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The Virgin Gunman and the 5150
updated: May 27, 2014, 12:22 PM

By James V. Watson, Jr.

This whole tragic Isla Vista scenario is surreal and bewildering to say the least. My heart goes out to all the families affected, as well as to our entire community. Elliot Rodger, or "The Virgin Gunman" as they are now calling him, may have been mentally ill but this was also sinister at the deepest levels. His video "manifesto" posted on YouTube the day prior to his rampage was based in misogyny and threatened a premeditated circumstance which was not only reported to the authorities in advance of its unfolding, BY HIS OWN PARENTS, but went largely ignored by the very same agency which is charged with the prevention of such atrocities.

Is mental illness solely to blame here? No. Perhaps a failure to identify the symptoms played a large role, especially by the police. When the parents of an individual take such extreme steps so as to put their own offspring in potential danger at the hands of the authorities, THAT AND THAT ALONE should be reason enough to detain said individual for a 5150 Involuntary Psychiatric Hold for 72 hours. This was not done, and for that I say SHAME ON YOU to the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office. Multiple sources have confirmed: "Deputies determined he did not meet criteria for an involuntary mental health hold and cleared the call. In Rodger's manifesto he states that if the Deputies would have searched the apartment, his murderous plan would have been ruined."* Such an order(5150 detainment) would have given them at least SOME opportunity to evaluate this person for symptoms of instability and determine him as a potential risk.

Most rampages by the mentally ill are spontaneous or at least not thought out very well prior to their undertaking. Thankfully, as such, most of these attempts are quelled before they even get a chance to evolve into a large-scale catastrophe. THIS guy's plan was precise, calculated and was carried out with almost military precision. To begin with, he used a knife to kill his roommates because the sound of a weapon discharging could/would have alerted people before he even had a chance to "go mobile" on the second portion of his spree using his vehicle and firearms. Second, by moving from location to location, he made it more difficult to be tracked and/or cornered. Plans like this are contrived by deviants--by madmen.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but I strongly believe that detaining this guy on a 5150 and derailing his plan could've set him off enough to expose his vicious underbelly enough to an evaluator that this entire horrific sequence of events might have been prevented. If there should be any discussion at this time regarding laws that could/should be implemented to prevent such future atrocities, let's talk about holding the police liable. Let's talk about Red Flags. Let's create a mandate that REQUIRES the police to enforce a 5150 if an individual's own PARENTS step up to report their child/adult offspring of potential danger to themselves and/or the public. Because no police officer or anonymous authority figure knows a person better than their own parents.

* - (Source: CNN.com)



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