This young man has a diagnosed mental illness; it is different from the mental illness that the shooter of Gabby Giffords and so many others has been diagnosed with, but the callous attitude towards the lives of other people seems similar. We do not do enough to prevent the dangerously mentally ill from accessing firearms.
I find the comment near the bottom, to the inquiry about why he didn't shoot someone the previous April, "because I didn't have a gun" to be of particular interest.
From the June 22, 2011 STrib:
CARROLL, IOWA -- Michael Swanson, refreshed after a couple McChicken sandwiches, a Coke and a pack of smokes, talked with an Iowa criminal investigator about his interest in mixed martial arts, his frustration with the Minnesota Vikings and the fact that "Brett Favre is a dried-up old man."
He spoke in the same unaffected tone that he used to describe walking into a Kum & Go convenience store in Humboldt on Nov. 15, demanding cash and shooting 61-year-old clerk Sheila Myers in the face, killing her.
"I felt powerful. I just didn't care," he told Special Agent Mike Krapfl with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation in the early morning hours of Nov. 16.
"My adrenaline was going good. I just felt like, 'Well, sometimes people get shot.' "
The second day of testimony in Swanson's first-degree murder trial featured a two-hour videotaped interview with investigators in which the St. Louis Park man, then 17, seemingly held nothing back.
He talked about how, after not sleeping for four days, he chose the Humboldt convenience store to rob because Myers was the only person there. He put on his ski mask, packed a handgun and pointed it at her while setting the bag on the table. She put the money inside it, he said.
"Then I shot her," said Swanson, now 18. "And I left. I just walked out."
His voice on the videotape reflected little emotion, but he smiled and scratched his head when re-enacting the noise that Myers made when he shot her, a "half-scream, half-gasp."
He shot her in the face, he said, because "it was final."
"If I was just gonna shoot to injure, why would I shoot her at all?"
Relatives of both Swanson and Myers remained in the courtroom and appeared stoic while the videotape was played. But they couldn't look at the screen during earlier testimony by Associate Iowa State Medical Examiner Dr. Michele Catallier, who said that blood in Myers' lungs indicated she was alive for an undetermined amount of time after she was shot. A photograph of Myers' body was shown while Catallier spoke.
Swanson will stand trial separately for first-degree murder in the shooting death of Algona convenience store clerk Vicky Bowman-Hall. References to Bowman-Hall's shooting appeared to have been edited from the video interview.
In the tape, Swanson told the agent that he had been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had not yet been prescribed medication. He was in a manic phase, he said, when he committed the crimes.
He'd been in a similar one the previous April, he said, when he had headed south in a stolen car. He was arrested in Missouri. He didn't rob anyone there, he said, because he didn't need money.
The agent asked him why he hadn't shot anyone.
"Because I didn't have a gun," he said.
The videotaped interview was expected to resume Wednesday afternoon.