Reviewed by James B. Parry
Having lived in Spokane all of my life I vividly recall these two incidents, but knew few of the details. Brown provides all of those details. Besides having been in the middle of the bloodshed he has researched the heck out of both tragedies, finding that both were quite preventable had any of the “professionals” taken the time to think things through. Hundreds of interviews, medical records, and other transcripts show that colossal mistakes in judgement were made. They seemed like two unrelated events, but Brown has tied them together by showing us that both were caused by warnings that went unheeded.
Towards the end of the book, Brown discusses the trauma experienced by all involved – that continues to haunt them still. Andy has had a particularly difficult time of it but has finally made peace with it. He currently has a good job and a wonderful, supportive family.
A fast-paced, exciting (and sad) book with a good ending.
Imagine my surprise, 22 years later, when that same young man stood up to speak at my writer’s group. I nearly burst into tears! Andy spoke to us of that day and about the research he had done to put this book together. It was clear that I was right all those years ago; his eyes revealed that he is still haunted by the events, not only the one he was involved in, but also the tragic B-52 crash later that week.
Mr. Brown has finally answered all my questions and more, not only in the minute-by-minute telling of the events of that day, but of the histories of the shooter and all those involved. He tells the story in a fair and completely non-judgmental way. Just the facts. And with those facts, he lets us decide where to lay the blame.
Recently, a former military man, with a bad conduct discharge for violent acts, entered a church and killed 26 people with a gun he should never have been able to buy. He did buy it because the military “forgot” to put him on the list. My first thought when I heard the news, was of Mr. Brown. After all these years and so many unheeded warnings, they still foist their damaged men out onto an unsuspecting population with no back up plan.
From the eyes of an author, Warnings Unheeded is very well written, extensively researched, on-the-edge-of-your-seat, best non-fiction book I’ve ever read.