I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James 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.
According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). 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. (http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/05/us-number-mentally-ill-prisons-quadrupled)
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 (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140167676/nations-jails-struggle-with-mentally-ill-prisoners)
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.
It is a dark day for the rule of law. Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system. They also have not charged any top HSBC banker in the case, though it boggles the mind that a bank could launder money as HSBC did without anyone in a position of authority making culpable decisions.
A leading Australian Internet service provider has pulled out of negotiations to create a warning notice scheme aimed at reducing online piracy. iiNet, the ISP that was sued by Hollywood after refusing to help chase down alleged infringers, said that it can’t make any progress with righthsolders if they don’t make their content freely available at a reasonable price. The ISP adds that holding extra data on customers’ habits is inappropriate and not their responsibility.
THE mother of the loner who massacred 26 pupils and staff at a US primary school may have played a major part in his catastrophic mental breakdown, it emerged last night.
Friends and family portrayed Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy as a paranoid “survivalist” who believed the world was on the verge of violent, economic collapse.
She had been stockpiling food, water and guns in the large home she shared with her 20-year-old son in Connecticut.
Mrs Lanza, 52, was a “prepper” – so called because they are preparing for a breakdown in civilised society who apparently became obsessed with guns and taught Adam and his older brother, Ryan, how to shoot, even taking them to local ranges.
That backfired horrifically on Friday when Adam Lanza began his killing spree by shooting his mother dead in bed.
But these reports that she often took Adam to a firing range…like, what the f—. I guess no mother is capable of looking at her son and seeing a future mass murderer, but for God’s sakes, he met the classic definition of a future shootist to a tee. A loner full of resentments. And she reportedly spoke regularly to friends of her concern for and about him. Teaching a young man like that to be a marksman, of all things–a fly fisherman, a numismatist, anything, sure–but teaching a young man like that to be a marksman strikes me as pretty questionable parenting, I am sorry to say it.
The hacking collective known as Anonymous renewed their war on the Westboro Baptist Church today. After the haters from the infamous church posted their intentions to picket the funerals of the twenty children killed in the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Anonymous responded by re-posting the personal and professional information for members of the church on the Internet. Now the general public can contact the church members directly and tell them what they think about people who would desecrate the funerals of murdered children.