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Old 12-16-2012, 09:11 PM  
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I'm Adam Lanza's mother. It’s time for a meaningful conversation about mental illness

This is all over the internet and emailed back and forth. But, maybe you have missed it and its a must read.

Written by Liza Long, republished from The Blue Review

Friday’s horrific national tragedy -- the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut -- has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

While every family's story of mental illness is different, and we may never know the whole of the Lanza's story, tales like this one need to be heard -- and families who live them deserve our help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan -- they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”

“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.
“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”

“You know where we are going,” I replied.

“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.
The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork -- “Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…”

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying -- that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise -- in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill -- Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:32 AM   #76
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That article says nothing about her being a "survivalist" or "obsessed with guns".
We are starting to hear more and more about "Mommy Dearest"



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-collapse.html
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:41 AM   #77
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My wife works in this field and she has been saying this since she began working in it.

She said that some of the most dangerous people she has worked with, can simply say "I don't want to be here anymore" and they have to, BY LAW, release them. Even though they KNOW they are a danger to themselves, their family and society in general. It is way more difficult to commit someone against their will.

Personally, that scares the hell out of me. Even people that say "I need help, I can't go back out into society" are released because they haven't done anything dangerous. Only when they kill someone or threaten them with a knife are they taken seriously...

The gun debate is secondary to the root cause of this, IMO. Yes, the mother should have locked those guns up. Hell she shouldn't have even HAD them in her house with this kid, but these people are mentally insane they will find a way if the root problem is not addressed.

My wife has said long before this tragedy that how mental illnesses are treated in this country is a larger part of these tragedies than most people realize. Obviously no person of right mind would go in and shoot 5-10 year olds. Families begged her facility to keep people because they were scared, and they have to release them because they haven't been charged with anything.

It's terrible that hindsight seems to be the only method used to address situations like what happened. People blame guns, but there is a much deeper aspect that isn't as simple of a solution. Putting people with illnesses like Adam Lanza had back into society with a mental disturbance as pronounced as it seemed to have been, and those kids like the one in the OP's article, creates a situation where all the ingredents are present for a tragedy like Sandy Hook, Columbine, or VA Tech.

I just hope that gun control isn't the only thing addressed after this tragedy and we, as a nation, start to talk about the deeper issue with these school shootings, and not just the method in which they carry it out.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:46 AM   #78
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Can't we just send them all to an island and film what goes on there as a reality tv show?
Redneck island.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:48 AM   #79
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Who's willing to pay more in taxes to (maybe) solve this problem? That's what it comes down to.
Make pot legal and tax it and the government could do this and more.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:58 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by PhillyChiefFan View Post
My wife works in this field and she has been saying this since she began working in it.

She said that some of the most dangerous people she has worked with, can simply say "I don't want to be here anymore" and they have to, BY LAW, release them. Even though they KNOW they are a danger to themselves, their family and society in general. It is way more difficult to commit someone against their will.

Personally, that scares the hell out of me. Even people that say "I need help, I can't go back out into society" are released because they haven't done anything dangerous. Only when they kill someone or threaten them with a knife are they taken seriously...

The gun debate is secondary to the root cause of this, IMO. Yes, the mother should have locked those guns up. Hell she shouldn't have even HAD them in her house with this kid, but these people are mentally insane they will find a way if the root problem is not addressed.

My wife has said long before this tragedy that how mental illnesses are treated in this country is a larger part of these tragedies than most people realize. Obviously no person of right mind would go in and shoot 5-10 year olds. Families begged her facility to keep people because they were scared, and they have to release them because they haven't been charged with anything.

It's terrible that hindsight seems to be the only method used to address situations like what happened. People blame guns, but there is a much deeper aspect that isn't as simple of a solution. Putting people with illnesses like Adam Lanza had back into society with a mental disturbance as pronounced as it seemed to have been, and those kids like the one in the OP's article, creates a situation where all the ingredents are present for a tragedy like Sandy Hook, Columbine, or VA Tech.

I just hope that gun control isn't the only thing addressed after this tragedy and we, as a nation, start to talk about the deeper issue with these school shootings, and not just the method in which they carry it out.
This is exactly the type of thing I'm talking about when I say:

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The sad things is that there is a bigger effort to protects the rights of the crazy people than protect the safety of those they put at risk.
We need to start treating dangerous mentally ill people like they are dangerous first, and people second. Put the good of the many ahead of the good on the individual.

And maybe a positive side effect is it will put an end to all the punk ass behavioral disorder kids that think they can get away with acting like psychopaths.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:06 AM   #81
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I'm a believer in evolution, survival of the fittest, and natural adaptation as a means for bettering a species. 10,000 years ago, the kid referenced in the story would have been sacrificed or used as bait to attract the predators stalking the "normal and productive" members of the community. I know I'm in the minority here, so I expect to be flamed on, but people like this need to be hospital bound. If you know you are the mother of a monster, then get rid of the monster.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:28 AM   #82
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sweep it under the rug /christianity & the rich leaders

I don't want to pay for this /moron who thinks just like the devout christian^


Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD folks. Scientists/doctors are the only qualified authority to begin handling this. Prison is not money well spent.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:29 AM   #83
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I'm a believer in evolution, survival of the fittest, and natural adaptation as a means for bettering a species. 10,000 years ago, the kid referenced in the story would have been sacrificed or used as bait to attract the predators stalking the "normal and productive" members of the community. I know I'm in the minority here, so I expect to be flamed on, but people like this need to be hospital bound. If you know you are the mother of a monster, then get rid of the monster.
apparently you missed the point of this article.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:38 AM   #84
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This is exactly the type of thing I'm talking about when I say:



We need to start treating dangerous mentally ill people like they are dangerous first, and people second. Put the good of the many ahead of the good on the individual.

And maybe a positive side effect is it will put an end to all the punk ass behavioral disorder kids that think they can get away with acting like psychopaths.
This is what it really comes down to.

Do we want to coddle them and risk things like this shooting, or do we want to lock em up and try to work with them from there?
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:39 AM   #85
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sweep it under the rug /christianity & the rich leaders

I don't want to pay for this /moron who thinks just like the devout christian^


Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD folks. Scientists/doctors are the only qualified authority to begin handling this. Prison is not money well spent.
Tell that to the parents of all those dead kids.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:40 AM   #86
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sweep it under the rug /christianity & the rich leaders

I don't want to pay for this /moron who thinks just like the devout christian^


Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD folks. Scientists/doctors are the only qualified authority to begin handling this. Prison is not money well spent.
Prisons are big business. Don't kid yourself... private investors get rich off of the intentionally inflated prison population. That's why we have more prisoners than any other country in the world.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:42 AM   #87
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we're good at building and filling prisons; and starting/perpetuating wars.

these are big industries for us. we pretty much suck at everything else.

except American Idol.....we kick ass at that.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:46 AM   #88
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A lot of these kids are from single parent homes (mostly living w/ mom).

They cant be properly disciplined at times because there's only so much a woman can do phyically and emotionally to a son.

Had a father been around (generally speaking) that kid probably would have gotten his ass kicked. I know if I ****ed up and threw a fit and acted like that my dad would have beaten the living daylights out of me until I knew, until it was implanted into my brain to never do that again.

To this day there's not 1 person on this planet that can literally scare me..........except my own dad. It's just the way it is.

Now, if that happens and a school finds out, here come CPS, they take you away and your owned by the state, or they send out off to a mental hospital and the wacko Dr's fill your kid up with Prozac and ritalin and all kinds of other wacko drugs that permanently **** up your brain for life. Hell they even tell pilots that certain drugs are banned no ifs ands or buts, because the side effects can make you snap and go crazy and do something stupid in times of stress, yet they're giving kids these drugs.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:49 AM   #89
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Tell that to the parents of all those dead kids.
just keep telling yourself criminally insane folks will come out "rehabilitated" and that our system protected those kids last friday.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:50 AM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRedChief View Post
I think that is something that should be mandated by our society. Yes, you don't lose your 2nd amendment rights because you live with a mentally ill person. But, you must secure your guns so that they can't use them against society. But, if the mentally ill person does get the guns and commits crimes, you are also responsible for their acts?
You mean actually addressing a problem at the source and expecting the people involved to show responsibility? Bah, its easier to scream 'gun control" and pray for something instead.

Logic and actual problem solving ARE NOT TEH WAY in 'Murica.
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ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.ndws is not part of the Right 53.
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