Mental illness and mass murder: Let’s reconsider involuntary commitment

As I said, I’ve written a book about the subject. I knew that there were a lot of mentally ill mass murderers out there — but even I was shocked at the dozens of examples that my research unearthed over the last three decades. People like Larry Gene Ashbrook, a mentally ill person who gave plenty of warning. He wrote letters to local papers that “referred to encounters with the CIA, psychological warfare, assaults by co-workers and being drugged by police.” His strange behavior brought him to the attention of the police — who were helpless to take action, until Ashbrook murdered seven people in a Fort Worth church in 1999.

Or Russell Eugene Weston Jr., who was the gold standard of violent mental illness. After he shot two police officers at the U.S. Capitol in 1999, he explained that it was to stop the epidemic of Black Heva, a disease spread by the cannibals that were feeding on corpses — all part of an elaborate government conspiracy that Weston was going to stop. Weston, too, had previous mental health problems that were recognized — but he could not be held, in spite of his obvious dangerousness at least to himself, and probably to others…

How many more of these tragedies do we have to watch before we say, “Wow! Great theory! It didn’t work. Let’s reconsider this matter.” I’m afraid it is going to be a lot more tragedies before we start facing the harsh truth.