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What we really need to do about mass shootings...

ZigZagZeke

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I've told all my contacts around the internet that I'll be happy to talk to them about gun control as soon as they have read this article from start to finish. I told them it's required reading. Otherwise, shut up.

I am Adam Lanza's Mother - The Blue Review | The Blue Review

A small quote from the article:

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”
 
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ZigZagZeke

ZigZagZeke

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It's probably a good thing that the site is swamped with people who want to read the article. Here's the article. Copy/Paste it and send it to a friend, or an enemy...

Friday's horrific national tragedy—the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut—has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it's easy to talk about guns. But it's time to talk about mental illness.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

"I can wear these pants," he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

"They are navy blue," I told him. "Your school's dress code says black or khaki pants only."

"They told me I could wear these," he insisted. "You're a stupid bubblegum. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!"

"You can't wear whatever pants you want to," I said, my tone affable, reasonable. "And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bubblegum.

"You're grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school."

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn't have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don't know what's wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He's been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he's in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He's in a good mood most of the time. But when he's not, watch out. And it's impossible to predict what will set him off.

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district's most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can't function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, "Look, Mom, I'm really sorry. Can I have video games back today?"

"No way," I told him. "You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly."

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. "Then I'm going to kill myself," he said. "I'm going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself."

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.

"Where are you taking me?" he said, suddenly worried. "Where are we going?"

"You know where we are going," I replied.

"No! You can't do that to me! You're sending me to hell! You're sending me straight to hell!"

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. "Call the police," I said. "Hurry."

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn't escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I'm still stronger than he is, but I won't be for much longer.

The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork—"Were there any difficulties with... at what age did your child... were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have..."

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You'll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying—that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, "I hate you. And I'm going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here."

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I've heard those promises for years. I don't believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, "What are your expectations for treatment?" I wrote, "I need help."

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza's mother. I am Dylan Klebold's and Eric Harris's mother. I am Jason Holmes's mother. I am Jared Loughner's mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho's mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it's easy to talk about guns. But it's time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son's social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. "If he's back in the system, they'll create a paper trail," he said. "That's the only way you're ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you've got charges."

I don't believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael's sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn't deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation's largest treatment centers in 2011.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, "Something must be done."

I agree that something must be done. It's time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That's the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.
 
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ZigZagZeke

ZigZagZeke

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This article has now gone completely viral. There's a very good chance it will derail a lot of the clamor for increased bans on ARs and other weapons. We all know such bans are useless. Mental health is the problem, not guns, and the public is beginning to understand that.
 
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This article has now gone completely viral. There's a very good chance it will derail a lot of the clamor for increased bans on ARs and other weapons. We all know such bans are useless. Mental health is the problem, not guns, and the public is beginning to understand that.
:s0155:
 
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Mental health is the problem, not guns, and the public is beginning to understand that.
I agree but what will be the 'benchmark' as to when a person is deemed psychologically unfit to own a firearm and who will decide this? Hey like I said I agree and I am not trying to start a debate but I believe this is an important question. If this ever reaches a point where mental health becomes an influencing factor on the ability to own a gun where does the 'system' start and who administrates this? Obviously this is not something that can not be self-regulated and will require some sort of mandate so if we generally agree with mental health being a problem then we will have to agree to some sort of government intervention on it.
 
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Ironically, or tragically, (depending on your perspective) CT just had a debate about outpatient treatment of mental illness this past year.

AN ACT CONCERNING THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF PERSONS WITH PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES.

Some testimony about the conditions and the law's effect on patient's rights:

Involuntary Outpatient Commitment or Assisted Outpatient Treatment: Kendra's Law | WAGblog

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2012/JUDdata/Tmy/2012SB-00452-R000329-David McGuire- ACLU-TMY.PDF

One perspective on the law, with respect to recent events:
http://www.countercontempt.com/archives/4364


I believe the bottom line is that freedom and liberty are sometimes clumsy, ugly, un-easy things to apply to all citizens in all circumstances.
Unfortunately, in some cases, nothing CAN be done about the criminally insane until the "criminally" part has been established.
And often, by then it's too late.
Unless we want to live under a "Minority Report" type of society and governance.

I'll leave it up to the individual to decide which is better.
For me, I'll side with David Pyles.
 
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All People are a mixed bag. I have read quite a few of the writings by classical authors, from Cicero and Plato, through Hobbes and many others, while their writings give a voice the high-minded ideals of what contemporary people believe a society should be, many of these people devoted their lives to depriving people in their time of the same rights outlined in their writings.

It's a difficult thing to do, to take the bad with the good, however this is the balance we all must strike in life.
 
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ZigZagZeke

ZigZagZeke

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Friends, I had a suicidal teenage daughter. I guarantee you what the mother said about our mental health system in the article I referenced is accurate. After 6 years of pure hell my daughter was finally diagnosed with a brain tumor and operated on.

As for the blog? After having read it a bit, it's obvious to me that the blog is supposed to be funny, dark humor. Somebody apparently just doesn't get sarcasm, hyperbole, and irony. Go buy a sense of humor someplace.
 
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ZigZagZeke

ZigZagZeke

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Unfortunately if you read a bunch of that lady's other blog posts she's not remotely the saint the single post makes her out to be.

For instance: Want the Truth Behind
Excuse me! You're way off base and so is the accuser. You're the one who ought to be ashamed of being taken in by an anti-gun attempted hatchet job on the mom. One of the comments from that page:

I was preparing to be shocked, but, being a mom myself, wasn't shocked at all. Instead I was impressed with the author's honesty. Not a sentence written by that mother made me think she was inherently unstable.

Try reading this stuff again when you have kids and are confronted by the terrible fact of ultimate and constant responsibility over life and death, particularly in situations where you are assumed to have control (as the parent) but actually don't.
 
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I'm extremely skeptical of the "mental health community." But I have to say that access to serious treatment has been drastically curtailed since the Regan administration.

It' long since time to take a look into this. And as usual, it's the GOP who stands in the way. Because it costs money.

They'll stand by their constituents in the arms and bioweapons industry to the hilt. But when it comes to ordinary Americans stuck in an impossible position, they're on their own.

This is exactly the problem. We have one party stuck firmly in 1980 and another one that wants to do the business of the country. In none of the scenarios I've come up ith do actual solutions arrive. -Because the bubblegum in the WH is more of a problem than thousands of seriously ill people who need help and can't get it.

If you're wondering WHY, other than Ron Paul and Rob Mckenna I voted a straight Democrat ticket this year, look no further. The GOP isn't INTERESTED in actual solutions. and the worthless Democrats, people I've NEVER supported, can't come up with any nor get them passed.

It's all about politics. And screw all of us who actually NEED some federal attention.
 
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I'm extremely skeptical of the "mental health community." But I have to say that access to serious treatment has been drastically curtailed since the Regan administration.

It' long since time to take a look into this. And as usual, it's the GOP who stands in the way. Because it costs money.

They'll stand by their constituents in the arms and bioweapons industry to the hilt. But when it comes to ordinary Americans stuck in an impossible position, they're on their own.

This is exactly the problem. We have one party stuck firmly in 1980 and another one that wants to do the business of the country. In none of the scenarios I've come up ith do actual solutions arrive. -Because the bubblegum in the WH is more of a problem than thousands of seriously ill people who need help and can't get it.

If you're wondering WHY, other than Ron Paul and Rob Mckenna I voted a straight Democrat ticket this year, look no further. The GOP isn't INTERESTED in actual solutions. and the worthless Democrats, people I've NEVER supported, can't come up with any nor get them passed.

It's all about politics. And screw all of us who actually NEED some federal attention.
This is exactly what we need...more bullsh_t partisan rants. Nice job.
 
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I'm sorry that I did not see your reference to Michael's mother's blog.
Yes it is worth reading and it does show a need for a real solution.
 

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