Posted by Melissa Fleischer, Esq. on Jun 30th 2014

Another senseless massacre on a college campus. It raises so many questions towards what solutions we can find so that no one has to experience this again. Here, the shooter, Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger had allegedly shown signs of mental illness since his early childhood. He also had received therapy since early childhood yet clearly this had not helped. Could something have been done to stop these senseless murders?

He had expressed his desire to seek revenge on women and kill them all previously in his earlier conversations with his neighbor in the apartment building in which he lived. He had told him that he planned to kill. Yet, as so often happens in these types of instances, his neighbor thought he was just venting. He never in a million years believed that this seemingly shy and quiet 20 year old, might actually intend to hold true on his threat and actually go on this deadly shooting spree in which he ended up killing 7 innocent students and wounding countless others and then turning the gun on himself as he sped away from the police in a high speed car chase.

Speaking of the police, did they fail to stop these deadly murders when they had a chance? Apparently, they had visited the shooter on three separate occasions. However, since he did not seem aggressive or threatening, since he spoke nicely and politely and showed no signs of potential to carry out such a senseless act, they could not do anything further such as search his apartment. Had they done so, they might have found the arsenal of weapons he had in the apartment on that day when the police interviewed him and might have been able to stop the senseless and brutal murders of these innocent students.

I have blogged before about the warning signs of workplace violence and school violence. I somehow believe that these warnings signs are the key to finding a solution to these senseless tragedies. People often do not know what to do when someone threatens to kill people as did Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger when he had discussions with his neighbors. Perhaps if there were some legal guidelines put in place then people would understand that they had an obligation to report such statements even if they believed the person would never do such a thing. Perhaps we need to change the laws so that it would have been easier for the police to have searched his apartment pursuant to the interviews they conducted of him. Yes, these changes might result in the loss of some rights and liberties we now possess but perhaps they also could have saved many lives. Clearly, a result that I could live with knowing that even if we save one life, it is worth it.

Last, but certainly not least, we need to find a better way to deal with these mental health issues. As a society, we have a responsibility to do this better. To provide real help for people facing such issues and not just give it lip service. Not being a mental health professional, I am not sure what can be done in this area but I do believe we must take action to do more and do it better. No more lives should be lost because we have failed to act to prevent the horrific tragedy that occurred at UC Santa Barbara, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood, Fed Ex, the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. and countless other locations of school and workplace violence that has plagued our nation in recent years.