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“I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother”

This essay by the mother of a brilliant but mentally disturbed son brings home many of the problems with the way we treat mental illness in this country:

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./blockquote>

She continues:

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

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

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

(…)

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.”

The initial reports about Lanza, based largely on press interviews with family and friends of his mother, seem to indicate a man who had become increasingly disturbed over the past several years to the point where his mother had essentially cut herself off from her circle of friends in order to care for her son. We have no idea whether she ever tried to seek professional help for him, but it seems fairly clear that, as with Jared Loughner and James Holmes, we’re dealing with another mentally troubled young man who fell through the cracks. How much longer will we let that happen?

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dean says:

    It’s so unfortunate we can find ways to incarerate people for seemingly innocuous crimes, but can’t find a way to help families who are clearly identifying the risk their children may be to others.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  2. Just Me says:

    One problem you run into with mental illness-especially when it involves an adult child with a mental illness is that it is extremely difficult to get help and the help you can get can’t make an uncooperative adult follow through with treatments. Even involuntary commitments are extremely difficult to get.

    I have a child with Asperger’s Syndrome and while he has a ton of social issues I can at least say right now that I am not afraid of him. I can definitely empathize though with parents who are afraid, love their children but have no idea what to do to get help for them, or even if they do know, finding a way to get it.

    Every time there is a mass shooting, everyone wants to ban guns, up the ante on gun control, when the real answer would be to focus more on mental health and getting the right kind of support and help in the right ways to children and adults with mental illnesses.

    It is a very rare moment when a mass murderer turns out to be perfectly normal with no history of mental illness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  3. tps says:

    My mother became a nurse in the early 60′s and trained at Cook County in Chicago. For a time, she lived in the townhouse where Richard Speck would later kill eight nursing student. With everything she saw she said she was never scared. Except for when she had to do rotations in the psych ward that had a number of sociopaths committed there. They could look and act so normal but it was like a light switch. Flip it and they were the most vile people on earth.

    A doc told her that a high percentage of sociopaths committed suicide. The guess was that for a brief moment they were ‘sane’ and they couldn’t live with what they had done or would do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Gustopher says:

    Most of the time, the kids that grow up to be mass murderers are not as obviously disturbed as this one, and there are a lot of civil rights concerns. Well, that and we defunded the mental health programs and dumped the crazy people on the streets.

    The fact that we cannot figure out how to isolate kids like Michael (I’m not sure we know how to help him, or more correctly, how to fix him, but we can keep him from causing harm and give him a life that is better than jail) is very sad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. Rafer Janders says:

    @Just Me:

    It is a very rare moment when a mass murderer turns out to be perfectly normal with no history of mental illness.

    It is, however, extremely common for someone who used a gun to shot another in the course of a crime, drunken argument, jealous rage, mistake, etc. to be perfectly normal with no history of mental illness. The vast majority of people killed by guns are killed in the above scenarios, rather than in a Newtown-style massacre.

    Every other country on Earth has crazy people. Every other country on Earth does not, however, have our problem with mass gun murders. The difference between us and them is that we permit free access to guns and they don’t.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8

  6. john personna says:

    Why did the involuntary commitment mental health system shut down?

    Liberals worry about the wrongly imprisoned, and conservatives want to cut costs.

    Institutionalizing no one satisfies both groups.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  7. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    Every time there is a mass shooting, everyone wants to ban guns, up the ante on gun control, when the real answer would be to focus more on mental health and getting the right kind of support and help in the right ways to children and adults with mental illnesses.

    Seriously, no.

    People suggest minor things like magazine locks and people way “oh noes, you want to take away all our guns.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  8. Mike Huckabee says:

    Lady, you have this all wrong. All you need to do is get prayer back in Public Schools and all will be well. Your son is possesed by Demons and only prayer in Public School will drive them out.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 22

  9. Modulo Myself says:

    The perfect argument: government should not meddle with my killing arsenal but it should go around forcibly medicating and locking up adults against their will.

    Sometimes you have to wonder if gun culture is just a product of the most banal, conformist, small minded humans alive.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 11

  10. Modulo Myself says:

    We might as well be reading the Jason Compson section of The Sound and The Fury .

    “Once a bitch always a bitch, what I say.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  11. Barfour says:

    It is almost certain that Adam Lanza’s mother knew that he had a mental or emotion disorder or problem. With that knowledge and the cases of people with mental and other disorders going on shooting rampages, why did she collect guns and why did he have access to them? Why did she go on shooting practice or whatever with him? This was grossly irresponsible, wasn’t it?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    The country has about six million of these ticking timebombs. We’re not unusual, the rest of the western world probably has roughly similar per capita numbers unless you believe the Dutch or Germans are uniquely sane. The difference of course is that these folks aren’t perpetrating mass shootings on a regular basis. Such incidents aren’t completely unknown but they are a fairly extreme rarity. So what’s the crucial difference? German psychiatrists are better than American ones?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  13. anjin-san says:

    it is extremely difficult to get help and the help you can get can’t make an uncooperative adult follow through with treatments. Even involuntary commitments are extremely difficult to get.

    I can vouch for this from personal experience – we are dealing with this in my family right now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  14. rudderpedals says:

    Young adult aspys I’ve met are scary brilliant but intermittently, brilliantly scary and really shouldn’t have access to weapons that don’t leave the rest of us a chance to get away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  15. wr says:

    @Barfour: No doubt she believed that anyone who was trained in gun use magically became an upstanding citizen who would only do good for the rest of his life. You know, the happy mantra of every gun nut in the country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  16. Brummagem Joe says:

    @anjin-san:

    As it happens my wife has a friend who has a teenage child with these problems. The individual is currently temporarily institutionalised as we speak so it’s a set of circumstances that are not unfamiliar to a lot of Americans. This is what makes the entire cure mental health problems as the solution to mass shootings fundamentally unrealistic. You’re never going to banish mental illness anymore than you are going to banish teenage pregnancies or cancer. They are features of human life that are ineradicable and just like we have deal with a lot of other uncomfortable aspects of humanity we have to deal with these. It’s a lot easier to reduce the incidence of gun homicides than it is to reduce the incidence of mental illness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  17. michael reynolds says:

    This woman is not Adam Lanza’s mother.

    Adam Lanza’s mother filled her home with guns. She had assault weapons and handguns. She evidently had 30 round magazines. Multiple 30 round magazines. She had large quantities of ammunition. She trained her unbalanced son in the use of these weapons.

    Adam Lanza’s mother is one of the chief, if not the biggest, villain of this tragedy. She is no victim.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 4

  18. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’d have to agree. Another of my acquaintances from the south had a son about 12 years old who accidentally shot himself with his father’s handgun which he’d hidden away. Fortunately the kid survived. Kids of course know where everything is hidden away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  19. Modulo Myself says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m wondering right now how much ludicrous anti-teacher stuff was repeated by Nancy Lanza, and how much this affected her son.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  20. Ben Wolf says:

    We have no national system to identify and care for the mentally disabled. Until we do, this sort of thing will continue to be more of a problem for us than the rest of the developed world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  21. michael reynolds says:

    The guns were not sold to a mentally ill person. They were sold – legally – to the mother. None of the usual non-gun diversions work here.

    Look, we will always have mentally ill people. We will never be able to fully anticipate which might become violent. And in any event, not all these shooters would qualify as mentally ill.

    The problem is guns. Guns.

    Had this woman not stocked her home with guns and ammo this would not have happened. You cannot shoot people with anything but a gun.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 6

  22. michael reynolds says:

    If you own a gun you are by virtue of that fact all by itself, placing other people in danger. Your gun may be stolen. Your gun may be fired accidentally. You may go nuts and use that gun. You may use that gun improperly, shooting an innocent person while imaging you’re defending yourself. You may decide to blow your brains out with that gun. Your children may get that gun. Your spouse may use that gun.

    Don’t. Own. Guns.

    Problem solved.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 29 Thumb down 18

  23. Just Me says:

    Why did the involuntary commitment mental health system shut down?

    Because they essentially did something good-ended mass institutionalization for all mentally ill people, but failed to provide any kind of realistic safety net or realize that some people probably did need to be instituitonalized or at least living in a housing situation where there is supervision.

    We threw the baby out with the bath water.

    And finding mental health help for a child/teen-especially in patient is extremely difficult-it is hard to find qualified psychiatrists (a lot of psychatrists and psychologists do not want to treat children).

    Finding help for an adult mentally ill person is also difficult with the added bonus that the family can’t make them do anything-sure they could maybe turn them out into the street, but when you love them that isn’t really a viable option. So families end up living in fear of when things completely fall apart.

    I have a friend whose son is bi-polar and is now taking medications and is stablized, but for 5 years she was living in Hell, because none of the doctors would diagnose her son, and it wasn’t until he held a knife to one of his siblings and threatened to kill her and they got the cops involved that they were able to get an inpatient placement at a mental health facility. After about 6 weeks and a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan that things got better.

    In a couple of more years he will be 18 and at that point he can stop taking his medications and stop seeing his doctor and could easily spiral back down to the kid threatening to kill his sister.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  24. LaMont says:

    In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

    With regard to “horrific national tradegies”, you can’t have a conversation about the mentally ill without also having a conversation about gun control. The national tragedies are the culmination of the two ingredients. You can equate it to the mentally ill being a stack of smoldering wood and the severe access of guns in this country being the gasoline. You don’t have the explosive situation until the gasoline is doused on the smoldering wood! This country’s problem with mental illness is probably not all that significantly more severe than in any other country, but the gun problem here is arguably undeniably more severe than in most countries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  25. LaMont says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Totally agree. What the “don’t tread on my rights” people seem to not realize is that the “slippery slop” goes both ways. One side end in people, though engaged, living under safer conditions with very stringent gun control measures. The other side end at many gun right happy individuals living under potentially barbaric conditions. The sense of security they have is just that, a sense – 100% mental! I am willing to bet that rarely does that sense of security actually result in protection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  26. LaMont says:

    @LaMont:

    Meant “enraged” not “engaged”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Andre Kenji says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    We’re not unusual, the rest of the western world probably has roughly similar per capita numbers unless you believe the Dutch or Germans are uniquely sane.

    No, a big difference is that a National Healthcare System allows that people with mental illness to be identified and to be treated. That´s not locking people, that being humane. The problem is that there is no Healthcare policy in the US – anyone that needs to go to a doctor but that does not go to is a risk to society.

    C´mon, even here in Brazil school districts knows and have controls about the students that requires special mental care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  28. Cate says:

    The lack of care for the mentally ill is very much like our country pretending to be an ostrich and sticking its head in the sand…someone will come along and kick said ostrich in the backside. We ignore the problem until there is a tragedy. And there are things we can do. Dr. Amen, of PBS fame, has done studies with SPECT radioactive brain scans (others use fMRIs). They both look at how the brain works. Many violent people have problems with temporal lobe function, which can be treated with medication, counseling, and lifestyle changes and coaching. It’s in the beginning stages, and not always accepted by the (very) conservative MDs, Rather than giving up on this child, I’d get him a scan, and work to normalize his brain. He’s admittedly brilliant, and would be a great loss to our society. Yes, it’s expensive. No, it won’t always work. But worth trying? Oh, yes!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. superdestroyer says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Many of the countries with National Health Care have suicide rates much higher than the U.S. If national healthcare prevented mental health issues, Finland would not have a higher suicide rate than the U.S.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  30. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer: I´m not talking about suicides.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  31. Jay says:

    The boy in this article seems to be a sociopath. It is likely that institutionalization would make him worse – there is evidence that they respond to impersonal discipline by becoming better liars. We have no proven treatment for them. Seems like we just have to limit their access to weapons.

    In any case, as bad as the US is at supplying psych care to everyone, its hard to imagine that a well-off family living in the NYC area (the center of the psychiatry world) didn’t have access to resources.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Adam Lanza’s mother filled her home with guns. She had assault weapons and handguns. She evidently had 30 round magazines. Multiple 30 round magazines. She had large quantities of ammunition. She trained her unbalanced son in the use of these weapons.

    I read a report earlier today on TPM, I believe, that quoted Mrs. Lanza’s sister-in-law saying that she was a “doomsday prepper.” AKA, a survivalist. Reportedly, she had made her home “a fortress” and had the guns, ammo, and food because she feared an upcoming economic disaster.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Found the story.

    Quote from her sister:

    “Last time we visited with her in person we talked about prepping and you know, are you ready for what can happen down the line when the economy collapses,” said the gunman’s aunt, Marsha Lanza.

    The reporter asked, “Survivalist kind of thing?”

    “Yea,” said Marsha Lanza.

    and

    ‘Nancy had a survivalist philosophy which is why she was stockpiling guns. She had them for defense.

    ‘She was stockpiling food. She grew up on a farm in New Hampshire. She was skilled with guns. We talked about preppers and preparing for the economy collapsing.’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. anjin-san says:

    @ Brummagem Joe

    I can’t recall anyone even mentioning “curing” or putting an end to mental health problems. Not sure where you are getting that from.

    Will a better approach to mental health issues prevent some of these tragedies? Of course it will. Will it end them? Of course not. Will it pay a wide array of dividends and lessen suffering across our society? Of course it will.

    Or we could give the DOD another trillion, or perhaps invest in corporate welfare. I know where I would like to see the money spent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. anjin-san says:

    some people probably did need to be instituitonalized

    Probably??

    I can give you an absolute, 100% guarantee that some people need to be institutionalized.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  36. matt says:

    This is why I keep advocating for a sane discussion on mental health in this country. This is why I keep advocating for a strong public option with strong treatment options for these people. We need to start treating the root of the problem if we really want to get anywhere as a society.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. matt says:

    @michael reynolds: You can easily say the same thing about a car or a knife or a baseball bat. Jeesus christ dude get over your gun obsession and actually deal with the subject at hand for once.

    You are correct that that by far most murder victims were family or friends/acquaintances with their murderer. Which is probably why about half of all murders involve a knife or other non gun method.

    As for me? I keep the bolts of my guns locked up in a solid lockbox because I cannot afford an effective gun safe right now. With out the bolt the gun is just another club when it comes to murdering someone. Not surprisingly blunt objects account for a large amount of murder weapons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  38. matt says:

    My theory in this case is that the kid is too smart for his own good. He’s figured out he can engage in all these awful behaviors without really being punished. He doesn’t seem to think that normal rules apply to him and is taking advantage of his mom and those around him to do what he wants. I don’t think charging him with a crime will help as it’ll just up his anger higher then it probably already is. While also leaving him with a criminal record that will haunt him for the rest of his life thus ensuring his isolation from society. I really cannot think of a way to show this kid that life is much better when you chill out and follow the rules without potentially making him worse.

    Being grounded from electronics for a day seems like an extremely light punishment. My mom would of backhanded me well before it got to that point.

    I wonder if the combination of an extremely bright child and a mother reluctant to set hard limits has caused this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  39. superdestroyer says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Killing oneself can be seen as a form of mental illness. If you want to argue that Nationalized Health Care leads to less mental illness (instead of just more diagnosis) then describe your metric that you would use to demonstrate your point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. Stonetools says:

    How about a law that prohibits parents of children with a mental problem from :
    1. Owning guns, or
    2. Storing guns in their home?

    Again, Michael is right. If the guns aren’t in the house, this tragedy doesn’t happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  41. Stonetools says:

    @matt:

    Matt, let’s not be delusional here. What caused this tragedy is the combination of a mentally ill person with access to weapons that are easy to use and designed to kill lots of people fast. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in this society who for whatever reason believe that everyone should have easy access to such weapons and somehow don’t seem to understand that this means that criminals and the insane will also have easy access to thsr weapons. Until those people lose their fixation on letting everyone have easy access to these weapons, these incidents will continue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  42. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer: It´s only you that sees suicides as a kind of mental illness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Brummagem Joe says:

    And interesting aspect of this event is how the entire official leadership of the gun movement seems to have gone into hiding. The NRA is making no comment and has taken down their Facebook page; yesterday Gregory invited 31 Republican senators who oppose gun restrictions to come on his program. Every one of them refused. McConnell had no comment. Cantor could not be reached. Get the picture? So how long are these guys going to remain in a witness protection program one wonders? In the meantime the low level loons are continuing to litter the internet with all the well known lies, rationalisations, obfuscations, etc etc we’ve all heard before on the numerous occasions when these events have taken place. Since at least three senators or senators elect including two from own state of CT are going to push for legislation how long can the gun crowd in congress remain hidden in their bunkers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  44. Stonetools says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    The problems is that the usual nostrums of the gun lobby don’t work here.

    1. Concealed carry? No sane person wants to have kindergarten teachers going around armed.
    2. Armed guards at kindergartens ? Another non starter.

    ” an armed society is a polite society?”. Sounds like a sick joke in this situation.

    Now if you go on pro gun sites, there’s a lot of bravado about their rights and the usual wanking about how gun safety advocates dont understand guns But no one and I mean no one has anything to say about the tragedy. I think it’s obvious to even the nuttiest of the gun nuts that you can’t have crazy eople going round slaughtering children with guns. No ” right” is worth that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  45. Just Me says:

    Again, Michael is right. If the guns aren’t in the house, this tragedy doesn’t happen.

    He had easy access, but I am not sure you can say he still wouldn’t have been able to obtain a gun or use some other weapon. Anders Breivik lived in a country with much stricter gun control laws and he killed over twice as many people.

    When somebody is determined to commit a mass murder they often find a way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  46. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    I wonder if the combination of an extremely bright child and a mother reluctant to set hard limits has caused this.

    Well, that, or all the guns.

    What bull. Yet another frantic handwave to find something, anything to blame but the guns. There are millions of families with an extremely bright child and parents reluctant to set hard limits, and yet those children don’t routinely commit massacres. What distinguishes the Lanza family was that they kept an armory inside the house.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  47. Rafer Janders says:

    @Just Me:

    Compare the number of gun murders in Norway to those in the US.

    Yes, a determined psychopath may find a way. We’ll never get rid of all crime — but that doesn’t mean we can’t reduce the numbers. Right now in the US you don’t even have to be determined and smart to get loads of guns — you can get them if you’re lazy and stupid.

    I’ll be happy if the only people who can get their hands on guns are determined psychopaths. That will mean that all those who are now shot by non-determined non-psychopaths, those shot by their friends, neighbors, ex-boyfriends etc. after an argument, jealous rage, etc., will still be alive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  48. Franklin says:

    @matt: I keep the bolts of my guns locked up in a solid lockbox because I cannot afford an effective gun safe right now.

    Then you shouldn’t have a gun, sorry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  49. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    As for me? I keep the bolts of my guns locked up in a solid lockbox because I cannot afford an effective gun safe right now.

    And yet somehow you can afford the guns.

    You’re just another irresponsible gun jackass. Somehow you find a way to afford the guns and ammunition, but not the way to safely store them. Try finding the money for the gun safe first, before you buy the guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  50. EddieInCA says:

    @Just Me:

    Anders Breivik lived in a country with much stricter gun control laws and he killed over twice as many people.

    Because he was able to get high capacity magazines via the internet FROM THE UNITED STATES. He had to get equipment from THIS COUNTRY to murder citizens in HIS COUNTRY.

    I don’t think your argument works as well as you think it does.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  51. stonetools says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    The sad thing about it is that if you go to the pro gun sites, Matt comes across as one of the most thoughtful and rational of the gun rights advocates. That just goes to show the level of what goes for thinking and analysis on the pro gun side. And there are tens of millions of these folks out there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  52. Rafer Janders says:

    @Just Me:

    Anders Breivik lived in a country with much stricter gun control laws and he killed over twice as many people.

    So l looked around over the Interwebs, and found that in a typical year, less than 10 people are shot and killed in Norway compared to around 12,000 in the U.S.

    Looked at another way, America is about 60 times bigger by population than Norway but has 1,200 times more gun homicides.

    Looked at yet another way, Anders Breivik killed 68 people in his massacre. In the US, that’s the number of people killed by guns every two days.

    So it seems that in Norway at least, with its stricter gun control laws, when someone is determined to commit mass murder they don’t usually find a way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  53. stonetools says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    so l looked around over the Interwebs,

    Facts have a well known pro gun safety bias.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  54. Andre Kenji says:

    @Stonetools:

    How about a law that prohibits parents of children with a mental problem from

    Dude, that´s the problem. In the United States if someone has a mental illness that´s a problem of that person and his/her family. It´s a collective problem, because any sick person can be a danger to other people. That´s not only the idea of insurance, but the idea of creating *public polices* that deals with Public Health.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  55. Barbara Hunt says:

    @Mike Huckabee: @Mike Huckabee: Mike mental. Illness is. A heath problem cause by a chemical imbalance in the brain. I raised a daughter who happens to be bipolar..
    this beautiful woman who loves the Lord and has a desire to attend a bible school. I am grateful
    After a 10 year battle and 7 attempts to commit suicide that she is stable. I raised her in a. Very
    Alive church.

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  56. stonetools says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Look, I’m all for better public health policies toward the mentally ill. But let’s face it, the sudden solicitude for the mentally ill on behalf of the gun rights advocates has a lot more to do with their fear that this particular mass killing might lead to more gun safety legislation. So all of a sudden they’re talking about helping the mentally ill. For them, its a shiny object, not something they’re really concerned about, IMO.
    For me, I want both. I want better programs to help the mentally ill AND laws that would make it difficult for the mentally ill to get guns .I think that a law that barred the parents or caretakers of the mentally ill from keeping guns at home would be a good start.

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  57. Rafer Janders says:

    @stonetools:

    I think that a law that barred the parents or caretakers of the mentally ill from keeping guns at home would be a good start.

    Well, except that there’s no real correlation between mental illness and gun violence. You’re more likely to be killed by a gun by someone who has not exhibited any degree of treatable mental illness; rather you’re far more likely to killed by a temporarily enraged family member, friend, neighbor, or random stranger you get into a fight with.

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  58. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    To expound on that, for me the problem with gun laws targeting a particular subgroup, such as the mental ill, rather than a law of general applicability for everyone, is that it

    (a) creates a lot of definitional problems (what is “mental illness”? Which disorders are covered? etc.), and

    (b) encourage game-playing and evasion (for example, many people might actually avoid mental health treatment for themselves or family members because they don’t want to wind up on a registry, which could actually make things worse overall). There’s also the problem that for such a system to work, you’d have to somehow link mental health records to police records,which would create a privacy nightmare, and would again actually dissuade people from seeking help for fear that the police would be informed.

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  59. stonetools says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Well, I think that there is now a link between allowing mentally ill people easy access to semi-automatic weapons and mass killings . I think this has been established beyond any shadow of doubt, which is why the NRA is on the run from this.
    I think liberals want to reach for a global, all at once solution on this (renew the assault weapons ban!), but that’s a mistake.
    I think we should go with smaller steps. Lets pass legislation limiting access of the mentally ill to guns. The NRA has no leverage at all to oppose that now .Once you’ve established that you can restrict access to guns for special categories of people , then you can move to restricting access for more general categories by imposing licensing requirements.
    I think that banning categories of guns is a non starter, even in today’s more receptive climate. The gun lobby will tooth and nail for the right to own and sell their toys .

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  60. stonetools says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    To expound on that, for me the problem with gun laws targeting a particular subgroup, such as the mental ill, rather than a law of general applicability for everyone,

    Hey if we could pass such laws, I’d be all in favor . I just don’t think we can ( and I don’t think you think we can either).
    As in the health care debate, lets not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I see the other problems with it as well, but its better than proposing a perfect law, only to have it voted by the hordes of gun nuts ,(“they’re taking away our guns”, etc) and nothing happening. I’m sick of nothing happening

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  61. Rafer Janders says:

    @stonetools:

    Lets pass legislation limiting access of the mentally ill to guns.

    How do you propose to deal with the problem that this will actually discourage many mentally ill people from seeking treatment?

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  62. stonetools says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Every law affecting the mentally ill has this problem, it seems. Again, you can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    In this situation, you had a young man with Asberger’s syndrome and possible other psychological issues having easy access to an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons,and being trained in its use, despite the fact that everyone apparently knew about it.

    We could make sure that mentally ill young men don’t have access to semi-automatic weapons. Maybe after we establish that principle, we can move on to denying access generally to people who aren’t fit to handle to such weapons.
    You seem to think that we can skip straight to Stage Two. Well, explain to me how that can be done here on Earth Prime and not on some other Earth where liberals can pass any laws they want and where Americans think rationally about guns.

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  63. Rafer Janders says:

    @stonetools:

    Well, I think that there is now a link between allowing mentally ill people easy access to semi-automatic weapons and mass killings .

    Well, but a few points:

    (1) “mentally ill” doesn’t really mean anything — it’s a term so broad that it covers a host of different and non-related disorders, most of which have absolutely no correlation with violence. It ranges from periodic depression, to autism spectrum disorders, to full-blown psychopathology.

    (2) Most mentally ill people are far more likely to have violence done against them than to them.

    (3) I’d say there’s a link between allowing people, period, easy access to semi-automatic weapons and killings of all kinds. I don’t think the mentally ill should have access to this kind of weaponry, but I also dont’ think the jealous and enraged and embittered and angry etc. — basically, all of us at some point — should have access to it either.

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  64. Rafer Janders says:

    @stonetools:

    Maybe after we establish that principle, we can move on to denying access generally to people who aren’t fit to handle to such weapons.
    You seem to think that we can skip straight to Stage Two. Well, explain to me how that can be done here on Earth Prime and not on some other Earth where liberals can pass any laws they want and where Americans think rationally about guns.

    I see this much the same way as gay marriage. Back in the last two decades there were a lot of people who said don’t push for full marriage equality, that’s going too far, let’s make do with civil unions for now, explain to me how gay marriage equality can be done here on Earth Prime and not on some other Earth where liberals can pass any laws they want and where Americans think rationally about gays.

    Someone has to push the conversation in this direction. I’m not just interested in what we can do this week, but in what we should be able to acccomplish one year and five years and ten years from now. If we don’t advocate Stage Two, we’ll never get Stage Two.

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  65. matt says:

    Yeah blame the tool and let the killer off the hook. You’re a bunch of worthless tools.

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  66. matt says:

    @Rafer Janders: Go to hell a gun without a bolt is completely worthless outside of being used as a club. I could buy a cheap gunsafe but that would be far less secure then what I’m doing right now. My saiga cost $325 a good gun safe costs thousands.

    Seriously once again you are showing your complete ignorance as to how a gun functions.

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  67. matt says:

    @Rafer Janders: Go to hell you ignorant POS. A gun without a bolt is completely worthless outside of being used as a club. I could buy a cheap gunsafe but that would be far less secure then what I’m doing right now. My saiga cost $325 a good gun safe that isn’t easily defeated costs several thousands. Even if they managed to find and open my lockbox they would then have to have the knowledge to assemble the weapon properly.

    Seriously once again you are showing your complete ignorance as to how a gun functions.

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  68. matt says:

    Oh and while they are at it they also have to figure out how to pick the trigger lock..

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  69. bill says:

    @Brummagem Joe: maybe german parents/communities are better!?

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  70. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    Even if they managed to find and open my lockbox they would then have to have the knowledge to assemble the weapon properly.

    That’s a good point…it’s not like that’s something anyone could find out on YouTube or at any gun shop or gun show.The knowledge of how to fit a bolt into a gun is Secret Knowledge known only to a few ancient gunsmiths and their initiates.

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  71. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    My saiga cost $325 a good gun safe that isn’t easily defeated costs several thousands.

    Then you should be prepared to spend several thousand dollars. If you don’t have that, then you shouldn’t keep a gun at home. Join a gun club and keep it locked up there.

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  72. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    Seriously once again you are showing your complete ignorance as to how a gun functions.

    I know exactly how a gun functions. I’ve shot everything from a six-shot antique Colt revolver to a full auto AK-47 and M60 (those latter not in the US). Having done that, I understand these weapons’ lethality and know they are not something I want my neighbors arming themselves with on a regular basis.

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  73. Stonetools says:

    You know, I am really tired of hearing gun rights folk constantly say that gun safety opponents know nothing about guns. They are constantly insisting that magazines should NEVER be called clips, although even in the military the terms are used interchangeably, the CRUCIAL difference between automatic and semiautomatic , as if semi automatic means ” not dangerous at all” , and don’t get them started on muzzle velocity and the differences between bullets and cartridges.

    Folks, a lot of that stuff is just plain important. If its a gun that bullets come out of fast, then I don’t want my clueless neighbour in the apartment beside me cleaning it loaded, or have his ten year old son playing with it, or his mentally disturbed teenage daughter laying a finger on it, even if it’s not fully automatic.

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  74. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools:

    But let’s face it, the sudden solicitude for the mentally ill on behalf of the gun rights advocates has a lot more to do with their fear that this particular mass killing might lead to more gun safety legislation

    Look, I live in a country where when we were children we talked about AR-15´s because that´s was the weapon of choice of the Drug Gangs of Rio de Janeiro (And obviously, these AR-15s had to come from somewhere).. So, I do agree in some sense about gun regulations and gun culture. On the other hand, since I live in a country were people are opposed to hunting even in most controlled settings I can´t give an appropriate opinion about “gun culture” because that´s something alien to me.

    But I also think that there is a important point here: there is no wide Healthcare policy in the United States. It´s everybody by themselves; And a public policies that deal with health care are important. You can´t do that if by healthcare policies you understand forcing employers to provide health insurance, giving a very generous health insurance to people over 65 and giving a insurance to poor people and nothing more than that.

    (The West Nile epidemics this year is an instructive example why you need to have a centralized policy to deal with mosquitoes and tropical diseases).

    If Conservatives are only waking up to the reality, well, that´s good, because that´s reality.

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  75. matt says:

    @Rafer Janders: It’s not like there’s a great deal of information on how to pick or just brute force open the gun safes out there? The only gun safes that aren’t easy to force open are the ones that costs +$10,000 (those would require more brute force and time). I’m using a hidden and very secure lockbox that is far more secure then a flimsy gun safe. ON top of that my Guns themselves are hidden in a different area of the house. I also own a pit bull mix dog that is extremely scary (she’s actually really loveable but like all dogs she’s protective of her home). Litterly the only way someone would actually steal my guns and use them is if they knew I had them and where they had them and also somehow be capable of convincing my dog to not eat them. On top of that they would have to completely ignore the variety of easily stolen and untraceable electronics and computers sitting in my house (I do computer repair and building so at times there’s several grand in computer parts laying around). Basically your hypothetical is so full of shit it’s not even funny anymore.

    So how many people know I have a gun where I live? My now ex-fiancee who is moving to another state in a few months. I don’t go around bragging about my guns just like I don’t go around bragging about the stereo system I custom built or the fact that I have several thousand in computer parts sitting in my house.

    Seriously you’re not interested in safety you’re only interested in getting rid of a tool that you don’t see a use for because of your privileged upbringing. Don’t worry statistically you’re far more likely to drown in your pool or die in a car accident or be killed by a variety of diseases then be killed by a gun.

    @Stonetools: Dude I have been on this website advocating a strong public option for damned near a decade now. Your broad brushstrokes painting your “enemies’ as terrible people is getting tiresome. How about less stereotyping and more serious conversation?

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  76. joann orff says:

    @Barfour: @matt: There are many problems,no help for mentally ill,violent video games.we need religion and respect,more responsible parents never put a gun in the hands of a unbalanced person.something should have been done about adam lanza,hus mother knew she was losing him

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  77. Ivana says:

    This is the second kid that listened to Goth music. that commited these horrible acts. Columbine shooter was also a Goth music lover. We need to take a closer look at violent forms of entertainment It opens up the door to evil. And we need prayer brought back in the schools.
    So far Catholic schools haven’t had these kind of incidents. It has only been happening to public schools.

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  78. Ernieyeball says:

    @Ivana: Gitting rid of Goth music will not stop people killing people with guns.
    I would note that if Goth music is common to two of these bloodbaths then the guns were common to all of them.
    Prayer has never been prohibited in Public Schools in the United States. The case that people are always griping about, Engle v. Vitale, only prohibits teacher led prayer. Why you want the New York State Board of Regents to dictate prayers to students is beyond me.
    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Engel+v.+Vitale
    Of course the only vile thing that has happened to Catholic School students is that they get raped and sodomized. Was that before or after the prayers were said?

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