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.
December 17, 2012 — 11:33 pm