Texas father averts potential mass shooting

Linda

Believe it or not, not all Texas news stories these days start with reports of shootings, number of dead and wounded, etc. This one was handled pretty well, with the help of a worried father and a police department with some good programs in place.


"Police in Texas said they have foiled another potential mass shooting in the state after they received a call from a concerned father detailing his son's plans to "kill many people."

The Fort Worth Police Department said they received a tip-off that the 27-year-old son was planning on carrying out an attack similar to the one which occurred in Midland and Odessa last month which left seven people dead and a further 22 injured.

The father said his son had withdrawn between $600 and $700 in order to purchase guns. After failing background checks, the 27-year-old, whose name has not been made public, then attempted to purchase a firearm off the street, reports NBCDFW.

Officers said that they had interacted with the suspect before and were aware he suffers from severe mental health issues. He was later located just west of downtown Fort Worth and taken into custody."


https://www.newsweek.com/fort-worth-mass-shooting-odessa-texas-1458498

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Pidge_

I am just glad the man's father was so willing to come forward and to a police department with programs in place.

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Stan Areted

Well it looks like the father did one thing right.

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Chi

What did the father do wrong, Stan?

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Pidge_

Don't get sidetracked by Stan. We know nothing about the father or the son that will allow us to make any judgments.

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Chi

The implication that the parents are automatically at fault when a child has severe mental illness bothers me.

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Delilah66

The father obviously raised the son to be mentally disturbed. Stricter laws governing parenting would have solved that problem. Instead we had to rely on background checks to keep guns out of the hands of this man.

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socks(10a)

Delilah, that is wrong.

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Stan Areted

Chi--I don't know that the father did anything wrong.

I SAID, "it looks like the father did one thing right."

If it turns out that this person didn't suddenly take action that was totally unlike him heretofore, then most likely the father already knew his son had the propensity for violence or mental imbalances which could cause him to do something like this.

Prudent people don't ignore and wait for something bad to happen, or almost happen.

It least he was prudent enough this time.

But NONE of us know, that's why I didn't acuse him of anything.

He did the right thing reporting him, but I don't think he deserves kudos or a medal.

He did what he should have.



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Delilah66

Socks, <sarc>.

”He did what he should have.”

He did what too many do not. Of course he deserves recognition and LE should be publicizing the positive outcome of his action. What you said (it looks like the father did one thing right) sounds judgy-judgy and deprecating. Think how much better it would sound if you had said “I’m glad that father did the right thing or we may have been reading about another mass shooting.” Too hard to give praise? You get what you give.

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elvis

@ delilah: What you said (it looks like the father did one thing right) sounds judgy-judgy and deprecating. Think how much better it would sound if you had said

What you said, Delilah, ^^^ sounds judgmental and deprecating. Think how much better it would sound if you had said something reasonable, as Chi did ^^^.

Chi: What did the father do wrong, Stan?

The implication that the parents are automatically at fault when a child has severe mental illness bothers me.

Too hard?

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batyabeth

that poor dad. To turn your son in takes courage, bravery and a solid dose of fortitude. I work the severely mentally ill, and let me tell you, it takes a special parent to do that. What grief he goes through. "Better" than the grief of the many would-be victims, but don't be so quick to judge these parents.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

I hope the media lionize this father so others see and emulate his example. These kinds of mental illnesses are devastating and must leave the entire family ravaged by the grief and exhaustion of it all.

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leona_2008

Bad parenting can cause psychological damage but good parenting can't prevent all mental illnesses. That being said, let's leave the judgment and diagnoses to the professionals.

Try putting yourself in this father's shoes. What if that were your son? Your first thought would be, "Not MY son!" So yeah, this father did the right thing and it was probably the hardest thing he ever did. This is a message we need to get out there that if you report these types of concerns, that person will be evaluated and offered the help they need, whether it's your child or an acquaintance. Not only could tragedies be averted, the troubled person might then be able to turn their own life around.


eta: Recently in our local news, there was an incident where a teenager was reported for making threats. When he was taken into custody, his mother was there and of course, she was all upset and saying he didn't mean it, he wouldn't have followed through. That was her little boy, the sweet little boy that was so kind and considerate. I imagine that father had to work through some of those same feelings before he could bring himself to report his son.

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HU9999

The father does deserve praise. Anyone that does a difficult thing for the benefit of others deserves praise.

Why is it so hard for some to do that? How does one get so cold-hearted that they cannot even praise someone for a good deed. Sad.

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elvis

Zalco/bring back Sophie!

I hope the media lionize this father so others see and emulate his example.

Zalco, although I agree with Stan that it was just the right thing to do (just as I feel that the word "hero" is used too readily these days), you have a good point. Sadly, it has become necessary to reinforce what used to be more or less the norm, that is: doing the right thing, no matter the cost.

This had to be very, very difficult for the dad to do, and if others can follow his example and probably avert some of these horrific tragedies, it's a good thing.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

“... it has become necessary to reinforce what used to be more or less the norm...”

I don’t think we are going to reverse x number of years of human evolution just because “you just do the right thing no matter the cost.”

Turning on our own young or exposing them to danger has never been the “right” thing or the typical thing or the accepted thing for humans to do. Never. Neither from a moral/philosophical standpoint nor from the biological standpoint of ensuring the perpetuation of our own genes which is the ultimate goal of any living creature.

So anytime someone “turns on” their own progeny by exposing them to the “danger” (quotes used to indicate that I understand the potentially hyperbolic nature of those phrases) of the criminal justice system it *is* notable because it flies in the face of our human nature’s preference to protect and defend our young (whether you believe that nature was created or evolved).

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JodiK

Legally, however, on what grounds can the police hold this person, and for how long? Can he be forced to receive treatment, or take medications that might help?

And once out on his own again, even if he's placed on a list so he can't legally purchase weapons, who's to stop him from purchasing them illegally?


What are the legal ramifications?


Lots of questions still to be answered...

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

It seems to me I would rather call the authorities on my mentally ill, violent child, rather than have him/her become a murderer. The former problem is preferable to the latter one. Under no circumstances do I get what I wanted as a parent anyway. The question is to limit the damage all around, and last I checked, parents wished to keep their children safe. Calling the police is the safer choice in this case.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

PS I honestly don't see turning in your child as turning on him or her in a case like this. I see this as protecting your offspring with the only means at your disposal.

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Pidge_

^^^^this.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

Zalco/bring back Sophie!

3 minutes ago

PS I honestly don't see turning in your child as turning on him or her in a case like this. I see this as protecting your offspring with the only means at your disposal.

———

me too. That’s why I put that phrase “turns on” in quotes.

Right now, everyone on this thread is thinking with their rational brains. We can calmly assess the various degrees of risk and come to a nice logical conclusion.

That isn’t always the case in extreme circumstances when we “think” with our primal brains and the wired-in response from millennia back is to protect our offspring.

That’s why I believe that we MUST keep telling the stories of the families who do the right thing for society and turn their offspring in. The more we hear those stories, the more it will become wired into our collective psyche.

If we dismiss them with “yeah well it was the right thing to do what do you want, a cookie?” we run the risk of hardening people away from putting the protection of strangers above that of their own offspring.

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blfenton

The police have interacted with this man before and knew of his issues. Although he may not have done anything illegal, there may be a mechanism whereby there is a 24 or 48 hour holding for a mental evaluation.

I suspect that the father is doing everything he can to help his child (yes, I know he is legally an adult) and at the same time, to protect the public.

I really hope that the family and young man get the help that they need. I hope that the help is available for them all.

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sjerin

It's not easy to shock me these days, but Delilah, I thought what you wrote concerning the kid's parents was sarcasm. Then I realized you meant it!! Have you lived under a rock? Girl/boy, you need to educate yourself.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

On Delilah’s behalf, holy wow.

It *was* sarcasm.

As Delilah went on to explain in this comment:

[Delilah66

3 hours ago

Socks, <sarc>.]

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Delilah66

Some people just can’t take criticism. Typically also can’t give credit where it’s due, as if by doing so their own stellar actions deserving of praise, accolades, and medals are diminished. Someone did something right in a world of wrong with a president whose morals are twisted upside down/inside out and those supporting that inhumane person give it a shoulder shrug. Figures.

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Delilah66

sjserin, if you‘ve been following any of the HT threads on gun-related homicides/mass shootings, you would recognize I am in favor of stricter gun controls and DO NOT believe that “better parenting” can be legislated effectively to reduce gun-related homicides.

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maifleur01

I also wonder what the police can actually do. The son may be sent for mental evaluation and told to take drugs of some type but unlike in years past unless he actually commits a crime no one can keep him locked up for long. No one can force him to take any drugs that he is supposed to take after his probation is over and I am not certain exactly what crime the son can be charged with other than making a threat. Not certain what the penalty in Texas is for that crime but not enough to really do much.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

His mental illness isn’t mentioned here, but it’s possible that simply the act of interrupting him in his frenetic state and keeping him safe for a short time might have been enough to avert the disaster, as it would indicate that he was acting on impulse rather than careful long-term planning.

I hope he finds the help he needs, and until then I hope his support system and law enforcement remain vigilant in keeping him and the community safe.

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catkinZ8a

Stop dosing them with psychotropic drugs.

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leona_2008

maifleur, I would think at the very least, the police could confiscate any guns he has in his possession. Perhaps a judge could sentence him for the threats and then defer that sentence as long as he is seeking treatment and taking prescribed medication for his mental illness. Police should try to find and charge anyone who actually sold him a gun.


Universal background checks required by all who sell guns would help, of course. Too bad for the inconvenience. Shame on anyone who thinks their convenience and any amount of money is more important than someone's life.

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JodiK

" Calling the police is the safer choice in this case. "


Okay. And then what?


What happens then, is my question from above? What can legally happen that will ensure the person doesn't go right back out and try the same thing, or something similar, again?


Are there legal means by which he can be stopped? What are they, and how permanent are they? Etc.


Because if the scenario is anything like the one surrounding an Order of Protection, by the time it comes to that it's usually too late...

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

JodiK, knowing is half the battle. So even if the justice system can’t hold him for long, now that his father knows what form the threat is taking he and the rest of the man’s support system know what to watch for at least.

It’s a tenuous hope but it’s not nothing.

And if he is in a small community (don’t remember that detail from the OP) the local law enforcement will keep an eye on him. Hopefully kindly.

And depending on what mental illness he is living with, interrupting him in the completion of his “plan” might be enough to make him give it up entirely.

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elvis

It’s a tenuous hope but it’s not nothing.

Amen to that.

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leona_2008

Let's see. Ask anyone who has lost a loved one in a mass shooting if they think that had the shooter's guns been confiscated beforehand, would that have been worth doing? Stopping a potential shooter just once equals lives saved. Does it ensure that that person won't try it again at a later date? No, but that doesn't negate the value of preventing them when we know to do so.

It will put a lot more people on notice that this person has those tendencies. That's a lot more people to encourage that person to get help. That's a lot more people to report him if there are signs. It should keep some people from selling, loaning or giving him a gun.

If there is a mental illness involved and medication alleviates the mental illness, then with a clear head, that person will have to face up to what he could have done, what his mental illness could have caused him to do. That realization will be there to consider when they think of going off their meds.

Not being able to permanently prevent someone from killing others is not an excuse for doing nothing when we can.

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HU9999

Not being able to permanently prevent someone from killing others is not an excuse for doing nothing when we can.

Exactly, leona. Just as better gun control not stopping 100% of gun deaths is no excuse for doing nothing. Although we hear that argument from too many too often.

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