He stood mute at the arraignment while the Court entered a Not Guilty Plea on his behalf. Nikolas Cruz appeared with his head down, the result of reportedly being heavily drugged. Cruz had been a patient of Henderson Behavioral Health, a contracted mental health vendor of Broward County that received $8.9 million in federal grants two distributions, one in October 2012 and the other in December of 2016.
Author: Able Child
February 14th proved to be anything but a loving Valentine’s Day in Broward County Florida this year when one 19 year old young man walked into his former high school and opened fire leaving 17 dead.
The Washington Post reported on July 6, 2017 that there’s a “glimmer of hope” for the devastating opioid crisis that has ravaged our Nation killing close to 180,000 people between 2000 and 2015. According to the article Opioid Prescriptions Dropped for the First Time in the Modern Drug Crisis, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of opioid prescriptions written between 2012 and 2015 declined by 13.1%. But before breathing a sigh of relief that this crisis may be ending, there still are serious issues:
- The prescription rate for opioids is still three times the level it was in 1999 and 4 times what it is in some European countries.
- Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s acting director, said that even with this decline in opioid prescriptions, “enough opioids were ordered in 2015 to keep every American medicated around-the-clock for three weeks.”
- In 2015 there were more than 33,000 deaths from prescription opioids. 13,000 more people died from heroin overdoses.
If this is considered the first sign of any progress after almost two decades of hopelessness, it is troubling. The fact is questions surround the accuracy of stale statistics being utilized to highlight this “glimmer of hope.” The wavering light of improvement touted in the article appears to be coming from data that is two years old. Gary Mendell lost his son Brian to addiction in 2011 and started the anti-drug advocacy group, Shatterproof, to bring more attention to the opioid crisis. Mendell expressed concern over the CDC’s methods of collecting and analyzing data in the United States, calling it “cumbersome and inefficient.” AbleChild shares Mendell’s concerns.
According to Connecticut’s Public Health Department website, “Within the realm of public health, mortality statistics are often used as a cornerstone in formulating health plans and policies to prevent or reduce premature mortality and improve our quality of life.” So, what happened? Why no real progress?
Today, behavioral health “oversight” councils exist in every state. Federal legislation fuels the councils with mental health block grants that are dispersed to the billion-dollar behavioral health industry. The outcome of being ruled by behavioral health councils equates to the more money given, the more the crisis grows. The opioid crisis has been determined to be a behavioral health problem because psychiatry has determined that addiction is a mental illness. What is odd about this determination is that there is no science to support that addiction is an abnormality of the brain.
Nevertheless, the Behavioral Health Oversight Partnership Council (BHOPC) ultimately reports through the executive branch. The committee members are mental health vendors that sell their products and services to the government to reach consumers. They make recommendations on how the block grant money is spent, actually write the legislation, and are never audited. Obviously this is a clear and present conflict of interest and is deadly for the consumer. Members are not elected and the policies they influence increase their financial bottom line.
The Connecticut BHP Oversight Council current opioid crisis plan is outlined in a vendor’s presentation entitled Project Echo a 3-pronged solution. Simply put, it’s an “Access, Drug, Drug” approach. Missing in all the glossy presentation marketing material is enforcing informed consent for patients on what these drugs really are, the possible side effects, and a lack of access to natural alternatives that don’t involve prescribing more drugs such as Soboxone and Naxolone.
The Council fails to educate the consumer on how and why to report an adverse drug event via MEDWATCH. After all, the FDA uses the MEDWATCH consumer reporting system to regulate the drug companies; one would think this is important for the consumers to have access to during this prescription drug crisis, but apparently not. Yet, it is difficult to miss the executive branch bootlicking praise of yet another mental health vendor’s experience and knowledge in the field of addiction.
The BHPOC recently welcomed back Lori Szczygiel to re-assume the role of Chief Executive Officer for Beacon Health Options, a prominent behavioral health company. In the presentation distributed by the Council for Beacon, entitled Health Inequity in the Connecticut Medicaid Behavioral Health Services System: A Roadmap for Improvement. It was shocking to see a clear marketing strategy to target certain racial and ethnic groups in the Beacon “three-pronged plan” with the roadmap rational jargon of “unmet” mental health “needs” of Blacks and Asians in particular. Considering that the “solutions” they are presenting mostly involve prescribing more drugs, it seems dangerous and discriminatory to be singling out any race or ethnicity as a target for treatment.
This would not be the first time a behavioral health provider would use the “bad gene pool approach” to capture more mental health clients for their addictive drug treatment programs. A psychiatrist in Texas made national news explaining to the legislators why children in foster care were given massive psychiatric drugs. The psychiatrist indicated the reason the children were given multiple drugs, off label, was because they were from a “bad gene pool.” AbleChild stood with the NAACP for that psychiatrist to step down. Clearly, this racial and ethnic “Beacon Theory” should be backed up with some science.
The lack of science and accurate data is appalling and must be called out as a major contributing factor in the overall opioid death toll.
Is the 14-Year-Old Shooting Suspect in West Oak Middle School, SC Another Failed Outcome of Mental Health Treatment?
The 14-year old suspect in the Townville Elementary School shooting was expelled from West-Oak Middle School after bringing a hatchet to school last year, according to news reports.
West Oak Middle School expulsion policy requires the school to refer the student to the department of juvenile justice based on the fact he brought a weapon to school. The DJJ process clearly indicates the suspect would have undergone a mental health evaluation and had plenty of access to mental health treatment prior to the shooting.
What’s not clear, did the suspect receive mental health services and psychiatric drug treatment prior to the Hatchet incident at school? It is often difficult to gain access to early mental health treatment records. However, the public did gain access to the Sandy Hook mass shooter’s early mental health treatment records through the Child Advocate’s report, but didn’t gain access to the last five years leading up to the mass murder at Sandy Hook. The State is still withholding those records.
Lanza’s primary treating psychiatrist, Paul Fox, who surrendered his license to practice is now facing felon charges for sexual abuse of a former patient. Fox told police during the Sandy Hook police investigation he still retains the billing records, but destroyed the actual mental health records of Lanza. Fox failed to follow record retention law and public notification law that he was no longer practicing. Connecticut didn’t enforce either one of those laws.
The Child Advocate’s report on Lanza actually showed he had plenty of access to mental health and participated in the birth to three mental health programs. In addition, Lanza was home bound through Newtown public school system and under the care of discredited psychiatrist Fox at that time. Dr. Robert King of Yale Child Study Center also treated Adam Lanza. Dr. King is heavily involved in landmark mental health research that involves FDA approval.
The public would benefit from mental health billing information, the Yale file, and the diary of the mother, Nancy Lanza, found at the crime scene.
Dr. Robert King and Nancy Koenig of Yale claimed that Nancy Lanza refused treatment for her son; however, the police report indicates that Nancy Lanza reported an adverse drug event to Yale’s Koenig and Dr. King. There was no indication that Dr. King or Koenig advised Nancy Lanza to report the adverse drug event to the FDA, instead Dr. King and Koenig of Yale labeled Nancy Lanza as noncompliant.
Time again the school shootings are linked to mental health “treatment” and deadly outcomes. This is an excellent time to question the condition of the mental health system, and ask two fundamental questions. Is the policies pushed in the aftermath of Sandy Hook of aggressive outpatient services, and “shy of forced medication” actually increasing our mental health crisis and the deadly outcomes? The second question, Are public health departments, like Connecticut, protecting behavioral health vendors, bad psychiatrists, and covering up dangerous, experimental mental health treatment on children in crisis?
AbleChild contacted the SC Anderson County Sheriff’s office to encourage them to explore the psychiatric drug link, question the treating psychiatrist, and investigate any behavioral health vendor involvement. AbleChild also asked if the suspect’s blood was taken at time of arrest. The Sheriff’s office thanked AbleChild for our suggestions and didn’t have the information on the blood work up at this time.
Don’t say no one died at Sandy Hook! According to Politico, Hillary Clinton called out alternative media king, Alex Jones, using politico’s truth meter. The results are in: Hillary is telling the truth about what Alex Jones has said, albeit not exact wording, about the Sandy Hook shooting incident.
Ok, so exactly what does this mean for the taxpayer and why is it important in the political landscape?
The State Police took a year to gather evidence and facts about the mass murder in the little town of Sandy Hook, Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and 6 adults were killed. Yet, oddly enough, within weeks of the incident, sweeping, costly, laws were written and passed by invited “stakeholders.”
Most would agree that it’s time to let the victims move on with their lives. What is needed, though, is a discussion about the policies that were put in place much too soon to legitimately address the cause(s) of the shooting.
After all, the all-encompassing mental health legislation was passed without legislators having the ability to read the police investigation, which wasn’t released for a full year after Public Act 13-3 was passed. The sweeping mental health legislation was funded by an executive order.
This makes Sandy Hook a political issue worthy of discussion based on facts, not a victim cause or victim denial.
Because there are numerous issues with the “facts” surrounding Sandy Hook, it is the job of every taxpayer to question the investigative findings and look for solutions that actually address the causes, least of which is the question surrounding Adam Lanza’s mental health records.
AbleChild is currently following the pre-trial events of Paul Fox, the former primary treating psychiatrist of Adam Lanza, who still could provide investigators with his billing records (which he admitted he still retained). These records would provide insight into Lanza’s mental health during the missing five years leading up to the shooting.
Whether investigators have even requested this information is anyone’s guess. But the taxpayers are paying the bill for costly mental health legislation that no one in the legislature can prove was needed as a response to any mental health issues.
Paul Fox presents an opportunity for the State to finally obtain, and consider, the needed mental health information about Lanza that may end much of the speculation surrounding the shooting.
Politico’s “truth meter” should not be the bases for fact checking the Sandy Hook shooting. But, if that is what it takes to finally begin an open conversation about many of the missing pieces of the horrific event, then so be it.
July 26, 2016, Danbury, Connecticut Criminal Court, Paul Fox, is the last known treating psychiatrist of Adam and is facing criminal charges for multiple counts of sexual assault of a former patient. Beyond these charges, Fox could offer much needed information in the Sandy Hook investigation.
As is well known, Fox’s mental health assessment was incorporated into the final report that the State Attorney, Stephen Sedensky, used to prepare the final report on Sandy Hook, and Fox’s psychiatric assessment and treatment of Lanza was used in the mainstream media to profile Lanza and address the motive of the crime.
Sedensky, who released the final report that determined Adam Lanza acted alone in the Sandy Hook massacre, is prosecuting the Fox case and has an opportunity to provide to the public much needed mental health information from Fox.
AbleChild contacted Sedensky regarding the police investigation conducted in the aftermath of Sandy Hook to inquiry about the key mental health records Fox claimed he destroyed two years too early, which is now known to be in violation of Connecticut law along with Fox’s failure to notify current and former patients he was discontinuing his practice.
The internal investigation conducted by the public health department, that prompted Fox to surrender his license, also was discussed with Sedensky. Since AbleChild’s inquiry, the former patient involved in the “internal” inquiry of Fox has come forward and Sedensky now is taking action against Fox.
However, one must ask Sedensky, why did he avoid the questions relating to the quality, methods, and ethics of the mental health treatment Lanza received under Fox while preparing his final report on Lanza? Why was this important information missing from his report?
The investigation conducted by the Connecticut State Police, and reviewed by multiple state agencies, led to the Governor appointing the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission to review the findings and make legislative recommendations.
Connecticut State Police detectives investigating Lanza’s mental health history first became aware of Fox’s relationship with the female patient for which Fox now has been charged with sexual assault. This information was held by the state agency on public health. Why, when public policy PA 13-3 was being rush through the State Legislature to increase mental health and pass sweeping gun control, was this information not share by the state agency with legislators?
Fox and his attorney brokered a deal with the State Department of Public Health’s Healthcare Quality and Safety branch, allowing the psychiatrist to surrender his license in Connecticut and New York.
The Sandy Hook police investigation would lead investigators to contact the “relocated” psychiatrist, in New Zealand, to inquire about the medical records of Adam Lanza.
According to the police investigation, Fox told the investigators he had the medical billing records for Lanza stored in the US, the next day when investigators called Fox back to obtain more information, Fox indicated he destroyed the medical records. So, does Fox still have the billing records? Why didn’t the State charge Fox for destroying the records 2 years too early according to Connecticut Law? Also, Fox had an obligation to notify his current and former patients he was discontinuing his practice. Why didn’t the State hold him responsible for the failure to follow that law?
While this case appears to compel the State to prosecute the already investigated internal sexual assault case, it does nothing to get to the mental health treatments provided to Adam Lanza.
Additionally, the years-in-the-making Child Advocate’s report appears to be an attempt to clear Fox of answering any questions relating to his treatment of Lanza and his relationship to Nancy Lanza and the Yale Child Study Center.
The Sandy Hook Commission, appointed by the Governor, also appears to have given a pass to Fox. No one from the State of Connecticut appears to want to consider the billing records that Fox claims are stored in the United States and may yield insight into the motive for Lanza’s behavior.
Even the small town newspaper, The Newtown Bee appears to cover news stories relating to Sandy Hook that seeks legislation regarding gun control, rather than covering news seeking legislation addressing whether the mental health treatment Lanza received was adequate or even necessary.
One would expect the news organization to provide accurate information about mental health records and facts surrounding the treatment of Lanza that apparently led to the massacre in its community.
The reporting on the fact that Adam Lanza was unable to attended school because of his deteriorating psychiatric condition as determined by Fox, but at the same time Lanza made the honor roll, still has not been adequately explained. But Fox, now within reach of the State’s Attorney, could provide important information.
AbleChild will continue to watch the outcome of this very compelling case, with the hope that the State may make inquiries of Fox about Lanza’s mental health care…even if that means just getting its hands on Fox’s billing records.
Dr. Paul Fox, the primary psychiatrist for Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, has been charged with three felony counts of sexual assault on a then 19 year-old patient that reportedly occurred back in 2010-2011. Getting to Fox’s arrest has been a complicated journey, raising a host of issues that, frankly, need to be addressed.
First the original investigation, regarding accusations of sexual assault, was conducted four years ago in March of 2012 by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health. During that investigation several important issues came to light, one of which involved Fox’s psychiatric drug prescribing practices.
According to the investigative file, over the course of one year, Fox prescribed what the victim called a “dynamic cocktail of psychiatric drugs.” The “constantly changing mix” of psychiatric drugs included: Ativan (anxiety), Saphris (bi-polar disorder), Abilify (schizophrenia), Nuvigil (sleep apnea, narcolepsy), Prozac (Major-depression, OCD), Zyprexa (Schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder), Xanax, and Vistaril (anxiety, tension). Vistaril also is used as a sedative and for general anesthesia.
After reviewing the above cocktail of psychiatric drugs, one can only wonder how anyone could even remotely believe the victim participated in “consensual” sex with Fox, especially in light of the victim’s comment that she was “usually drugged up out of (her) mind…” That is an understatement, and begs the question: if Fox is drugging his patient’s with cocktails of drugs, was Adam Lanza a victim of Fox’s prolific drugging? How many different psychiatric diagnoses did Fox subjectively bestow on Adam Lanza and what kind of psychiatric “dynamic cocktail” was Lanza prescribed while a “patient” under Fox’s “care.”
Tough to know. The State refuses to release Lanza’s mental health records or autopsy/toxicology results and Fox claims to have little memory of Lanza. Fox also claims to have destroyed his medical records prior to his 2012 departure to New Zealand. Apparently law enforcement never thought it important, at least, to review Fox’s billing records, which Fox claims still existed in December of 2012. So how about now? Has Fox retained the billing records of his patients and will law enforcement finally look at them?
This is an important question. When Fox surrendered his medical license in July 2012 he also agreed (as a condition of surrender) to adhere to the records retention laws of Connecticut (19a-14-44). Fox was required to retain all medical and billing records for patients up to seven years after the last date of “treatment.” If one accepts that Fox last saw Lanza in 2007, then Fox admits he destroyed Lanza’s “treatment” records two years too early. And, of course, one can only assume that the records of the alleged victim(s) of Fox’s reported sexual assault also have been destroyed.
Furthermore, one has to wonder what responsibility the Department of Health has when it comes to alleged sexual predators masquerading as doctors and working as counselors in the state’s universities. According to the investigation, the State Department of Health concluded that “review of the documentation identified exchanges between the patient and the respondent that exceed the boundaries of a professional doctor, patient relationship.”
But has the public health and welfare been served by allowing the doctor to simply surrender his license? Should the State be required to, at a minimum, report serious sexual assault allegations to local law enforcement?
And one simply cannot ignore what appears to be another questionable patient “treatment” problem which has arisen in New Zealand, where Fox fled to practice psychiatric counseling. Fox reportedly “treated” Nicky Stevens, a young man who died while under psychiatric care in New Zealand.
The questions regarding that case are too numerous to even consider. But one cannot help but question the obvious. If Fox surrendered his license to practice medicine and prescribe drugs in July of 2012, how was he allowed to practice psychiatric counseling and prescribe psychiatric drugs in New Zealand?
Additionally, Danbury State’s Attorney, Stephen Sedensky, will be prosecuting Fox’s case, because he tells Ablechild that the sexual assault charges are “the strongest.” But Ablechild cannot help but wonder why Sedensky, who, according to the Sandy Hook investigation, knew about the allegations of Fox’s sexual assault, the failure of Fox to retain his records and the questionable psychiatric drugging back in 2012, didn’t initiate an investigation of Fox at that time. The information, that was available in 2012, hasn’t changed.
These are important questions because there are victims of what appear to be blatant psychiatric abuses. These are important questions because, in the immediate aftermath of Sandy Hook, Connecticut lawmakers passed sweeping, costly, mental health legislation without having any information to warrant the increased mental health services.
In fact, based on what has been revealed in the Department of Health investigation about Dr. Paul Fox, Adam Lanza’s last known primary psychiatrist, it would appear that an investigation into psychiatric practices in the state were actually needed. And if ever there was an argument for release of Lanza’s mental health records for the five years leading up to the shooting, it doesn’t get any better than simply reviewing the long-known unquestionably abusive mental health services provided by Fox.
According to the Hartford Courant, “Brookfield detectives traveled to Paul Fox’s residence in Peaks Island, Maine, to take him into custody Wednesday with the assistance of Homeland Security Agents. Fox was charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault.”
This is news. The last information that was known about Fox was that he was living and working in New Zealand. It would be of interest to know when, exactly, Fox returned to the states and whether he has been practicing psychiatry in Maine.
But this arrest, now, seems odd. After all, Fox’s alleged sexual assault problems have been public record since at least July 2012. So why the sudden interest in Dr. Paul Fox?
The Hartford Courant broke the story of Fox “voluntarily” surrendering his license to practice medicine in Connecticut and New York, before departing the country for New Zealand in 2012.
And upon learning of Fox’s position as Lanza’s primary psychiatrist, AbleChild filed a FOIA for the investigative file on Fox’s alleged sexual assault, along with a FOIA for the mental health, toxicology and autopsy records of Adam Lanza, (AbleChild vs. Chief Medical Examiner).
The investigation into Fox and the allegations of sexual assault, conducted by Diane Cybulski, Supervising Nurse Consultant, Health Quality and Safety Branch of the Department of Public Health, included not only alleged sexual misconduct, but also several other issues, including the distribution of controlled substances according to Exhibit P, (CVS Pharmacy Records), questionable billing practices and patient records retention.
For example, according to the records, during Fox’s “treatment” of his 19-year old patient, not only was Fox prescribing numerous – “three or four” – psychiatric mind-altering drugs, but the psychiatrist also was providing the patient with free drug samples (page 69 of report), and the patient’s mother reported that, “she was turning into a zombie.”
Fox billed the mother’s insurance for the patient’s drug “treatment.” But when the psychiatrist and the patient “became friends” Fox no longer billed for “counseling services.”(page 68 of report).
As for state records retention, according to the Courant, State police detectives investigating the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School talked with Fox in New Zealand, where he was living at the time. Fox told detectives in a Dec. 17, 2012 telephone interview that he had destroyed any records he had of his treatment of Lanza (Investigation document 00260339 -Book 7). Based on the investigative records and state law, Fox last saw Lanza in 2007, making the destruction of the records two years too soon.
Fox did, however, advise law enforcement officials that he had retained his patient billing records. One can only wonder why investigators failed to follow this lead, as billing records offer a great deal of information about a patient’s treatment.
But, regardless of sloppy investigating, Fox’s arrest raises many issues beyond the alleged sexual assault, including the following:
* Fox provided counseling services at a state university. Was Western Connecticut State University aware of Dr. Fox’s sexual relationships with students at the university and, if yes, did the university file a report with the Department of Public Health, any state oversight agency, or even law enforcement?
* When information on Dr. Fox’s alleged sexual assault finally was brought to the attention of the State Department of Public Health, why was Fox given what can only be described as a “sweetheart” deal?
* Alleged sexual abuse is not only an ethical issue, but also a criminal matter, so did the State Department of Public Health have an obligation to alert law enforcement?
* Now that Fox has returned to the states, and clearly under the watchful eye of law enforcement, will Sandy Hook investigators request Fox’s billing records for psychiatric “treatment” of Adam Lanza?
* Why did the state wait a year before releasing the name of Adam Lanza’s treating psychiatrist?
* Did Adam Lanza, while under the psychiatric care of Dr. Fox or while a patient at Yale Child Study Center, participate in a clinical trial?
* Could Nancy Lanza’s notes, now being withheld by the state, provide additional information about the treatment Adam Lanza received while under Fox’s care that might expose further violations of FDA clinical trial record retention laws?
Dr. Fox’s reemergence is odd, but it has ignited a renewed interest in the specific mental health services he provided to Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza.
There still are too many unanswered questions about Lanza’s mental health history, and Dr. Fox’s return should be taken by Sandy Hook investigators as an opportunity to finally get some documentable information from, at minimum, Fox’s billing records.
Fox’s case also provides an opportunity for the state of Connecticut to conduct a review of the way medical ethics violations are handled and, perhaps, even establishing real consequences for egregious behavior by those in the medical profession.
Fox finally is being held responsible for the alleged sexual assault that lost him his medical license and, apparently, forced his swift departure from the U.S. Only time will tell if state oversight agencies and law enforcement officials will take advantage of the opportunity presented in Fox’s return.
According to the Newtown Patch, a recently filed lawsuit, regarding the stabbing of Maren Sanchez alleges that “Maren reported to the high school guidance department her concern that Christopher Plaskon was emotionally disturbed and was threatening to commit suicide or acts of serious self-harm by cutting himself with a knife, and that she believed it was important for high school personnel to help Plaskon, then 16, to prevent him from engaging in potentially violent conduct dangerous to himself or to others.”
With the ever-increasing number of school shootings across the nation, one must wonder if this lawsuit may be the tipping point for a national discussion on schools involvement in arbitrarily identifying students with alleged psychiatric disorders and recommending mental health “treatments,” known to be associated with an increased risks of suicide and violence?
The National Association of School Psychology, NASP, is responsible for the information that is supplied to the school psychologists that function within the school and evaluates and identifies students for eligibility for special education. A common factor in all mass shootings and stabbings committed by students is the failure of the school system or institution to release the mental health records of the perpetrator.
The mental health records, which would reveal whether psychiatric drugs were involved during the incident, more than the choice of weapon, is the critical information needed to identify contributing factors that may help to eliminate this massive public health crisis. Without the information contained within the mental health records, the public, as well as our lawmakers, cannot write effective legislation to protect students, families, as well as all consumers.
Is the NASP a monopoly with strong conflicts of interests that relies on privacy to shield their role in the increased risks of violence and suicide plaguing our education system?
According to the NASP services listed below, and their claim regarding the school psychologists’ unique qualifier, this lawsuit provides the public with a unique opportunity to initiate a conversation about how much power this association is given and the risks it creates for our children. After all, even NASP knows there is no known abnormality in the brain that is any alleged psychiatric disorder, making these diagnoses suspect.
Nevertheless, the NASP writes, “School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.” So, the NASP basically does it all.
Data collection and analysis
School-wide practices to promote learning
Resilience and risk factors
Consultation and collaboration
Mental health interventions
Prevention and intervention services
Special education services
Crisis preparedness, response, and recovery
Diversity in development and learning
Research and program evaluation
Professional ethics, school law, and systems”
Is this safe? After all, it is near impossible to eliminate their involvement with a student who attends the public education system. The NASP political influence on lawmaking only grows stronger each year. A student has a very difficult time to refuse psychiatric evaluations and still receive special education help and is not provided informed consent on the subjective nature of their assessment tools – basically opinions of behavior.
The Milford Lawsuit is interesting in that the family seems to have chosen the right target – the school’s involvement with the perpetrator’s mental health treatment.
The State missed this opportunity in the Sandy Hook mass murder to investigate the link between mental health “treatment” and the mass shooting and to hold those treating Lanza accountable. In fact, the State used the killings to push for more mental health “treatment,” based on no evidence that Adam Lanza lacked access to school-based or community-based mental health services or that those services were not the best that money could buy. The mental health billing records, autopsy, and toxicology of Adam Lanza were never released to the public, despite AbleChild vs. Chief Medical Examiner Freedom of Information request.
In response to Jacqueline Smith and her opinion of Professor James Tracy, two words immediately spring to mind: Toughen up. Strong reaction? Yes. But trampling on the First Amendment is serious and requires a strong response.
Smith claims that Professor Tracy doesn’t have a First Amendment right to “spew his nonsense.” There is no need to go any further in her rambling, disjointed piece. Smith simply does not understand that it is precisely this kind of “nonsense” that the Founding Fathers intended to protect.
Smith may not like, appreciate, or understand Professor Tracy’s thoughts and motives, but he has a right – and some would argue a duty – to critical thinking, and a right to publically espouse those thoughts, however repugnant they may be to Smith’s, and others, delicate sensitivities.
The problem with Smith’s thought pattern, as it pertains to the First Amendment, is that she believes that if the speech is hurtful or offensive to another then it simply is unacceptable and constitutionally unprotected. That’s not how the First Amendment works, as made clear by Smith’s own ugly diatribe directed at Professor Tracy.
Let’s not forget that the Founding Fathers believed that open dialogue was so important that they made it the FIRST Amendment, not the sixth or seventh, etc. More importantly, that freedom of speech is unabridged and there is no caveat that the speech cannot hurt someone’s feelings.
Smith’s attack on Professor Tracy’s Constitutional rights, ultimately, is due to the Professor’s questioning of the official version of events at Sandy Hook. While Smith claims her concern is that Professor Tracy crossed the First Amendment line by making a request of Lenny Pozner, in reality, anyone remotely familiar with this important case, is fully aware that Smith’s version of events was less than unbiased.
The bigger question, though, is why questioning the official version is so offensive to an alleged “newsperson?” Professor Tracy is far from the only person raising issues about Sandy Hook, as there literally are millions of websites dedicated to questioning the events at Sandy Hook and, one would think, many more millions who read them. Surely Smith is not suggesting that all of these people are not entitled to their views on the matter and must be silenced should they dare speak out publically.
What occurred at Sandy Hook has serious repercussions for not only the families of the victims and others associated with the tragedy, but everyone who is subjected to the legislative policy that has come from the incident.
As Smith well knows, the Connecticut Legislature passed sweeping, costly mental health legislation a full year prior to the release of the investigation. In other words, the legislative action was taken without full knowledge of the facts. Nevertheless, the good folks of Connecticut must not only pay for, but live by, those emotional, not fact-based, decisions. By anyone’s standards, this cannot be called responsible or thoughtful legislating.
Ablechild, a parent organization fighting for informed consent rights as they pertain to psychiatric diagnosing and psychiatric drugs, is intimately aware of the difficulties surrounding the gathering of information about Adam Lanza’s mental health records.
Despite Ablechild filing a FOIA to obtain Lanza’s mental health, toxicology and autopsy records, the state refused to publically release this information when Assistant State Attorney, Patrick Kwanashie, stated disclosure of Adam Lanza’s records “can cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”
These records may have provided some insight into Lanza’s actions. But to this day, despite a lengthy and costly investigation, no information about Lanza’s mental health for the five years leading up to the incident has been made publically available. Frankly, there is no information publically available that Lanza did, or did not, receive mental health services in the five years leading up to the incident. These facts did not stop poorly thought out legislative measures from being rammed down the throats of the citizens of Connecticut.
This is just one example of the problems surrounding this incident. Anyone who read the 6700-page investigation knows there are many more. But, beyond all of this, the issue remains the right to publically discuss any, and all, issues surrounding the official version of events at Sandy Hook regardless of whose feelings may be hurt.
No, Editor Smith, you do not get to decide whose voice is worthy. You do not get to judge whose First Amendment rights are more important. You may not like the voices you hear, or how they are used. They may be distasteful and hurtful, but every American has a right to that voice. It’s quite possible that Professor Tracy finds your opinion hurtful, and he may even think that you are writing it to purposefully harass him, but even he would have to agree that you are entitled to your damning words.