Commentary: One of Our Own – 16-Year-Old Marsh Arraigned on Murder Charges

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yolo_county_courthouseBy David Greenwald and Antoinnette Borbon

A sad day today to watch the media swarm around a tragic case. Behind the glass booth of the courtroom today stood a 16-year-old defendant who has been charged with the double homicide of an elderly couple.

On April 13 of this year, the couple was found stabbed to death in their South Davis home. Daniel Marsh was arrested on Monday after an investigation which, at the onset, had police baffled.

Young Daniel Marsh stood in plain clothes, watching as Commissioner Janene Beronio read  the charges that followed four special circumstance enhancements.

Ron Johnson from the Public Defender’s office is representing Daniel Marsh, and Deputy District Attorney Steve Mount is representing the state.

The court is scheduled to hear the preliminary hearing in Department 2 under Judge Timothy Fall’s authority on July 2, 2013, at 10 am.

Deputy Public Defender Johnson filed a motion banning cameras in the courtroom, but Ms. Beronio denied it, at least for the time being.

Judge Fall will make the decision for the following hearings. It may difficult for this young defendant to get a fair trial with media in full force.  We will wait to see how the defense feels.

Marsh-Daniel

Commentary: As We Sow, So Shall We Reap

I begin here quoting from Bob Dunning’s thoughts from Wednesday.  He writes that, while the arrest of the murder suspect in the savage killings of Oliver “Chip” Northup and Claudia Maupin brings “a measure of relief to our town,” it raises “a whole range of troubling questions … and while murder is murder no matter the perpetrator, most of us had hoped this was one of those random, robbery-gone-wrong crimes committed by someone from out of town who simply hopped back onto the freeway after inflicting this horror, never to be seen again.”

He continues, “Still, we didn’t want to believe that someone from our town was capable of such a crime,” adding, “these incredibly brutal acts were carried out by one of our own, just 15 at the time … and he apparently has been walking among us for the last two months, presumably capable of murdering again.”

Mr. Dunning adds, “Compounding the senselessness of these murders are those images from four years ago of a 12-year-old Daniel Marsh being honored as a hometown hero by the Red Cross of Yolo County for saving his dad’s life after his father had a heart attack and passed out while driving to the hospital … seeing that seemingly innocent and heroic kid as a murderer is almost unimaginable …”

He adds, “Clearly, if he’s guilty of these crimes, something went terribly wrong in his life and in his mind, but we may never know what exactly that was or how it might have been prevented …”

I am always stunned when crimes like this occur, with just how small this town really is.  Just how many people I have run into who knew the young man accused of this awful crime.

Let me start with this note – I make no presumptions here about guilt or innocence.  In fact, there are reasons to believe that this young man did not commit the crime, but that will be for the court of law to assess and ultimately for a jury to determine.

What I found yesterday, as I dipped into a troubling world beneath our noses, leads me to the opposite conclusion as Bob Dunning’s, while I am sure that we would be more comfortable with the burglary gone wrong scenario.  We wanted to see the burglar who rode in from out of town who stumbled upon the old couple by happenstance and killed them because he was surprised.

But maybe we needed to see this as one of our own, to sound the alarm that there is something very wrong with a segment of our youth right beneath our noses, and that we as a community have not done nearly enough to help many of them.

Mr. Dunning and others have written about the innocent looking 12-year-old who saved his father’s life less than four years ago.  But if the timeline is right, within six months of that heroic deed, young Daniel Marsh either attempted to take his own life or threatened to do so.

One of his friends wrote on the Vanguard last night, “He was in fact very troubled, I knew him extremely well. He was constantly bullied, he was short, fat, and pale. He hated life…”

“Was it his families divorce, yes. Was it school, yes,” the commenter added.  “He has had a traumatic childhood.”

Another commenter said that their kids know the defendant pretty well and described him as “a deeply troubled boy, and adults at his home and school knew it.”

If this young man indeed ends up being the killer, this is a failure of our system.  This time it is our failure, our system, our schools that perhaps did not read the warning signs in the right way and find help for a kid who may have been ready to snap.

We have a culture of bullying and depression, and we still do not do enough to help those troubled kids when there is still a chance.

We are still, in many ways, a community in deep denial about a group of our young people who do not make it through the system unscathed.  So yes, we did not want this to be one of our own, but now that we realize it might well be, we need to wake up and start dealing with real problems.

From personal experience, I know how difficult it can be to get the proper help in this community for a troubled kid.  I always imagined what would happen with parents who lacked the tenacity, resourcefulness, and connections that my wife and I had in helping our nephew under our care.

Perhaps we should imagine no more.  It will be interesting to see what more we learn.

One of the interesting things we have learned about Oliver Northup, one of the victims, is that he was a longtime defense attorney.  In fact, he was a death penalty opponent, working to defend people charged in capital murder cases.

In addition to being active in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, he would also volunteer at the Public Defender’s Office after retirement.

I found the comments by his daughter to be rather telling.

She said, “I thought, ‘It’s a 16-year-old. It’s a kid. Why would a kid want to kill an 87-year-old father? My father would be the first to jump up to defend that kid.’ “

She said. “I’m sorry we’ve suffered for his poor judgment. But I’m also sorry for this young man who has ruined his life.”

Ms. Northup told the Enterprise “My dad would say, ‘At 16, they should know better, but they can’t think clearly…  If this person did it, they need to make compensation, or get better if this is someone who needs mental health help.

“But I’m not into revenge, and I don’t think my father would be into revenge,” she added.

The prosecutor’s office here is naturally seeking the maximum penalty in this case, which would be life with parole.  But what might be more interesting to me is that Mr. Northup likely would have fought against such a sentence during his lifetime.

If Mr. Marsh did commit these awful murders, I would hope the community would be more concerned with figuring out why, than figuring out how badly to punish him.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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36 thoughts on “Commentary: One of Our Own – 16-Year-Old Marsh Arraigned on Murder Charges”

  1. JimmysDaughter

    Elementary, middle school, and high school must offer assertiveness training, anger management, and stress reduction classes as required curriculum. Teachers or therapists should be present on campus during lunch breaks.

  2. Phil Coleman

    The drum-beat has already begun. Marsh and his family will be scrutinized to the fullest detail. Points will be raised on young Marsh’s lifestyle, dress, and vocabulary, all showing early and unrecognized signs of deep disturbance and propensity towards violence.

    The parents will be assigned part of the blame, parents who struggle with the same responsibilities as the rest of us. Many parents do a far worse job of parenting, yet their off-spring manage to meet society’s standards. More than a few excel.

    Then begins the societal self-flagellation as predictably and wearily demonstrated in this article. We are responsible for this heinous crime.

    Reality check: Examine Marsh and his culture all you want. Talk to Davis High teachers. What you find is that he physically and emotionally typifies hundreds of other teen boys in the Davis culture and everywhere else. They deliberately look the same and deliberately act the same, except for committing mass murder. These are not early warning signs, they are typical of teen boys in every (counter) culture in every generation.

    All these boys save the miniscule one essentially and eventually adapt to society’s standards and certainly do not commit mass murder. Look around you and accept the fact that there are many more boys who have far worse upbringing that this lad. None of them murdered their neighbors. So stop whipping yourself for being responsible for this aberration.

    Assuming that Marsh did what he’s been accused of, it is not our fault! It was his fault. He is responsible, he must be held accountable, and nobody else, save any unknown accomplices.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    COuldn’t disagree more Phil. We’re talking about a 15 year old kid, there’s a reason why we have notions of diminished responsibility for juveniles. And the fact that we have adult sentencing for such cases has less to do with empirical and medical research and more to do with politics. The study of brains shows even in a normal kid, diminished and immature brain functions, add in depression and trauma and you may not get a determinative answer, but it paints a picture.

    And the fact that resources not available to help kids like him is every bit our fault.

  4. jake wallace

    Can we draw a parallel from the gross incompetence of Family First, with regard to the “treatment” of identified youth and this troubled teenager? Do we believe he would have been better off in a California youth treatment program like FF, or the tens of others that are profiteering?

  5. B. Nice

    “If Mr. Marsh did commit these awful murders, I would hope the community would be more concerned with figuring out why, than figuring out how badly to punish him.”

    I agree. My fear is that people will villeinize and blame rather then search for solutions.

  6. biddlin

    “And the fact that resources not available to help kids like him is every bit our fault.”
    Amen. The resources available for pet “feel good” projects seem inexhaustible. We stoically ‘Bear the burden’ of paying for incarceration and more cops. As parents too many of us feel that,”We pay our taxes and make sure the kids are well fed and clothed, and get to school on time. What more can we do?” In the case of this young man, his family’s publicly known issues should have made his needs obvious to the most oblivious observer, but no one reached out and unsurprisingly, he fell through society’s trapdoor .(There is no safety net.) Now of course, well insulated Davistes are busy rationalising and making nonsensical comparisons.(No jake wallace, there is no parallel to be drawn, because he was not involved in any of those programs AFAIK.)
    Much like the related problem of hate crimes, I expect this tragedy will be swept under the rug and ignored, until the next time, when we will hear the same voices spout the same drivel. Surprise me.
    Biddlin >)/

  7. JustSaying

    I agree, Phil Coleman, don’t it always seem to go…. The analysis and examination (self and otherwise) are predictable–much more predictable than such horrific crimes themselves.

    One of the first types of evaluation is an attempt to zero in on the “signs” that should have tipped everyone off long before it happened. Was he a loaner? Did he have a special interest in reptiles when he was younger? Did he smoke pot? Early sexuality? Clothing? Hair? Did this action surprise? What could everyone missed?

    I also think it’s natural to look for causes, assuming that there just must be something that could have and should have been done that would have kept the act from happening in the first place.

    This predictable searching almost always is unsatisfactory. We realize prediction is hopeless and that no societal adjustments can be isolated to give us confidence that we have any control over these events. (David can be assured that we’ll spend much more time agonizing over “Why?” than worrying about the level of punishment he’s due.) So, why spread the blame when we don’t have a clue?

  8. Davis Progressive

    “So, why spread the blame when we don’t have a clue? “

    i got the sense that david talked to people close to the kid. i don’t think we don’t have a clue, we may not have all of the answers. but i’m pretty concerned about a lot of these things and the fact that they might not be addressed by the schools.

  9. dlemongello

    I am not saying by my comment above that it’s necessarily possible to predict this outcome, but I think a lot of things are not taken seriously enough. And bullying needs to be addressed with full resources, what I mean by that is both no tolerance/discipline and at the same time counseling for the bully and certainly help for the bullied.

  10. civil discourse

    It is always the right time to talk about justice, equality, racism, and bullying.

    But in the context of an extremely brutal crime like this, trying to rationalize a root cause or deduce preventative measures, especially at this early stage, becomes more of an exercise in justifying ones own agenda.

    I find what the victims family has to say much more truthful and non agenda pushing, than any of the pontifications so far, either by Bob Dunning or this blog.

  11. Davis Progressive

    you’re seeming to view the context of the discussion as way to diminish the severity of the crime. i see it as a separate issue. the that i think this drives at is how we as a community respond to the fact that a very horrific crime was committed by a kid who was raised in our midst and in our schools.

    we can put our head in the sand and argue that he’s just a bad seed, or we can try to do an honest assessment.

    i don’t see this as an effort to rationalize anything but rather to figure out what went wrong and how we can prevent the next kid from going down a similar path.

    maybe that’s something you can’t or won’t do, but i don’t think we should be demeaned for attempting to have that community discussion.

  12. Don Shor

    I might be interested in a debate between neuro-scientists and behavioral psychologists as to why a young man would have so little empathy (if that’s the right word) as to be able to commit a brutal and horrific crime (as alleged). But a lot of the other stuff here is socio-political analysis that serves no purpose, and in most cases just reflects the world views of the blog participants. Some of it is outright gossip and seems very inappropriate to me.

  13. B. Nice

    Is it possible to predict which troubled youth will commit a horrible crime like this one? Probably not. But trying to prevent crimes like this should not be the only reason why we help these troubled kids.

    This is an excerpt from an email sent out from the superintendent of DJUSD.

    “If you have concerns about your child’s state of mind, please consider contacting your pediatrician, your mental health provider and/or calling the 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 756-5000. If you feel that you have an emergency situation, please call 911 or go directly to an emergency room.”

    While I appreciated his intentions is this really the best we can do for our kids?

  14. David M. Greenwald

    To Don’s point, I don’t have a link to studies, but I do recall a conference call I did last year with the Sentencing Project.

    Particularly on point here was the point by a federal prosecutor and law professor, Marc Osler.

    [quote]He also argues that the science that is emerging suggests that we need to continue to look at juveniles differentially from adults. Science has shown that the brain of teenagers is still unformed.

    “[The teenage brain] essentially is different from what adult brains are,” he continued. “Essentially that means if we’re making a judgment about a 14-year-old… we’re not looking at the same brain that’s going to emerge later.”

    “That’s particularly troubling when we see the concentration of the use of this penalty against the least among us, that is, those who are in the most troubling circumstances,” he concluded.[/quote]

    And here’s an article from 2007 with some research on juvenile brains: link ([url]http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/2007-12-02-teenbrains_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip[/url])

    As I said I think we make sentencing decisions based on politics rather than science and that’s a huge problem.

  15. B. Nice

    [quote]my thought immediately goes to what about the kid whose parents are not paying attention, who looks after them?[/quote]

    That and speaking from personal experiences quality mental health care is not always easy to come by through health care providers, even with what can be considered “good” health insurance (which except for mental health mine seems to be). For example my families insurance does not cover long term counseling, which is expensive. They also do not have mental health care providers in Davis, so to receive care requires a trip to Sacramento.

  16. David M. Greenwald

    B. Nice: That has been our experience. It took us months to get mental health to our nephew when he came into our custody. Given what it took us, I cringe. We eventually got it through his IEP at the school but that was in May, he came to live us with the previous September.

  17. civil discourse

    I agree with Don. At this point, some science on the issue in general strokes would have been more appropriate and educational.

    Is it really surprising then when science doesn’t play a larger role in our institutional decisions?

  18. Themis

    [quote]Deputy Public Defender Johnson filed a motion banning cameras in the courtroom, but Ms. Beronio denied it, at least for the time being.[/quote]

    I hope Deputy Public Defender Johnson changes his mind and realizes that the only way for a fair trial is to have cameras in the courtroom. The public eye is the only way to make sure the court system works the way it should.

  19. Christine C

    I agree with David that it is troubling that we don’t have the ability to identify young people who are troubled to the degree that this young man, if he is guilty,(which we do not know)is. But I don’t know what the solution is. From my work with children I can see that divorce is distressing to children and may cause many problems, but it does not usually cause murder of complete strangers. Mental illnesses like schizophrenia occurs in all kinds of families and environments. If this is a contributing factor, it is not right to blame the parents, the family, the schools, or the community. We don’t have a crystal ball. The schools are already over loaded with responsibilities that used to be the province of the parents. But the parents cannot be expected to omniscient, either. Of course we want to provide good, supportive, high quality services for people in our community, but without invading people’s privacy and violating constitutional rights, our ability to know what is going on in other people’s houses is quite limited. Even if we could know these things, there is no easy way to discern between the unhappy teen and the unhappy teen who is going to commit murder. I think the most difficult fact to accept is that there are certain circumstances and events over which we do not have control. It is tempting to assign blame, but that accomplishes nothing. And despite the weaknesses in our current system, I fail to see any proposed solutions that could have prevented this tragedy. We have to humbly admit we are not always in control and cannot always be in control. This is the truth about being human. We have limits.

  20. JustSaying

    [quote]“To Don’s point, I don’t have a link to studies, but I do recall a conference call I did last year with the Sentencing Project.”[/quote]I can’t cite studies either, but I think it’s been long established that children are different and we’ve decided to treat them differently in the justice system.

    However (thanks to the politics he mentions), we’ve kept lowering the ages where “criminal adulthood” kicks in and expanding the reasons for treating them as the adults they’re not (thanks to “tough on crime” politicians). I agree with David that the way we got to this point is a huge problem.

    Not only do we try children, we execute them. Check out the case of 14-year-old George Stinney; it gives one pause:[quote]“Stinney walked to the execution chamber with a Bible under his arm, which he later used as a booster seat in the electric chair. Standing 5 foot 2 inches and weighing just over 90 pounds, his size presented difficulties in securing him to the frame holding the electrodes. Nor did the state’s adult-sized face-mask fit him; as he was hit with the first 2,400 V surge of electricity, the mask covering his face slipped off, ‘revealing his wide-open, tearful eyes and saliva coming from his mouth’…After two more jolts of electricity, the boy was dead.”[/quote]The list of other juveniles executed since 1985 numbers 22, and, apparently, didn’t result in the complications noted above since because the modern appeals process assures that juveniles will be full-sized by the time of their executions.

    If the justification for handling kid criminals as the juveniles they are has to do with their recognized inability to function as adults, why would any factors about the awfulness of their crimes change this basic concept?[quote]“It is always the right time to talk about justice, equality, racism, and bullying.”[/quote]I agree with civil discourse on this point. However, there’s zero evidence that such discussion and subsequent actions somehow would have kept this incident from happening (and that there’s some troubling community failure or blame for this case).

    Every terrible incident doesn’t mean there’s “a troubling world beneath our nose” or a dark underbelly of Davis.

    I’d certainly be willing to hear of any certifiable predictors or corrective actions. But, we’re still trying to figure out why Cain murdered Abel; people have done terrible things to each other for a long time.

  21. B. Nice

    “However, there’s zero evidence that such discussion and subsequent actions somehow would have kept this incident from happening (and that there’s some troubling community failure or blame for this case).”

    I would argue that the limited access to quality healthcare is a failure of our current healthcare system, and to some extent our school district. (I’m not blaming people, but lack of resources).

  22. B. Nice

    “Even if we could know these things, there is no easy way to discern between the unhappy teen and the unhappy teen who is going to commit murder.”

    Which is one of the reasons we should be providing support to ALL of them.

    ” It is tempting to assign blame, but that accomplishes nothing.”

    Blame just to blame serves no purpose. A better approach is to ask, what can will all, (parents, neighbors, teachers, healthcare providers, councilors, school administrator) do better to serve our mentally and emotionally disturbed kids.

    ” I fail to see any proposed solutions that could have prevented this tragedy”

    I do, better access to mental health care (as stated in this article it’s very difficult to get) more support for parents, more funding for school councilors…just to name a few.

  23. Themis

    So far most of you seem to be under the impression because Daniel Marsh has been charged with the crime he is guilty. Why don’t we wait to see what evidence there is against him and what the defense says at trial.

  24. B. Nice

    [quote]So far most of you seem to be under the impression because Daniel Marsh has been charged with the crime he is guilty. Why don’t we wait to see what evidence there is against him and what the defense says at trial.[/quote]

    Someone committed this crime, if it was an adult my guess is that they also had a troubled youth and didn’t get the help they needed.

  25. jimt

    After watching the TV interview (replayed) of the 12-year old Marsh describing how he saved his dad, it is hard to reconcile the very civil demeanor and gracious manners exhibited, as well as the good sense and interview skills (responsive to point and articulate) and apparent high intelligence of this pre-teen with someone who could commit an act like the murders.

    Of course many people are interested to know how a young teen could take such a very wrong turn; what could lead to such a (apparently) psychotic act–I would think that a serious interest in Satanism would be one indication that something might be very wrong with the guy; wonder if any adults near him knew of this interest and just figured he was playing with it as a sort of (hopefully brief) teen ‘phase’, perhaps related to heavy metal interest? I’ve many nieces and nephews near his age; it would certainly concern me very much if one of them was into Satanism (thankfully this is not the case; from what I can tell). Something to keep tabs on, at least to check that this interest is not serious and they are not endeavoring toward some kind of (in their minds, at least) minion-hood initiation.

  26. wdf1

    jimt: I think you’d need to see a lot more information and context beyond an interest in Satanism before identifying a genuinely troubled kid.

  27. JimmysDaughter

    jimt, That’s wonderful you are taking an interest in your nieces and nephews. It does “take a village” to raise a child. Just don’t be overly concerned about heavy metal music. 99.9% of kids just like the music, they are not dabbling in Satanism.

  28. B. Nice

    From Enterprise Article:

    “It was horrible. They basically tortured him,” the friend said of youths who frequently teased the shy, quiet Marsh over his appearance — his short stature, his weight and his pale skin. “He hated going to school, to a place where kids bullied him”. While the abuse was mostly verbal, occasionally it turned physical, with kids throwing rocks and trash at the boy on school grounds, the friend recalled in an interview Thursday. No one intervened, and Marsh didn’t report the bullying, because “if you go against the popular people, your life is hell, basically.”

    I hope the school district is taking this seriously.

  29. K.Smith

    [quote] After watching the TV interview (replayed) of the 12-year old Marsh describing how he saved his dad, it is hard to reconcile the very civil demeanor and gracious manners exhibited, as well as the good sense and interview skills (responsive to point and articulate) and apparent high intelligence of this pre-teen with someone who could commit an act like the murders. [/quote]

    The comment that follows has nothing to do with Mr. Marsh, and is strictly a response to the -idea- expressed above that it’s difficult to believe that someone of “high intelligence,” possessing a “civil demeanor” and exhibiting “gracious manners” could commit heinous murders.

    Um….Ted Bundy? Those traits are kind of the hallmarks of many sociopaths who have committed terrible murders.

    Now, back to Mr. Marsh. He should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and the rushes to judgment and armchair diagnosing of possible psychological and social conditions that could have led to the murders is maybe getting a bit out of hand.

    As for the “Satanist” angle: I thought the idea that there are appreciable numbers of Satanists who commit violent, ritualistic crimes was an urban legend started by that whole daycare mass hysteria thing in the 80s?

    And JD above is correct. I’ve personally known tons of people involved in the heavy metal music scene, and pretty much zero were interested in anything of a Satanic nature. It’s just music with a bit of (rather overwrought) theatre thrown in.

  30. Davis Mom

    As a Davis parent and an experienced mental health professional, I have read all of the above comments and felt the need to say this:
    In a time of tragedy, we all want to understand and figure out what could cause someone to do something so horrendous. It is hard to imagine any human being could go to such extreme behaviors.
    It is easy to get caught up in wanting to hold someone accountable for such actions so people have a tendency to fall in to blaming…. blaming the parents, the school district, the mental health professionals, society etc. The truth is, a person is innocent until proven guilty. I also know from years of experience that people are complex being made up of biological factors, social factors, family dynamics, life experiences (such as trauma, loss, bullying etc.). People are truly complex and it is never a simple thing to understand why some people are more resilient than others and why some people can survive horrible life circumstances and function better than others. Some people have mental health issues that are biologically based and others develop or do not develop a conscience based on their early life experiences, attachment with primary care givers and trauma.

    It would be wonderful if we lived in a society where there was enough money for all people to access health and mental health resources and that early intervention could help support people in healthier living. Unfortunately, many people lack education and understanding about mental health issues. I am always surprised by the amount of stigma and ignorance there is about mental health issues. This stigma often prevents people from reaching out and asking for help in the first place! Parents in Davis often get caught up in their kid being the smartest, the best athlete, the most talented kid. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on kids in this town to excel academically and be multi talented. This can cause extra stress, depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior as well. We need to take a serious look at how much pressure we put on kids and how we make it difficult for kids and parents to feel ok about even asking for help and admitting when there are concerns.

    I know several people who work for the school district on many different levels and I can say that they all care very much about the Davis kids. They go above and beyond to try to help kids when they see a need. The truth is, not all parents are willing to accept the help that is offered because it can be hard to accept and admit that their child has challenges. This can tie the hands of the people who work in the schools or in mental health.

    None of these comments are specific to the person who is accused of this crime. They are just my observations based on over 20 years of experience in the mental health field and living in this community. I hope that people will not look for someone to blame, but take the time to better educate themselves on mental health issues and how they impact families and communities. Consider volunteering for a crisis hotline, a shelter, become a CASA or a big brother or big sister. Donate to an agency or help to get funding for mental health. There are so many more productive ways to contribute and make a difference.

  31. B. Nice

    Davis Mom Wrote: “It would be wonderful if we lived in a society where there was enough money for all people to access health and mental health resources and that early intervention could help support people in healthier living”

    I agree. Quality mental health care is not easy to get and it is expensive. It was hard for my family and we are finically stable with good health insurance, and lots of extended family support. I can only imagine how hard it would be for a family without these same resources.

    Davis Mom: “I know several people who work for the school district on many different levels and I can say that they all care very much about the Davis kids. They go above and beyond to try to help kids when they see a need.”

    They are wonderful, but they are spread too thin.

    I do think the district needs to implement a policy for addressing the issue of bullying. I see and hear about way to much of it, and there does not seem to be a consistent policy when dealing with it. For example one principal when asked how they handle it responded, “We don’t have a bullying problem at our school”. It was disturbing to read that trash and rocks were thrown at a child at school. This is a big issue and as a community we all (parents, students, and educators) need more guidance on how to deal with it effectively.

  32. Ginger

    Everybody wants to find a “reason” this happened…something or someone or some institution or some musical genre or some experience…then we can wrap it all nicely up in an easily understood package that can be fixed, eliminate the problem, tuck it away and adopt a false sense of safety because problem! Solved!

    Let’s call him a Satanist. Let’s point the finger at bullies. His parents were divorced, he listened to heavy metal, society failed him…who knows what happened to this (alleged) killer, but in all likelihood there were very serious underlying mental health issues unrelated to external experiences. Sadly, for many such extreme cases, even access to world class facilities are just not going to fix those issues. Psychiatry and psychology don’t have all of the answers.

    FWIW, according to an article in today’s (Friday June 1) Enterprise article, “Marsh spent some time in a psychiatric facility during this past school year.”

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