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View Diary: "I snapped, shot 3 people, I'm sure," Stidham told police. Police confirm: 3 people dead (323 comments)

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  •  as a psychologist, (2+ / 0-)
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    wonmug, jayden

    I have to say the calls for everyone who wants to buy a gun to get "checked out" are really unrealistic on the limits of a psychological interview or evaluation. Yesterday I did a suicide eval on a 12 year old who was threatening to kill himself. After our interview, I deemed him safe. He answered my questions "correctly." I have zero doubt that a 3-day 5150 commitment would have been much more treacherous to his psyche than carrying on with his day with a few strategies we rehearsed together for dealing with his worries.

    How surprised would I be if he killed himself later that day, or next week, or next year? Not very. Not because he poses a substantially higher-than-average suicidality risk, but because we really can't predict very well at all. Humans are complex. Aaron Swartz was very interested in psychology and I'm pretty sure his network included many smart,  psychologically-minded people. Did anyone foresee his suicide?

    For the same reason, though I have no problem with beefed up background checks, I doubt their impact in preventing gun violence is large. Much better to remove semi-automatic weapons and huge magazines from the marketplace than to try and remove anyone who might misuse them.

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