American society and mental illness

School shooting highlights America's mental health services


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," December 17, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Police have not yet released details about the motives or mental state of gunman Adam Lanza. So, it's impossible to know exactly what happened and why.

So, Charles Krauthammer has some thoughts on what the focus should be.


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS ANALYST: There are elements here. You've got the psychology of the shooter, you've got a weapon and you've got the cultural environment. I tend to gravitate towards the psychology of the killer. I mean, when you think about the details of the crime, he began by shooting his mother in the face. That I think is where I would start. Although I think all of the issues have to be discussed.


GUILFOYLE: Profound when you go through the analysis of, the details and try to make sense of what happened in some kind of desperate hope to prevent it from happening again. I mean, it's a necessary process to go through, Dana, to try and figure out why this happened, what went wrong, because for all intents and purposes, all the reports we've heard about the mother, she was very devoted, she was really trying to attend to her son, to some of his developmental needs and challenges, and even brought him out home schooled, to put him in a more comfortable environment because he faced social challenges.

What happened? Everyone wants to know.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: I thought that I gravitate to wanting to know that, too. And I think that might -- the policy questions about guns and maybe even mental health I actually think will be a part of whatever President Obama decides to go forward with.

The thing that really struck me this weekend, an article that went around, re-tweeted a million times, was written on Huffington Post originally by a woman that -- she's a mother. And she said, "I am Adam Lanza's mother." She described in heartbreaking detail what it was like to have a child just what she said based on description seemed maybe going in the same direction as this other child. So I think -- not child but the killer I should say.

But he was a son and there was a devoted mother. You think there might be a lot of parents today who are thinking, what can I do? What should I do? Did he have everything he needed?

Obviously not or maybe there is just no simple answer to this question. But Charles is somebody that I would turn to, to say, OK, help me understand the psychology behind this.

GUILFOYLE: Yes, because he's a psychiatrist.


ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Yes, that piece is amazing, Dana. It's "The Anarchist Soccer Mom" -- a blog spot. And I put that up in there. It's like thousands comments. It's really, really worthwhile to read. You have to look it up.

But here's the thing: there are so many theories -- people are going to blame guns. They're going to blame mental health. They're going to blame video games. They're going to blame movie violence. They're going to blame religion, the breakdown in family.

We need to point something out. There was so much misinformation that was put out there, that there was a second shooter, that the shooter had killed his father first, that the mother was an employee of the school. That the kid -- so many times.

We need to just take a breath, let the police do their work, let's find out all the details of whether or not there is mental issues, what are they, what -- how was he treated, and then we can start to assist. Everyone wants to jump and solve this problem. There will be a day for that. Just for me, not yet.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: But it is true, though, that the high school where he went, the school members, the staff, the teachers, counselors, security people monitored this guy because he had a series of obvious problems. One of the things we know about the people who have committed these kinds of heinous crimes over the last few years all have had mental problems at one time or another.

You know, it's probably safe to say a sane person would not do this. The question is -- in a state like Connecticut, where the governor admitted they cut back seriously on mental health counseling in their budgets, the question is -- that's a legitimate question, a public policy question -- is: are we putting our assets in the wrong place? Should this guy have had some -- not just monitoring, but should he have had some counseling?

GUILFOYLE: Or in a special home. He was getting counseling. That's a fact.

BRIAN KILMEADE, GUEST CO-HOST: I don't know. I'm not as smart as Charles Krauthammer. I don't have a schooling of him. I will say this, I will say that he knew how to smash his computers and his hard drive, he knew how to get body protection, he also played non-stop video games, "Dynasty Warriors," which I understand is an especially brutal game. And these parents go through hell, it breaks up marriages, the number is staggering.

However, if my kid was mentally unbalanced and I was working 24-hours a day to make them on balanced, I think I would not train them to use a lethal weapon, even if it was a bonding event. I would not do it, and I would make sure my guns are locked up.


BECKEL: Wouldn't you have locked your guns up?

BOLLING: Are we assuming -- we are doing the exact thing aren't we jumping to a conclusion he was mentally ill. I mean, clearly, he had issues. But prior with it, was he diagnosed? Was he on medications? We don't have those facts.

PERINO: And, in fact, I do think -- I read very good piece. I can't remember if it was written by Ron Fournier in the "National Journal" or tweeted by him, so apologies for that. But it was about -- let's not jump to conclusions here about a link or -- I think he was saying in the "Washington Post", that there isn't necessarily a link between autism and violence.


PERINO: Or Asperger's and violence. So, that's why I think it's smart to take a step back. Let the investigators do the police work that they need to do, and then let's get some ethicists and psychiatrists, policy people together to see how do -- what do we need to do to try to help these families to prevent tragedies like this.

GUILFOYLE: Started off with protecting the schools.

PERINO: Yes, good point.

GUILFOYLE: You can do that.

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