It was October 2019 when the parents of then 27-year-old Michelle Kolts called the police on their daughter. Not only did the Wimauma, Florida, woman have dozens of pipe bombs in her possession, but she was also said to have an unhealthy obsession with both Columbine and the Oklahoma City bombing. The pipe bombs were filled with nails, screws, and metal pellets and only needed powder and fuses to be fully armed. Kolts was also said to be in possession of smokeless pistol powder. So, it seems a major disaster was avoided thanks to her parents.
At the time of her arrest, Kolts was also in possession of dozens of books and DVDs about murder, mass killing, domestic terrorism, and bomb-making. She reportedly confessed to the police that the pipe bombs she possessed were intended to inflict harm, although she did not have a particular target in mind.
Kolts had already drawn police attention a year earlier when they visited her residence following her purchase of a significant quantity of bomb-making manuals from an online publisher. During that incident, authorities noted her concerning fixation on the Columbine massacre and the Oklahoma City bombing.
After her arrest, Kolts was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial. She could have been sent to prison for 100 years on various explosives charges. After being ruled unfit to stand trial, Kolts received mental health treatment at a state hospital, where she was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Early last month, Kolts entered into a plea deal which would see her avoid prison, but requires her to continue receiving mental health treatment. She’ll be overseen by the state for two years, then she’ll be on probation for 15 years.
Personally, I’m pleased with this outcome. If more people had easy and affordable access to mental healthcare, we probably wouldn’t see as many mass killings like we do now. Things shouldn’t get to a point where someone is building bombs before they can get help. That’s not to say there isn’t a gun issue in this country, but that’s a rant for another day.
The one problem I have with this story is in its reporting. In the article I used as my source for this post, it says Kolts takes a daily cocktail of medications to keep her schizophrenia under control. In my opinion, this is irresponsible reporting. Just one sentence like that does more harm than good when it comes to encouraging people to seek mental healthcare. People who may have been on the fence about whether to seek treatment or not may be hesitant to do so if they think they’re going to have to take a fistful of pills every day. Conversely, this also gives a signal to the more ignorant among us that anyone who takes any kind of medication for psychiatric issues is one step away from being a mad bomber.
Even in the year of our Lord, 2023, mental healthcare still has a long way to go from being destigmatized. It also has an even bigger struggle before it’s available to everyone who needs it.
Source: Woman who made dozens of pipe bombs avoids prison in plea deal focused on mental health