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Whoa, hang on

All this talk about re-examining our mental health policy in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting is making me real uneasy. Sure, there’s lots wrong with our current mental health policy and we can talk about that sometime, if you like, but it doesn’t look like Adam Lanza even had a firm, official diagnosis or much of a psychiatric history at all. Only his mother could suspect what was going on in his head, and even she probably had no idea how fast he was sliding away until he emptied a clip in her face.

Without even thinking hard, I can come up with six people in my circle of acquaintance who show at least as much mental disorder as it appears Lanza did before he came unstrung.

Some have a psychiatric history, some don’t. I don’t think any of them have a police history. They all did well in school. They all have held jobs (if not for long, sometimes). Same for personal relationships. They can all drive a car, shop for groceries, pay a light bill. Some still live with their families, some are entirely independent. Several have easy access to guns.

They’re also, clearly, barking. They make my spidey sense jingle-jangle-jingle. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all lived out their lives — if not entirely smoothly, at least without dramatic incident. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them on the news some day for a very bad reason.

But what do you do? They’re (mostly) functional adults. “He gives everybody the jim-jams” is not a diagnosis. There is no medication for “something ain’t right with that boy, but I can’t put my finger on it.” You can’t lock somebody up or take away her civil rights because she gives you the creeps.

By far the best take on the whole thing so far was in, believe it or not, the Daily Beast.

Feh. I hope we can get around to being all Christmassy some time this week.


Comment from QuasiModo
Time: December 17, 2012, 11:50 pm

First! 🙂

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: December 17, 2012, 11:54 pm

…now that that bit of important business is taken care of…yes, do let’s have some fun stuff…all this grimmness is getting kinda grim.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: December 17, 2012, 11:59 pm

Thank you, Stoaty. Well said.

Comment from AliceH
Time: December 18, 2012, 12:06 am

–I can come up with six people —

Uh, any of them go by the initials “U.B.”?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 18, 2012, 12:07 am

Okay, I promise. I will be unserious tomorrow.

And no more weird bird pictures. What the hell is that all about?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 18, 2012, 12:08 am

Ha, AliceH! No, but a couple of ’em are blood kin. Much to the surprise of no-one at all.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: December 18, 2012, 12:11 am

I can’t get on board with the gun banners. It’s like blaming paper for Mein Kampf. A loon kills people in Connecticut and it’s my fault? I pay for it? If the pro-ban crowd really loved human life, they’d spare a thought for the people who lived through that shooting: hiding under desks, behind doors barricaded with file cabinets, and praying that the turd runs out of ammo or gets shot or shoots himself before he gets to them. That’s what they want to enshrine as public policy for the rest of us: victimhood and defenselessness. Maybe we need to consider armed plainclothes cops in the halls, or combination locks on the doors, or metal detectors, or all of the above. Does that make school into Fort Knox? Who cares? Do people love their kids enough to protect them half as well as we protect the gold in Kentucky? I’m sorry that we can’t all love each other and romp with bunnies while fawns eat trustingly from our hands and butterflies flit round our heads, but that’s how it is: evil exists. Maybe schools should rethink the “gun free”–I mean, “open season” crap and guard their students the way schools do in Israel and Thailand.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: December 18, 2012, 12:23 am

PJmedia has a good account of a young man with autism. After reading it, it was easier for me to understand the rage that could be generated. Imagine yourself as a smart kid unable to communicate effectively with those who have authority over you, who keep doing really stupid stuff because they can’t understand you.

That rage builds and builds until one day you lose your temper, all the while knowing what you are doing is wrong.


Comment from Gromulin
Time: December 18, 2012, 12:25 am

Feh. I hope we can get around to being all Christmassy some time this week.

Lord, I hope so.

I have a nephew, early 20’s, schizo / bipolar diagnosis. Came to a head the last two years, but when I talk to other nieces and nephews, they all agreed that there was always something off with him. My poor brother and wife are at wits end, having to deal with trips to locked-down facilities, health insurance, long term disability and the like. Hell of a way to spend your later years, when they are all supposed to be out of the nest and on their own.

Comment from Redd
Time: December 18, 2012, 12:35 am

I’m sure the schools had him tested. But look at his latest photo – he’s gaunt. Apparently, he stopped eating. Let’s not forget he had a father, too.

As to McArdle, she vocally supported & voted for Obama in 2008, so screw her.

I agree this mindset that we can just lock up people is crazy. I have a basic distrust of psychiatry because I have known so many psychologists/psychiatrists to be perverts, murderers, or just plain unethical. Also, they have immense power over people & they can abuse it.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 18, 2012, 12:36 am

My main problem with the “arm the teachers” plan is that…god, that would be a hard decision. You’ve got a shooter in front of you, and your back-stop is a bunch of six year olds. You’d want someone with awesome judgement making that call. Also, given a huge proliferation of guns among teachers, you’d greatly decrease the chances of a shooter, yes…and greatly increase the chances of accidents that the gun banners would howl about.

The more time I spent at the range around firearms instructors, the less sure I was that I could pull the trigger on an intruder. Oh, not because I didn’t want to shoot an intruder, but because…what if the round hits a door hinge and ricochets? What’s my backstop? Is this really an intruder or am I bleary with sleep?

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: December 18, 2012, 12:41 am

The first best thing to do is block the release of ANY personal information about the shooters. Fuck the ACLU, these people want publicity, so the best thing to do is force them to be anonymous….

Comment from Oceania
Time: December 18, 2012, 1:52 am

Yes but Scube you aren’t Jewish, on prescription meds, and can’t shoot straight either. So we are allll safe!

Comment from Argentium G. Tiger
Time: December 18, 2012, 2:11 am

Stoaty: “And no more weird bird pictures.”

But… But… Mapp! 🙂

As for this whole ugly situation that’s being overfocussed on by the media: Bad things will _always_ happen. Have a good mop-up plan, you’re going to need it.

Comment from Oceania
Time: December 18, 2012, 3:09 am

Why can’t we have a story about Sheep?

Comment from Oceania
Time: December 18, 2012, 5:07 am

Is Sweasels favourite movie ‘A bird on a wire’? Or does she prefer darker documentaries on the human condition?

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: December 18, 2012, 5:57 am

AGT, I agree completely. The world has always had evil people in it and always will. I won’t let them affect my intention to lead a peaceful life save that I intend to be prepared to deal with them if I ever have to. What really gets me hopping mad is that there are those who want to prevent me from being so prepared. It’s getting mighty hard not to simply consider them part of the evil crew.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: December 18, 2012, 5:59 am

“My main problem with the “arm the teachers” plan is that…”

With me, it’s the quality of the teachers! Unless you have a better handle on recruitment in the States. Most of our bunch couldn’t be trusted with a blackboard rubber.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: December 18, 2012, 6:01 am

Far better, as here in the good old UK, to rely on the police. They might be minutes away when seconds count, but are, after all, the professionals specially trained to handle firearms.

Comment from Mike James
Time: December 18, 2012, 7:46 am

“You can’t lock somebody up or take away her civil rights because she gives you the creeps.”

Nonsense, of course we can, we used to do just that up until about four decades ago. The debate was, and I think ought to be again, should we?

Useful to the debate would be an analysis of whether society was safer, or at least felt safer, before we closed down the nuthouses? It’s not as if the nuts don’t end up in custody at some point. Are we tolerating a higher body count before that happens, is what I’d like to find out.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: December 18, 2012, 11:29 am

Every week, I run across people that I automatically blade myself with my left side to them, as my duty weapon is on the right. There are a LOT of scary people out there. They seem to come out at night, and in inclement weather.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 18, 2012, 11:44 am

Well, the nuthouse question is a whole ‘nother discussion. As it happens, I know a few things about the nuthouse question…not, thank you very much, from personal experience, but because I had several relatives in the nuthouse trade during the transition.

But even in the most draconian days, they didn’t really commit people just for making everybody uncomfortable. Except those they abandoned at the hospital as infants because they were deformed (this happened a lot).

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: December 18, 2012, 3:35 pm

I think that in practice very few teachers would actually arm themselves. It’s not that I’d expect them to dive behind a desk and start blasting away in any case. But the deterrent effect of knowing that the school might be one of the ones that’s no longer providing a victim smorgasbord can’t be understated. There’s a very small percentage of airline pilots who carry firearms, and not all that many flights that have air marshals on them, but the possibility alone is a deterrent. It’s true that excellent judgement is required to carry, but the vanishingly small number of permit holders who commit crimes suggests that those who are willing to carry are also self-selecting for good judgement and an understanding of the gravity of arming themselves.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: December 18, 2012, 4:25 pm

Can be all Christmassy now if you choose to. Tragedy and horror is part of why Christmas happened to begin with.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: December 18, 2012, 6:45 pm

Paula makes a very good point. It’s like herd immunity with vaccinations.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: December 18, 2012, 9:28 pm

Arming teachers would be like putting socks on a chicken. They’re mostly Liberals, and wouldn’t know which end to point where.

Why not just pick 1% (or whatever) of the gun-toting retired public, psych-test the pee-shit out of them, and require annual (or whatever) psych/stability/meds tests, and let them roam the school halls (armed) at random. Rotate ’em to different schools randomly, too.

How many healthy 60+yr olds go postal, after all?

“See that old fart, Joey? he’s trained to blow your crap out your backside if you so much as hint you have a weapon. Now get along to gym class like a good boy…”

Most of us old farts would do it for free a few days a week…

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: December 18, 2012, 10:47 pm

Maybe we could name the hedgehog I got saturday? That might be fun.

Comment from Shifty1
Time: December 19, 2012, 1:12 am

“My main problem with the “arm the teachers” plan is that…”

I’m not into trusting a bunch of Teacher’s Union hacks with weapons…

Comment from surly
Time: December 19, 2012, 3:43 pm

We got our little girl a pony, how’s that for Happy Christmas shit?

Comment from Chicken Farmer
Time: December 20, 2012, 11:07 pm

When I was at school, Lo, those many years ago, no-one had ADHD or any of the other alphabetical soup of acronyms. You either behaved yourself in accordance with the School rules or else you got your arse tanned with six of the best from a very whippy cane. You didn’t go back twice!
I was particularly impressed by the following post by a man who describes himself as an ‘Aspi’, an Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer. He known of what he writes.

Comment from Redd
Time: December 20, 2012, 11:14 pm

I just heard on the radio, that several individuals have raised money to buy every kid in the school a teddy bear to “comfort them. ” Are they nuts? This school goes to what, grade 7? Do 12 y/o really want a teddy bear? Boys want a teddy bear? I think every kid will think of it as a souvenir from the worse day of their lives. Dumb idea.

I heard a kid a few days ago named Josh on the radio. I didn’t get his full story but it appears he was shot in a school shooting many years ago. He said what helped him most is going back to normal. His parents didn’t push him to talk about it but if he wanted to talk, they listened. He said he knew people meant well but he couldn’t stand people’s pity. He wanted normalcy.

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