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This is the first time I've copied over an entire article of mine from the Daily Beast and I'm probably infringing my own copyright, but I think this is an important discussion and I can only join in here.

In the wake of the terrible events of last Friday in Newtown, which left 27 dead—20 of them young schoolchildren—social media such as Twitter and Facebook played a key role in communicating the shocking news and expressing an international sense of outrage and grief. But they also spread misinformation and misapprehensions just as quickly. The gunman was initially misidentified, and his murdered mother was erroneously connected to Sandy Hook Elementray School. But while these errors of fact were soon corrected, a deeper misunderstanding took hold over the following few days as a shattered nation tried to understand an inexplicable tragedy.

An uncorroborated rumor about the gunman, Adam Lanza, suggested that he suffered from Asperger’s syndrome—a now out-of-use term for a higher-functioning form of autism. By Saturday, a blog post by Lisa Long—“I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother: A Mom’s Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America”—had gone viral, been retweeted hundreds of thousands of times, and republished on Gawker, Britain’s Daily Mail, and on the Huffington Post. Long, the mother of a 13-year-old with behavioral problems, argued, “It’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.”

There are various problems with Long’s impassioned piece when it comes to “talking” about mental illness, partly due to the fact it contained a slew of questionable diagnoses—Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant, or Intermittent Explosive Disorder—which aren’t officially recognized as mental illnesses at all. Police Inspector Michael Brown, who runs the highly respected Mental HealthCop blog, called it “potentially the worst article I have ever read about mental health and violence following an atrocity.” Other critics took issue with the way Long had publically demonized her son as a potential mass murderer.  While some complained that Long herself was being demonized as a bad mother, the author from Boise, Idaho, issued a joint statement with one of her erstwhile critics about the need for accessible and affordable mental health care in the U.S.

The Huffington Post published a corrective article, “No Link Between Asperger’s Syndrome And Violence, Experts Say.” But to date, the corrective article has only received 2,500 Facebook “likes” compared to the more than a million received by Long’s original piece. The misinformation had circled the virtual world before the truth had even begun to get its cyber-boots on.

By Sunday, the line had grown into a swelling chorus. Erik Erickson, the founder and editor of the popular Republican website Redstate, was averring: “Discussions of gun control are easier to have than discussions about mental health.” The owner of one of the many gun ranges in the rural rolling hills around Newtown, Conn., was telling The New York Times: “A gun didn’t kill all those children, a disturbed man killed all those children.” David Rivkin, a constitutional lawyer who served in both the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, appeared on the BBC World Service to tell millions of listeners overseas: “It’s not about gun ownership, it is about mental illness.” “If there’s one unifying feature of all these atrocities,” Rivkin stated in an interview for the popular Newshour program on Monday night, “it’s that they were all committed by mentally unbalanced people who need to be confined for the protection of those around them and other people.”


Despite the promise of a conversation about mental health, misinformation and ignorance became the norm in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.

The only problem with this argument is that it has no basis in fact. If mental illness were the key factor in multiple gun homicides like Newtown, then other countries would regularly experience the kind of carnage visited on towns and cities in the U.S. on almost on a monthly basis. But they don’t. In Britain, an advanced study by Manchester University into “Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness” has found most people who kill more than one person are neither mentally ill, nor mental health patients, As Dr. David H. Barlow, a senior expert in comparative mental health-care systems and Emeritus Professor at Boston University, told The Daily Beast, “the incidence of mental illness is quite consistent across Europe and America.” Yet the statistics for the homicide and suicide rates are much higher in the U.S. than most of the rest of Europe, with Americans 100 times more likely to die to a gun-related death than in the U.K.

Despite the promise of a conversation about mental health, misinformation and ignorance became the norm in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.  British CNN host Piers Morgan suggested that anyone with a history of mental illness should be banned from owning a gun in the U.S., but that would include almost 50 per cent of Americans who are expected to suffer from some condition in their lifetime.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates thatabout 25 percent of U.S. adults currently suffer from some kind of mental ilnness—though this would include phobias and obsessive disorders. In 2011, government data calculated that around 5 percent of the U.S. population suffered from severe mental illness, while Professor Barlow estimates that somewhere around 1 percent  of the U.S. population will be suffering from psychosis—including delusions and hallucinations—at any one time. “But even they show an only slightly elevated risk of violence,” Barlow told The Daily Beast, “with a small increased risk of around 5 or 10 percent above normal.” Meanwhile, those who suffer from psychosis are much more likely to be the victims of homicide or kill themselves.

For Dr. Nadine Kaslow, professor and chief psychologist at Emory University School of Medicine—who was recently elected to the presidency of the American Psychological Association—the recent spate of generalized and pejorative statements made about mental illness are “extremely unfortunate” as they “stigmatize a whole group.”

“When I talk to my patients after an incident like Newtown,” Kaslow told The Daily Beast, “my patients differentiate themselves from these killers, because they say these people lack empathy.” Though Kaslow acknowledges that those with learning disabilities or mood disorders can be aggressive and display challenging behaviors, this doesn’t translate into calculated acts of violence. “We really do not see any correlation between Asperger’s syndrome and gun violence,” Kaslow reiterated.

Those millions of Americans who suffer from mental illnesses and learning disabilities have therefore become collateral damage in the soul-searching since the Newtown massacre. What conditions Lanza suffered from, or didn’t, will take a long investigation, but like other multiple-gun homicides, his atrocity required almost military-style planning and execution, which is unlikely given against the cognitive and emotional deficits of acute psychiatric illness. It was this element of forethought and calculation which led to Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed eight with a bomb in Oslo then shot dead 69, mainly teenagers, holidaying on UtøyaIsland in 2011, being considered sane enough to face trial and a prison term in Norway. Though Breivik’s Islamophobic ideology could be described as crazy, the means Breivik chose to pursue his apocalyptic race war were rational and deliberative given those precepts, and he showed no sign of clinical psychosis.

In this light, Long’s imprecation to “start talking about mental illness rather than guns” looks like a distraction from the more probable factor to explain America’s elevated homicide and suicide rates: the U.S. is a complete outlier compared to other industrialized nations in its startling, almost 90 out of 100, number of guns per capita. Apart from the extreme youth and number of his victims, the other hallmark of Lanza’s massacre was the use of a semi-automatic Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle (which has horrifically doubled in price since the Newtown attack). Assault weapons were banned until 2004, when the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was not renewed—largely thanks to the lobbying power of the National Rifle Association.

In what must count as one of the most successful campaigns in U.S. history, the NRA has managed to reduce support for gun control in the U.S. by 50 per cent in the last 20 years. One of its key lines of argument throughout that time has been that, “It’s not guns that kill people, but people who kill people.” On Friday the NRA’s Facebook page was taken down, and its Twitter feed went silent, and the organization seemed to have no response to the mounting calls for gun control in the wake of the most recent tragedy.

According to Mark Borkowski, a British PR titan with extensive knowledge of crisis-management campaigns, “anybody in this territory is equipped to deal with extreme events like this, and defend against or capitalize on them depending on what happens.” “The key thing is to sow doubt,” Borkowski told The Daily Beast. “Doubt is a product, and you have sleepers and advocates who are well briefed to construct a counter-narrative in times of crisis.”

There is no evidence that the NRA or any of its lobbying arms has been involved in any kind of crisis management in the last few days. However, opponents of gun control are now using a variant of the old NRA adage, “It’s not guns who kill people, but mentally disturbed people who killed people.” In doing so they are perpetuating what is effectively a slur against millions of Americans who suffer from mental illness, and stigmatizing a group who already suffer enough.

Originally published in the Daily Beast

Originally posted to Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Mental Health Awareness and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (131+ / 0-)

    The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

    by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:30:59 AM PST

  •  The key obscenity is violent video, games or film, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cherie clark, leonard145b

    and presents the same constitutional challenges as gun control. I would like to see increased restrictions on both guns and video. The connection with the Norwegian murderer is important point and underlies the role of violent video as both Lanza and Breivik were Call of Duty obsessed. Odd that the same excuses offered by gun advocates as to the lethality of their possessions are used by defenders of obscenely violent video games/films.

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:50:34 AM PST

      •  Japan, in fact, has one of the lowest crime rates (45+ / 0-)

        and the lowest gun violence rate, IIRC. And the amount of truly effed up video games, anime and manga that start there and never leave there while still being wildly popular is quite high. While Japan, the Americas and Europe all make a lot of games that have disturbing content for at least somewhat artistic purposes, Japan runs a monopoly on the "there isn't any artistic defense for this" by a loooooooong shot.

        They do have suicide problems, but those are for entirely unrelated reasons.

      •  Not the disease, but perhaps a symptom (6+ / 0-)

        Americans worship violence and death.  Next to sex it's our favorite entertainment.  

      •  Brit, I just want to mention that all of the (0+ / 0-)

        conditions mentioned by Long at the beginning of your article are in the diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM) for mental disorders.  They all have diagnostic and insurance codes.

        Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

        by Smoh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:17:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Autism is not a mental illness (9+ / 0-)

's a learning disability. The other two new disorders are reputedly in DSM-V, but it hasn't been published yet

          The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

          by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:21:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't believe Autism was Adam Lanza's problem (14+ / 0-)

            that lead to his violence.

            I do believe he had other psychotic mental disorders.

            We'll have to wait and find out to see.

            Jared Loughner was not diagnosed with schizophrenia until after he was in prison custody and spent a few months on antipsychotics, at which point he recognized what he had done and felt remorse, accepted his guilty verdict.

            Now, they say he developed it in the eleventh grade, but it went unrecognized.

            Adam Lanza may have had Aspergers. From reports, I'm sure he must have. But he may have had other co-morbidities that could explain what happened.

            The pattern of U.S. mass murderers seems to be that these are primarily men in their late teens to early twenties: this is when schizophrenia, and the psychosis which accompanies it, and the violence which accompanies that, first is seen.

            We have no means in place whatsoever in our society if someone near us is, as an adult, displaying signs with a break with reality. Trying to get people help is, because of U.S. laws as well as social stigmas and a hands-off attitude which has been around for several decades due to the deplorable condition of mental health facilities, largely impossible.

            It is incontrovertable that early treatment for schizophrenia has a better prognosis.

            Also, I find the U.S. and the U.K. to have relatively incomparable views about mental health. The U.S. in general has fairly anomolous views because we are such a partisan nation that we can't seem to examine mental health concerns without using the lens of a partisan "don't tread on me" personal rights based Right or a "freedom for all and the right to be who you are above all" based Left.

            I categorically do think the Newtown Tragedy was partially a product of a brewing and mistreated mental health situation that could have been stopped. That doesn't mean I don't think that guns were the vehicle of the tragedy and shouldn't be addressed as well. But I do think that the driver of that vehicle, so to speak, should have received earlier intervention of some sort. And I do believe that the facts will bear this out in time because they will follow the same patterns that other mass murderers have shown.

            The Aspergers part is a simple red herring for a much different mental disorder.

            Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:22:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  we may not agree often but you are... (6+ / 0-)

              right on here MO. thanks for that comment.

              a lot of times mental illnesses go undiagnosed because either the family and friends don't know what to look for or the stigma is shaming to them.

              not to mention that in this country, health care is expensive and many ins plans - if one is lucky enough to have it - have appt amount limits as well as higher copays.

              what this country needs in addition to a gun discussion is a mental health care discussion. we need to be better educated about it and we need to actively fight the stigma.

              the Aspergers and autism statements many in the media ran with is a red herring, and they ran with it, imo, because even the media isn't educated about mental illness.

              fighting the stigma includes backing folks away from a correlation that all folks with mental illnesses are to be feared. mental illnesses aren't a one size fits all, and in this country they go ignored, untreated, and wildly misunderstood.

              for the author to say to stop blaming the tragedy on mental illness is just as bad as those who are saying it was Aspergers or autism. perhaps instead of blaming anything right now we should be more introspective instead of racing for one diagnosis.

              anyway, great comment MO.

              A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

              by poligirl on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:02:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you, and I agree with your post as well (4+ / 0-)

                I have thought a lot about this, and I feel like if we don't address the issue in full, we could see more people without treatment. I do want to talk about the gun laws we have: clearly I feel these are flawed. I also want to talk about mental illness. I'd like to see it destigmatized because until it is, it will not be properly treated. My particular concern here tends to be schizophrenia, which took my uncle's life and which afflicted his father as well. I am also understandably concerned about other forms of mental illness which predispose people toward violence. That includes violence toward themselves, incidentally. Asperger's is not one of these disorders which I'm referring to: here, I mean primarily thought disorders which can have a wide variety of causes. These are particular issues which are not adequately treated and which are profoundly stigmatized.

                That's due to a simple, factual lack of information and media hyperbole. So education campaigns here could be useful.

                We need to talk about what we can do to fix our problems with America's glaring absence of mental health assistance and aforementioned public education.

                And we need to talk about our nation's gun availability issues and where these are lacking as well; I believe that's a place that the most energy is really focused right now, at least in terms of the national dialogue. Or maybe that's just what it looks like from my reality bubble.

                I'd add that we also need to deal with our antiquated drug laws which clearly didn't factor into the violence at Sandy Hook, but which are another major part of why the U.S. is a violent nation.

                And I'd add that we need a demilitarized police force.

                There's no pat answer. There needs to be careful analysis to avoid losing the window of opportunity for meaningful reforms with the widest impact.

                Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:18:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'd forgotten the delectable... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mahakali overdrive, boriquasi, rubyr

                ...personalised nature of comments on Kos.  

                for the author to say to stop blaming the tragedy on mental illness is just as bad as those who are saying it was Aspergers or autism.
                This is ridiculous and unnecessary as the title of a Priceman diary - an attempt at petty spite at the expense of actually reading up or caring about the issue. I'm not going to engage with people here who are just looking to insult on such an important subject. Consider yourself ignored

                The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

                by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:28:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  frankly, i don't care who the author... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  priceman, LaEscapee

                  happens to be, i have a problem with the gist of the diary.

                  this doesn't have anything to do with personality conflicts here at Dkos; for me it has to do with an issue that is a very important one to me that i have lots and lots of experience with in my extended family as well as with a couple close friends.

                  put another way, even if priceman had written this diary, i would have made the same comment. further proof of this not being about Dkos personalities is my agreement with MO, and we don't agree on much, but this is too important an issue to sully with personal personality conflicts.

                  if you don't like my criticism of the diary, address that instead of dismissing it wholesale simply because you took it personally. the issue is too important for pettiness.

                  A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

                  by poligirl on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:12:36 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Didn't see that part of the comment (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Rushing -- no glasses -- everyone talking to me in this room. Sorry. That's not appropriate; I agree.

                  Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                  by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:43:25 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think I'm just a bit shocked to see... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

           an essay which clearly argues against the stigmatisation of those who have mental health problems, could somehow be construed in the converse

                    The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

                    by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:02:46 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  so you guys took that personally? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    priceman, LaEscapee

                    geez. no wonder nothing gets done on mental illness.

                    it was a criticism of the diary. the author wrote the diary. and i do think it's just as bad, not because of who the author is, but because of a lot of the content.

                    you guys have got to be able to separate personality conflicts from actual debate and discussion. apparently i was the only one here who could.

                    sorry to disturb. hope no one ever has to go through the stuff my extended family as well as a couple friends have gone though. it's too important an issue. that's why i put personality conflict aside. why can't you guys?

                    A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

                    by poligirl on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:04:25 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  At this point we're speculating about Lanza's... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive, rubyr

              ...diagnosis and you're missing my point.

              There is a slightly elevated risk of violence during psychosis, but what is different about Newtown is not America's healthcare services (spending per capita on mental health comparable to Britain) but the access to assault weapons.

              That doesn't mean more shouldn't be spent on mental health, but the professionals I spoke to while writing this piece were appalled by the trite diagnoses and misunderstanding of the likelihood of violence among those with mental illness.

              To confuse these two issues at the moment is to stigmatise those with mental health problems, and deflect away from the glaring immediate cause of the scale of the Newtown massacre

              The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

              by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:25:45 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I see your point here (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                but I have very strong views on mental health in the U.S., first and foremost, and I am going to take this a step further and state expressly that it's not right to use the broad header of "mental health" in this case because that does lead to a stigma. Fault the DSM for this or the Psychiatric industry, but for whatever reason, thought disorders -- including organic thought disorders -- which create disorganized or delusional thinking are lumped in with garden variety issues like generalized anxiety or seasonal depression. I think this is because the United States has stopped attending to a very specific set of psychiatric conditions which require more than just a Prozac prescription and a "see you in six weeks."

                Frankly, the U.S. is terrified of in-patient care for people with thought disorders, and given the gross history of abuse of these facilities and the failure of the 1963 Act to remedy these clinics as was originally meant to happen, followed by Reagan's economic gutting of these services entirely in the 80's, we are not in a good place.

                We have no psychiatric emergency services to speak of. We have a prison system which responds to 911 calls for emergency psych services, three day involuntary holds for anyone who meets a slender set of criterion in decaying facilities which are archaic, and people with psychosis are essentially left without a safety net.

                Now, combine that with a country with lax gun laws.

                And with stigmas against mental illness in general.

                There's a "hand's off" approach. Which is unethical. In Ms. Lanza's case with her son, she could afford to place him into a private facility, but she could not have done so without his consent, which apparently she was legally seeking or had already obtained. I want more on that.

                There's no question about why we have mass murders at the rate that we do. Here, we can look to historical data: undertreated, misdiagnosed, or ignored psychotic-type thought-disorders + mental health social stigma + ease of gun access + societies which value personal freedoms above all else = mass murderers. Something like that. You can move down the line basically from Manson to Klebold and Harris to Loughner to look at this. For whatever reason, I've always found it of interest.

                Granted, these are the outliers. The mass of gun violence occurs in the context of domestic disputes, burgleries, or are drug related. The first two could be disputed to not be premeditated, by and large, and committed by sane people. The latter is probably in a class of its own. The latter two are often interrelated. As I've not a clue how to stop domestic disputes or other interpersonal homicides like those which are "gang related" or happen during bar brawls, those which happen when so-and-so-caught-so-and-so-sleeping-with-so-and-so, I am not able to comment on these. But mass murders, psychosis-related violence, and drug-related violence each have their own sets of answers which would go a long way toward solving them, and guns are only one aspect of each of these. They are, to be clear, an aspect. Ignoring the full spectrum of the problem is deleterious because it really is negligent to do that when these issues are largely preventable.

                It is the outliers which gain the most media attention though, and which often involve the most brutal cases, like killing twenty children in cold blood.

                Stigma only occurs if the media perpetuates this without a counternarrative. While trying to offer mental health solutions, one ought to also support mental health destigmatization efforts AND explain the glaring difference between a kid with Asperger's and someone with a fulminant psychotic breakdown. The public is capable of understanding the difference. Most people are a little mentally ill or know someone who is these days ;) But most people don't know what a break with reality looks like as readily. And it sure doesn't look like it should be treated with a little SSRI.

                Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:22:13 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I also have very strong views on mental health (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive, rubyr

                  I spent my adolescence living on the grounds of a psychiatric institution where my mother was the resident social worker. I've know many people with variants of mental illness and personality disorder.

                  Like most health care services, there's clearly no doubt that the US needs more accessible mental healthcare. But that is, with all due respect, a distraction from the issue I'm focusing on here.

                  To put it bluntly; If mental illness were the key factor in multiple gun homicides, other countries would regularly experience similar acts of carnage. But they don’t.

                  The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

                  by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:46:09 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It's important to recognise IMO (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              (not that you aren't) that while mental illness is an important factor in some cases of violent behaviour, it's not as though there is an answer out there that the US (or any other country) simply isn't implementing.

              If "addressing mental health issues" was possible, I expect most societies would do it in a heart-beat.

              But, sadly, psychosis is often very resistant to treatment.  And I'd be very unhappy about any society that proactively restricted the liberty of people on the basis of what they might do, on other than very egregious grounds.  Most countries' as mental health laws do allow for compulsory confinement under compelling circumstances, but even that is contentious.  And in any case, statistically,  psychosis is far more likely to render you vulnerable to violence than lead you to perpetrate it.

              So my own (UK biased) position is that it really does come back to opportunity - the availability of the tools of mass slaughter.  There are too many guns in America.  As a result, people who are bent on slaughter are far more likely to find it possible to act on their disordered impulses.  Plus, I suspect that the very frequency of mass shootings in the US itself feeds into the content of those impulses.  Mass shootings are on the regular menu of violence for the deranged imagination in the US, where they remain a la carte elsewhere.


              •  Screening in vulnerable populations (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Oldestsonofasailor, Brit

                is one answer which NAMI has proposed.

                Destigmatizing mental illness all around is another.

                Providing resources for society to have on hand if someone they know is psychotic which doesn't involve the prison system or the police.

                Of course psychosis is resistant to treatment. Compliance is one issue. Side effects another. Diagnosis another. And then just a lack of response. I have seen this firsthand. It's less likely to be treatable if a casual approach is taken to treating it.

                I don't have a strong opinion of the UK's mental health (and other medical) services much more than I do the US's. I find both lacking, each in different ways.

                Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:35:09 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But what do you do (0+ / 0-)

                  with the results of the screen?

                  And yes, compliance is one issue, side effects another, and diagnosis another.  But even someone takes their medication, and finds the side effects tolerable, and the diagnosis is such that the treatment does in fact reduce the symptoms, many patients continue to experience symptoms, including those that are reduced by the medication, and others that simply are not touched by it.

                  In other words, we do not have good treatments yet for serious mental illness, even when what we do have is taken and tolerated.  That's only partly the fault of mental health services - it's also simply a reflection of the state of psychiatric neuroscience.

                  I hope we are making progress, but there's a long way to go.


                  •  The earlier the treatment, the less likely (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    complications ensue.


                    Research into the early course of schizophrenia has identified a prepsychotic prodromal stage (mean duration: 4.8 years) and a psychotic prephase (mean duration: 1.3 years). Comparisons of individually matched samples have demonstrated prodromal symptoms common to schizophrenia and moderate to severe depression. It is not until positive symptoms emerge that psychosis and mood disorders become distinguishable from each other. In both disorders the prodromal stage early produces functional impairment and related social consequences. Hence, early intervention is of great public health relevance. This intervention is targeted at manifest symptoms and not at the underlying, still unknown disease process. Cognitive-behavioural therapy at the prepsychotic prodromal stage seems to favourably influence the short-term illness course. In the psychotic prephase, a combination with low-dose antipsychotics seems to have some efficacy. The aim of early recognition by the instruments discussed in this paper is to permit the identification of the largest possible proportion of at-risk persons as early as possible and their referral to appropriate treatment.


                    NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (a patient advocacy group), advocates early screening for mental health issues as well:

                    They feel it could help destigmatize mental illness and lead to better outcomes for patients and society.


                    Liz Downey is the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Health, or NAMI, a grassroots effort by families to offer services. She says the stigma associated with the disease is the biggest hurdle to overcome.

                    "That's why we don't have the money, it's the stigma. Until you are personally affected by it, you're not going to see a big change," says Downey.

                    ...She proposes children receive mental assessments every year at school just as they get physicals.

                    "We don't want schools diagnosing, but we want to make sure we're covering all the bases," says Downey.


                    "We don't have it today because of the funding," says Downey.

                    Returning to schizophrenia (which is only one of several disorders which can cause problems with psychosis, of course; others could be organic as well)...


                    It was reported by Yale University today that there is more evidence that "Detecting and treating schizophrenia rapidly, following the onset of a first psychotic episode, improves the patients' response to treatment, according to a study by a Yale researcher.


                    "It looks like the longer the period of time before treatment, the worse off the patients are not only when they come into treatment, but how they respond to treatment," McGlashan said.


                    "All factors being equal, early detection efforts will bring people into treatment at lower symptom levels," McGlashan said. "Patients who began treatment earlier tended to be younger, less symptomatic, and more responsive to treatment."

                    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:31:53 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yes indeed (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mahakali overdrive

                      but none of that means we have it licked, unfortunately, even if early detection screens were optimal.

                      Effect sizes for interventions, even early, remain depressingly small, apart from control of positive symptoms (hallucinations and delusions) by antipsychotic medication, which can be substantial, but even so is rarely complete.

                      But I agree that early detection is important.

          •  There isn't a really clear distinction (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            between the two.

            Both schizophrenia and autism are developmental disorders.  And not all mental conditions are either illnesses or learning disabilities - they may rather be unusual ways of perceiving the world.   Sometimes that way of perceiving the world gets in the way of interacting with the world effectively, and sometimes it leads to real harm and distress.

            My own heuristic is to regard a condition as an illness if it directly causes distress ("dis-ease") and not if it doesn't.  

            But by that heuristic, both autism and psychosis may sometimes count as illnesses, and both sometimes may not!  But certainly psychosis tends to be the more distress-causing.

        •  The problem with the DSM (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brit, mahakali overdrive

          is that categorizing mental illness, learning disorders and personality disorders is so very difficult.  Half the time it is comparing apples to oranges.  Some DSM diagnoses parallel specific disease processes - schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc... Others show a clear link between environment and brain chemistry and function, such as PTSD.  Others describe "hardwiring" problems like autism spectrum disorders.  

          The really difficult ones to get a handle on in terms of etiology, role of environment, and whether there is even actually some disease process are personality disorders, and they are the ones that are most germane to this conversation.  There's some evidence that lack of empathy and extreme anger management problems are inherent and good parenting can only mitigate but not reverse these sorts of personality disorders.  There's other evidence that abuse and neglect can lead to them. It's the lack of empathy and the disregulation of anger, combined with access to guns, that leads to these incidents.  So it is in part a mental health problem, but the discussion needs to be a lot more nuanced than it is.

          Bipolar, schizophrenic and other mentally ill persons are usually non-violent (except in the most tragic situation when a mentally ill person experiences delusional paranoia).  Autism-spectrum individuals are no more likely to be violent than the general population.  But people can have more than one diagnosis.  Can a person with an autism-spectrum disorder also have a personality disorder, a basic lack of empathy and an inability to regulate anger?  Perhaps, but the two problems may have unrelated causes even in the same individual.  We can't dismiss this discussion of mental illness and weaponry as irrelevant, we just need to be very careful with the terms we use, understand that the vast majority of the mentally ill present no risk, and avoid painting with a broad brush especially when it comes to developmental disabilities like autism spectrum disorders.

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:22:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Also, I agree with your comment. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brit, ConfusedSkyes, DoctorWho

        It all comes down to wrong and simplistic cries of "it's the video games", "it's mental health", etc.  guess what?  It's guns and an underlying piece of American culture that demands we be allowed to be cowboys.

        Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

        by Smoh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:19:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because there is no correlation. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scilicet, Brit

        "blame video games" is a standard NRA talking point, and it's just as much crap as their other talking points.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:25:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The data says you're right: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mistral Wind, Brit, scilicet

        As Ars Technica reports, there is actually a negative correlation between video game consumption and gun-related violence.

        You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

        by Simian on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:46:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hi, Kvetch. Quotes from other arguments I've had. (9+ / 0-)
      There is such a distinct difference between reality and fiction here, that if anything, I would argue they typically reduce violence. Not by catharsis, which is largely disproven and discredited; the only available studies actually suggest that violent video games, like all violent media - extending to film, TV, and books - do increase short-term aggression slightly.


      However, they put this sort of violence neatly in a box. First-Person Shooter games almost never take themselves too seriously and gamers associate an inherent absurdity to violence as a result. Evidence? This is entirely non-scientific, but World of Warcraft - which is not an FPS but has a significantly overlapping demographic - had a quest where you had to torture a prisoner.

      No reactions were graphically displayed. There was a simple, low-quality set of basic 'ow' audio files used for the prisoner's reaction, no effect on his model, and a simple set of canned, repeating text responses. You did not have to persist in it very long.

      Despite such a very small level of abstraction being broken, the quest was somewhat renowned (when the content was relevant) for leaving a lot of people with a very bad taste in their mouths.

      And (sorry to spam your status, dude) to prevent the facile comparison with drug laws which fail to prevent access, when someone smokes pot, you have no idea they did it if you're not drug testing them or breaking down doors. It is also an act which does not inherently harm anyone. Ease of end-users avoiding detection and the lack of a direct social harm from using the drugs creates a bigger end-user market, and has plenty of enablers willing to look the other way. These things are not true for guns. You know when someone has fired a gun, and it is very easy for gun usage to directly lead to the harm of another person. The market cannot persist the way it does for entertainment contraband.
      This is not going to be true for media consumption of any kind. Yes, the arguments for defending free speech and defending gun rights are similar. This is because they are both arguments in defense of rights. However, the two are completely non-comparable in every way, so what is a specious argument for gun control is not for video games.

      I note that you don't advocate control of violent literature and let me tell ya, I really read some things as a kid my parents didn't want me to and I can't help but wonder if they were a bad idea for me to consume at that age. They had a really, really strong effect on me - more than 30 minutes of curious "vas is das" trial of DOOM ever did.

      Games are very ineffective at desensitization in any meaningful sense. Anyone who games for long becomes constantly quite aware of the fact that they can shut the game off at any time. The games which have broken this most successfully are renowned for being interactive narratives, like Shadow of the Colossus, or horror survival games, which don't so much glorify gore as they try to give you nightmares about it.
      •  Eliminate gun violence from video and see what (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exlrrp, PsychoSavannah

        happens. Why not? I think you will see most arguments opposed are the functional equivalent of the arguments against gun control. Even the replies above smack of gun advocates: segments of this or that society use video/guns without excessive violence,

        "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

        by Kvetchnrelease on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:22:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, Kvetch, a similarity which caused me to think (8+ / 0-)

          on it... but that is because they are arguments in favor of rights, as I said. Ex:

          Freedom of Privacy. Humor me for a minute and imagine what defenses are exercised by gun owners that would not be exercised by defenders of privacy?

          Plenty of people use their privacy responsibly. We shouldn't have it intruded on just because some people have misused the privilege to plot secretly about how to use bananas to take over the Island Nation of Donkeykongistan. Why, I use privacy every day while engaging in consensual non-reproductive social intercourse with a close friend who I would not want to reveal intimate details about. Privacy, exercised responsibly, gives people the freedom to express themselves in different ways at different situations.

          The only arguments that can ever be made in defense of rights and privileges is that they:
          - Offer a direct benefit to the society.
          - Do not harm the society when practiced correctly.

          Which is why it falls on statistics and, where required, res ipsa loquitur - the thing speaks for itself. America's only outliers related to gun violence incidents are our number of them and the number of guns we have roaming around freely; not our media. That is why these arguments are specious when made in favor of gun rights without responsible controls, but not in favor of any other right.

        •  Eliminate Ketchup from Your Diet (15+ / 0-)

          Why not? What's the harm? It's my prerogative to make arbitrary changes to your lifestyle based on my specious whim.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:55:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  We know what happens (8+ / 0-)

          when you eliminate weapons and don't eliminate the videos and games. We also know the majority of the people who play those games or watch those movies, don't pick up their guns and start mowing down six and seven year old children.

          I think you can make a general argument about the glorification of violence, I just don't think there is a direct correlation.

          I think it is a mistake to think there is only one kind of personality, with one kind of pathology, with the same motive, who will commit this kind of crime. Even if it would be possible to make a definitive profile, it is impossible to identify an individual person before a crime is commited.

          This is a second amendment problem. You limit the access to guns, you limit gun violence.
          I think it is strange to want to limit 1st and 4th amendmend rights that have no direct correlation, in order to preserve 2nd amendmend rights that do have a direct correlation.

          •  Wasn't Heller decided upon notion that in DC where (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Gun ownership was restricted there was a need for protection afforded by guns BECAUSE of the gun violence DC citizens faced?

            "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

            by Kvetchnrelease on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:30:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't know enough about (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lakehillsliberal, gramofsam1

              Heller to give an opinion. I do know that there were 14 massacres in Australia, before the massacre in 1997 in Tasmania, that killed 35 people, and that after the gun control law that was enforced after the 1997 massacre, there were zero gun related massacres. A study done about the decade after the law was implemented,  firearm homicide decreased by 59% and firearm suicide fell by 65%, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homocides and suicides.

              I am not saying that other aspects don't have an effect on the motivation of people committing these kind of crimes, but I don't think they should be the primary focus if the goal is to lower the casualty rate caused by guns.

              •  It's the guns. We are too stupid and stubborn (5+ / 0-)

                to admit the obvious.  As Churchill said, Americans will do the right thing when they have exhausted all other possibilities.  We are not the brightest bulbs in any box.

                •  His mum was American so is he a half-wit? N/t (0+ / 0-)

                  "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

                  by Kvetchnrelease on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:42:13 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I am not an American (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  but I lived in the US for seven years, so I want to offer my defense for Americans.

                  One of the reasons I moved back to Europe, was the sustained level of anxiety I felt when I lived in the US. Odd thing is that I experienced some bad things living in the Netherlands, while I did not have similar experiences while living in the US. So while I had no personal reason to believe that my life was more in danger in the US, I did feel danger was more imminent while living in the US.

                  I think the US media reports on extreme violent crimes disproportionate to the actual number of occurences more than the European media does. And politically driven groups leach on to this fear, to use it for their own agenda.

                  Obviously there are other reasons why the US is a more violent country, but for me the artificial fear driven into the population, is one of the main factors.

                  •  I believe you are partly correct but Americans (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    are pre-disposed to this type of fear, they always have been.  I think it is the myth of rugged individualism and a lack of true concern for others(lack of a safety net) that makes people so uneasy and fearful.  So many people live on the edge, it creates genuine fear and they focus that fear on others(usually people of color).

            •  Yes, but DC is a special case. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It is a city. As a city, it actually has very low violence rates. The problem is that DC is bordered by two states and in close proximity of another three, making its gun control laws relatively less important in determining how many guns are around in DC.

        •  Force people to "pray to Jesus" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Silvia Nightshade

          ...and see what happens.  Already we have members of the Religious Right making similar (bogus) arguments.

          Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

          by Subversive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:19:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  are you missing the cause and effect or (5+ / 0-)

      perhaps mistaking the effect for the cause?
      That assumes that there is a causal relationship or as my Stats prof used to say, "causal is not casual" or simply because two events are related does not mean that one causes or affects the other

    •  How Come You're Not Dead? (8+ / 0-)

      Lots of people in your neighborhood play those games too, but they don't burst into your school/work guns blazing. It's perfectly obvious that whatever the link between games and actual violence, it's not nearly as causal as the one to guns - which are in so many violent scenes every day.

      You're spouting about a pet peeve of your own with no basis in fact.

      And no, I'm not a gamer myself.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:52:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No (31+ / 0-)

      the problem is easy access to guns.
      The solution is to make access to guns very very difficult.
      Anything else is just kicking up sand.

      This is not complicated.

    •  Laws Protecting Fictional People (3+ / 0-)

      Whether in print or on screen are the dumbest ideas ever to crap on free expression. Maybe we should regulate mystery novels with all that crazy killing going on. Maybe we should regulate comic books again just in case one idiot decides to jump out a window and fly.

      I reject wholeheartedly the notion that anything is obscene whether the SCOTUS thinks any such thing exists or not. I have a right to read or not read, watch or not watch, play a game or not play it and don't see why my personal tastes or the tastes of a "community" should dictate that for anyone else.

      This head movie makes my eyes rain.

      by The Lone Apple on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:56:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  F*€# off. (3+ / 0-)

      I enjoy violent movies and video games and I have NO desire to do violence to anyone, not even to people who express opinions like yours.  I don't even desire to own a gun.  And I am not alone.  You are totally off track.

      Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

      by Subversive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:11:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not even? (0+ / 0-)

        Like this is a big provacation?
        Lucky us. You don't want to kill us all.

        •  How about we threaten some activity in your life (0+ / 0-)

          that you enjoy and then you tell us how you like it?  

          Gardening?  Obviously this will lead to you building a fertilizer bomb, so off to prison you will go!  Bird watching?  That's what leads to biological warfare!  And beastiality!  Singing in a choir?  That's how you terrorists communicate coded messages with one another!  Football?  Caught you red-handed, you student of inflicting head trauma!

          Hysterically attacking movies and video games (and them before you who similarly attacked comic books) is no less ridiculous.

          Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

          by Subversive on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 05:44:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  So (10+ / 0-)

      if Breivik and Lanza were both obessed with Harry Potter, do we need to outlaw books about wizards?

    •  Don't Spread This Smoke-Screen Nonsense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeffersonian Democrat, Brit

      This attempt to change the subject just provides cover for gun-lobby supporters who are keeping their heads down until this blows over.

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:32:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What violent video games (3+ / 0-)

      were all those postal workers playing in the 1980s. starting in 1983?  I can't imagine Space Invaders setting people off in more than 20 shooting sprees by postal workers.

      I think we need to look elsewhere, for instance

      Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond

    •  It is the data (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simian, Esjaydee, Mistral Wind, Brit

      The data that guns are associated with deaths are very clear.   The data do not show a similar association with games

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:24:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The data that cars are associated with deaths are (0+ / 0-)

        clear. We regulate these vehicles of destruction. Violent video, unlike guns or automobiles, serves zero practical purpose. It is artistic license that should be revoked. Mass murderers obsessing over violent video is a fact just as true as mass murderers use the same weapons they obsess over in the fantasy world to deliver violence in the real world.

        As an aside, what is the devotion to violent video games that people worry so much about losing the right to play them?

        "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

        by Kvetchnrelease on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:22:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interestign (0+ / 0-)

          Personally, I think video games serve a much more useful purpose than guns.

          Of course the mass of murders are not committed by mass murderers, but they are a highly convenient shiny object to distract.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:12:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  210 million Americans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      play video games. About 50 million play games such as Black Ops or Modern Warfare (based upon $900,000,000 in sales of those two games).

      So, the likely hood of a gamer going on mass shooting spree is less than 99.9999%.  

      I hate these killing type video games, but I just don't see the connection.

      FORWARD! Obama/Biden 2012

      by Esjaydee on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:35:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Kids in other parts of the world play video games too.  You don't EVER hear of mass shootings in Australia.  Not for about 15 years.  Wonder why?  Well it's not because they banned video games or violent movies.  

      Breivik was a fucking racist POS.  The video games didn't do that to him.  The video games didn't kill anyone or make him kill anyone.  His hatred did.  He is no different than an Al Quaeda terrorist.   I'm sure they DON'T play Call of Duty.  His sole motivation was the same as Tim McVeigh.  Terrorize and start a revolution which will lead to a racial and political purification.  

      So please spare us the bullshit that it was some video game or movies or other form of media.  We've been hearing that crap from Joe Lieberman for over 20 years.  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:04:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This killer's access to guns is the more important (28+ / 0-)


    Some killers suffer from mental illness, some do not. That is not the cause, just a factor of the individual.

    The real cause is someone intent on shooting gets their hands on a gun.

    •  how would we avoid this? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      As I note that both Norway and GB have strict gun control but also have their share of murders. (BTW if frequency of such events is an argument for the efficacy of their gun laws, I would argue that their prison system is also more effective in rehabilitating inmates and not having as many recidivists.  While massacres occupy the headlines I would observe many killers have killed previously and cycled through a punitive system which focuses on punishment rather than rehab, if we are establishing a norm or profile of murderers)

      •  In the USA, we avoid it by locking down guns. (8+ / 0-)

        This young man got his guns from his mom, who as a responsible parent should not have allowed him to get his hands on them.

        We also must require insurance on guns, and a term of the policy is correct storage of guns.

        So that when you're sleeping, someone not authorized can get their hands on your guns.

        Pretty much that's where we start.

        •  I would observe that, as my father observed, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that locks are for honest people; locks will not deter any thief but will only slow him down.  this inconvenience will cause him to seek other, softer targets.

          You point out that the mother should have locked down her guns.  Her son was 20 years old, so these observations that she should have kept her guns out of reach make it seem as if he were a toddler.
          He used the guns, from reports, and even if the guns were locked down, probably had access to the keys.  Even assuming he did not have the key, locks can still be frustrated with time and patience and a little skill, such as an on line locksmith course.

          Even if we assume the guns were locked in a vault in Fort Knox, I would observe that a gun (such as a zip gun..remember those) is not difficult to fabricate and the shooter was described as highly intelligent.

          •  Yes, a lock should have been used in this case. (8+ / 0-)

            Too bad is wasn't. Maybe her 20 yr old son would have stopped long enough to think.

            Just because it might not have stopped him, doesn't mean it shouldn't have been done.

          •  False (8+ / 0-)

            So that's why your father never locked his house or car?

            Not having access to the key is part of locking the gun, just like not leaving your keys under your Welcome mat.

            A proper gun lock will not yield to tampering. Indeed fingerprint scanners are cheap enough that millions of notebook computers include them gratuitously. There is no reason guns can't be cheaply and effectively locked to only their registered owner. Which reduces the chances of their being fired.

            As for making your own gun, nearly none of the guns used to kill people in the past 5 years were homemade. Those are also less reliable in harming people. So if gun control forces shooters to make their own, there will be less harm.

             Harm reduction is never perfect, but it's better than nothing. The cost:benefit for locking guns is absolutely compelling.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:02:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wrong (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              entlord, Silvia Nightshade

              A lock will yield to tampering eventually, period - it's just a question of whether it takes five minutes or five weeks or five months.  There is no 100% safe lock-down method that can absolutely, positively not be defeated.  Regarding the fingerprint locks -- he could have killed his mother with a knife in her sleep, then "borrowed" her finger to defeat the fingerprint lock on the gun safe, and then went and shot up the school, for example.

              Locks buy time and increase inconvenience.  If a lock is sufficiently inconvenient to a perpetrator they will either give up or seek another path to their goal.  

              Please note that I'm in favor of the lock-down strategy, my point here is just to note that contrary to what you imply here, no lock is utterly fool-proof and invincible, given a sufficiently determined and clever perpetrator.

              •  Locks Don't Need To Hold Up Indefinitely... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                ...just long enough for the would-be thief to attract unwanted attention.

                In this case, detecting an attempt to get into the gun safe (either red-handed or via traces of tampering) would have been grounds to get the perp locked up before he was able to actually do anything.

                On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

                by stevemb on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:41:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Perfect Enemy of Good (0+ / 0-)

                I said:

                Harm reduction is never perfect, but it's better than nothing.

                Gun locks will reduce harm. They're not 100% perfect, but they're good enough that they're worth doing.

                "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:40:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  actually he did not; you have to remember a (0+ / 0-)

              different age in America when my grandfather's home did not even have a working lock or a key and people routinely left their key in the ignition so as not to have to search for it

              •  What does any of that have to do with (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                the here and now in 2012?

                •  the question was if my father locked his car (0+ / 0-)

                  I answered the question

                  •  So? (0+ / 0-)

                    The point of my question was whether your father's advice is a good argument against gun locks. It is not. You just admitted that his advice was operational in a time when locks weren't necessary. Now they are. My point.

                    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                    by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:41:24 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  it remains good advice since you cannot rely on (0+ / 0-)

                      locks; any lock can ultimately be defeated given time and sufficient will.  For an example, we had double locks on a rental unit and had the door barred on the inside with an old fashioned bar across the door.  the thieves took the entire door frame loose from the studs and set the whole unit, with the door still locked and barred, to one side and entered the building.

                      Now exactly how was I supposed to lock the building to frustrate those guys?

                      •  Relative Locks (0+ / 0-)

                        When your house is locked but the neighbors are not, thieves will probably rob theirs instead of yours.

                        The point that no lock is 100% secure means only that you cannot rely on locks alone and expect perfect security. But as I explained (several times now) locks are not expected to be the "silver bullet" (pun intended) for protecting us from gun violence. It is simply a measure that obviously targets the critical moment in the Newtown shootings: when Lanza took his mother's guns. If they were locked, it might have stopped him, or slowed him enough to possibly let him calm down. Meanwhile if magazines are locked it can slow down a shooter's reloading enough that even unarmed people could stop them (as happened in Tuscon).

                        Gun locks are cheap and mostly effective. They even protect the gun fetishist from someone messing with their stuff. It should be completely noncontroversial. Yet even you, who seem very much in favor of violence reduction by restricting guns and access to them, are debating it.

                        Like I said, America is not serious about reducing gun violence. Americans are more interested in tiny disagreements about abstractions than in protecting the next couple dozen children from murder.

                        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                        by DocGonzo on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:03:23 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  report says today that the guns were locked in (0+ / 0-)

                          a cabinet and kept secured so Lanza evidently either frustrated the locks or knew where the keys were

                          •  Locks Etc (0+ / 0-)

                            1. Until I see the details, I don't know what about her locks were insufficient. Probably a $350 fingerprint lock would have been more effective.

                            2. Maybe no lock would have stopped Adam Lanza. Maybe he held a knife to her throat and forced her to unlock the guns. But we're not now focused on solely the specific path Lanza took to murder. More and better locks will reduce violence, in other cases where they are more effective.

                            As I said: "But as I explained (several times now) locks are not expected to be the "silver bullet" (pun intended) for protecting us from gun violence." They are part of a solution, as are other parts that wouldn't have stopped Lanza specifically, but would stop others.

                            Just as locks today are not much more effective than in your father's day, nor are they at all 100% effective, but most of us lock our doors because they are usually much better than nothing.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:16:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  depending on the cabinet, an ax or torch (0+ / 0-)

                            or zawzaw can defeat almost any lock

                          •  So What? (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't understand why you're arguing that no lock is 100% perfect. I never said they were. I've agreed every time you've said it. I have pointed out every time that it doesn't matter; that we're not looking for 100%.

                            It's perfectly obvious that the lack of 100% perfect locks is not a good argument against using locks at all. I'm not going to repeat myself anymore. Bye.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:01:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I thought my comment agreed with yours (0+ / 0-)

                            If it did not, I apologize

        •  not sure that's constitutional. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RonV, VectorScalar

          if its a burden on the right, it won't fly.

          OTOH, we probably can keep guns from the mentally ill.  while some people, like the diarist, seem to feel strongly that the.mentally ill should be able to own guns on the same terms as anyone else, I think therea enough support from the citizenry to restrict their ability to own guns.

          •  What? that her policy required safe storage of her (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            guns while she was unconscious?

          •  deliberate misinterpretation of the diarist`s (10+ / 0-)

            point Doesn`t move the discussion forward. At no point did the diarist suggest that mentally ill people ought to have access to guns. The argument is that the focus should be on access to guns. The NRA and their supporters would rather distract the conversation from the issue of the availability of guns to demonize people with mental illness. Anything to take the discussion off guns.

            If I had my way, I would repeal the 2nd Amendment. Since I can't have my way, I support a ban on all assault weapons. Now!

            by Tchrldy on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:49:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Which Constitution? (9+ / 0-)

            How does a mandatory gun lock prevent the good supply of weapons to a civilian militia necessary to protecting the liberty of the state? Of course it doesn't.

            The actual Constitutional protection in the 2nd Amendment is very narrow. Indeed, vanishingly narrow, and in fact based on a fallacy. A well armed militia is now proven by centuries to threaten the liberty of a free state more than protect it.

            Yes, most of the Supreme Court and the Congress, and probably the president all would say otherwise. But they're wrong. The 2nd Amendment's perversion into absolute right to unencumbered gun access is as wrong as many other perversion of the Constitution (eg. tax-free churches). But it's now compellingly urgent to fix. The willful misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment is now obviously a suicide pact.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:06:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You misrepresent what I wrote (11+ / 0-)

            Quite glaringly

            Hopefully others won't fall for this spin

            The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

            by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:08:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It seems to me people are conflating & confusing (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              poligirl, Oldestsonofasailor, Brit

              symptoms with causes.

              Obsessive playing of any game is not a good thing, whether the game at hand is violent or farmville. That's because obsessive behavior is unhealthy.

              A tiny minority of mentally ill people will harm others. Doesn't mean we don't need to address mental illness on a broader level. I do think Breivik is mentally ill or unstable or suffering from some disorder and I don't think it's useful to say someone who is mentally ill can't plan and execute a shooting spree.  Something was wrong with Lanza, that's pretty clear.

              It strikes me that the official definitions of mental illness work to deny and lead other to fail diagnosing mental illness (there's an odd parallel in that the NRA has messed with the definition of assault weapons such that the Bushmaster isn't classified as one even though it is a rapid fire weapon).

              But being able to easily buy and resell a rapid fire or legally classified assault weapon and ammunition and having them in your home seems ridiculous. Lanza's mother would not have had them if they were illegal.

              As I said above, I'm for very strict gun control, but don't think we can get that passed in the U.S. Right now, I'd settled for expanded definition of what constitutes an assault weapon and the ammunition that goes with that, a ban on these weapons for sale or resale, and a massive government buy back of existing assault weapons that fall under new definitions.  

              Proactive and retroactive measures. It did some good in Australia.

              BagNewsNotes: Visual Politics, Media Image Analysis

              by ksh01 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:13:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  this is right on: (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                salamanderempress, LaEscapee
                A tiny minority of mentally ill people will harm others. Doesn't mean we don't need to address mental illness on a broader level. I do think Breivik is mentally ill or unstable or suffering from some disorder and I don't think it's useful to say someone who is mentally ill can't plan and execute a shooting spree.
                the can plan and execute complicated plans. and many of the mentally ill folks are also extremely smart and can be very capable people with proper treatment.

                to dismiss someone who is mentally ill as incapable of  doing something like Columbine or Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech is misguided big time. and that can be a dangerous assumption too.

                A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

                by poligirl on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:14:21 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Huh? There can be no burdens on gun rights? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kamakhya, Brit

            You've got to be kidding.  Even the right wingers on the Supreme Court didn't go that far when they suddenly decided that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to keep and bear arms.

            Even First Amendment rights can be burdened in certain circumstances, and we sure as hell know that things like the right to vote and the right to reproductive choice can be burdened -- quite substantially, in fact.  The right to own a gun is no different.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:34:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Gun Locks or Die (6+ / 0-)

          If we do not at least require gun locks on every gun after this shooting, we indeed have learned nothing from it. Locks are by far the least controversial remedy, and in Newtown probably would have been the most effective, since the shooter took the guns from someone else.

          Since yours is the first mention of it I've seen (other than in my living room), I believe we're not serious. As usual, Americans are now worked up into some fit of revenge, not remedy.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:58:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Semantics, (0+ / 0-)

      Or the hogwash of professional mystique. It's as big an obstacle to progress as the insistence that gun ownership is about rights, and not toys.
      This is our dialog, and our result.

      and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

      by le sequoit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:45:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you SO much for this. As a mentally (21+ / 0-)

    ill person with beloved mentally I'll family members, I've had it up to here with the bullshit armchair diagnoses. We don't know jack shit about any of that. What we do know is that Leanza was raised in a household that advocated violence. We know the same about the I am Leanza's Mother author. How about we address that rather than put forth imaginary diagnoses that aim to isolate the mentally ill, who are no more likely to be violent than the rest of the population.

    Even if Leanza was mentally ill, mental illness doesn't operate in a vacuum. The mentally ill are affected by their interactions and surroundings just like anyone else. If they are surrounded by those with violent impulses, they will be influenced by them. They aren't actually in this la la land that has nothing to do with their real surroundings, and anyone who thinks so is a goddamned idiot.

  •  mental illness is already stigmatized; the next (20+ / 0-)

    step in many people's minds is to criminalize mental illness (whatever that means since most people have "quirks" to some degree or the other) or even to enforce institutionalization of those deemed mentally ill.
    After all, it is in living memory that we have seen states sterilize the mentally ill so they would not reproduce
    think that was the Bad Old Days?  Then there is this:
    Yep mental illness= not only court ordered abortion but also court ordered sterilization

    •  Yep. And the more stigmatized mental illness (17+ / 0-)

      is, the harder it is to treat. Numerous studies show this. Again, mental illness does not operate in a vacuum. You can throw all the medical care in the world at them. It won't get real results without the minimization of stigma. I don't hear the general public advocating for expanded health care for the mentally ill except after mass murders. That really sucks, and it has very real consequences.

    •  The Incarceration Industrial Complex... (6+ / 0-)

      ...would enthusiastically volunteer to "accept the challenge" of managing the end result of criminalizing mental illness in their special way.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:40:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We are way past that point. (8+ / 0-)

        A hugely high percentage of the people in jail right now suffer from mental illnesses.  We are warehousing the mentally ill in prisons, not treating them and generally doing more harm than good.

        The people and families who suffer from mental illness and its sometimes crippling effects are grossly underserved and protected in our country.

        •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)

          In many places mental illness HAS been criminalized.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:02:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And more stigmatized than (4+ / 0-)

            it used to be because not only do these people suffer from mental illness we have labeled them as criminals.

            •  I've seen mentally ill people (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              inclusiveheart, poligirl

              treated very shabbily even here at DK - and by very senior  FPers.  The problem is pervasive.

              Yeah, I don't see how US society at large has made any progress fighting stigmatization.  Any progress seems limited within the families and professionals involved.

              I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

              by Satya1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:43:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I was in a jury pool once that was (4+ / 0-)

                being asked by the state to convict a guy who showed up in a prison jump suit with no shoes and waived at all of us with the biggest grin saying "Hi!" when he walked in.  He was happy as a clam and SO happy to see all of us.  Like an excited, enthusiastic four year old.

                He was charged with attacking a woman at a bus stop with an umbrella. It was clear that the guy was completely nuts and didn't even have a clue what was happening to him.  Initially, I wondered if they were taking prisoners' shoes away from them in court.  I was not empaneled on the jury and checked in with my Dad who was a defense attorney at the same court.  I wanted to ask him about shoe policy.  

                Turns out that the guy was as mentally ill as he appeared to be - he didn't wear shoes because no one could convince him it was a good idea - and he probably suffered from something like schizophrenia although I don't know for sure.  In any case, I asked why he was in court and not at a hospital.  My father's flat and short response was, "They don't do that anymore.  They put them in jail now."

                That was a number of years ago now.  He's probably either dead or back at the bus stop chasing invisible demons with umbrellas.  Not exactly helpful to anyone, sadly.

                •  interesting anecdote (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ice Blue

                  My understanding is that NGRI (not guilty by reason of insanity) is harder to get in court these days almost everywhere.

                  I've worked with some mentally ill people in a former career in social work.  My wife though has been a forensic psychologist for many years.  Her patients are the ones found NGRI in situations where they killed someone.  Schizophrenia and depression are the usual culprits.  They are put away for life in high security and are treated relatively well.  They aren't sentenced per se, but they are given a "Thiem date" which indicates when (if ever) they can be released.

                  I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                  by Satya1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:20:26 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  A bit more than anecdotal. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    smartdemmg, Brit

                    My father's mix of clients between the sane and criminal and the mentally ill changed over the 25 or so years he was a defense attorney.  The number of mentally ill clients increased and more and more services were cut.  By the time I was in that jury pool, it was pretty standard for him and his colleagues to represent people who really should have been handled by mental health services professionals according to him.

                •  Years of being a cab driver (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ice Blue, Satya1, inclusiveheart, Brit

                  I had a contract with the local psychiatric hospital and emergency room. They'd use our cabs to drive people from one to the other. Not infrequently, I'd pick someone up from the ward still in the same condition as when I'd dropped them off. It was rarely more than a few days apart. This was state-funded, so there was no money to keep most people. I'd be given a voucher to drop them off. Where, you ask?

                  Anywhere. They got to choose.

                  I've seen a lot of things and people with serious thought disorders are at the top of my list.

                  These people do not receive adequate treatment, and yes, they are often put in-custody for violence, but sadly, let out due to violence as well. I presume most wind up in jail later.

                  Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                  by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:53:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  That's exactly they way the NRA plays it, blame (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the "crazies" but stop anyone from talking about the fact that if there were sensible gun regulations (licensing/training/registration/insurance/no high capacity/assault weapons sold) most of these "crazies" would not have access to the guns in the first place.

      This is part of their campaign of terror.  I am sure that all they can think of is increasing the per capita firearm ownership so that instead of having Yemen as a distant second at about half the per capita ownership as the US then Yemen will be much lower than us.  More deaths = more fear = more guns = even more deaths, the perfect spiral that make the NRA and the industry they represent much richer.

      Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

      by DefendOurConstitution on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:50:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "talking about mental illness rather than guns" (19+ / 0-)

    I've seen that argument used here on DKOS over the last week and it sickens me.  We do nothing about the real problem and instead throw the blame on the innocent - and if you're going to do that why not pick a nice, easy and defenseless target - like someone suffering from an illness that has already been stigmatized.    

    •  Argh (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Lapsing into into incoherency.  Can't stand much more of this.

    •  I don't think people are blaming all mentally ill (8+ / 0-)

      individuals. They are pointing out, past tense, that killers were ill or thought to be ill. It does not mean everyone needing mental health care is a killer. Just like everyone owning a gun is not a killer. It is being described as specific to a particular individual.

      •  That's a bullshit argument. Everyone (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah, beltane, Brit

        who owns a gun does so with the intent to kill. The mentally ill, again, are no more violent than the general population.

        •  Not under the circs of this killing, ie murder. / (0+ / 0-)
        •  Those Godless Europeans and their phantom tollbo- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          er? What's that? I'm responding to another comment entirely? Goodness gracious, I can be such an anorak. Hold on, hold on... mentally recalibrating... splines reticulated... there we go!

          No, it's not. I know a handful of gun owners. I have made it very clear to them on no uncertain terms that I am not fond of their hobby. One or two walk around with it for self-defense; they are also Marine Infantry or Army Ranger, so I feel pretty secure in the knowledge that they do know how to use it to do something besides shoot themselves in the arse with a ricochet. The others do so as hobbyists, which displeases me more.

          The general reaction from this crowd is in favor of slightly to heavily more gun control (even from the conservatives) after Newtown, some of them are wonderful fathers, and one in fact describes himself as an anti-war and is pretty hard to shift on that sentiment; he's only starting to maybe decide Libya was NOT an excuse for an imperialist takeover.

          He is paradoxically a giant nerd about wars and history, because he thinks big guns are shiny; but he doesn't like killing people, only blowing up mountains.

        •  I think a lot of gun owners (4+ / 0-)

          have not really thought through that intent to kill part. They have some vague notion that their gun will protect them, in some magical, talismanic way.
          I often wonder how many of them have asked themselves if they could actually shoot and kill another person.

        •  You're delusional (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fuzzyguy, zed

          I should hide rate you for making one of the the most ignorant statements I've ever read on DKos but I won't becasue I want all to be able to read your comment and understand that it is opinions, such as yours, that there can never be any reasonable approach to gun control - look in the mirror - you'reopinion is why the NRA digs in and won't budge an inch.

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:47:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not talking about all of the mentally ill (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poligirl, Brit, bleeding blue

          The idea behind treating the mentally is that it is a good idea all on it's own. We then get as an added benefit that we are also treating those that would go on to act violently due to their mental illness.

          BTW, we are not saying that all mental illness is a risk factor to violence, but you can not deny that it does apply to a subset of the mentally ill. For example, people who are depressed and talking about hurting people, are probably more likely to be violent. It is a good policy to target and treat that group.

        •  3 guns here. No intent to kill. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bleeding blue

          So screw you.

          Deeply offensive insults aside, we're not talking about all mentally ill - we're talking expressly about people whose illness makes them a danger to themselves or others. Those people, as a group, are, in fact, more violent than the general population. That's why we call them dangerous. And our pathetic mental health system serves them - and the rest of us - very poorly.

          “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” - Rumi

          by Jaxpagan on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:06:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I suffer from depression and a host of anxiety... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...problems, and the way most people are talking about mental illness in the wake of this tragedy feels very accusatory to me. It's enabling people to "other"-ize the problem. They're trying to make it not a problem with all of us as a whole country but instead a problem with those "other" people, and this time the Others are those with mental illnesses.

    •  How about talking about the "suicidally depressed" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Reel Woman, bleeding blue

      Rachael Maddow had a wonderful piece on "Why these things keep happening" in which she interviewed Dave Cullen, author of "Columbine".  He said two government studies have pointed to "suicidally depressed" as the single most common factor in school shootings.  Others have claimed most mass murderers were already being treated for depression and were on SSRI's, like Prozac which the manufacturer now warns may cause thoughts of suicide.  I think we need to have this discussion.  Our mental health treatment practices do not appear to be helping and in fact may be part of the problem.

      I've also heard that the NRA has prevented any coordinated study as to the causes of all these mass murders.

      Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

      by Helpless on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:31:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Others have claimed" is a variation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ConfusedSkyes, poligirl

        of the ever-popular "some say".
        Among the "others" who are making this claim are Alex Jones and The Daily Paul (as in Ron) and Newsmax.

        If there are any scientific or academic studies about the supposed link between SSRIs and mass shootings, I've not seen them.  There is evidence that some young people might have increased suicidal ideation on these drugs, but that is different from the "most mass murderers" claim.

        And of course it's always hard to separate the effects of an underlying condition like severe depression from the effects of the medication used to treat it.

      •  My main problem with this argument (0+ / 0-)

        is that there is also a pretty significant difference between suicide and murder.  The shooters in question weren't just suicidal, they were homicidal.  Yes, things like Prozac may cause thoughts of suicide, and that's a problem.  But thinking "I'm so depressed I'm going to shoot myself" is not the same as thinking "I'm so depressed I'm going to shoot myself, but first I'm going to go shoot a bunch of other people."

        Arguing that suicidal depression is the cause is exactly the same as saying mental illness in general is.  It may or may not have been a contributing factor, but clearly there was more going on, so we can't really say it was the CAUSE.

    •  It's not 'instead of' but 'in additon to' (4+ / 0-)

      Gun safety and mental illness both need to be examined.

    •  no one is "picking on the mentally ill" (4+ / 0-)

      But the issue with these kinds of rampage killings is universally that the person had issues. Sane, well-adjusted people by definition do not run out to kill as many strangers as they can.
      The difference in that sense between the US and other countries is not the prevalance of guns, but the disgraceful state of our mental health infrastructure compared to countries with quality universal health care.
      Having a gun is not going to make someone a killer, and gun owners, contrary to the perceptions of some here, are not cowboys just waiting to shoot people. In the vast majority of cases where a gun is used for self-defense, it's never fired.
      This kid had problems. He should have been getting more help than he was, and he should have had no access to firearms.
      No one is saying the mentally ill, as a group, are dangerous. But it's certainly the case that some people pose a danger to themselves and others, and our mental health system - after endless budget cuts, neglect and an enduring stigma - sucks and identifying and helping those people under after blood has been shed.

      “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” - Rumi

      by Jaxpagan on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:04:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a problem (14+ / 0-)

    With the basic premise.

    If mental illness is not to blame for mass shootings (or individual murders), then the inevitable corrolary is that murder is the sort of thing that is expected of normal, well-adjusted people.

    So, unless you are going to argue that murdering innocent people is what mentally healthy people do, it pretty much means these actions are the province of mental illness. Not all types by any means, if that is what the author was getting at, but mental illness nonetheless.

    •  There is a difference between mental illness (4+ / 0-)

      and mental disorder. There is a reason that 'insane' has a specific legal definition.

      What these spree killers are, is evil; I say that not to invite a superficial condemnation of evil or that we sprinkle holy water upon them, but good and evil are never hard to define; they're only difficult to apply sometime.

      Evil. Noun. Something which is intended solely to cause significant social harm as defined by either the intent of the perpetrator or the consensus of the society in which he or she lives.

      It's a social construct, so it has meaning, and it deserves to be used in this way. This doesn't mean we just write these people off as irredeemable; it might be time to put to use the redemption conceit which is central to all evangelical (I use the word non-pejoratively here) religions: Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, Mahayana Buddhism, Bhakti Yoga, etc.

    •  You don't understand the definition... (12+ / 0-)

      ...of mental illness, and you seem to extend the burden of proof for an insanity plea to anyone who commits a serious crime.

      What I'm saying is quite clear cut: there is no international correlation between the incidence of mental illness and the degree of mass gun deaths.

      The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

      by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:10:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you so much for this article. (4+ / 0-)

        I read it last night on the Daily Beast with great relief. I have been making many of the same arguments as David Barlow here at dKos. Unfortunately many here bandy about terms such as insanity and mental illness that they clearly do not understand and promote false information correlating psychological disorders with increased violence with no factual basis.

        If this is to remain a reality based community, it is imperative we accept facts that conflict with are strongly held beliefs. This article is a good step in that direction.

        It's the Central Limit Theorem, Stupid!

        by smartdemmg on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:00:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think that there is a correlation between (5+ / 0-)

        the lack of treatment and services that the mentally ill suffer without this country.

        Our jails are filled with people who are mentally ill.

        There's no other place to put them anymore; and that approach only perpetuates the problem.

      •  Then, what IS the definition (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn, fuzzyguy

        of mental illness?  and how is the mental health profesion's definition of mental illness different from the legal definition in trials when NGRI (not guilty by reason of insanity) is invoked?  And what other terms do we need to use to talk about people who seem to have mental health problems?  Disorder, mental health problems, emotional problems, etc...
        And what are the links to the authorities for these definitions?

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:22:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Taken from Nat'l All. on Ment. Illness: (4+ / 0-)
          A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.
          Mental disorders aren't 'strict' but are usually used to indicate a much lesser degree of impairment. NGRI or GBMI (Guilty but Mentally Ill) requires that someone have such a high degree of impairment that they are incapable of appreciating the criminality of their actions or that they are incapable of controlling their actions.
          •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mahakali overdrive, Brit

            Actually I kind of knew the answer but I wanted to impress upon the author that some of the language might help the diary.

            The fact is that "mental illness" is defined in different ways depending on what source one checks or the context one is asking from.  And all the other terms we hear, some found in the DSM-III, some in the DSM-5, are evolving or are imprecise and confusing.

            Here at DK we will do much better if we provide clear definitions to them when we discuss them.

            My spouse works in a high security hospital and her patients are there due to NGRI findings after they killed people.  Schizophrenia and depression are the most common culprits.  I also worked in a psych hospital for a few years, so I have some sense of this area.

            I get the author's main point.  The problem is the ready availability of guns in our culture.  I agree with that.  Yet I think our society's ignorance and neglect of mental health issues is both obfuscating that and compounding the problem.  I think we have to talk about it.

            Liza Long's article was a tragic joke.  Among other things, she didn't provide a diagnosis or any test information on her apparently twice exceptional child.  It only makes conversations harder.  I saw it get pushed by MSN even.

            The shooter seems to have had an undiagnosed illness or disorder that possibly compounded the danger.  We still need to understand how to talk about that.  This diary was a good start.

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:25:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  My understanding (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is that the legal definition of insanity is that one is unable to distinguish the difference between right and wrong.  Thefore, some sociopaths, for example, are what society may consider insane, but would not legally considered such, as many of them DO understand what actions are generally considered right or wrong, but as they lack empathy, they simply don't care.

          And I find your lumping it all together kind of offensive, frankly, as it implies that my social anxiety disorder makes me just as dangerous as someone with antisocial personality disorder may be.

          •  That seems like a good definition to me for NGRI (0+ / 0-)

            I'm surprised you take offense.  You're misunderstanding my comment.  Other folks like Lisa Long are doing the lumping while condemning people (her own son...).  Unsorting some of the language is what some of us are urging to avoid the ignorant generalizations you're talking about.

            I'm just asking the question about how we're going to get clear definitions since we talk about mental health issues at DK:

            And what other terms do we need to use to talk about people who seem to have mental health problems?  Disorder, mental health problems, emotional problems, etc...
            And what are the links to the authorities for these definitions?

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:41:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry, but anyone who kills 26 people (0+ / 0-)

        and then kills himself IS mentally ill.

        I don't give a flying FUCK if they're diagnosed as such, but they're sick in the head.

        Obviously other people with mental illness shouldn't be blamed or shunned because of this shooting, but claiming Adam Lanza isn't sick in the head is ridiculous.

        Disorder.  Illness.  Splitting hairs.

        While 20 kids are being buried.

        "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and me?" - Don Van Vliet

        by AlyoshaKaramazov on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:49:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  thank you (3+ / 0-)

      massacres like sandy hook are, by definition, not sane behavior.  not rational behavior.  mentally well people just don't up and do that sort of thing after breakfast.

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

      by Cedwyn on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:35:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nor do many (0+ / 0-)

        mentally "unwell" people.

        In fact, how are you defining "well" or "unwell?"  I have Social Anxiety Disorder, which is technically a mental disorder or mental illness, depending on the terminology you would prefer to use.  

        So unless you're seriously implying that someone with an anxiety disorder, like myself, is just as likely to be violent as someone with something more serious (though even the majority of them are unlikely to be violent toward anyone but themselves), then yes, we do need to stop saying "mental illness" is the cause of these things, especially when using it as a blanket term.

        •  of course not (0+ / 0-)

          "mental wellness" is used as a blanket term precisely because there is a range.

          no one is saying that everyone with social anxiety is liable to snap like this.

          but it cannot be argued that stable people do these kinds of things.

          Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

          by Cedwyn on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:28:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the vast majority of "unstable" or "mentally ill" people would never dream of doing something like this.  That's my point.

            So just saying "Well, he was clearly unstable" doesn't explain why he did it, any more than saying "he had Asperger's" does.  The instability may or may not have been a contributing factor, but even if it was, there had to have been something else too.

            I think there's also a discussion to be had about what is considered "stable."  As discussed elsewhere here, the definition of "insane" by legal standards depends on one's ability to tell right from wrong.  So does someone with a mental illness who can still make that distinction count as unstable?

    •  Are you arguing that committing murder (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, Brit, LilithGardener

      is de facto evidence of mental illness?  That argument would lead to a legal system where every murderer is not guilty by reason of insanity.
      It would mean that a person who is clinically psychotic and unable to distinguish reality from fantasy has no more protection under the law than the person who decides that the music is too loud and shoots up a car full of kids.

  •  I'm glad you wrote this, Brit (17+ / 0-)

    because my daughter's father has introduced her to the world of gun ranges and target practice.

    I had a conversation with her Sunday in which she was parroting pro-NRA (and her father's)  talking points;

    1. How is taking away guns gonna stop mass murders?

    2. The country should focus on treating the mentally ill, not taking away the guns of responsible people.

    --I explained that people in the United States are more likely to die by the gun than any other first world nation because of the availability of them. Live by the gun; die by the gun. Baby, your super fun time bonding activity with your father and the fact that you desire to possess guns is what proliferates the guns in our society and leads to people getting shot.

    --There's no reason for any citizen to have the ability to shoot 60 bullets in under a minute. If that person needs such artillery, he/she needs to get out of the illegal gangster business because no game hunter needs that kind of fire power.

    --If a gunman came into your school with that kind of weapon, they'd all be dead, shot several times each. If he had a weapon that wasn't so automatic and didn't hold so many bullets, more children would have time to run and less would be shot.

    --All mass murderers haven't been labeled mentally ill but if that's the case, my little girl, you have a 50% chance of them being taken away from YOU. Mental illness runs in your family, baby. You might be facing a life of treatment for depression which has been a genetic phenomenon of this family for several generations. It will strike you at about age 20-24 if you were unlucky enough to inherit such a thing. That remains to be seen because you're only 13. Maybe some wrong-minded legislation will exist to deny YOU what you want to deny "crazy" people like your mother.

    We haven't talked about it since Sunday but I'm gonna bring it up again because I'd hate for me and her dad to be figuratively pulling her arms in different directions, trying to impose our views upon her but this, to me, is serious business that my 13 year old girl lusts for AK15s and can explain ammo and weaponry like she's been raised in an underground resistance camp in Cambodia. She's a middle class girl, privileged and sheltered.

    And those are the types that shoot innocent people in public sometimes. Just sayin'.

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:40:17 AM PST

  •  deadly conbination (3+ / 0-)

    I believe it's a combination of powerful guns in the hands of someone who's mentally ill filled with mind altering drugs, being influenced by violent games and movies.

    But without military style guns, this could have been avoided.

    You can not do this much damage with a knife.

    •  Drugs? Movies? (6+ / 0-)

      Please point at the evidence of which drugs and movies filled the mind of Adam Lanza last week.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:08:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

        The true role of video games is they alienate and desensitize the general public who use them, who are therefore less capable of a humane reaction to such events. Even if killers do avail themselves of video games, there's no data to suggest the video games are determinative. Their crimes suggest an unhealthy obsession with violent acting out. These are the same arguments used to pin anti social behavior on comic books in the fifties.

      •  linky linky (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ice Blue, citizen31

        Here you go.  Adam Lanza was taking the
        antipsychotic fanapt, which is linked to violence.

        New York Magazine wrote a piece about shooter Adam Lanza's supposed "aspergers" syndrome

        Inside the piece though they report Adam Lanza's uncle said the boy was prescribed Fanapt, a controversial anti-psychotic medicine.
        Fanapt was the subject of a Bloomberg report when it passed regulators, after previously getting the "nonapproval" stamp.

        The main cited reason for the rejection was that it caused severe heart problems in enough patients to cause a stir.
        Maybe more importantly, though, Fanapt is one of a many drugs the FDA pumped out with an ability to exact the opposite desired effect on people: that is, you know, inducing rather than inhibiting psychosis and aggressive behavior.

        And, here's the part about video games.
        For hours on end, alone in his windowless basement den, Adam Lanza studied photos of guns and obliterated virtual victims in violent video games — until the virtual became a reality
        Well, it's video games, not movies, but I think this is close enough to support the argument.
        •  The part about (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fuzzyguy, citizen31, DocGonzo

          drugs I get.  Big pharma is only out to make money, so who cares if they peddle drugs that only exacerbate problems rather than help resolve them?

          But video games?  Leave that one out.  Because you clearly have no understanding of the nonexistent connection between video games and violence.

          •  did you notice (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fuzzyguy, citizen31

            I'm not the one who originally posted. I just noticed you were asking for detail, and provided it.

            You have no understanding of my understanding about video games, as I have not commented on them, other than to provide the information that YOU asked for.

            •  Hold on, (0+ / 0-)

              I wasn't even the person you were replying to.  So I didn't ask for anything.

              Secondly, when you mentioned Adam Lanza and video games, this is what you posted:

              For hours on end, alone in his windowless basement den, Adam Lanza studied photos of guns and obliterated virtual victims in violent video games — until the virtual became a reality.
              THAT is not any kind of science, it's editorializing.  The quotes you posted below are the kind of thing I can get behind (and have no problem with).  
            •  So? (0+ / 0-)

              Whether you originally posted or just jumped in is irrelevant to whether you're saying that video games cause violence. Their (and my, and anyone's who's reading your posts) understanding of your understanding of video games is that you are making claims not proven scientifically. You're providing information, but it's not good information.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:49:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  With regard to videogames and movies (0+ / 0-)

            I have personal experience with this, when my child watched Nacho Libre and then attacked my other child, imitating the wrestling moves she had just seen.

            These studies are more scientific perspective on the issue.


            In the present experiment, participants played a violent or nonviolent video game, viewed violent and nonviolent photos while their brain activity was measured, and then gave an ostensible opponent unpleasant noise blasts. Participants low in previous exposure to video game violence who played a violent (relative to a nonviolent) game showed a reduction in the P3 component of the event-related brain potential (ERP) to violent images (indicating physiological desensitization), and this brain response mediated the effect of video game content on subsequent aggressive behavior. These data provide the first experimental evidence linking violence desensitization with increased aggression, and show that a neural marker of this process can at least partially account for the causal link between violent game exposure and aggression.
            Although numerous experiments have shown that exposure to violent video games (VVG) causes increases in aggression, relatively few studies have investigated the extent to which this effect differs as a function of theoretically relevant individual difference factors. This study investigated whether video game content differentially influences aggression as a function of individual differences in trait anger. Participants were randomly assigned to play a violent or nonviolent video game before completing a task in which they could behave aggressively. Results showed that participants high in trait anger were the most aggressive, but only if they first played a VVG. This relationship held while statistically controlling for dimensions other than violent content on which game conditions differed (e.g. frustration, arousal). Implications of these findings for models explaining the effects of video games on behavior are discussed. Aggr. Behav. 37:539–546, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
            There are many more.  That's just a little light appetizer.
            •  How long until we circle back around... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

     the old "Power Rangers is bad because it makes kids want to fight" arguments?

              •  In the case of my kids, it was obviously a problem (0+ / 0-)

                Like I said.  I learned my lesson with Nacho Libre.   After you let a child watch Power Rangers, watch the child and see if they start practicing karate kicks.  

                There are clear scientific studies that demonstrate that the key to human adaptation and learning is our ability to exactly mimic what we see.   It can work for us, and it can work against us.

                It's not the whole story, by a long shot, but it is PART of the story, just as gun control is part of the story, and mental health is part of the story.   The science is there and it should be part of the discussion.  

                Gun control is not enough.  If the shooter only shoots ten kids instead of twenty, because he ran out of bullets, that's not good enough for me.   We need to talk about the other aspects of the situation, and tackle those, too, and desensitization to violence is one problem, lack of effective mental health care is another, and medications that trigger violent behavior is yet another.   We need to look at ALL of these issues, to save those other ten kids.

            •  Studies (0+ / 0-)

              The Engelhardt/Bartholow/Kerr study had subjects playing a violent game once, for 25 minutes. That is not comparable to chronic immersion in gaming, especially to the exclusion of most other activity. How many reports are there of people suddenly murdering after their first 25 minutes of violent gaming? The "aggression" that resulted in that study could be limited to merely raising their voices inside.

              The Engelhardt/Bartholow/Saults study showed that some people with higher original propensity for anger became more aggressive after playing a violent video game than those with lower original anger propensity. So given constant video game, what actually predicts the increased aggression is the individual's personality traits of anger potential. The study's claim "but only if they first played a violent video game" is suspect, because clearly people's anger potentials are triggered into aggression by activities other than violent video games every day.

              Both studies, by the core team of Engelhardt/Bartholow (an associate professor and a grad student), make overly broad claims about general psychology from their very narrow results. Then you take them and make even broader claims than that.

              Yeah, your kids got violent after watching a violent movie. Kids mimic what they see and try it out. But beyond relatively harmless boundary testing, nearly no kids don't go shooting up schools after gaming. The ones that do have always been found to have abusive parents and peers. Yet most kids play violent video games.

              It's pretty clear that the actual cause of the violence is the social indoctrination of the individual, not their gaming - even if gaming might (might) help people who are already unstable towards actual violence. Which is pretty well understood already, despite small amounts of evidence for the relatively minor contribution of the gaming.

              You should take more seriously the role of your parenting in your kids' aggression, instead of disproportionately blaming something that isn't as important. If you want to do something about it.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 05:05:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Drugs (0+ / 0-)

          OK, if Lanza was on a drug that increases the risk of psychosis or other problems consistent with his violent behavior, that's extremely relevant. The national discussion of mental health following the Newtown shootings should include the increased risks of our lazily over medicated country.

          But where is the evidence that the video games increased the risk? He did all kinds of things in the weeks before the shootings. There's evidence that violent media give people a way to satisfy violent urges without acting out, reducing their risks. Show me the scientific evidence that proves video games increase the risk. There's not nearly as strong evidence as there is for bad medication.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:47:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  In this case not avoided (0+ / 0-)

      but limited.

      If you look at the original "assault weapons ban" it was more style than substance - you could still legally acquire as powerful or more powerful a weapon that was not classified as an "assault" weapon.

      The key is to limit magazine capacity - this fucking lunatic had some huge capacity clips that allowed him to basically turn those poor kids into swiss cheese.

      Reloading gives that pause where people can strike back - I'm not concerned with the style - I'm concerned with the capacity - our President needs to draw a line at 8 to 10 rounds max - make any higher capacity a felony.  I think you could get that passed and it would have a major impact on mass shootings.

      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

      by ctexrep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:58:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Blame Game (11+ / 0-)

    I wrote a diary myself on the matter of The Blame Game, The Usual Suspects, and how not one single argument proposing any of the distraction reasons offered by pundits and politicians alike holds any water at all.

    They are a distraction technique used to throw a sheet over the big fecking grey pachyderm standing in the middle of the room next to a large steaming pile of pachyderm poop.

    Its NOT mental illness and care issues
    Its NOT videos, films, computer games and comics
    Its NOT religion or the lack of it


    Sorry to shout but in the land of the reason deaf where all sense is drowned out in a tsunami of punditry crosstalk blather....

  •  It is also why many people are now afraid (6+ / 0-)

    to seek help.  Most say admitting they have mental illness such as depression puts them in a new box where a society would expect them to do harm to others.  

    •  They shouldn't be. It is a natural part of life at (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      some point or other for lots of people. It is a part of your body that can get damaged and will need attention. End of story.

      Just like most people need glasses to help their eyes focus. Or need to learn about nutrition to help their bodies thrive. Or need a broken bone set to heal up properly. Or need dentistry to prevent cavities and gum disease.

      There's no shame in getting the help anyone needs.

  •  Crazy Gunman (9+ / 0-)

    Of course mental illness is to blame in Newtown. As are guns. There's plenty of blame to go around. Obsessive either/or compartmentalization is nuts.

    Denial of the harm caused by some mental illnesses in some sick people stops us from dealing wth it. Like if we ignored the germ basis of infection - we'd have more infections. When we used to blame mental illness on something else, and we couldn't protect anyone from it.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:50:24 AM PST

    •  Ehh. See above comment on "evil" from me. (4+ / 0-)

      We don't know what, if any mental illnesses he had and trying to speculate on mental disorders from afar is an even more slippery task. Calling it evil gives it the condemnation it deserves. We do need to push for better mental health, but I would emphasize this under the notion that we don't actually know what made him snap and probably never will. People who are troubled should voluntarily feel free to seek aids from others.

      •  And not having easy access to semi-automatic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        weapons would result in many fewer deaths even if we did nothing about mental illness (which we must).

        Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

        by DefendOurConstitution on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:39:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obviously Crazy (0+ / 0-)

        We don't need to know any more than that he walked into a school and shot dead dozens of people, mostly children. That is undeniably crazy.

        You can call it "evil", but so what? You're going to demand exorcisms? It's still crazy, even if it is "evil".

        This diary is insisting we not blame the killer being crazy. That is itself crazy.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:32:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, your 'of course' just betrays... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ConfusedSkyes, gramofsam1, blueoasis

      ...your lack of concentration on the evidence. It's all there in the diary, and I can provide more links.

      For a tiny minority suffering from psychosis there is a slightly elevated risk of violence. But the planning and forethought betrayed in most gun killings would preclude that.

      The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

      by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:13:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree about planning and forethought (3+ / 0-)

        Paranoid and delusional people are sometimes capable of planning and forethought.

        I agree with your article, but not this point in your comment.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:56:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're right.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ....but did cover myself with 'most' gun attacks. Organised mentally ill killers like Loughner are very rare. Acute paranoid schizophrenics are usually very disorganised, and likely to lash out than plan military style attacks. That's one of the reasons Breivik lost an insanity plea.

          The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

          by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:01:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Insanity Plea (0+ / 0-)

            The insanity defense is about a very specific degree of insanity: is the defendant so crazy they're incapable of telling right from wrong. If that defense fails, it doesn't mean they weren't insane, only not that degree of insane.

            Mass murderers, especially those with no direct relationship to their victims, especially dozens of child victims, are crazy, even if they know it was wrong and did it anyway. Breivik and Lanza might have known it was wrong, but they did it anyway, and are crazy.

            You are now talking like you know legal definitions of insanity that you evidently do not know. You should spend more time listening, and less time polluting the public conversation with unfounded diatribe.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:38:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  i've seen it with my own eyes. nt (0+ / 0-)

          A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

          by poligirl on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:29:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The Evidence is That He Was Crazy (0+ / 0-)

        No, my "of course" indicates that anyone who walks into a school and shoots dead dozens of people, mostly children, is undeniably crazy.

        I did not say that everyone who's mentally ill is dangerous. I did say that this dangerous person was crazy, because you are saying their craziness is irrelevant.

        It is obviously extremely relevant. Why that's not obvious to you says something about your defensiveness about mental illness.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:34:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mental Health is definitely an important issue to (5+ / 0-)

    address, BUT if mentally ill people did not have the super-easy access to cheap/high capacity firearms the results would be very different (as they are in the UK & Japan).  

    It is disgusting how the NRA (and their apologists among us) always try to blame it on a deranged person and it can never be because of the easy access to guns (without any meaningful regulations).

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:51:08 AM PST

  •  Thanks- Excellent Post about Denial (5+ / 0-)

    The Self-Serving Denial so spewed forth by the NRA

    "It could never happen in my town."
    "My child would never do something like that."
    "He was always a little crazy."
    "That religious cult brainwashed him."

    ***All BULLSHIT.
    Availability of Rapid Fire Cartridge Kill Weapons.
    That's what it's about.

  •  Repbulished to Mental Health Awareness nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samanthab, DefendOurConstitution

    "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

    by second gen on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:31:31 AM PST

  •  It's both. (5+ / 0-)

    This Asperger's topic is kind of a sidetrack, but paranoid schizophrenia?  Psycopathy?  Clinical depression coupled with life traumas?  Inabilities to distinguish fantasy from reality?  Acting out inflicted traumas?  These DO make people into abusers, torturers, killers, mass killers.

    Assault weapons must be banned.  Biometric trigger locks should be the norm.  No expanded clips or ammo drums.   Background checks for everyone, no exceptions like gun shows etc.  And more.  

    But more than that, no one should be left behind by public health, because mental health care for everyone solves more than gun problems: it can solve domestic violence, child abuse, animal abuse.  It keeps those people employable & gives them a chance at a nice life.  And it can keep someone who's unemployed or going through other life trauma from falling into depression.  That can't help but help us all.  Mental health isn't about just people with clinical disorders: it's about you & me, when heavy shit hits the hurricane.  Everyone should have a counselor.  I mean EVERYBODY.  

    So let's keep the mental health conversation going in a reality-based direction, but let's ABSOLUTELY NOT pretend that the mental health aspect is a pro-gun issue dodge.  Reining in gun insanity means reining in insanity.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:33:14 AM PST

    •  The things you've described don't all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      constitute mental illness. You're offering sidetracks yourself given you've lumped in apples and oranges. Also, I don't think anyone's argued that the killer couldn't have been mentally ill; this is a strawman.

      •  really? which ones? nt (0+ / 0-)

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:59:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not clinically, but I specified that that's not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the whole picture.

        Perhaps a better choice of words is mental wellness.  And/or emotional wellness.  Are these provided for to the extent that physical wellness is?  Do they contribute to people snapping or "falling down"?  I'll put apples & oranges together if both can make someone shoot someone when not addressed.  

        As I understand a main thrust of this diary, the viral post on Asperger's runs the risk of having some people believe that it constitutes a special risk factor for violence, which is not the case & all should keep that in mind.  Clinical mental illness AND nonclinical mental/emotional distress can contribute to someone's decision to commit crime, and a counselor/social support web can help any & all in these positions, clinically diagnosed or not.  Correct?

        Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

        by Leftcandid on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:34:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Judging by the nasty tone*, it seems that the NRA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silvia Nightshade

    apologists among us are feeling that enough time has passed so they can deliver they talking points.  It won't be long before they start attacking anyone that dares to even talk about their sacred 27 word Constitution (without the "well regulated" part of course) in anything less than awe, they will start ganging up on commenters and diarists to make sure the conversation stops, and soon they will even start telling us (again) that "guns don't kill people ..."

    * of some comments.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:37:13 AM PST

  •  I think we always need to broaden the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    conversation about mental illness because we don't recognize the need for comprehensive treatment in this country. But in the context of Newtown, we need to talk about regulation of rapid fire weaponry and sales of ammunition for those types of weapons.

    It's the "rather" in the Liza Long quote that bothers me and the whole piece seems like a scream for attention at the expense of her child.  Pretty narcissistic, if you ask me. She could have fictionalized the piece without marking her son's future. Better yet, she could have respected her family's privacy.  

    BagNewsNotes: Visual Politics, Media Image Analysis

    by ksh01 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:48:10 AM PST

    •  it seemed to me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      janale, fuzzyguy, salamanderempress

      That long is overwhelmed and desperate. She has a child with severe problems and she knows shes unequipped to deal with them herself, but the help available isn't really helping. I love how everyone is so judgemental and so certain they'd be doing so much better than her. That's just classy!

      •  I'm not a fan of the piece, but I prefer not to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        speculate on her intentions. Not much good I suspect of going down that road.

      •  You know, before snarking that anyone here lacks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        class, you might want to consider that you know nothing about your target's background or life.  Many people have children with severe problems. Most of them don't identify them to the world at large in a way that's not productive for the child.

        Great vent for Long, not so good for the 13 year old she's raising, Enraged Goddess.  As a writer, I can tell you that there are ways to write about her issues that don't identify her soon-to-be young adult son. As a parent, I can tell you that 1. prioritizing venting over a child's privacy shows bad judgment and 2. 13 year old kids are bound to come across a piece of writing that's gone viral.  On the whole, not good for the child.

        BagNewsNotes: Visual Politics, Media Image Analysis

        by ksh01 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:22:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have a cousin with paranoid schizophrenia (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Silvia Nightshade

          who manifested symptoms very early on, so it's combined with some mental disability as well. He is medicated out the wazoo and still has paranoia issues. Most often, he believes that everyone "knows" him and we have to reassure him that if he doesn't know someone, they don't know him. This happens every time we visit. He's 12 years older than me. I remember when I was little the cops and ambulances coming to our house because he became violently paranoid. To this day, no one will explain to me exactly what happened on that day. He was admitted to hospitals more times than I even know about. My aunt was at her wits end trying to get him the right kind of help when FINALLY after years of trying and dealing with failure and it's consequences that she found a good setting for him, with proper treatment and skilled staff. Yes, there are lots of people dealing with the same things. It is NOT easy. So you think her speaking out about her son's problems and the lack of help for them is detrimental to him, which may be true, but some people are taking their judgement of her way too far.

        •  Also (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Silvia Nightshade
          you might want to consider that you know nothing about your target's background or life.
          the whole piece seems like a scream for attention at the expense of her child.  Pretty narcissistic
          Uh huh.
    •  It was also inappropriate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to co-opt the name of a killer, to attract attention via pure sensationalism. This was a grossly indecent thing to do given how families were in the midst of grappling with the shocking revelation of their children's deaths, something you'd think any mother would have been sympathetic enough not to toy around with.

  •  I'm not buying your premise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ctexrep, bleeding blue
    Those millions of Americans who suffer from mental illnesses and learning disabilities have therefore become collateral damage in the soul-searching since the Newtown massacre
    No, only those who commit mass murder.  

    You'd have to have a mental problem to shoot six year olds down in cold blood.   To think otherwise is illogical.   The alternative is just too scary to contemplate.

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:50:40 AM PST

  •  Stop conflating autism disorders and (4+ / 0-)

    mental illness!!!!!1

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:57:29 AM PST

  •  Mental illness and access to guns by those (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    janale, fuzzyguy, poligirl, bleeding blue

    with them MUST be addressed

    not doing so is a copout, not a distraction

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:02:03 AM PST

    •  Except that you've diagnosed the killer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      based on nothing. Nonsense answers are the ultimate distraction. Get back to me when you've advocated for mental illness outside the context of violence. No one is saying that mental illness shouldn't be addressed; the  point, or my point, is that it shouldn't be used as a way for the general populace as scapegoat to marginalize the killer. If you are diagnosing a killer based on nothing, you are making that imaginary diagnosis as a scapegoat. Mass killers do NOT have to be mentally ill. To suggest otherwise is to be dishonest.

  •  Stop blaming mental illness.... (0+ / 0-)

    .....but continue blaming inanimate objects.

    When will we begin to have a truly rational debate?  No time soon, I fear, at least not on this site.

    •  He's not blaming inanimate objects. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrblifil, Catte Nappe, Brit

      He is blaming culture/legislators who have inadvertently sanctioned and now expect us to tolerate irresponsible use of inanimate objects.

    •  Was that intended to be constructive? (3+ / 0-)

      Because it comes off like a gun advocate talking smack. Blaming inanimate objects? Are cars inanimate objects? Should we eliminate speed limits because cars are inanimate? Does the term "public safety" mean anything to you? Are you so enamored of your violent fantasy life that you need to concoct such a preposterous response to reasoned argument?

      Blaming inanimate objects. Man you guys are really outdoing yourselves over the last few days.

      •  Have you even read the title of the diary, (0+ / 0-)

        much less the contents?  I fear not.

        Any truly rational discussion would not include an outright denial that mental health issues should be part of, you guessed it, the discussion.

        But instead of rational discussion, what do we have? A diarist who seems determined NOT to have any discussion of mental illness or mental fitness when discussing gun violence, abetted by a chorus of emotionally driven gun grabbers who, taking a page from the tea party, refuse to engage in discourse which doesn't affirm their preconceived notions.

        If anyone actually stop to think about what's happening here, then it was very constructive.  If not, then it isn't terribly different from trying to engage a hardcore tea partier in debate, except in terms of the subject matter at hand.

  •  Excellent and shared. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil, Brit

    Of course Long's piece is a derail, and in my paranoid (you'd better lock me up!) moments I think it's deliberate.

    I've been arguing with friends about this all week.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:34:03 AM PST

  •  Paranoid schizophrenia. Deadly and not rare. (10+ / 0-)

    Not Asperger's. Easy to confuse with autistic spectrum in the early milder stages, where schizotypal disorders present with social disabilities. It seems that Adam Lanza was tagged with "Asperger's" early on, which is not a condition that matches to violent behaviors, suicide, or any expression whatsoever of deep hatred.


    "There are various problems with Long’s impassioned piece when it comes to “talking” about mental illness, partly due to the fact it contained a slew of questionable diagnoses—Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant, or Intermittent Explosive Disorder—which aren’t officially recognized as mental illnesses at all."
    Autism spectrum and ADHD are legally recognized disorders.

    The "big ticket" Axis I mental condition that matches with mass attacks on strangers is paranoid schizophrenia. That connection has been analyzed in some depth since the 1960s. America has approximately 50,000 of these people. They are difficult to identify: only 30% of surviving mass murderers who attacked groups had been identified for mental illness prior to their crimes.

    The task of separating paranoid schizophrenics from explosives and militarized weapons has required that countries change the ways they control these tools. Australia presents a recent, socially parallel, English-language example.

    Eliminating attacks on groups is not a difficult problem. Once you understand the problem. Saying the phrase "gun-wielding maniacs" doesn't move your thinking ahead quite enough; go for what medical science and analytical research provide.

    Anders Behring in Norway and Jared Loughner and Martin Bryant are paranoid schizophrenics. The disease is well analyzed:

    -- 17 per 100,000 people

    -- 50,000 Americans

    -- Lifetime condition after it develops

    America banned full-automatic machine guns and locked up explosives, but stopped after that.

    Australia got hit once in 1996, the Bryant slaughter, and they changed two weeks later. America gets hit once a month and we can't tell "paranoid schizophrenia" from cupcakes.

    Our Talking Head television experts have these murders driven by "bullying," "self pity," "rage," "trying to get attention," and "fame." There seems to be a ban on presenting the science here, what has come from psychiatric/medical/scientific evaluations of surviving mass murderers.

    Australia did a 600,000-weapon buy-back in 1996. They still have a couple million guns in homes. Yet their licensing system and utter disregard for Gun Biz profits have combined to eliminate 100% of these gun-facilitated mass murders over a period of 16 years.

    We need to understand paranoid schizophrenia, which is an organic illness. Early on the milder forms can be treated chemically -- as with most types of schizophrenia. Parents, teachers, school people need to know enough about this illness to make referrals to psychiatrists:

    -- Mayo Clinic, describing earlier, milder paranoid schizophrenia

    Symptoms and development characteristics are anything but "top secret."

    The first problem is to understand the problem.

    "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012

    by bontemps2012 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:39:22 AM PST

    •  In rarer cases (5+ / 0-)

      it's simple brain trauma. The Texas Tower shooter was found to have a large cancerous growth in the brain which the autopsy showed would have killed him within that year. He had been having disturbing ideation fantasies of climbing the tower, which he had voiced to friends. His diaries showed a deep concern about the confusing thoughts that he could not subdue, and in the letters he wrote the day of his shooting spree he wanted to leave his belongings to medical research so that "tragedies like this" don't happen again. That was written after he had stabbed to death his mother and wife but before he went to the tower.

      Maybe he had paranoid schizophrenia in addition but it's hard for the layman not to conclude that his terminal brain condition contributed in some way to his ongoing degeneration. OTOH many people suffer malignant tumors in the brain and don't climb towers with a rifle, so I understand it's a more complicated issue.

      •  Check out Tennyson Obih. (0+ / 0-)

        He developed PS and was treated in the National Health Service long enough for a full case file to be developed.

        Hallucinations, delusional world view, anything and everything. "Off the radar" and off his meds.


        We don't even really try. NHS tries.

        "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012

        by bontemps2012 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:15:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Newtown shooting occurred because that (4+ / 0-)

    young man had access to guns--plain and simple.

    It was obvious, according to many news reports, that the shooter had something wrong with him. His exact diagnosis, though, is immaterial to the discussion at hand. There are many conflicting reports about his mother--some claim that she was a survivalist waiting for the economy to meltdown, while other reports painted her as a very devoted and loving mother. We don't know what, if any of this is actually true.

    But what we do know is that she failed to keep her firearms out of her son's hands--and as a result, she, her son, and many innocent people died. If there had been no firearms in that house, none of this would have happened.

    As stated above, we don't know if he had a mental health diagnosis or not, but I will say this--if you are a caregiver for a person who is incapable of living independently because of their mental illness or disability, you have a responsibility not only to manage their money and  help them with their medical decisions, as well as their daily living activities, you also have a responsibility to keep that person safe. Giving such a person access to guns is irresponsible, period.

    If we want to keep more mass shootings from occurring, we need to ban assault weapons and high capacity clips, require all gun buyers to undergo background checks, and work to reduce the number of guns floating around in American society overall.

    While it is important to address mental health issues as part of an overall strategy to reduce the amount of violence in American society, I feel the pro-gun lobby--indeed the entire GOP--will simply attempt to scapegoat the mentally ill and disabled. They may propose to "expand mental health services" but will not address the many issues that plague the mental health industry--resulting in even wider spread abuse and neglect of those with mental illness and disabilities.

    If we are to create a mental health system that truly provides those who need it with the kind of care they need and deserve, it will take literally years of work. More providers will need to be trained and facilities built. Much research need to be done in order for scientists to better understand mental disorders and disabilities, and the best approach to treating them. In addition, taxpayers are going to have to cough up the money to provide appropriate treatment for those in need. Access to therapies such as behavioral therapy and occupational therapy, etc. needs to be greatly expanded. Funding for these kinds of therapies have been cut drastically by many state legislatures.  Many individuals, including children, are being improperly or overly medicated because they lack access to other therapies that may be more beneficial to them than drugs.

    In addition, the many problems of residential care facilities need to be addressed. Abuse and neglect are rampant in these kinds of settings. Individuals living in these facilities are among some of the most vulnerable in our society, and it is completely unacceptable that widespread abuse is tolerated.

    Curbing gun violence is a problem that will take time, and much work. There are no simple answers to solving the violence problem in American society. But gun control is something that can help right now.

  •  Wow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    “Doubt is a product, and you have sleepers and advocates who are well briefed to construct a counter-narrative in times of crisis.”
    That is a powerful statement. Makes one wonder...
  •  I'm an aspie (7+ / 0-)

    and I know first hand that this simple fact does not turn me into a gun toting kook (but rather into a verbose pontificator, but that's another story!)

    However, mental health is a conversation we need to have. Some mental illnesses, particularly things like paranoid schizophrenia, are risk factors for violence. Just like I'm not your ideal candidate for social director on a cruise ship, there are some people who are not ideal candidates for gun ownership.

    Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

    by Bobs Telecaster on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:00:40 AM PST

  •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

    Mental illness was a factor in this shooting.

  •  Perfect storm (0+ / 0-)

    of some kind of deviant thought process, our culture of violence=normal, and the availability of an assault weapon.  So many fronts to take on.  But I cringe when they talk about mental illness as the sole problem.  My sister in law is paranoid schizophrenic and she would not hurt a fly.  She might be a bit stubborn, but that's about it.  We can't start labeling people...AGAIN.  

  •  the facts (5+ / 0-)

    Adam Lanza was on a prescription antipsychotic called FANAPT, meaning that he was under the influence of drugs (one that was linked with violence), and he was diagnosed with a mental health issue.

    Don't let the facts interfere with the fantasies, though.  It's great fun pretending that mass murderers are just normally healthy people having a perfectly normal day.

    It's hard to accept that a killer is mentally ill or was influenced by a prescription medication, because it raises such tough moral questions.

    What does it mean when a kid (to me, he was still a kid) is mentally ill, does the right thing, goes to a doctor, takes the medication that his doctor gives him, and then kills a bunch of school kids.  

    Whose fault is it?

    Maybe we are asking the wrong question.

    "What could we have done to prevent this?" might be a much better question.

    Maybe a kid this sick should have been in a publicly funded State Mental Health facility.  

    Oh yeah, we don't have much of that, anymore.  

    Maybe, we should ask whether these drugs are being tested in kids, and inquire into the many violent incidents that have occurred, homicides and suicides, in people who were taking these medications.   Is the risk really worth it?

    Oh yeah, we can't talk about mental illness.   It has nothing to do (rolling of the eyes) with it.

    •  Facts. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rubyr, Brit

      Fact: Mental illness, treated or untreated, is not a very good predictor of who will commit these crimes. In fact, there really are no good predictors because these events are so rare.

      Fact: Treatments for mental illness are better than they used to be but the cause and cures for mental and emotional disturbances are still quite mysterious.

      Fact: If news reports are true, the shooter in Newtown was being treated for his mental illness yet he still snapped.

      Fact: As a society, we cannot afford nor can we justify on humane grounds that everyone suffering from a mental illness must be locked away.

      Fact: Australia tightened down access to certain types of weapons and they have not seen a mass shooting like this in nearly twenty years.

      If you want to reduce the likelihood of these shootings, stop blaming anti-depressants and instead make it really, really difficult for people to obtain the guns tha are used in these incidents.

      "They are an entire cruise ship of evil clowns, these current Republicans"...concernedamerican

      by Giles Goat Boy on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:19:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  not so difficult (0+ / 0-)

        Having had a family member who was mentally ill and prone to violence, I can say it is not so hard to predict who will be violent.    If you have observed a pattern of violence in the past, and you see a preoccupation with violence (such as an attraction to very violent videogames and movies), then you can predict that the pattern will continue.   There are many tragic situations resulting from mental health issues which are never publicly reported or mourned, including suicides, child abuse and individual homicides.

        I agree that treatment for mental illness has limited effectiveness, and that's why I hope that this incident might focus some attention on improving that.   And, there are families who struggle with family members who clearly need it and won't agree to it, so there need to be reasonable commitment procedures.  

        Encouraging a focus on mental illness does not equate to saying that everyone needs to be locked away, but there are many, many, many persons who do need inpatient care, who are not receiving it because we don't want to spend that money as a society.

        There is a problem with mental health medications.  Corporations are exerting control over the regulatory process, and cheating at the testing process.   We are using medications in kids that have only been tested in adults.   In some persons, certain medications can cause severe aggression, and appear to be causing mass shootings and suicides.   Identifying these medications and removing them from the market could be as effective, or even MORE effective, than removing guns from the market.   Medications of this type have been linked to multiple incidents of mass violence, as well as suicides and other incidents, often in young persons.  

        This shooting also appears to have a connection with violent video games, so this is another area we need to look at, and it has an association with mental health.  These games do affect mental health, causing a measurable desensitization to violence.  Caution:   This video game might have a lasting impact on your brain.

        Connecticut had an assault weapons ban, so more of the same does not fill me with great hope.   We can try it, I guess, but if we keep ignoring the failure of our national mental health care system (or lack thereof), I don't hold out much hope that we'll make much progress.

        In addition, we've had a ban on recreational drugs for decades, and it appears that the ban has made recreational drugs MORE plentiful, rather than less plentiful, and caused an epidemic of violence.   I am not convinced that our government could control weapons, even if they tried.  I see no proof of it.  There are tricks that are available, often helped out by manufacturers, in which a "legal" gun can be turned into an "illegal" gun with only minor modifications.   Customers know this, and manufacturers know this, and you can get the instructions straight off the internet.  

        A gun ban isn't a cure all.  We need to look at other interventions if we want to make real progress.

  •  Wake up call.... SANE PEOPLE dont kill 20 babies. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bleeding blue

    Whatever your mental illness axe to grind is, the fact remains ALL these mass shootings were carried out by people suffering from some manner or another of mental illness. Just because someone wasn't formally diagnosed and treated, doesn't mean he/she was SANE.

    No SANE person could ever gun down 20 babies, ever. The act itself is 100% proof positive that he was insane, period.

    If that revelation bothers you.... TOUGH SHIT.

    •  You miss the point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester

      First of all, mentall illness and insanity are not the same thing.

      More importantly, saying all mass killers are mentally ill is not the same as saying all mentally ill people are likely killers.

      The fact is 99.999999999999999% percent of people who suffer from mental illness will never kill anyone, and if they do kill anyone, it will most likely be themselves and nobody else.

      As an aside, how many people can a person kill and still be considered sane?

      "They are an entire cruise ship of evil clowns, these current Republicans"...concernedamerican

      by Giles Goat Boy on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:56:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course not... (0+ / 0-)

        There are a couple hundred thousand schizophrenic's in the US, and yet only a few would ever become homicidal. There are likely thousands of sociopath's and psychopath's in the US, but the FBI says only a couple dozen serial killers are actively working the streets.

        The problem is that the handful that do become homicidal maniacs make one hell of a disaster of it.

        But it is not the best solution to lock up (figuratively) tens of millions of not mentally ill, and let the handful run around free.

        It just strikes me of the same over reaction that Homeland Security has become in response to the terrorist threat and incidents.

  •  BRIT, excellent post, but please read this... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silvia Nightshade, Brit, rubyr

    ...I have some firsthand commentary to add to this conversation, due to multiple factors...

    1.) I live just over 20 minutes from Newtown, but just a few hundred yards across the state border, in New York (and when you cross the border, politically, it is akin to living in a somewhat different world)...and the picture painted by the MSM of a "bucolic New England town" (which it certainly appears to be, on the surface), actually belies some greater truths about the area, not the least of which being that given a short list of communities that may be considered the "gun capital of the New England," the truth is that the Newtown, CT (and surrounding communities) would be on it.

    2.) And, perhaps one of the most important documents supporting this reality would be an article from the NY Times, from Monday: "In Town at Ease With Its Firearms, Tightening Gun Rules Was Resisted." The information is quite stunning. And, while it's only mentioned in a couple of places in the article, Newtown is where the headquarters of the National Shooting Sports Foundation is located, one of the largest organizations of its type in the United States. Perhaps second in size in the country--with the NRA being first--in terms of its importance in the entire gun manufacturing industry, as far as gun-owning advocacy is concerned! The organization claims to be the primary trade group for the entire U.S. gun manufacturing community of just 29,000 people! THIS IS A RATHER HUGELY OVERLOOKED/UNDERSTATED fact in the entire coverage of this story, IMHO.

    3.) I have many personal anecdotes about driving through Danbury, CT (the largest city in the immediate area), as far as the area's gun culture's concerned, but I'll save those for my own post; where I'll also discuss some greater truths regarding how many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people have personal attachments to this tragedy. (i.e.: the husband of the Sandy Hook School's psychologist, Mary Sherlach--one of the six adults killed in this tragedy--was a classmate of mine at my small high school in New Jersey.)

    4.) More to follow...but, this is certainly a story of the role of guns in this community's environment/psyche, for sure!  

    Meanwhile, your piece is quite excellent. Kudos! Hopefully, I've provided with links to give you a better understanding of the community environment in which this horrific event occurred, too.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:39:28 AM PST

  •  Perhaps we need a new diagnosis for bloodthirsty (0+ / 0-)

    human scum and make a pill for it like we have for everything else.

  •  Getting annoyed (6+ / 0-)

    Boy, I am getting annoyed with people being so damn blind in an effort to push their own agendas.

    The gun lovers scream that when we say our gun laws are a contributing factor:

    "No you are making all gun owners out to be blood thirsty killers!!"

    So when we say that mental health and the lack of access to professional help is a contributing factor

    "No you are making everyone with mental health issues into blood thirsty killers!!'

    Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break.

    People want to ignore one factor to prop up their arguments in favor of another factor. How about they are all factors? Is that too complicated for people to understand? Just because we are talking about one factor does NOT elimanate the other.

    People need to grow the fuck up and get off thier own personal agendas for a few minutes.

    •  While I disagree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, Satya1

      that it's too complicated to understand, I agree with you.  There is something wrong with people like Lanza who get up one day and commit mass murder and suicide.  I have a hard time believing they are totally mentally healthy.  They have issues, clearly.  Exactly WHAT Adam Lanza's issue was, I don't know.  But he was not mentally healthy, period.

      And I say this as someone who does struggle with mental illness, so I get it when people talk about lack of access to treatment, that it's not taken seriously, and it's used to belittle people and discriminate.

    •  This is the truth of the matter... (0+ / 0-)
      How about they are all factors? Is that too complicated for people to understand? Just because we are talking about one factor does NOT elimanate the other.

      "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

      by rubyr on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:26:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The American system (the greatest ever)... (0+ / 0-)

    even so has it's flaws...  Every bloc or group...i.e the video industry, the gun lobby, conservatives, liberals have the power through funding to turn any argument to either change the focus away from the truth or in the direction that they are more apt to succede in.

    We are not able to get to the heart of many matters now aday with all the very smart and talented people collected to fight for this or that cause.  And in many many cases the heart of these paid advocates are no where to be found in the particular bloc they represent, but moolah is their motivation...

    mental health is a symptom only of the problem that aileth America...

  •  Killing someone with bare hands or bludgeoning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is a hard, messy, exhausting effort. Guns kill quickly, easily. Maybe we should counter with "Guns don't kill people slowly; people do."

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizzam!

    by fourthcornerman on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:10:06 AM PST

  •  Great diary- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, Brit

    and how right you are!

    Gun advocates are willing to talk about anything------but the guns---anything..................

    Blame it on---whomever----whatever.......but not the guns.

    Do not blame the easy access----and gross availability---- of guns----- in this country.

    Not ever.

    That bullshit argument--in plain english---means no responsibility taken-----no practical solutions provided---no realistic options offered------and----most of all----- no changes---of any kind---in current gun-policy---in this country.

    Nails the lid shut--on gun-advocacy current thinking.

    There is no one in the world that does not suffer---- at some point in their lives---- from-----breakdown----- depression--- --trauma----stress----insomnia-----anger-----loss of self esteem....................possible mini strokes---you name it-----all of it  is part of the human condition.

    "If it were up to me I'd take away the guns."

    It is the guns--period.


    "If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns."--Cheryl Wheeler

    by lyvwyr101 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:18:16 AM PST

    •  Why should we not talk about three things (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tonyahky, poligirl, Kysen, rubyr

      1.) guns
      2.) mental health
      3.) drug laws

      These are the most likely keys, all of them, to stopping a terrible situation of violence in the U.S. -- there may be other factors which I've not included, but these are all undeniably part of the bigger picture of gun violence in the U.S.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:38:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is a shame that Autism or Asperger's is being (5+ / 0-)

    blamed, but these don't show the full picture.

    Under Nancy Lanza's recent bid for conservatorship for her son, so that she could place him in-patient as an adult, this was not likely to have been for either of these disorders. Aren't these treated as outpatient problems, by and large?

    So what was she considering placing him in custody for? Why was she going through legal wrangling to do that?

    We don't have his medical records yet.

    He surely did have Asperger's, but that hardly precludes his having a concomitant disorder with a psychotic break, which is the probable reason any human being shoots and kills others in cold blood. Or eats their faces off, as with Eugene Rudy, the Miami cannibal.

    I'd like to know how other countries handle situations where young men display strange behavioral patterns. Almost all mass murders have occurred statistically in the U.S. but also Western Europe and to some degree Scandinavia in parts. There are a few other anomalies but these are highly select.

    My concern here is with mass murders. I think we would be very, very wise to not confuse these with other types of homicide ranging from domestic murder to gang violence to serial killing: each has its own distinct profile.

    This needs deep analysis because we really have no reasonable method to assist the profoundly mentally ill (particularly schizophrenics, who may require a deeper degree of care) at this time. That's pretty impossible to not regard and is a powderkeg. It's also a politicized and polemicized and economized situation which makes it a difficult one to discuss from the Right OR the Left.

    Which leaves it to the rest of us to do our best if we'd like to see Holmes, Loughner, Cho, Lanza, and others receive treatment before its too late. Loughner's story is particularly chilling since, after receiving treatment, he realized with some horror that he had killed people and now lives with that knowledge, something he had not realized before medication for his undiagnosed condition.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:36:28 AM PST

  •  So the killer was not mentally ill? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Get real.

  •  You're wrong about Asperger's (0+ / 0-)

    "An uncorroborated rumor about the gunman, Adam Lanza, suggested that he suffered from Asperger’s syndrome—a now out-of-use term for a higher-functioning form of autism."

    The term Asperger's is still widely used. The DSM-V is going to drop it, but it's not even coming out for another six months.

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Glad to see that this is being pushed by more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    people, trying to deflect blame will only water down the real conversation that needs to be had.....

    It's quite simple, remove the gun from the equation, 27 people NOT dead!

    Reach for the sky, Touch the sky, Revive a hope, For Mankind!

    by Greatwyrm on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:57:20 AM PST

  •  I take your point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anak, Brit

    The easy availability of guns is the 500lb gorrilla in the room for sure. However, although I am not a mental health professional, I have to believe that anyone who can kill 26 total strangers, most of them 6 and 7 year olds, is mentally ill, or the term has no meaning.

  •  Mental Illness and guns (6+ / 0-)

    I don't see why the conversation can't be about both. My cousin's daughter gets enraged (personality disorder), and it's really scary when you see that seething in her eyes over nothing. But my cousin can't afford to put her anywhere that is decent and might really help her. I could see her slaughtering her mother if she had a gun, and I often fear she might use a knife or burn down the house.

    However, that Lanza had psychological issues still doesn't excuse us not taking care of our easy access to weapons of mass destruction. I know plenty of people who operate in the world under cover of being "sane", yet are rabid tea party wingnut types. They probably wouldn't choose school children as targets, but they definitely have the capacity to mow down liberals if they thought they could get away with it. And they have a stockpile of guns too.

    So let's keep talking about both issues. No need to choose one over the other.

  •  ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The shooter was obviously mentally ill, so why deny it?  Or do you perhaps think the slaughter of 20 children, and one's own mother, is the product of a healthy mind?  

    The shooter was also male, like every other recent mass shooter.  Shall we deny that as well?  He was young, another commonality among these shooters.  Mental illness is just one more piece of the puzzle, and leaving it out will only make it harder to prevent further shootings.

    Had this shooter received mental health care, it's possible that all those children would still be alive today.  This should be an opportunity to expand mental health care and recognize it as an illness like any other.  Instead we're straying into PC land with this fear of calling it what it is.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:30:24 AM PST

  •  You're missing 1/2 of... (0+ / 0-)

    The equation if you don't believe mental illness is one of the causes of these mass murders...

    There is no sane person that would commit such an atrocity...

    Throw in easy access to a rapid fire large magazine assault rifle and you have created a perfect storm...

    Lets include all the causes in the discussion or, our solution will be lacking!

    "Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
    I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."
    ~John F. Kennedy~


    by Oldestsonofasailor on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:46:17 PM PST

  •  Brit-- thank you for this sensible diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am amazed that people misconstrue, distort, misperceive,
    and all other manner of refusing to understand.

    It is ridiculous that the MSM is spouting nonsense about Asperger's syndrome and violence that has been refuted left and right for the last days, yet they continue with their drumbeat. It is extremely irresponsible to paint people who suffer with this syndrome with a broad brush and make already difficult lives, more difficult. Thank you for this well-documented piece setting the record straight. This article is clear as a bell, well written and supported by documentation and it would be difficult to miss your point but many did. That is why a civil discussion can rarely be held on this site. What a shame because these are vital issues that need to be reasonably addressed.  

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:38:29 PM PST

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