gasoline to throw off the dogs, and buried her in her flower garden.  Despite all of his attempts to avoid detection, a jury apparently found Paul not guilty by reason of insanity instead of throwing him in jail.  Paul has escaped before, too, in 1991 — when the hospital took him on a field trip to a lake.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result, then the inmates are truly running the asylum in Eastern State Hospital.  Why was Paul ever allowed to leave the facility with his history of murder in 1991, let alone 2009?  Didn’t the first escape attempt clue them into the risk Paul represents?  Even Paul’s brother wondered that:


Paul has been on and off a variety of medications over the years, and also been in and out of institutions, his brother Tom Paul said.

“He is in a bad mental state,” his brother, Tom Paul, told The Associated Press. “Why would they load him on a bus and take him to a fair?”

Maybe this will give us a clue:

Thirty-one patients from the mental hospital were on the trip Thursday with 11 staff members. Dreyfus [secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services] said she did not know how many of those had violent criminal backgrounds.

A day after the escape and Dreyfus didn’t think to ask?  Or was it that the asylum itself doesn’t know?

These are the people who will run the Washington state health-insurance exchange under ObamaCare, and make the health-care choices for Washington voters.  That’s a comforting thought, isn’t it?

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