Monday, December 17, 2012

The first step

in solving a problem is actually identifying the problem.  It is a principle of science that the right question is important.  If a question is seemingly unanswerable, maybe the wrong question is being asked.

After a tragedy like Newtown one predictable response from liberals is "gun control".  That is simply magical thinking.

How about a little media control.  Perpetrators often like/want/need the publicity.  It's the worst since... well the last one.  NBC and it's clueless minions even did a story on this possibility.  Matt Lauer and crew, standing in front of the school, telling us it may be the media attention that partly drives this kind of event.   There they were - giving the event as much publicity as they could, because they were getting ratings out of it. Maybe instead of limiting the number of rounds we should limit the number of on-air minutes.

And finally, and most importantly, we need to talk about control of the seriously mentally ill.

In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness

I live with a (13-year old) 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.

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.


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...

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.”   (read the whole thing)
I have worked in schools and institutions for juvenile delinquents for more than 30 years. Teachers and staff in every school can identify individuals who are seriously outside the mainstream. We have to learn how to control and isolate those individuals before they blow up.


  1. Well, the question may be: Will Godlessness and refusal to recognize, and deal with, mental illness prevail over [responsible] firearm ownership? If you ask me, one thing for sure is that confiscating firearms from responsible citizens will not solve the, much greater, problem of societal break-down that we, increasingly face!

  2. Even if we armed our teachers, etc., if we don't handle this fractured society, we will still have these devastating assaults. I can picture some young man with complete body armor (like the 2 bank robbers in LA some years ago), killing with impunity. Then we'd have to armor the teachers as well as arm them.
    As with most everything else, the solution is not in the government, but in ourselves.

  3. "As with most everything else, the solution is not in the government, but in ourselves."

    I agree 100% but 'good luck'!

  4. You are right about mental illness, and parents in any town would agree. But parents in Newtown know that their grief came equally from a level-headed adult who insanely indulged a perv for assault weapons while living with a unstable son. Adam Lanza was not motivated by publicity. He was crazy. It is not impossible that living with weapons made only for extreme killing of humans made him more so.

    1. Granted, it is not impossible, but neither is it impossible that our first amendment rights, as they are practiced today, made him more so too. But I do not see people happily allowing censorship of TV shows and movies, video games (and certainly "news" stories), in hopes that the decrease in the exaltation of violence, lead to a more peaceful society.
      One group happily accepts the "down side" of 1st amendment freedoms but cannot see any benefits to the 2nd amendment. It looks to me that our society is more and more fractured, personal protection is more important as ever.
      If we got rid of all guns----so that not even criminals had them, the bad guys will "pump-up (like they do in prison) and practice assault methods, so that even without a firearm, he could dispatch me with little meaningful resistance from me.
      "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who kept their swords" .....-Benjamin Franklin
      If not swords or guns, it is those who keep their belief that "might makes right" will be masters over the peace lovers because the peaceful have no way of making meaningful resistance.
      This is what makes Americans significantly different---a group of citizens who love peace, but are prepared to meaningfully resist those who love might.

  5. I posted this on another blog site:

    From the Denver Post, read about Propane Bombs:

    Also consider what can be done and has been done with fertilizer and fuel oil and Oklahoma City. Well, if that isn't enough how about such as John Gacey and Ted Bundy, just to name a couple, where there were no explosives or firearms involved. Banning firearms will do absoutley nothing to eliminate the bad elements of our society. Firearms are, however, one of our best means of defence aganist our inability to adequately control such elements.

  6. Gene is right. We need a major push to improve mental health treatment. That will take money.

    As for your self-protection illusions, you don't need anything more than a shotgun for home. If you carry, a .357 will do nicely. Anything else is paranoia.


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