Posted by: L | May 25, 2007

V-Tech Panel ready to go to court for Cho psych records

AP had this report, May 23, on the panel’s readiness to go to court to get V-Tech’s Cook Counseling Center to cough up V-Tech shooter Cho Seung Hui’s counseling records, now apparently shielded by Federal privacy laws:

“We’re going to get what we need, one way or the other,” Massengill said. If that fails, “we’ll have to go to the courts.”

University officials say federal privacy laws bar them from sharing the records.

Cho killed 32 people in two campus buildings before committing suicide in a classroom on April 16.

A year and a half earlier, he had been found “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization,” according to court papers. A judge ordered him into involuntary outpatient treatment, but there is no indication that he complied.

University counsel Kay Heidbreder said the laws, even for someone who is deceased, mean the records cannot be shared even among departments at the university.

As it is constituted, the panel cannot issue subpoenas to compel testimony and obtain documents. Delacey Skinner — a spokeswoman for Gov. Timothy Kaine, who convened the panel — said the governor has assured members the attorney general will help them get information.”

My Comment:
So, it’s federal laws which have actually kept this thing under wraps in the first place. Another instance where federalization has been a negative. Yet, people want more and more of it. If that is not an instance of pure brainwashing, I don’t know what is. It’s obvious that the problem is the federal government. The answer to the problem, by definition, cannot be more federal government.

And meanwhile, the press kept everyone distracted with chatter about gun control. Not a word yet about the medication supposedly found or at least observed by room-mates. Nothing about the toxicology report (yes, what about that?)

A piece on a site called Alliance for Human Research asks the same questions. It cites Dr. Anna Blake Tracy, author and  executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, who finds high-profile shootings almost invariably tied up with antidepressants and cites numbers of incidents in support:

“Other famous cases include the 1998 deaths of actor Phil Hartman and his wife, a murder/suicide committed by her (Zoloft); the 1999 home and office killing spree by Atlanta day trader Mark Barton (Prozac); the 1998 shooting deaths of four co-workers by Connecticut lottery accountant Matthew Beck, who then killed himself (Luvox); and the 1994 New York City subway bombing by Edward Leary, which injured 48 (Prozac).”

She goes on,

“Most people don’t know LSD once was prescribed as a wonder drug. Most people don’t know that PCP was considered to have a large margin of safety in humans. Most people don’t know ecstasy was prescribed and sold for five years to treat depression. Few know that history of drugs, and I think that’s our biggest problem. We’re just not educated enough to have concerns.”

She notes hundreds of similar cases.

But I found one particular incident especially interesting from the point of view of the Cho shooting:

“In February 2004 in Polk Township, Pa., Samantha Hirt, hours after taking a pill for manic depression, set fire in a bedroom where her two toddlers were playing, closed the door and sat on a sofa watching television while the fire spread, killing both children. Effexor.”

Remember that arson case on Cho’s record that didn’t make it into a police file? Why ever not? Did some drug company think it wouldn’t be good PR for their product?

More in my next post.

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