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Mental Illness In America

Everyone I know is very disturbed about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, wondering why or how someone could do such a thing. Anyone in their right mind wouldn’t dream of committing such a terrible act of violence. I read an article the day after that really brought to light something that might be at the root of this unspeakable evil. It is mental illness, in one form or another. I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother tells the story of a mother faced with what Adam Lanza’s real mother may have failed to deal with. Here is how Liza Long begins her story.

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Three days before 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year-old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

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“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

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“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

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“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

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“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

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I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

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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.

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It is a bit of a read but please read it. You have to feel anguish and sorrow for the mothers and fathers who are at their wits end as to how to deal with a situation such as this.

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Admin Note: This is my brother’s first attempt at writing for Political Realities. He says he isn’t much of a writer, but the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary and the issue of mental illness that seems to be at the center of the events has him very disturbed. It is time America wakes up and realizes how serious and complex this problem really is. Unless we are willing to have a serious conversation and apply some critical thinking to the issue, it will never be solved.

About GD Jackson

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Gary Jackson has written 3 posts in this blog.

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  • There is no doubt in my mind that mental illness and all of the medication we put our children on play into stories such as the Sandy Hook massacre. By focusing on the weapon used to carry out the attack while ignoring the circumstances which led Lanza to commit the act we are not sloving the larger issue. The big problem here is what causes people to do things like this and not what weapon they used but politicians see the gun control issue as an easier fix and it gives them the impression they are doing something when in reality they are ignoring the larger problem.

  • I read this and it is heartbreaking. Knowing Obama anyone who has ever seeked mental health treatment will be in the cross hairs. Not that I disagree we need to provide ways of identifying and treating those who are a danger. I just recall the russian method of taking care of political descent.

  • We use to institutionalize people with mental disorders. Our society decided that was in-humane. It probably was. But, what have replaced it with? Mostly nothing with some drugs thrown in for good measure. Our mental health professional have some explaining to do.

  • I read that piece, and my heart goes out to the mother. This is a genuine instance where we need government involvement. There is no way any family is equipped to deal with such instances of mental illness.

  • Mike

    I think its true that liberals are ficused on the gun control “fix” right now but you guys generally seem to lump all Dems into the “liberal” category which is as unfair as lumping all Republicans under the “conservative” umbrella. The idea of Obama throwing those with mental illness under the proverbial bus is an outrageous charge that Id hope the rest of you would call out; but there certainly needs to be more thought given to how we deal with people who may have mental disabilities especially as it concerns obtaining guns. I wonder how you all feel about a restriction like that? When does restricting peoples access to guns due to perceived mental disability conflict with their right to bear arms?

    • From what I have been able to ascertain, Adam Lanza did try to purchase a rifle at Dick’s Sporting Goods, but was refused because he didn’t want to do a background check or undergo a waiting period. This happened three days before he went on his shooting spree. That’s when he stole the guns from his mother. I do not know if he would have passed the background check.

      • Laurie

        One must hope that he would not have passed the background check.

        One of the issues raised by this tragedy is the need for responsible adults to exercise common sense in the face of mental illness of a loved one. Nancy Lanza was known to take Adam to shooting ranges. It’s obvious that she kept guns within reach of him. Both of these things happened while she was perhaps struggling to understand the extent of Adam’s illness and while he was exhibiting disturbing traits.

        Nancy Lanza didn’t deserve to die, to be sure. But neither did the 20 children and 6 adults who also bore the brunt of Adam’s rage which came specifically because his mother kept guns within his reach. This isn’t the first time that a parent who thought encouraging a mentally disturbed young man with it all ending in tragedy. Remember Kip Kinkel, Thurston High School in Springfield, OR? His parents thought encouraging his fascination with guns was therapeutic. They kept his gun in a locked safe. Yet Kip was still able to get the key, shoot and kill both his parents, move on to his high school and kill 2 students and injure dozens more, despite the controls at home.

        This isn’t a call for gun control, just common sense for otherwise law abiding gun owners who keep guns within reach of mentally disturbed loved ones and even encourage them to get involved with the lethal weapons. Yes, gun ownership is a right, but when a person gets their ego overly wrapped up with the 2nd amendment and their right to bear arms despite dangerous factors that exist within their own home, the horrible tragedies that may result lay directly at their feet.

      • Laurie

        The link showing your assertions are correct. Lanza didn’t want to wait for the background check.,0,5913090.story

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