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.
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
- 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.