What happened in Newton, Connecticut last Friday was indeed an enormous tragedy. It is so painful I can hardly allow myself to think too deeply about it. I could only imagine what the families involved are going through. My prayers go out to them.
However, well before the bodies cooled, the Progressive/Liberals were singing their usual mantra on how guns are the cause of horrendous multi-shootings and killings. They are calling for draconian gun control laws as the solution of the problem. The Progressive/Liberals see this tragedy as their golden opportunity to once and for all deal with the Gun issue, and stomp on the Second Amendment; “Can’t let a good crisis go to waste.” Sen. Diane Feinstein (D) CA is already locked, cocked and ready to roll with a new and vastly improved Assault Weapons Ban. The hysteria is at a fever pitch.
The media also plays a major role in increasing the frequency of the shootings and the kill rate in the past year. The amount of TV time they give to reporting on these mass shootings, I believe, encourages the next nutter out there to plan a bigger and better show. Particularly, the amount of time given to the shooter is a major influence. Every bit of information about the shooter such as: age, job, school, foot size, allergies, boxers or briefs, brand of condoms, etc, etc, etc, “ad nauseum.” The media loves these mass shootings as it gives them a lot of stuff to fill their pages and/or air to increase advertising revenue. Politically, the media plays to the gun control crowd in its coverage of victims and the shooter, nudging the public to become more anti-gun. However, gun control, regardless of how draconian the does nothing to address the real problem: Community Mental Illness.
Unfortunately, many are losing sight of what the real problem is. All the shooting in the recent multi-casualty shootings the past few years, starting with Columbine to Newtown, including the Fort Hood massacre, have one common thread: mental illness. All of the shooters have long histories of mental illness, being first identified by the school system and/or received some treatment through private and public clinics. In each case, the schools and community mental health systems failed them. Why? It is because, community mental health and alcohol and drug treatment services are underfunded and under staffed.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s there was a big push by the States to “deinstitutionalize” mentally ill and mentally deficient people. The State Mental Hospitals opened their doors, dumping these people on the communities. Communities that were hardly able to handle the community needs prior to the release, were now flooded with a deluge of schizophrenics, paranoid psychotics, autistics, border line psychotics, etc, etc. Supposedly, the amount of money saved from hospitalization of these patients would be siphoned down to the community level. However, instead of a steady flow of cash, the community was sprinkled upon. As the patients were released with some sort of treatment plan that would supposedly provide their care and support, many would soon leave their community treatment in favor of the streets. A large portion of the homeless population consists of released inmates and those others who should be incarcerated.
Having as their bible of “institutionalization” and a proponent of “de-institutionalization”, Erving Goffmans’s, 1961 book: Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates; the States found the ammunition it needed to gain the political power and citizen support to shut down their “Asylums.” The case was made that the civil rights of the inmates was more important than the safety of the community. Many believed that the communities could and should be able to absorb the risk of a certain amount of disorder and criminal acts perpetrated by the released inmates. Consequently, laws were changed to protect the mentally ill from criminal prosecution. It became nearly impossible to have someone committed. And if it was possible to get a judge to sign off on a petition to commit, a whole set of legal hoops are set in place that provide opportunities to release the patient back to the streets.
Fortunately, the tide of sentiment is turning. Some communities are no longer willing to tolerate the more serious inappropriate behaviors of the mentally ill. However, it is all too common for the community to wait until there is some horrendous incident before a mentally ill person would be incarcerated. Unfortunately, the mentally ill person leaves in their wake a wave of grieving and anguished people affected by the mentally ill person’s behavior. The community’s suffering and pain could have been avoided if the school/mental health system would have identified the perpetrator as dangerous and prone to the type of violence we saw in Newton.
Mental health professionals must remove the Political Correct lens from their eyes. We must be willing to tell the truth that a person who meets the criteria as a mass murderer is a danger to the community and not worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. One of the farcical results from Goffman’s book is that it created a perceptual fog that’s resulted in trying to force the mentally ill square peg through the “normal” round one. Normalization of the criminally, mentally ill is an oxymoron. Mental health professionals have created an alternate reality in which they live and expect everyone to live in too. In schools they want to “mainstream” kids with serious emotional and behavioral problems with the premise that “mainstreaming” helps the kids to feel more normal. Blatt!! It doesn’t make them feel more normal because the result is that they are shunned, ridiculed and bullied by the so called, “normals!” Mainstreaming creates the breeding ground for growing those such as James Holmes, shooter in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, the Columbine shooters and, Paul LaRosa, causing the latest tragedy in Newtown.
The “professionals” need to develop a profile of a possible mass murderer or serial killer so that they can isolated from the community, keeping them from doing harm. The crazies are out there running loose with no one to stop them until after it is too late.