http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/362843

Sandy Hook final report: 'Privacy laws' limit psychiatric answers

Posted Nov 26, 2013 by Ralph Lopez
The final report on Sandy Hook issued by the CT state's attorney cites "privacy laws" which limit the ability of investigators to "gather information" on medical treatments the shooter received "over the course of his years in Newtown."
Mark and Jackie Barden  parents of Jack Barden 6  a victim of the December 14  2012 shooting at Sand...
Mark and Jackie Barden, parents of Jack Barden 6, a victim of the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, leave the stage following the launch of The Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit created in response to the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut
With permission by Reuters / Michelle McLoughlin
The report states that the alleged shooter, the deceased Adam Lanza, age 20, had "significant mental health issues."
Within these "limits of privacy laws to gather information," the report says that:
"investigators found no evidence to suggest the shooter had taken any medication that would affect his behavior or by any means to explain his actions on December 14, 2012."
FINAL REPORT OF SANDY HOOK SHOOTING
The report does not specify which privacy laws applied to the gathering of Lanza's medical records. Under the USA Patriot Act's section 215, the government can obtain any and all medical records of even Americans who have not committed an infamous crime, based only on suspicion of involvement in terrorism. The caveat to the report's conclusion leaves the question of Lanza's history of psychiatric medications unanswered, and in conflict with earlier reports. On December 17th, 2012 the Los Angeles Times reported:
"Friends of the family said he suffered from Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. As early as age 10, Adam Lanza was taking medication, according to his former baby sitter, Ryan Kraft, now an aerospace engineer in Hermosa Beach.
"I know there was something administered. I'm not sure what,"
Members of the psychiatric profession have accused the pharmaceuticals industry of over-prescribing medications which it knows can cause violent and suicidal behavior. The report confirms Lanza had been diagnosed with a form of autism, for which a controversial class of drugs, known as SSRIs, have been prescribed. Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist and founder of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, told the House Committee on Veterans Affairs in February of 2010:
"There is overwhelming evidence that the SSRIs and other stimulating antidepressants cause suicidality and aggression in children and adults of all ages."
At the same time, the CT state's attorney, who submitted the final report, is attempting to block news organization reporters from listening to the 911 tapes of the initial calls to the police on that day. Associated Press has won an initial ruling on a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the tapes, which state's attorney Stephen J. Sedensky is appealing. Compliance with the current court order would not release the tapes to the general public, but only allow AP reporters to listen to them. AP has stated that it would then make the decision to publish all, part, or none of the tape.
Attorneys for AP and 'right to know' First Amendment advocates contend that all police evidence, including 911 audio, in criminal cases not involving foreign powers or national security are public record, since the state uses these to convict citizens and resolve investigations in common law crimes.
The state's attorney's Final Report is intended to be a summary of the findings from the voluminous body of evidence contained in the state police investigative file, which runs thousands of pages. No date has been set for the release of the full police report. A state law passed after the shooting exempts photos and film from freedom-of-information act requests if the records are believed to invade the privacy of survivors.
In an unusual step, the Sandy Hook Final Report does not include the names of the victims, stating:
"Consistent with Public Act 13-311, exceptions to the state Freedom of Information Act and C.G.S. Sec. 17a-101k(a) this report will not list the names of the twenty children killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School, nor will it recite 911 calls made from within the school on that morning..."
The final reports for prior mass shootings such as Virginia Tech and Columbine both include memorial tributes to the victims, by name.
Questions Answered
The Sandy Hook Final Report (henceforth "Final Report") seems to seek to answer other questions frequently raised in blogs and journals. News footage and police audio shows men running in the vicinity of the school during the shooting. With respect to the number of shooters, CT state's attorney Sedensky declares:
"At the date of this writing, there is no evidence to suggest that anyone other than the shooter was aware of or involved in the planning and execution of the crimes that were committed on December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street. From the time an unknown male was encountered by the Newtown police outside of the school during the initial response, until well after the staff and children had been evacuated, the thought that there may have been more than one shooter was a condition all responding law enforcement worked under as they cleared the school. Individuals located in the wooded areas surrounding the school..."
The report says that various staff members had climbed out of a window and "had been running outside the school building during the shootings," and that "[other] Persons detained revealed they were not connected to the shootings."
The report also addresses clothing found on the ground outside Lanza's vehicle:
"the two sweat jackets were both C-Sport brand black zip up hooded sweat jackets with no size listed and were located immediately outside the shooter’s car; Both are believed to have been brought there by the shooter."
The report states:
"With the issuance of this report, the investigation is closed. Should additional reliable information related to the existence of accessories or co-conspirators come to the attention of the investigators, the investigation will be reopened."
The Final Report states that the video monitoring system trained on the school's main entrance had no recording capabilities.
911 Tapes Release to Associated Press to be Decided
The CT Freedom of Information Commission, on Sept. 25th, 2013, ruled in favor of AP's request to review the Sandy Hook 911 tapes and ordered the tapes’ release to AP. CT state's attorney Stephen Sedensky has appealed the decision to the state's Superior Court. 911 calls are routinely gathered by news organizations, in part to examine the police response to crimes in progress. If the recordings are released, the AP would review the content and determine what, if any, of it would meet the AP's standards for publication.
The state's action takes place after other unusual moves to shroud aspects of the mass shooting in secrecy. Last February Newtown officials sought to deny press access to the death certificates of victims, and more recently, as the school was razed, workers were asked to sign "nondisclosure" agreements preventing them from talking about anything they saw during the school's demolition.
Links Between Certain Psychiatric Medications and Violence
The Final Report was unable to gather all of Lanza's psychiatric records and medication history due to privacy laws, according to the state' attorney. Therefore it is unable to say definitely whether or not whether Lanza's history included a certain class of drugs referred to by the psychiatric profession as "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors." Time Magazine, in a report on a study in a January 2011entitled "Top Ten Legal Drugs Linked to Violence," named 31 drugs that are disproportionately linked with violent behavior.
In an article "The Batman Shooter and His Psyche Drugs," Dr. Gary G. Kohls, MD, detailed the research on thousands of recorded incidents of violence linked to SSRIs. In the article Dr. Kohls wrote of the presence of certain psychiatric medications in almost all recent notorious mass shootings such as "the Batman shooter" in Aurora, Colorado, and the killings at Columbine. Kohls wrote:
"The thousands of examples reported...represent just the tip of what surely is an enormous iceberg, since even the FDA estimates that as many as 99% of adverse events from any given drug is never reported to that agency."
Sandy Hook school shooting victims:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Russo, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto,27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
Shattered tempered glass pieces cover chairs and seats at Sandy Hook Elementary school after an atta...
Shattered tempered glass pieces cover chairs and seats at Sandy Hook Elementary school after an attack by gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut in this police evidence photo released by the state's attorney's office November 25, 2013. 20 children and six adults were killed
Connecticut Department of Justice / Handout via Reuters
A Bushmaster rifle belonging to Sandy Hook Elementary school gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown  Connectic...
A Bushmaster rifle belonging to Sandy Hook Elementary school gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut is seen after its recovery at the school in this police evidence photo released by the state's attorney's office November 25, 2013. A long-awaited state's attorney report on Monday on one of the worst mass shootings in the United States revealed few new details and left relatives of 20 children and six adults killed with no more knowledge about Lanza's motive
Connecticut Department of Justice / Handout via Reuters
Weapons and ammunitions belonging to Sandy Hook Elementary school gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown  Conn...
Weapons and ammunitions belonging to Sandy Hook Elementary school gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut are seen after its recovery at the school in this police evidence photo released by the state's attorney's office November 25, 2013. A long-awaited state's attorney report on Monday on one of the worst mass shootings in the United States revealed few new details and left relatives of 20 children and six adults killed with no more knowledge about Lanza's motive
Connecticut Department of Justice / Handout via Reuters
An aerial photo showing demolition work near completion at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown  ...
An aerial photo showing demolition work near completion at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, November 13, 2013, the site where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults before taking his own life last December
With permission by Reuters / Michelle McLoughlin
Street artist Mark Panzarino  41  prepares a memorial as he writes the names of the Sandy Hook Eleme...
Street artist Mark Panzarino, 41, prepares a memorial as he writes the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims during the six-month anniversary of the massacre, at Union Square in New York, June 14, 2013
With permission by Reuters / Eduardo Munoz