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I Am Adam Lanza's Mother | Slog

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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.

Is there any country that has effective solutions to the problems of the mentally ill?

 did... she... spank... him?

physical pain is an effective motivator.  Has been so for all life on earth for hundreds of millions of years. Human skin is far thinner than most other mammals, and is very sensitive to a good (yet completely harmless) swat.

Unclear whether she spanked him.

Unclear what effect her being a prepper had on his upbringing, too.

I'm referring to the author of the article, not the Lanza mother. The author's situation looks like one where the child needs to equate "letting my rage explode" with "ouch" in order to appropriately comprehend cause and effect.

I seriously doubt that her situation rises to a level anywhere near spree killer or ever will, except perhaps through her own fear and loathing of her own child.  I think she should be ashamed of raising such a false equivalency, frankly.

Agreed, those are not equivalent.

Thanks for encouraging me to go back and read the MoJo article.

 Another thing I would add. I knew one of these spree killers (the one woman: Jillian Robbins, the HUB Lawn Shooter), and she set off my creepy sense every time I had to interact with her (she was dating my roommate, who broke up with her the evening prior in terrified response to her unhinged reaction to what was, from my understanding, family drama. That was an interesting police visit....).  

That she had mental problems shouldn't be surprising to anyone. What people should know is that Pennsylvania has the strictest (and likely unconstitutional as hell for multiple reasons) laws on the books w/r/t people with mental illness owning firearms. She had been seeing psychiatrists. She had been institutionalized previously on a 72 hour hold. Even though her Mauser was purchased legally, it was illegal for her to possess it at the time.

Hitting kids doesn't reduce their anger or make them less violent; it does the opposite. I'll bet a good number of these people are victims of severe childhood trauma.

If a child is hit, a child learns to hit. Does that summarize what you're saying Mark?

That's one aspect, Adam (children modeling how they see their parents deal with anger and frustration). But I am addressing the notion that you can "beat" aggression or violence out of a kid. You may succeed in them not showing YOU their aggressive behavior, but it will come out somewhere else.

That's cause and effect. Aggressive behavior begets aggressive behavior.

Yes, AND if someone is already aggressive or angry, you can't "beat it out of them".

Some further info on the author.  It doesn't make the main idea of the post incorrect, but caveat emptor. 

Thank you. That helps us understand her more.

Even still, the original post is thought provoking.

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