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Perhaps we need to consider controlling violent video games the way people want to control guns. The same things holds true with violent movies and television.

We have a problem.  It’s not only a national problem, but an international one. People refuse to deal with, and accept that they have family members how are seriously disturbed.  We can accept the fact that a family member is ill, has Alzheimer’s, or is an addict or alcoholic.

It is not, as the left wants to say, the right’s problem.  Conservatives are not to blame for this one.  Neither are liberals. All the funding in all the world will not prevent an incident like the one in Connecticut.  Nor will all the gun control laws prevent something like this.  Since 1982 there have been 61 mass murders in the US.

If this were just about gun control it would be easy.  The problem is, it is far from easy.  It is not just about gun control.

Now, people will see the reports that the Adam Lanza has Asperger’s Syndrome and think that people who are autistic are violent.  They will think that someone who has been diagnosed with a “personality disorder” are violent.  They will think that someone with obsessive-complusive disorder are violent. As a writer, a personality disorder is your best friend.  You can’t create good characters who aren’t “quirky”.

The real problem here is not dealing with mental illness.  This photo of Adam Lanza shows a seriously disturbed boy.

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This is an extremely disturbed individual.  Years ago, The Pink Flamingo worked with kids who were mildly autistic, ADHD, with behavioral and learning disabilities.  I also worked with some who were hospitalized with psychiatric disorders.

(As an aside, one of the girls I worked with had this huge crush on Henry Winkler.  He was doing an appearance at a local mall.  The PR person in charge went to the same church I was attending.  I contacted her about it.  We thought having an autograph or something from him would help.  He went out of his way to sign a photo and write a note for her.  It helped!)

It was my observation that kids who had the physical appearance exhibited here by Lanza, had a tendency to end up hospitalized for serious behavioral problems. The school where I worked was doing a study on these kids, most of whom were boys.  Quite often, all they needed was a little attention, and someone to help them deal with managing their time for homework and reading.  I took a kid who was in the 6th grade and reading on a 2nd grade level and, within five months, had him reading on a 9th grade level.  All it took was unlocking his brain, and finding something that interested him – science fiction.  The moment he finished a Star Trek novel, we put him in To Kill a Mockingbird.  He loved it, and became a voracious reader.  I took another kid who was flunking English.  He had an A within three months.  His family gave me a toy poodle puppy – Tommy – for what I did with him.

These were kids who were a little bit hyper.  They had parents who would do anything to help them.  There were no disturbances, other than being normal boys who hate school.  They could have gone either way.

Parents have a horrible lot in life.  If a kid is good, they get the blame.  If they are bad, they get the blame.  Nothing they do is right, or so their children tell them. There are parents who ignore situations in life, then there are those who spend 50 years dealing with a child’s mental illness.

Adam Lanza was:

  • Very bright
  • Loners
  • No social skills
  • No friends
  • On psych meds
  • Can’t relate
  • Shame driven
  • Morbidly shy
  • Identifies with other young killers
  • Major gamer

Young men like this are obvious.  They say that this guy, at the age of five, was disturbed.  The family was trying to get help for him.  He fit the profile of other young killers.  If there is a profile of young killers. Why aren’t they being profiled?

What role do the psych drugs play?  Listening to a psychologist, the medications these kids are given destroy empathy in the people taking them.  I think this is a part of it.  I don’t approve of the medications they are giving young people.  If you have ever known anyone who is on these medications, then you know the problems that occur, including addiction to the meds.  The medications create more problems than they cure (in my humble opinion).

If parents know they have a kid with a problem, even if that person is of age, over the age of 18, why the H-E-Double Toothpick to they have guns, at all? In this age of copycats, that’s the problem.

Laws need to change.

We need to start looking at mental illness as a chronic disease, rather than a character defect to be hidden.

Unfortunately, much of the time, families are dependent on the draconian rules pushed upon them by insurance companies.  Combine this with completely outrageous rules and regulations required to get an “adult” help, and we are seeing the results.  Instead of additional gun control laws, we need laws that allow families to get help for those members over the age of 18.  We need to stop worrying about the privacy and the “rights” of the poor disturbed person and start thinking about societal rights.

In the past, people were treated horribly in absolutely vile conditions, abused, molested, tortured, brutalized.  In an attempt to right the wrongs that had been done, that old pendulum swung too far the other way.  You hospitalize and treat a person for cancer, why not for serious mental illness?

There is such a stigma for families.  The never want to admit that they have someone who is mentally ill.  How many times have young men (especially) been swept into the office of a pill pusher, to keep them drugged and out of trouble, instead of truly dealing with the illness?

We also need some common sense.  Reports are that Lanza’s mother was a gun collector. Lord have mercy!  That alone was a recipe for disaster.

It’s called responsibility.

If you know that you have a family member who is disturbed, and don’t take responsibility for it, then YOU should be held responsible.  Look at the drunk driving laws, and rules for bars.   You serve a drink to someone who is drunk, and they go out and kill someone in an accident, then YOU are held responsible.

The same thing should hold true with mental illness and people like Lanza or Jared Loughner.  Maybe it’s time their parents are arrested and tried for accessory to murder.  Maybe if a few parents not only serve life sentences, doing hard time in prison, and have the survivors take everything they have, that this sort of thing would stop.

Maybe that’s where we need new laws, requiring family members to be held legally and financially responsible for the mess they refuse to face.  You put a few parents in prison for life, and we’ll see and end to the mass murders.

 

 

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3 Comments

  • unknown jane says:

    From the reports coming out, I’m not sure Adam Lanza was the crazy one. His mother appears to have been one of those people taken up with survivalism (the irony there) and took him out of public school (I have a child with severe speech/language delay; the worst thing you can do is take them out of settings where they can socialize).
    Maybe his mom drove him nuts (I don’t consider Asperger’s to be a mental illness as much as a developmental disorder — or at least there needs to be a redefinition of what mental illness is because if we consider Asperger’s on the same plane as schizophrenia, then well, we have other problems crop up).

    I do think it is plain, knee jerk foolish reactivity which is causing the left to scream for more gun control (more laws aren’t going to make you safer, a moral/ethical/rational society is what keeps you safe and we don’t have that anymore — we could do something to make sure the people who have guns stay safely put in the moral/ethical/rational…ongoing gun safety training perhaps??) while the right has taken up the chorus of “we need to institutionalize ‘kooks'” (yeah, I’ve heard that word used, so you can guess where the dialogue is going), somehow forgetting all the many, many “kooks” out there who are not guilty of anything (except being eccentric, which is charming), and most importantly: who gets to determine who a “kook” is and what should be done with them (as you mention, the human race doesn’t have a good track record on that score).

  • SJ Reidhead says:

    I have a link on a post I’m working on for tomorrow, that goes farther into problems some parents are having trying to get help for their children. There are parents who go above and beyond helping their children. What I fear is when the knee-jerk reactions set in, development disorders will be considered mental illness.

    I think it was just last week that Asperger’s has been “removed” as a specific syndrome, and is now part of the diagnostic tools within autism, which is rather interesting. Evidently no one in the press has bothered to even note this. As for personality disorders, from what I was researching for my 1st murder mystery, unless the disorder is at the high end, they aren’t really considered mental illness. I can’t imagine any viable press considering a form of autism as mental illness. It goes to prove how ignorant people are when it comes to mental illness.

    As for parents and family being held responsible, I still think that. No, not in all cases, but in this one, neither the brother nor father had anything to do with the mother or son. If they knew the guy was a ticking time bomb and she was seriously disturbed, and did nothing, they should be held guilty of accessory. I think it would force people to do something, more than wringing hands. I know too many families who have upended their lives to help their children. Obviously this family was not one of those.

    SJR

  • unknown jane says:

    Good point, and my apologies as I jumped the gun — I get a bit touchy because I worry that what you just wrote is already starting to happen. I used to work with LD kids myself, and the biggest issue is what the home environment is like (and then the hurdle of how society sees/treats them). There are already news articles out that make this young man (and others like him) out to be some sort of inhuman thing…so the hounds have been released I’m afraid. I don’t think it’s right to punish all the many people with actual mental illness in this country (and also anyone with mental deficit or autism, which is something entirely different) than it is to punish gun owners…all of them are doing what? Not doing anything untoward!
    We can’t address something like this by going on witch hunts: it just means we will be going after innocent people and not addressing the root problem.

    The mom really does sound like she was a real wing ding…the prepper thing is kinda a giveaway to me; anybody who creates an arsenal to protect their mcmansion from an “economic collapse” is not, imhao, thinking quite straight (for the record: my husband and I “prep”…for natural disasters and being snowed in for weeks without power, which in our situation makes sense; we also have guns…because we hunt for a lot of our food and have to protect our livestock, and potentially our kids, from varmints — we’ve had coyotes on our front door step so this is not paranoia, this is just common sense). And anyone who encourages their known to be troubled child in their flights of fancy is guilty of gross negligence (and just plain old stupidity, again, imhao…what the devil was that woman thinking?). I’m sorry she had to lose her life, more sorry that those poor innocents did, but wtf???


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