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Old 04-19-2007, 08:23 AM   #106
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Originally posted by Dreadsox
http://www.oag.state.va.us/OPINIONS/2006opns/05-078.pdf
Quote:
8 Section 18.2-308(E) necessarily requires that the court is satisfied that the applicant has not received mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment within five years prior to the application...
This sounds good, but the combined NICS/state records check required by Virginia for firearms purchases uses narrower language than what that suggests, specifying only "Persons adjudicated as 'mental defective' or committed to mental institutions". I doubt this would apply to someone like Cho Seung-Hui, who voluntarily complied with a temporary detention order for overnight psychiatric evaluation, which is not the same thing as what being "committed" is usually taken to mean (involuntary, lasts longer than 72 hours). And so far as I know, he had never been categorized as "mental defective"--his "insight and judgment" were evaluated as normal, and he was not considered to have symptoms of a thought disorder. So I'm not sure what the OAG statement means there, and am unsure how to explain the discrepancy. Granted, they're talking about concealed carry permits, not purchases, but as you mentioned VA is a 'shall-issue' state, so there shouldn't be any difference. Perhaps VA has some specific modification to the NICS check applying to any and all psychiatric treatment (voluntary or involuntary, inpatient or outpatient), and if so, apparently the check run at the gun store failed to detect that. The gun store owner did mention that Cho replied "no" to a question about being mentally ill on some form he had to fill out--I would hope that "the court is satisfied" amounts to more than that.

Other than that, all that statement appears to say is that while colleges have the right to regulate concealed firearms on campus (for example, it mentions not allowing students to bring them into the classroom), they can't issue blanket bans.
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Old 04-19-2007, 08:45 AM   #107
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Originally posted by dazzlingamy

Ok so perhaps i should have put i think A LOT of americans don't respect guns - and i don't just mean the ones that willy nilly go out and shoot people i think people need to know that guns are not for everyone that we as a people do not NEED guns for any circumstance.

Im sure your family, and a lot of people who own guns don't use them hardly at all, but to me, i just don't think anyone outside of a job where you are required to have one should own one.
This is exactly how the majority of Americans operate, but peaceful, non-gun brandishing citizens don't make international news. It's the nutjobs and the out-spoken NRA people that make the news, but they do NOT represent the majority. Most of the anti-gun control people I know don't even own or care to own a gun themselves.

As for hunting, that's just a matter of personal preference. You can't simply deduce that people don't respect guns just because you don't like hunting. I don't like it either, but I've never seen a hunter (or anyone I know) be "disrespectful" of guns.
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Old 04-19-2007, 09:38 AM   #108
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I grew up around guns but I have never fired one, it scares me too much. But there have certainly been incidents in my life in which I have wished I had one because the situation was scary, a person was scary, I felt in danger. And that scares me too in a certain way.

If I had to live in a different, less safe environment I think I would probably want a gun and have one. As a female there are practical considerations. I don't even carry mace or pepper spray and the main reason why is that I am not in enough situations that I feel it is warranted. But who is to say that on any given day I couldn't be? I guess I just delude myself to some degree, but I live cautiously without becoming paranoid from fear.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-w...n-control-2008

In a speech Wednesday to a crowd of 400, McCain was unequivocal in support of the right to bear arms.

"I do not believe we should tamper with the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States," he said. A woman shouted that George Washington's troops used muskets, not automatic weapons.

"I hope that we can find better ways of identifying people such as this sick young man so that we can prevent them from not only taking action with guns but with knives or with anything else that will harm their fellow citizens," McCain said.

McCain reiterated that later with reporters.

"I strongly support the Second Amendment and I believe the Second Amendment ought to be preserved _ which means no gun control," McCain said.
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Old 04-19-2007, 10:49 AM   #109
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Quote:
Laws Limit Options When a Student Is Mentally Ill

By TAMAR LEWIN
New York Times, April 19


Federal privacy and antidiscrimination laws restrict how universities can deal with students who have mental health problems. For the most part, universities cannot tell parents about their children’s problems without the student’s consent. They cannot release any information in a student’s medical record without consent. And they cannot put students on involuntary medical leave, just because they develop a serious mental illness.

Nor is knowing when to worry about student behavior, and what action to take, always so clear. “They can’t really kick someone out because they’re writing papers about weird topics, even if they seem withdrawn and hostile,” said Dr. Richard Kadison, chief of mental health services at Harvard University. “Most state laws are pretty clear: you can only bring students to hospitals if there is imminent risk to themselves or someone else, so universities are in a bit of a bind that way.” But, he said, some schools do mandate limited amounts of treatment in certain circumstances. “At the University of Missouri, if someone makes a suicide attempt, they mandate 4 counseling sessions, for example,” said Dr. Kadison, an author of College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What To Do About It.

Universities can find themselves in a double bind. On the one hand, they may be liable if they fail to prevent a suicide or murder. After the death in 2000 of Elizabeth H. Shin, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who had written several suicide notes and used the university counseling service before setting herself on fire, the Massachusetts Superior Court allowed her parents, who had not been told of her deterioration, to sue administrators for $27.7 million. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount.

On the other hand, universities may be held liable if they do take action to remove a potentially suicidal student. In August, the City University of New York agreed to pay $65,000 to a student who sued after being barred from her dormitory room at Hunter College because she was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Also last year, George Washington University reached a confidential settlement in a case charging that it had violated antidiscrimination laws by suspending Jordan Nott, a student who had sought hospitalization for depression. “This is a very, very difficult and gray area, when you take action to remove the student from the campus environment, versus when you encourage the student to use the resources available on campus,” said Ada Meloy, director of legal and regulatory affairs at the American Council on Education. “In an emergency, you can share certain information, but it’s not clear what’s an emergency.” Ms. Meloy estimated that situations complicated enough to involve a university’s lawyers arise, on average, about twice a semester at large universities.

While shootings like the one at Virginia Tech are extremely rare, suicides, threats and serious mental-health problems are not. Last year, the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment, covering nearly 95,000 students at 117 campuses, found that 9% of students had seriously considered suicide in the previous year, and 1 in 100 had attempted it. So mental health experts emphasize that, whatever a college’s concerns about liability, the goal of campus policies should be to maximize the likelihood that those who need mental-health treatment will get it. “What we really need to do is encourage students to seek mental health treatment if they need it, to remove any barriers to their getting help, destigmatize it, and make it safe, so they know there won’t be negative consequences,” said Karen Bower, a lawyer at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, who represented Mr. Nott.

With the Virginia Tech killings, many universities are planning to remind faculty members of their protocols. “We’re actually going to go ahead and have the counseling service here do a session for all our instructors and faculty on what to look for, what the procedures are, and what the counseling center can do,” said Shannon Miller, chairwoman of the English department at Temple University.

At Harvard, Dr. Kadison said, dormitory resident assistants watch for signs of trouble, and are usually the first to become aware of worrisome behavior — and to call a dean. “The dean might insist that they get an evaluation to make sure they’re healthy enough to live in a dorm,” he said. “If it’s not thought that they’re in any immediate danger, they can take or not take the recommendation.”

Last month, Virginia passed a law, the first in the nation, prohibiting public colleges and universities from expelling or punishing students solely for attempting suicide or seeking mental-health treatment for suicidal thoughts. “In one sense, the new law doesn’t cover new territory, because discrimination against people with mental health problems is already prohibited,” said Dana L. Fleming, a lawyer in Manchester, N.H., who is an expert on education law. “But in another sense, it’s ground-breaking since it’s the first time we’ve seen states focus on student suicides and come up with some code of conduct for schools.”

College counseling services nationwide are seeing more use. “We’re seeing more students in our service consistently every year,” said Alejandro Martinez, director for counseling and psychological services at Stanford University, which sees about 10% of the student body each year. “Certainly more students are experiencing mental illness, including depression. But there’s also been a cultural shift in that more students are willing to get help.”

College officials say that a growing number of students arrive on campus with a history of mental-health problems and a prescription for psychotropic drugs. But screening for such problems would be illegal, admissions officers say. “We’re restricted by the Disabilities Act from asking,” said Rick Shaw, Stanford’s admissions director. “We do ask a question, as most institutions do, about whether a student has been suspended or expelled from school, and if they have been, we ask them to write an explanation of it.”

Federal laws also restrict what universities can reveal. Generally, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) passed in 1974, makes it illegal to disclose a student’s records to family members without the student’s authorization. “Colleges can disclose a student’s private records if they believe there’s a health and safety emergency, but that health and safety exception hasn’t been much tested in the courts, so it’s left to be figured out case by case,” Ms. Fleming said. And the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prohibits the release of medical records. “The interaction of all these laws does not make things easy,” she said.
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Old 04-19-2007, 11:06 AM   #110
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Very helpful, yolland. I guess to me what seemed like clear evidence that he should have been removed from school was that there was a judge who declared him a danger to himself and others in 2005 (I think). It wasn't just vague weirdness or "ordinary" depression. There was a fairly large history.
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Old 04-19-2007, 11:09 AM   #111
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Its like you almost don't know which way to look in cases like this. While I agree that students should be suspended or treated like murder suspects because of being suicidal, something needs to be done. University is stressful , and obviously from the stats, many probelms arose. I saw it when i was at uni.

But with this whole VT situation - he's far gone... nothing short of locking him up would have changed anything, and you can't lock up someone for future crimes they might comit - so can we really sy we could have stopped him? I can't honestly understand how someone could be that far gone in their mind to think shooting up a place is a thing they need to do - who could ever understand?
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:07 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
Very helpful, yolland. I guess to me what seemed like clear evidence that he should have been removed from school was that there was a judge who declared him a danger to himself and others in 2005 (I think). It wasn't just vague weirdness or "ordinary" depression. There was a fairly large history.
The judge, Elinor Williams, ruled that an initial investigation by a state-authorized practitioner had found "probable cause" to believe Cho was "mentally ill and in need of hospitalization and presents an imminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness, or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for self and is incapable of volunteering or unwilling to volunteer for treatment." Essentially she was just stating that he met the criteria for a temporary detention, which according to the police, he voluntarily complied with. The psychologist who evaluated Cho at the off-campus psychiatric hospital, Roy Crouse, found him mentally ill (but not incompetent) and recommended outpatient treatment, but also found him not an imminent danger to himself or others and as such not in need of involuntary further hospitalization (i.e. "being committed" in the usual sense). I'm not sure what sort of legal teeth, if any, that "recommendation" might have had behind it, nor what the legal issues involved in the university (as opposed to the court) enforcing it might have been. Part of the reason why colleges seek detention orders in cases like this is precisely so that the state, rather than the college, becomes the accountable party--a college is much more likely to get sued over restricting the student's "rights" unduly. Even if he had been hospitalized, they could still probably have been sued for suspending him, although perhaps not for mandating X number of sessions with university counselors specifically.

I assume that Crouse probably wouldn't have reached the same findings 2 weeks ago, as the contents of the "package" Cho sent to NBC strongly suggested he no longer possessed normal judgment and insight nor was he free of symptoms of a thought disorder, as Crouse found him in 2005. That kind of behavior suggests a severely deluded grasp of reality in a way that "merely" being suicidal, nonthreateningly harassing others, writing macabre fiction, and failing to communicate well verbally doesn't. Lots of students display those qualities.

And of course all of this still sidesteps whether or not the legal safeguards in place in VA concerning buying a gun were adequately fulfilled here--something the university couldn't have influenced one way or the other. Even if Cho had been expelled, he could still have returned to campus to kill--it wouldn't have been the first time a disgruntled ex-student had done that.
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:16 PM   #113
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Thanks again. I guess I'm out of my depth here. Just trying to understand how he slipped through the cracks. Seems like a lot of red tape and people were damned if they did and damned if they didn't.
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:36 PM   #114
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They're all perfectly reasonable questions to demand answers to, and I'm certain I'd be doing that quite aggressively if I were personally directly connected to Virginia Tech. It's just I've had enough experiences dealing with "troubled" students myself to have some sense of how high the bar for drastic action can be. If there's one thing I've seen so far that says "red flag" to me, it's the (vaguely worded) reports that some of the English professors who expressed concerns about Cho were told there was "no history of problems" with him. Perhaps that was more a matter of "problems" justifying action above and beyond what was taken (i.e., removing him from those specific classroom environments), but perhaps also it suggests sloppy recordkeeping and/or interdepartmental communication on the university's part (although faculty too are limited in what they can know about a student's mental health history). If this case causes colleges to review their recordkeeping procedures in such matters and to get public dialogue going about the scope of legal authority they should have to expel, mandate on-campus counseling, bar from dorm access etc., I think that could only be a good thing.
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:54 PM   #115
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In my work I come in contact with a lot of writers who teach at universities all over the country and what you've said echos things they're saying as well. No easy answers here.

I just read that Cho's aunt said he was diagnosed with autism when he moved to the US. So there's yet another dimension to this.
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:03 PM   #116
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
The psychologist who evaluated Cho at the off-campus psychiatric hospital, Roy Crouse, found him mentally ill (but not incompetent) and recommended outpatient treatment, but also found him not an imminent danger to himself or others and as such not in need of involuntary further hospitalization (i.e. "being committed" in the usual sense). I'm not sure what sort of legal teeth, if any, that "recommendation" might have had behind it, nor what the legal issues involved in the university (as opposed to the court) enforcing it might have been.

If there's one thing I've seen so far that says "red flag" to me, it's the (vaguely worded) reports that some of the English professors who expressed concerns about Cho were told there was "no history of problems" with him.
Quote:
University Says It Wasn’t Involved in Gunman’s Treatment

By SHAILA DEWAN and MARC SANTORA
New York Times, April 19, 2007


BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech officials said today that they played no role in monitoring the psychiatric treatment of Cho Seung-Hui, the student responsible for killing 32 people and himself on Monday, after Mr. Cho had gone to a mental health center in late 2005. A judge had ordered that Mr. Cho, 23, receive outpatient treatment at the time, but officials said they did not know whether Mr. Cho had received that counseling.

Chris Flynn, director of Virginia Tech’s counseling center, said at a news conference today that the hospital did not report to the university when Mr. Cho was released. The court would not have done so, he said, because the required treatment was part of a state judicial proceeding that did not involve the university. He said the hospital would not have released Mr. Cho if the student was a danger to himself or others.

Virginia Tech’s chief of police, Wendell Flinchum, said today that his department notified university officials in late 2005 that Mr. Cho had gone to the mental health center, after two female students reported he was bothering them...University officials also said they did not receive any reports after late 2005 that Mr. Cho was dangerous, although one professor said she had expressed concerns about Mr. Cho last fall.

...For all the interventions by the police and faculty members, Mr. Cho was allowed to remain on campus and live with other students. There is no evidence that the police monitored him, nor is there any indication that the authorities or fellow students were aware of any incident that pushed him to his rampage. Despite Mr. Cho’s time in the mental health system, when an English professor was disturbed by his writings last fall and contacted the associate dean of students, the dean told the professor that there was no record of any problems and that nothing could be done, said the instructor, Lisa Norris.

The quest to have him committed, documented in court papers, was made after the first female student complained of unwelcome telephone calls and in-person communication from Mr. Cho on Nov. 27, 2005. The woman declined to press charges, and the campus police referred the case to the disciplinary system of the university, Chief Flinchum said.

Mr. Cho’s disciplinary record was not released because of privacy laws. The associate vice president for student affairs, Edward F. D. Spencer, said it would not be unusual if no disciplinary action had been taken in such a case. He said today that for a student to be disciplined, someone must press charges. On Dec. 12, a second woman asked the police to put a stop to Mr. Cho’s instant messages to her. She, too, declined to press charges. The police said Mr. Cho did not threaten the women, who described the efforts at contact as “annoying.”

But later on the day of the second complaint, an unidentified acquaintance of Mr. Cho notified the police that he might be suicidal. Mr. Cho went voluntarily to the Police Department, which referred him to a mental health agency off campus, Chief Flinchum said.
Again, not clear to me whether privacy laws might have played a role in that "no record of any problems" response, but that much does still strike me as a bit of a red flag.
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:17 PM   #117
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The conservative pro-gun argument seems to love pointing out that VT is a gun free zone, and if it weren't, perhaps someone there would have had one, and would have limited the scale of this event. WTF? Oh yeah, I've got an economics lecture this morning. Text book, check. Notepad, check. iPod for the walk, check. Bottle of water, check. Oh and my gun. Need to pack heat for that economics lecture. Seriously. That's the kind of thinking/logic that I don't understand at all. Why on earth, even if you legally could, would anyone ever even consider just wandering around going about their average day carrying a fucking GUN? It's got to be one of the most twisted/ridiculous arguments I have ever heard, and to me the perfect example of why tougher gun laws aren't the big issue, the larger issue is the attitude towards guns in the first place.
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:20 PM   #118
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Quote:
Originally posted by dazzlingamy
i just don't think anyone outside of a job where you are required to have one should own one.
I completely agree!
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Old 04-19-2007, 09:01 PM   #119
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Originally posted by Earnie Shavers
The conservative pro-gun argument seems to love pointing out that VT is a gun free zone, and if it weren't, perhaps someone there would have had one, and would have limited the scale of this event. WTF? Oh yeah, I've got an economics lecture this morning. Text book, check. Notepad, check. iPod for the walk, check. Bottle of water, check. Oh and my gun. Need to pack heat for that economics lecture. Seriously. That's the kind of thinking/logic that I don't understand at all. Why on earth, even if you legally could, would anyone ever even consider just wandering around going about their average day carrying a fucking GUN? It's got to be one of the most twisted/ridiculous arguments I have ever heard, and to me the perfect example of why tougher gun laws aren't the big issue, the larger issue is the attitude towards guns in the first place.
Hey, you might die in the crossfire but at least you'd die with your right to bear arms to class. Surely that would make it all better.

This is the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard. Yeah, I really want to sit in class next to hormonal 18 year old boys who can't control their temper, got dumped by their girlfriend, the prof just gave him an F and he's got a semi-automatic to make it all better.
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Old 04-19-2007, 09:46 PM   #120
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Re: Re: Re: It is time to revise/update the U.S. constitution.....

Quote:
Originally posted by AchtungBono


That is EXACTLY what I said.
Certain speech should not come under the protection of the 1st amendment - such as hate speech and incitement. That's why the wording has to be changed.
I know most of this thread has been about the gun control issue, but I saw this and had to say something. Not all forms of speech in the U.S. are protected. Various Supreme Court rulings have set a precedent for what does and does not fall under the umbrella of "protected" speech. Obscenity, "fighting words," defamation (slander and libel), child pornography, perjury, blackmail, incitement, true threats, and solicitation to commit crimes are all illegal.

The wording doesn't have to be changed.
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