The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Crazy People Are Dangerous

Posted on | March 12, 2022 | Comments Off on Crazy People Are Dangerous

There are no mugshots of William Michael Stephens, 39, but there is surveillance video of the dangerous lunatic’s final suicidal episode, in which he rammed his pickup truck into a federal building in downtown Seattle and emerged firing a rifle before being felled by police gunfire. Given the location, I thought when this incident was first reported March 5 that it might be some kind of radical terrorism, Seattle having been the scene of a lot of Antifa protests and such. But instead, it turns out, Stephens was just a garden-variety kook who had descended into paranoia in the weeks leading up to his death:

Before he crashed his pickup into a federal building in downtown Seattle, before he fired a rifle seemingly at random, before he was fatally shot by Seattle police officers, William Michael Stephens scrawled in permanent marker all over his garage door about how there was a plot to kill him.
Stephens, of Bellevue, was moving toward officers with a rifle when he was shot and killed, according to body-worn camera footage released by Seattle police Tuesday. But in recent weeks, Bellevue police and others who knew him had become alarmed by his spiraling mental health crisis, court records show.
He was identified Tuesday as William Michael Stephens, 39, by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, which determined he died from multiple gunshot wounds. . . .

(You don’t need a coroner’s report to figure out the cause of death when somebody’s full of bullet holes.)

Stephens’ mental health appeared to deteriorate significantly in the last several months, to the extent that five days before he was killed, a Bellevue police officer filed a petition seeking an extreme risk protection order that would have barred Stephens from buying or possessing firearms, court records show.

(That’s nice — his mental health “appeared to deteriorate”? As if there were some doubt? You’re afraid to jump to conclusions?)

In recent weeks, Bellevue police and social workers, along with Stephens’ former attorney and psychiatrist, were gravely concerned by his deteriorating mental state, but were unable to stop him from driving to downtown Seattle on Saturday night and instigating an armed confrontation with police.

(Liberals always tell us that hiring more “social workers” is the solution to problems like this. You might actually believe this, unless you knew any sociology majors in college, in which case you know that there is no problem to which those people are the solution.)

Stephens appeared to believe he was being threatened by the Brazilian mafia, his ex-wife and his ex-pastor, and that evidence of their conspiracy was contained in social media posts, according to the ERPO [extreme risk protection order] petition filed in King County Superior Court on Feb. 28.
A court commissioner signed a temporary ERPO order that same day, but a police officer who attempted to serve Stephens with the court order on March 1, was apparently unable to locate him, the records show.
Police had been called to Stephens’ Bellevue house at least twice in the preceding months, once in January and again Feb. 15.
Both times he tried to explain to officers about a plot to kill him, according to police reports.
On Jan. 29, officers wrote, they tried to offer mental health services, but Stephens refused, insisting his case needed to be taken to the FBI. He never threatened others, they wrote, and did not meet the criteria for involuntary commitment.

(Guy’s nutty as a fruitcake, sure, but he doesn’t “meet the criteria,” because you have a constitutional right to be crazy.)

On Feb. 15, Stephens again called police to his house. Again, he said he did not want to harm himself or others and declined offers of mental health care.
Police referred his case to Bellevue Fire CARES, a city service where staff members, including social workers, seek to help people with needs that may not merit a 911 call or a fire or police response.

(Again, “social workers” prove to be utterly useless.)

Staff at CARES, or Citizen Advocates for Referral and Education Services, called Stephens two days later but got a full voicemail. Three days after that, they visited his home but he wasn’t there.
Two days before Bellevue police asked for the protection order, Stephens’ former psychiatrist, in a witness statement, wrote that he believed Stephens’ behavior was “of grave concern.”
His concerns, the psychiatrist wrote, were for both Stephens and for his ex-wife.
“Mr. Stephens is suffering a very serious Delusion and rapid mental health decompensation and deterioration,” the psychiatrist wrote. “I have treated individuals over the course of 44 years with behaviors such as this which may have the potential to manifest in violence. I believe that Mr. Stephen’s condition is very dangerous.”

(“In short, your honor, Mr. Stephens is daft, demented, wacko, bonkers, a few fries shot of a Happy Meal, which is to say, he’s crazy.”)

At his five-bedroom home on a quiet Bellevue cul-de-sac, Stephens scrawled words and sentences in black and blue permanent marker across the garage and front door. It’s unclear whether Stephens had a specific mental health diagnosis, but the words and phrases suggest the person who wrote them was struggling with paranoia.

(He wasn’t “struggling with paranoia.” He had dived head-first into deep end of the paranoia pool and was swimming in it.)

“I need protective custody,” one says.
“3 Red Lights = compromised Home.”
“Flash one Headlight for signaling.”
“Bellevue Police scared of truth only believe mafia.”
Several of the messages appear to threaten Stephens’ ex-wife. Stephens was arrested for fourth-degree assault domestic violence in 2020.
The ERPO petition for the protection order says Bellevue police believed Stephens “poses a significant danger in the near future” of injuring himself or others if he has a firearm. Stephens has had recent contacts with police, in the last month, the order says, and “appears to be in a declining mental state.”
It says he had recently obtained a concealed pistol license and tried to purchase a gun at Wade’s Gun Shop in Bellevue earlier in February.
Wade’s declined to sell him a gun, the petition says, “after he expressed concerns about a mafia plot to kill him.” . . .
One of Stephens’ neighbors, who asked not to be named to protect his privacy, said he noticed a change in his friend about four months ago when he said Stephens began dating a woman online who lives in Brazil.
Stephens began to believe he was in danger, the neighbor said. He closed down his landscaping business, sold most of his possessions and began sleeping in the attic and the crawl space, the neighbor said. His Facebook page is peppered with incoherent posts about a cult, murder plots and the mafia.
“Really quickly he became super paranoid,” the neighbor said. “He kept asking people what to do, ‘who do I go to, there’s watchers all over the place.’”

Indeed, the “watchers” are everywhere. We’re all under constant surveillance. If you’re reading this on your laptop, probably Microsoft or Apple or Google have a complete list of every website you’ve ever visited, and if you’re reading this on your smartphone, “the watchers” have got your location via GPS. Considering the way technology has made us all vulnerable to surveillance, being paranoid isn’t necessarily the same as being crazy. But what are the “watchers” going to do with all this personal data they’ve acquired about us? Even if we stipulate their malevolent intent — Facebook is obviously a satanic conspiracy — we are somewhat protected by the general incompetence of the authorities.

The case of William Michael Stephens illustrates this. He believed the “watchers” were out to get him, but even while everybody was trying to get him shipped off to the looney bin, he was still free to wander around all over the place, and it wasn’t until he went berserk with a rifle in downtown Seattle that the cops were finally forced to shoot him.

Crazy People Are Dangerous.



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