Soon after James Holmes was taken into custody in connection with the theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., authorities announced that Holmes’ only encounter with police was in conjunction with a traffic violation, allowing him to pass the criminal background checks required to purchase firearms. But new reports claiming that Holmes was being treated by a psychiatrist open new questions into gun control and background checks.
Court documents filed by Holmes’ defense team claim that Homes was undergoing treatment by Dr. Lynne Fenton, medical director of the University of Colorado’s student mental health services.
— Kwaku Antwi-Boasiako (@ABKwaku) July 27, 2012
maybe we should not let people undergoing diagnosis for psychiatric illness buy loads of guns & ammo. just a thought! http://t.co/hzga8iUR
— Jake Larkin (@jakeokt) July 27, 2012
So @cnn reported that James Holmes was seeing a psychiatrist, how come he wasn't in a mental hospital if he felt self-destruction then?
— carlos andrade (@cpvr) July 27, 2012
James Holmes, the Aurora murderer was being treated for mental problems and therefore PERJURED HIMSELF AND DID NOT LEGALLY BUY FIREARMS.
— Robert Paine (@superwrench4) July 28, 2012
Federal law prohibits sales of firearms to “individuals who have been adjudicated as mentally ill or have been committed to a mental institution.” Neither of these scenarios seems to fit Holmes’ case, however.
Word that a notebook containing references to a shooting had been sent by Holmes to Fenton leaked to the media earlier this week. Defense attorneys have claimed that the leak could jeopardize Holmes’ right to a fair trial. “The government’s disclosure of this confidential and privileged information has placed Mr. Holmes’ constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial by an impartial jury at serious jeopardy,” the defense wrote in its motion.
A medical ethicist interviewed by KTSM News in El Paso, Texas, disputes the defense team’s assertion and suggests that any doctor-patient privilege is nullified once a crime has been committed.
Ethics professor: "Once there has been a crime, I believe, she has a duty to notify that she has information… http://t.co/mZXJgoHY
— NewsChannel9 El Paso (@NC9) July 28, 2012
Public sentiment on Twitter certainly doesn’t weigh in Holmes’ favor regardless of his mental condition.
That's BS, if Holmes walks away because he's got "mental problems" then this country and it's "laws" are dirt to me.
— Candace Belfortttt (@Caneigh) July 27, 2012
I swear if James Holmes gets off on Mental Illness…
— Ryan Wills (@SirRyanWesley) July 27, 2012
Now they saying James Holmes has mental issues … No he's a murderer & deserves everything that's coming his way
— D. (@insomniacDRXVM) July 27, 2012
The idea that mental illness as a defense is somehow proof of racism is, sadly, still going strong.
Oh so James Holmes is mental? A few shades darker they would have called this terrorist a terrorist. Few more shades darker; a gang member.
— Pugnificent Alvinski (@PugAhab) July 27, 2012
I'm sick of them trying to portray James Holmes as a mental patient, let anyone that looks like me even think of doing that
— Kenneth Noland (@thatguykenny) July 27, 2012
If James Holmes was Arab-American, it'd be "terrorism". If he was black, he'd be a "thug". But he's white, so its "mental illness". #truth
— Shanahanjrs (@0xJRS) July 27, 2012