How will we deal with the dangerously mentally ill?
The Washington Post, January 17, 2013
In August 1966, a 25-year-old man named Charles Whitman brought a trunkful of guns and bullets with him to the top of the University of Texas tower in Austin. Near the observation deck he killed a receptionist with a gun butt. Then he started shooting at tourists below. He shot a pregnant woman. He shot the people who came to help those he'd hit. By the time police assembled and were able to kill Whitman, he had killed 14 people and wounded more than 30.
Then the story got even worse. Before his deadly visit to the tower, Whitman had killed his mother and stabbed his wife to death while she slept.
As with Newtown, the killings shocked the nation. As was not the case with Adam Lanza, however, Whitman left a remarkable record of his mental state. As recounted by neuroscientist David Eagleman in his fascinating 2011 book, "Incognito: The Secret Life of the Brain" (from which these details are drawn), Whitman knew something had gone wrong inside of him. He'd been an Eagle Scout and a Marine. His typed suicide note read in part: "I do not really understand myself these days. I am supposed to be an average reasonable and intelligent young man. However, lately .