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Dec 16 2012

You are Not His Mother

This is excerpted and edited from something I put on Facebook. 

There is a horrible article going around. I am Adam Lanza’s Mother, it says.  It’s the story of a mother who has a mentally ill child.

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
[...]
We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around
[...]
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.

No.

She is not. She is the mother of a mentally ill child who is NOT the shooter.

She is taking the story of a child, who is, by her own narrative, quite scary to mother, and deciding to generalizing that to a man she knows nothing about.  When you do that, when you repost it or share it or hold it up as so inspiring and raw and important to relate to this tragedy, you are saying this:

“People who behave in the way that I am describing are just like Lanza”
“Children who do these things that I am describing turn into Lanza”
“My child has something like X/Y/Z Disorder and I think they’re just like Lanza”

Because when you say that the narrative of your child just like that of a mass murderer, and then you describe some characteristics, things we *do not know* of Adam Lanza’s behavior, you are perpetuating some dangerous beliefs.

Please, please stop.

I’m not going to EVER defend the actions of the shooter.

But I will defend to all hell the people who you’re painting with the same brush.

And in case it wasn’t clear already, I will not accept “but any discussion about mental health is important!”. Nope. Discussions that speak over those who suffer from mental illness, that make them The Other, or that stigmatize them and paint them as gangly children with overbites, are harmful, and nothing more. Please stop.

Secondly, if you are going to discuss Autism Spectrum Disorder/Asperger’s here, please go educate yourself first. I suggest here and here, but I would gladly welcome more links in the comments. 

161 comments

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  1. 1
    Oenotrian

    This was supposedly going around yesterday with a different title. “Thinking the Unthinkable” I believe it was, or something very like.

    Well spoken, nonetheless.

  2. 2
    Cat

    You are a complete moron. And you completely missed the point the author of the REAL article was trying to make. Wow.

  3. 3
    Fidgitsmom

    I agree with Cat. You did completely miss the point. She also did NOT “discuss” Autism Spectrum Disorder in any respect as to diagnose. She said the doctors/psychiatrists/etc. have discussed this as a possible problem with her child. She also was not DEFENDING the actions of Lanza.

    I took NONE of what you are saying this article “implied” away from reading it. I myself have lived with a mental disorder and also taken care of those with mental disorders.

    She was reaching out for more help for her and her son and countless others who are in the same type of situations.

  4. 4
    MIchele Andrews

    My thoughts exactly! Thank you for writing this. The fact that she has already decided her child is a monster….unbelievable.

  5. 5
    John Keegan

    Cat and Fidgitsmom are correct. You are taking the intended message of the original article and twisting it to your agenda.

  6. 6
    Greg Smeg

    Timothy McVeigh – fascist. Anders Behring Breivik – white supremacist. Mohammed Sidique Khan – Islamist. Thomas Hamilton – spiteful businessman ruined by allegations of paedophilia. Johnny Adair – Ulster loyalist. Pablo Escobar – drug baron.

    Between them, these men were responsible for several hundred murders. Not a single one of these men is/ was mentally ill.

    Well-meaning people making stupid claims about mental illness isn’t going to stop mass shootings in future. It’s going to increase the stigma surrounding mental illness, harden the hearts of society against people who are mentally ill, and make it more difficult to get help to people who really need it.

    So stop it.

  7. 7
    Greg Smeg

    No, the original message – in the case of the Facebook thing – is asking people to support making mental health care more accessible by painting mentally ill people as potential monsters. “Help them now, avoid mass shootings later!”

    That’s so far off the mark it’s unreal. Making mental health care more accessible isn’t going to prevent mass shootings, because by and large the people who commit these kind of atrocities are NOT mentally ill.

    What will prevent mass shootings in future is greater regulation of firearm ownership. It’s extremely important that in the coming weeks, everyone who actually cares about preventing mass shootings does their level best to avoid swallowing the line that mental illness is the problem, because every fuckpigging scumbag in the gun lobby is damn sure going to try and peddle that as an alternative to the real issue.

  8. 8
    Mom of Sons

    You missed the point. The mother has a violent, mentally ill son whom she loves and –despite her best efforts — has not been able to find help to stop his behavior. He has — with a knife — threatened to kill her, and also has threatened others. She fears — with good reason — that he could follow in the footsteps of mass murderers. Meanwhile, stupid and ignorant people vilify families like hers. Much more needs to be done to provide those families with assistance that would help their children not be at risk of violence.

  9. 9
    Greg Smeg

    By portraying mentally ill people as potential mass shooters? If you’ve worked with mentally ill people, and indeed suffer from mental illness yourself, you must surely be able to see why this is not only wrong, but also incredibly unfair and ultimately detremental.

  10. 10
    Mom of Sons

    This is what the mother wrote about her son: “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. …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.”

  11. 11
    Greg Smeg

    Statistically speaking, mentally ill people who manifest violent behaviours are far more of a threat to themselves than to other people – and, ironically, are at much greater risk of being abused, attacked, and exploited due to their vulnerability and society’s attitudes towards mental illness. There are exceptions, of course. There are ALWAYS exceptions. Taking these exceptions as the rule when dealing with the issue of mental illness does nothing to help further the case for greater provision of mental health care, it only serves to further entrench the tired, dangerous old stereotypes, deepen the suffering of those who are dealing with mentall illness, and make the task facing people who care for them much harder.

  12. 12
    BlackHumor

    Whatever problems her son has, it has nothing to do with Adam Lanza or any other shooter. Connecting mentally ill people to mass murderers does a great disservice to all the mentally ill people out there.

  13. 13
    Greg Smeg

    Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant.

    That tortured soul is several orders of magnitude more likely to hang themselves or abuse substances until it kills them than they are to get a gun and shoot up a Maccies.

    The plea for greater access to mental health care is one we should all heed. It helps families who are struggling, it helps people who are suffering, and it makes the world a better place overall. The effect this would have on incidences of violence in society is negligible at best, because by and large mentally ill people do NOT commit violence. The effect it would have on the number of mass shootings would be infinitessimal, because most mass murderers are categorically not mentally ill. Therefore, while the premise – that mental health care should be more accessible – is sound, the argument used in the article is not.

  14. 14
    BlackHumor

    Why does she jump to the conclusion that mass murderers are “tortured souls” (which isn’t really any kind of euphemism for mental illness, but, whatever)? Most mass murderers, as Greg Smeg outlined perfectly well above, are totally sane.

  15. 15
    F.A.

    Her problems are real. Her son’s problems are real. Her son *does* need help. I don’t think anyone here would claim otherwise. He needs help because he is in serious distress, because his behaviour is frightening and dangerous to himself and people around him. That should be enough. We don’t need to claim he’s going to murder children.

    We don’t know why Adam Lanza did what he did. Already there are references in the news to “a personality disorder” (what kind?) and Asperger’s, as if those characteristics would explain his actions, as if every person with Asperger’s or a personality disorder is capable of doing what Adam Lanza did. That’s grossly unfair to peaceful people who have ASD or mental health problems or personality disorders — and there are millions of us.

  16. 16
    nickmatzke

    “The effect this would have on incidences of violence in society is negligible at best, because by and large mentally ill people do NOT commit violence. The effect it would have on the number of mass shootings would be infinitessimal, because most mass murderers are categorically not mentally ill. Therefore, while the premise – that mental health care should be more accessible – is sound, the argument used in the article is not.”

    That’s not what the Mother Jones analysis of 61 mass shootings in the US in the last 30 years says. They say something like 60% of the shooters had a clear prior history of mental illness. It would a contribution to the discussion to see a rebuttal of that, if it’s wholly misleading.

  17. 17
    Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

    You might want to try making a better argument than “you are a complete moron.” Also, please do explain what the “point” is that Kate missed.

  18. 18
    annonymous

    I guess you missed the part about where he tried to stab her.

  19. 19
    Gina

    Well said. Thank you.

    I was horrified by that piece as well. Especially the mother threatening her son with taking him to a mental hospital.

  20. 20
    Courtney

    well said, I totally agree!!!

  21. 21
    F.A.

    98% of those shooters were male, but we don’t say that they committed mass shootings because they were male.

  22. 22
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    Link to the article in question.

    The sum total of it’s conclusions on the link between mental illness and mass shootings:

    But while access to weapons is a crucial consideration for stemming the violence, stricter gun laws are no silver bullet. Another key factor is mental illness. A major New York Times investigation in 2000 examined 100 shooting rampages and found that at least half of the killers showed signs of serious mental health problems.

    Such as… what, exactly? Vague assertion is vague.

    Also, unless we’re counting in some weird base that I haven’t been introduced to, “60%” does not equal “at least half”. Can a factor really be “key” if it appears in only 50% of your sample? I smell hyperbole. And horse dung.

    Our own data reveals that the majority of mass shootings are murder-suicides: In the 62 cases we analyzed, 36 of the shooters killed themselves. Others may have committed “suicide by cop”—seven died in police shootouts. Still others simply waited, as Holmes did in the movie theater parking lot, to be apprehended by authorities.

    How is this relevant to the assertion that mental illness is a “key factor”? Lots of felons kill themselves, or deliberately get themselves killed, rather than face capture. Remember the Mumbai attacks? How the whole point was to kill as many people as possible and then die? I’ve seen cases of bank robbers, hostage takers, murderers, rapists, child molesters, and white collar criminals taking their own lives in preference to punishment. Meanwhile there are a great many felons who have chosen not to do so, and indeed at least one other mass shooter I can think of – namely Anders Behring Breivik – who calmly surrendered to police following his rampage.

    Suicide and suicidal tendencies are NOT a defining characteristic of mental illness. Neither is committing mass murder and then surrendering to police.

    Mental illness among the killers is no surprise,

    Button that shirt; your bias is showing.

    ranging from paranoid schizophrenia to suicidal depression.

    …aaaand there’s the dog whistle. Gentlemen, start your judging!

    I do hope this journo gives us a source for this at the end of the article, because I’ve looked into a lot of mass shooting cases over the last few days and haven’t seen a single reliable diagnosis of mental illness in any of them.

    But while some states have improved their sharing of mental health records with federal authorities, millions of records reportedly are still missing from the FBI’s database for criminal background checks.

    I’d like to think the journalist is bringing this to our attention because closer scrutiny of mentally ill people might help prevent them becoming victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation, as is overwhelmingly the case. But no. He wants us to know that record keeping and sharing amongst federal agencies is poor because mental illness is “not surprising”, and a “key factor”, and as such keeping tabs on mentally ill people might conceivably help us avoid mass shooting incidents.

    Seriously, button your fucking shirt.

    Hargarten of the Medical College of Wisconsin argues that mass shootings need to be scrutinized as a public health emergency so that policy makers can better focus on controlling the epidemic of violence. It would be no different than if there were an outbreak of Ebola virus, he says—we’d be assembling the nation’s foremost experts to stop it.

    And now we’re comparing mental illness to a fucking Ebola epidemic. Wow.

    THIS is what you’re citing in support of your shit-arse conclusion? This unsourced, speculative, biased piece of arse? An unsourced, speculative, biased piece of arse that you nonetheless chose to deliberately lie about – nowhere in this article does it say “60%” of mass shooters over the last 30 years had a history of mental illness.

    If you want a rebuttal, you’re going to need to give me a better source. What can be asserted without evidence, and all that.

  23. 23
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    Lots of people try to stab people, for many different reasons. A person doesn’t cease to be a person just because they lash out.

  24. 24
    F.A.

    He didn’t try to stab her. He pulled a knife and brandished it; he threatened to stab her. I’m not saying that’s not horrifying, but let’s not exaggerate, especially for the purpose of labelling a 13-year-old child a “monster.”

    Michael obviously has serious, serious problems, but nobody has the impulse control at 13 that they will at 20 or 30. He is still growing and developing. It’s far too early to write him off.

  25. 25
    Jane

    I don’t agree with you. I think you are misunderstanding mental illness. Saying that untreated mental illness can allow mentally ill people to hurt others and themselves does not imply that all mentally ill people will do this. It does, however, address that it happens. A person who is willing to hurt him or herself, family members, and strangers is, in fact, not neurotypical. That person is mentally ill. That person needs help in order to keep himself and others safe. Denying that only gets people hurt.

    I know this from first hand experience. I had the horrible, terrifying, confusing, and traumatic experience of growing up with a father who is very mentally ill. This meant that he heard voices and saw hallucinations that told him to torture my mother and try to kill us. He enjoyed causing my mother pain. He enjoyed making her cry and scream. I watched it. I heard it. And he wasn’t always like this. Some days he was funny, and sweet, and playful. He could be a great dad. But then sometimes he heard the voices. Sometimes he did meth. Sometimes he drank himself into a horrible, stupid, angry, crazy rage. It was confusing. It was painful. I wanted to have never been born. I wanted him to die in an accident and leave us alone. I wanted him to be put in jail forever. He went to jail once. I don’t know what charges. I was a child. My mom eventually was able to get help and leave after ten years of living in that hell. But my dad as scary. And he was smart. And other people didn’t know how sick he was or what he was really like. Somehow, he could hide it from others. It’s only now that he’s older and has done so many drugs and been untreated and alone for so long that others can see that there is something very wrong. He checked himself into a hospital last year. That was when his family–the ones my mom pleaded with to help her and turned her away saying she was making it up–finally admitted that “something is wrong.” They won’t say he is schizophrenic. They won’t be involved in making sure he sees his doctors and takes his medication. His employer is doing that. Of all people–it’s his employer requiring him to get help before he is allowed to return to work. And yes, he actually kept a job the whole time he was like this. He has worked there long enough now that he can retire.

    My dad is mentally ill. My dad can be a monster. He isn’t a complete monster, and I would never assume that a person having a mental illness means that they are like my father, but he is a danger to himself and others and that is because of mental illness. To say otherwise suggests something that doesn’t make sense to me. It suggests that he was so cruel to us because he wanted to be–and that in itself tells me that he is not normal. He is not okay. He is ill.

    So no. You are wrong, and I believe you are actually doing damage. I am proud of the woman who admitted publicly that her son is violent and a danger to himself and to her family and that he needs help. It’s true. And if you live with someone like this, you know what they are capable of. You can see it in them when you watch them day after day, year after year. You know what they might or could do. I know my father could murder. He didn’t, but he tried. My father tried to kill me, my brother, and my mother. He talked about killing his parents. And he could have done it to anyone. You have no clue how difficult it is to tell someone–anyone–about the horrors of living with a person who is like this. It’s shameful. It’s scary. You love the person and you want to protect him, and you are terrified of him.

    It doesn’t mean we are saying mental illness equals this kind of violence, but it does include it. So please do not be part of those who will ignore it and cover it up and allow more deaths, more terror, more hell for those involved. It is indeed hell.

  26. 26
    Liz

    Any parents or family members dealing with really bad situations here?
    Any mothers dealing with it alone?
    Anyone actually trying to access services and getting told you need to have your kid arrested before you can get any help?

    If the shoe does not fit do not wear it.
    There are millions in her situation.

    We let them deal with it alone and that’s the point.

  27. 27
    Jane

    Thank you. I agree. It’s really hard to hear these kinds of comments from people who have no idea what it’s like to live with this kind of illness. And I can only think that people who don’t know could really say these kinds of things. Still, it hurts and it feels so alienating to hear it.

    I will not accept that my father, or anyone else, would hurt or kill or talk about killing because he (or they) just want to, or society made them that way, or he is just a bad person, or whatever else could possibly be the reason. I can only believe that something is wrong with his brain and his emotions to make him behave that way–that there is some disconnect. Believing anything else is just not an option for me because it’s too painful. How could I believe that he only wanted to cause us pain? How can I believe that people are just pure evil? Mental illness gives a reasonable explanation about which we can feel compassionate for the ill person and his or her family and find responsible and reasonable solutions (for the individual, family, and for society) .

    When I say, “He had to be mentally ill to kill and want to kill” I mean, there is no better explanation that I can find. I cannot believe that it’s because he is, perhaps, merely angry or lacking discipline or selfish. There has to be something wrong to make a person behave this way.

    I do not mean that “all mentally ill people should be regarded as potentially violent and dangerous criminals.” I think some people are taking it this way, and I don’t think that is what anybody means. All I mean is that there exist people with certain types of mental illness who are made violent and dangerous by the illness and they and their families need more help.

  28. 28
    Jane

    If someone you care about is repeatedly threatening to kill himself or you, isn’t that the caring and responsible thing to do? What is the alternative? Allow him to do it?

  29. 29
    Jane

    Sorry, I meant to reply to Gina.

  30. 30
    F.A.

    I am very sorry for what you went through with your father, and I am so sorry that no one could or would save you from him. But your story is one of domestic violence and intimate terrorism, and while many people who hurt their families this way have a diagnosable mental illness, many more don’t.

    It suggests that he was so cruel to us because he wanted to be–and that in itself tells me that he is not normal. He is not okay.

    I know this thought must be unbearable — but it is possible that he did want to be that cruel. Some people are cruel. Some people are not capable of love. Some people are willing to do anything to maintain their control over others. The fact that he was able to keep it together at work all those years suggests that he did have some control over his behaviour.

    Labelling everything bad as “sickness” is not fact. It is ideology.

    Saying that untreated mental illness can allow mentally ill people to hurt others and themselves does not imply that all mentally ill people will do this.

    You wouldn’t say “untreated physical illness can cause cardiac arrest.” There are a whole lot of different physical illnesses, and they don’t all cause cardiac arrest. And there are dozens, hundreds of illnesses that can cause cardiac arrest. That’s why, when someone goes into cardiac arrest, we don’t just shrug and say “untreated physical illness.” We look for the specific problem.

    A person who is willing to hurt him or herself, family members, and strangers is, in fact, not neurotypical.

    A person who is willing to hurt him or herself, family members, and strangers could have any number of traits, any number of reasons. It could be a problem with the brain, it could be a mental illness, it could be something else. It could be cultural. As messy and scary and awful as it is, there is no single explanation for violent, cruel behaviour. Pretending there is just stigmatizes nonviolent people.

  31. 31
    F.A.

    Believing anything else is just not an option for me because it’s too painful.

    That’s not a reason for other people to believe what you believe.

  32. 32
    F.A.

    I don’t see anyone here saying that her situation is OK or that mental health services are adequate or that her kid shouldn’t get treatment. Her kid deserves help and treatment because he’s a human being who is in distress and causing distress to others.

    She should not have to claim that her kid and other kids with mental illnesses are mass murderers in the making to get him the treatment he needs. The fact that she feels that is necessary is as much an indictment of the mental health system as anything she actually wrote.

  33. 33
    Liz

    Her PC finnesse is probably completely gone at this point.
    She’s been dealing with it without relief for decades… no cavalry coming. No end in sight.

    And should it all go south…. the nation will blame her.

  34. 34
    Jane

    No. My father IS mentally ill. He is schizophrenic. Every mental illness is different. Every person is different. The fact that he could hide it from others made him more dangerous, not less sick.

    My point was that a person who will commit mass murder or is willing to cause harm to others unprovoked or for reasons that would not normally provoke a violent reaction has a problem. A person who is not capable of love has a problem. This person is NOT neurotypical. You cannot just say “He is not capable of love.” This is not just something that happens for which nothing can be done. This is a problem that most likely has a biological cause or is a result of emotional trauma. These things can be treated. That is the point. There are treatments and preventions. Denying that there is a problem and just saying “He is cruel.” or “He is incapable of love.” Or “He is incapable of normal interaction.” is pointless and useless and dangerous when modern health care is capable of finding the causes and offering treatments for these issues. You are just getting hung up about a phrase. That is petty and dangerous, and people like me, people affected by these issues, don’t care about your hang up. Get over it. You’re in the way of desperately needed progress.

  35. 35
    Jane

    Exactly.

  36. 36
    Jane

    You’re right, but I made other points demonstrating why you should.

  37. 37
    F.A.

    How is that relevant to the question of whether what she said is true?

  38. 38
    Jane

    Denying that is probably is the result of untreated mental illness is not helpful to people struggling with mental illness. It’s not helpful to anyone. In fact, I think it’s dangerous.

    Believing that this could be the result of ANY untreated mental illness is illogical, but I don’t think anyone is making that assertion. Therefore, there is no need for you to defend people all with mental illness from people saying that this demonstrates how we need better mental health care–which I think everyone agrees that we do need.

  39. 39
    F.A.

    No, you really didn’t. You argued that it’s too painful to imagine something other than mental illness (appeal to emotion); you argued that believing it’s mental illness produces a good moral result; you argued that it must be mental illness because you personally don’t have a better reason. None of those arguments demonstrate anything about the truth or falsity of the statement.

  40. 40
    Jane

    “A person who is willing to hurt him or herself, family members, and strangers could have any number of traits, any number of reasons. It could be a problem with the brain, it could be a mental illness, it could be something else. It could be cultural. As messy and scary and awful as it is, there is no single explanation for violent, cruel behaviour. Pretending there is just stigmatizes nonviolent people.”

    The “number of reasons” you cited were only that it could be cultural. If it were cultural, it would be culturally acceptable to at least some of us. It is not. The only other explanations are blaming some weakness of the individual’s character. That isn’t fair or accurate, and that doesn’t help anybody in that situation.

    Saying there are explanations for violent and cruel behavior in some situations is logical and it helps those in the situation. It does not, however, stigmatize nonviolent people. You are only assuming that it does, and I think you’re wrong. There is nothing to imply, and I made several comments to the contrary, that this should be applied to other mental illnesses, and I’ll include behavioral issues and emotional issues as well. I don’t know why you would assume this.

  41. 41
    Jane

    No, I don’t think that you have a better reason.

  42. 42
    Dianna

    I’m Adam Lanza’s mother, too. I don’t do guns but I have a son with serious psychiatric problems, one of them being autism and nobody knows what is going to happen to him.
    Everybody in my town probably thought of my son as soon as they found out half the story about Adam. They know we try our best with him, but I’m sure they wonder what the future holds.
    I glad she posted that article.

  43. 43
    neonsequitur

    I’m sorry, but we have to talk about this. I know, I know… anyone who wants to talk about anything other than gun control is changing the subject, and they’re dancing to the tune of the gun lobbyists, and… oh wait, no they aren’t.

  44. 44
    F.A.

    Your father may well be schizophrenic, but all schizophrenics do not act like your father. Something else made your father the way he is, probably multiple something elses. The situation is complex.

    My point was that a person who will commit mass murder or is willing to cause harm to others unprovoked or for reasons that would not normally provoke a violent reaction has a problem. A person who is not capable of love has a problem. This person is NOT neurotypical.

    I agree that people like this have a problem. “Has a problem” != “NOT neurotypical.”

    This is a problem that most likely has a biological cause or is a result of emotional trauma.

    There is a difference between brain injury, a mental illness and psychological problems brought on by emotional trauma.

    These things can be treated. That is the point. There are treatments and preventions. Denying that there is a problem and just saying “He is cruel.” or “He is incapable of love.” Or “He is incapable of normal interaction.” is pointless and useless and dangerous…

    When did I deny there was a problem? There is a problem. It’s just not necessarily mental illness. There’s no point treating a “mental illness” when the patient really has a brain injury. There’s no point treating a mental illness or a brain injury when the patient really just has emotional problems stemming from childhood trauma.

    Medical science cannot cure everyone at this stage. Many disorders of the mind are extremely difficult to treat. Batterers like your father are notoriously difficult to rehabilitate. There ARE treatments, but none that are even close to 100% effective. Pretending that everything can be fixed with our existing medical knowledge keeps battered women and children attached to false hope.

    It’s not just your father who needed help. Your mother needed help. YOU needed help. You needed support and protection that you didn’t get. Perhaps that’s also too painful to contemplate. But blaming everything bad that happened to you on mental illness will not help you or other battered people.

    You are just getting hung up about a phrase. That is petty and dangerous, and people like me, people affected by these issues, don’t care about your hang up. Get over it. You’re in the way of desperately needed progress.

    Oh, thanks for informing me that I’m not affected by these issues. That’s real nice.

    I have a mental illness. When someone says “that mass murderer must have been mentally ill”, as if that explained anything at all, it puts everyone who is mentally ill in the same category as him. The phrase “mental illness”, by itself, explains precisely nothing. If you don’t think there is a stigma and unreasonable fear of “crazy” people, a stigma that keeps a lot of us “in the closet” about our illness even though we may never have harmed anyone at all, you haven’t been paying attention.

    My disease and I are real, not hypotheticals designed to make you feel better about your abusive father.

  45. 45
    F.A.

    Huh?

  46. 46
    Jane

    What I mean is, I don’t think that you give a better or more helpful explanation for why people commit mass murder or kill their families or commit any of the other tragedies we’re talking about. I don’t think that “it’s cultural” is a better explanation. I don’t think that “he has some character flaw” is a good or fair explanation. A simple character flaw, even just cruelty (and what do we even mean by that? Someone getting revenge for a perceived injury? Someone who was abused and is continuing the cycle? Someone who is evil? Someone who is possessed?) are better than addressing that these specific situations ( like a man killing his mother and then shooting school children and teachers, people who are strangers) is probably due to inadequately treated mental illness.

    The only reason I can think that you would say this is wrong is because you assume that a stigma of violence will be applied to people with other types of mental illness like bipolar disorder or autism or OCD or anything nonviolent. 1. That hasn’t happened any more than it is already present. 2. It isn’t likely to happen since most people now have a better understanding of mental illness than 30 or 50 years ago, and most importantly, 3. letting that assumption stop a productive dialogue is irresponsible.

  47. 47
    F.A.

    No, we don’t have to talk about this now.

    When we’ve found out what mental illnesses, if any, Adam Lanza actually had, THAT would be an OK time to talk about how those SPECIFIC illnesses might have contributed to (not caused) his behaviour on Friday.

    When we’ve found out what treatment, if any, Adam Lanza was getting, THAT would be an OK time to talk about whether inadequate treatment contributed to (not caused) his behaviour on Friday.

    “He did something bad so he must be mentally ill” is a completely pointless, stupid statement. Nobody needs to make it.

  48. 48
    F.A.

    The onus is on you to prove the assertion you put forward, not on me to disprove it.

    But I do have specific reasons to think mental illness is not the be-all and end-all explanation for violent behaviour: numerous people have beaten, killed and terrorized without having a mental illness.

  49. 49
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    I will not accept that my father, or anyone else, would hurt or kill or talk about killing because he (or they) just want to, or society made them that way, or he is just a bad person, or whatever else could possibly be the reason. I can only believe that something is wrong with his brain and his emotions to make him behave that way–that there is some disconnect. Believing anything else is just not an option for me because it’s too painful.

    I have the utmost sympathy for you and sincerely lament what your father put you and your family through, but what you want or need to believe has no bearing on the way things are in reality.

    Some people are cruel and wicked because they are mentally ill. The vast majority of people aren’t mentally ill, yet for most people this absence of mental illness is no bar to cruelty or wickedness. There are as many personal rationalisations for murder as there are murderers. Some people are so self-regarding they’ll think nothing of stabbing a person to death for a perceived insult. Others are so selfish they believe a threat to their personal interests justifies throwing a grenade into someone’s car, or so greedy they can justify shooting someone dead for the sake of a wallet. Yet others are so fanatically committed to a political or religious ideology they see nothing wrong with setting off a car bomb on a busy city street – even if it means they have to sit in the car and die alongside their victims.

    If you can’t find a better explanation for human cruelty than mental illness, you perhaps aren’t looking objectively. That’s understandable, given your experiences, but it’s still not a good way to approach a problem.

    All I mean is that there exist people with certain types of mental illness who are made violent and dangerous by the illness and they and their families need more help.

    Yes, but these cases are not the majority. The majority of mentally ill people are not violent, or dangerous, or cruel; they are in fact extremely vulnerable, and though they might be difficult to care for and incapable of functioning in society, they are no danger to anyone – yet because people insist on perpetuating the stereotype of mentally ill people as malevolent, society will still continue to regard anyone whose illness causes them to behave erratically with the same wary eyes as they regard people whose mental illness drives them to do horrific things.

    When you create a link between your son, whose mental illness causes him to brandish a knife and make threats of murder, to a man who shoots dead twenty children, you reinforce that perception in the mind of the public. That’s why using this tactic to try and generate support for greater mental health care provision is counter-productive. It also opens the door for mendacious shitbags in the gun lobby to derail the debate about gun control by blaming mass shootings on the lack of care for mentally ill people, which further cements the perception of mentally ill people as dangerous aberrations in the mind of the public.

  50. 50
    F.A.

    If it were cultural, it would be culturally acceptable to at least some of us. It is not.

    Actually, wife and child abuse is culturally acceptable to some people, just as white supremacy is culturally acceptable to some of us. I’ve worked on cases involving domestic violence and the abusers found plenty of moral support from “men’s rights” groups, from certain judges, from some members of the “Christian patriarchy” movement, from the purveyors of “parental alienation syndrome”, etc.

  51. 51
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    You’re not Adam Lanza’s mother. You’re the mother of a child with serious psychiatric issues. The fact people probably thought of your son as soon as they found out half the story about Adam is indicative of the misbegotten, judgemental shittiness of the people in your town who associate mental illness with danger. Or possibly projection of your feelings onto other people.

    Mental illness is exceptionally difficult for everyone involved, and I feel for you same as I feel for anyone who is forced to care for a loved one who suffers from mental illness without a solid framework of professional support. Even still, you have no more right to conflate mental illness with mass murder than anyone else.

  52. 52
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    If you’re going to propose better mental health care as an alternative to gun control, you’re dancing to the tune of the gun lobbyists.

    You’re not doing that, though. What you’re doing is postulating that there’s a meaningful relationship between mental illness and mass murder, which is different. Here, you’re only abetting the gun lobbyists rather than outright supporting them. You’re also entrenching the sad stereotype that mental illness = dangerous aberration by speculating that the few mentally ill people who are dangerous because of their mental illness are the main reason we should all be asking for better mental health care provision. That doesn’t engender any compassion or empathy for mentally ill people; it makes everyone think we should give them what they want because we need it, not because they do. The actual reason is because mental health care provision would alleviate the suffering of people who have a mental illness and the families who struggle to care for them without a solid framework of professional support and treatment.

    Gun control and mental health care are two completely seperate issues. One prevents mass murders. The other helps mentally ill people and their families whilst simultaneously entrenching stereotypes about them, and leaving guns in the hands of political fanatics, disgruntled ex-employees and estranged fathers.

  53. 53
    Dianna

    Who on earth wouldn’t “conflate mental illness with mass murder? And I think that society has made progress by associating these two issues. The problem is that we can’t get society behind funding research, diagnosis, and treatment in an attempt to prevent things like this from happening in the future.
    I am so totally Adam Lanza’s mother.

  54. 54
    F.A.

    And I would argue that we can’t get society behind funding research, diagnosis and treatment because society continues to see mentally ill people as “freaks” who are dangerous and scary, which is what tends to happen when you conflate mental illness with mass murder.

  55. 55
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    Who on earth wouldn’t “conflate mental illness with mass murder?

    Anyone who knows the difference between mental illness and personal conviction.

    Pilots who provide heavy air support to ground troops, knowing the munitions they’re dropping are likely to kill five, ten, two dozen people – they’re not mentally ill. They’re just able to rationalise what htey’re doing.

    Same for Anders Breivik. He wasn’t mentally ill either. He believed his victims were part of a plot to destroy his national identity, and that his massacre would be the first shot in European race war.

    The UVF paramilitaries who planted car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan weren’t mentally ill. They believed they were fighting a war, and were striking an enemy target by blowing up 20-odd people, most of them young women. The deaths they caused were, in their mind, revenge for an IRA bombing campaign known as Bloody Friday which targetted unionist communities in Northern Ireland and killed a lot of civilians.

    The IRA paramilitaries who planted THOSE bombs were also not mentally ill.

    Mental illness has a specific definition and a set of defining characteristics. Using the phrase as a rhetorical device to condemn acts of violence you deem unacceptable is therefore both wrong AND counter-productive. It’s also discriminatory and aids in the othering of mentally ill people. As the mother of a son with psychiatric problems, you really should know better.

    And I think that society has made progress by associating these two issues.

    How?

    What progress has been made by reinforcing the stereotype of mentally ill people as potential mass murderers? The boy whose mental illness makes him behave erratically, makes him mumble to himself while picking up bottle-tops and old chewing gum, who’ll never hold down a job or have friends or have a relationship because he can’t bring himself to speak to people – the boy who will never in his life harm another living soul, he’s now seen as a potential threat because people like you are so insistent on conflating mental illness with mass murder. He’s now Adam Lanza – but you’re not his mother so why should you care, right?

    That’s not progress. That’s where we’ve always been, with mentally ill people treated as weirdos, freaks, and inconveniences at best.

    But fuck it though, right? Because the end – being better mental health care provision and support – justifies the means. Who needs compassion and empathy when we’ve got what we want?

  56. 56
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    I should add that Breivik was delusional. That’s not a sign of mental illness. Lots of people are delusional, about their relationships, about their goals in life, about how the world works and why certain things happen. Breivik just happened to be delusional about immigrants and politics.

  57. 57
    Jane

    “My disease and I are real, not hypotheticals designed to make you feel better about your abusive father.”

    That isn’t what I meant. I would never say that a person’s mental illness is not real. And nothing could make me feel better about any of it. It will never go away and I can never forget and it will never stop hurting. And I know how it feels to have things you can’t talk to anybody about and how it feels to be called crazy. I just think it’s fair to say that people who do violent things probably need help too, regardless of the reason.

    My dad did horrible things, but I love him anyway and I think he deserved more help than he got and so did we, but everyone was so ashamed of calling him mentally ill that they refused to see things the way the were. I didn’t deserve what happened and neither did my family. We deserved help.

  58. 58
    Dianna

    People in our society who commit mass murder are mentally ill. This doesn’t mean that all people who are mentally ill will become mass murderers, or even most of them. Just because we can’t predict this behavior today doesn’t mean we won’t ever find a way to prevent it. And deflecting this particular area of behavior by associating it with other types of behavior is a very destructive way to address the issue. It’s as if you are saying that we should do nothing to acknowledge that this is a problem; therefore we should do nothing about it, and if you have a kid like ours, you should just shut the fuck up. The first people who should admit that their kid has a problem are the parents, and look what happened to the brave soul who identifies with Adam Lanza’s mother.

  59. 59
    Dianna

    PS. Anders Breivik was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. That is a type of mental illness.

  60. 60
    F.A.

    It’s as if you are saying that we should do nothing to acknowledge that this is a problem; therefore we should do nothing about it, and if you have a kid like ours, you should just shut the fuck up.

    That’s your spin on it. That’s not what we are saying.

    What we are saying is that at this point, we do not know what was wrong with Adam Lanza and it is wrong to jump to conclusions based on the assumption that only “mentally ill” people would do something like this.

    What we are saying is that blaming “mental illness” for Adam Lanza’s acts in the hope of getting more compassionate care for your child is counterproductive, it presents your child as a potential threat rather than a valuable person in need of help, it makes life harder for all of us who are trying to live good lives with a mental illness because we too are being painted as threats to eliminate or neutralize and not as human beings with valuable contributions to make.

    Wanting you to stop making one particular argument is not the same as wanting you to shut the fuck up.

  61. 61
    F.A.

    There was a dispute over Anders Breivik’s diagnosis and he was later declared sane and sentenced on that basis.

  62. 62
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    People in our society who commit mass murder are mentally ill.

    You’ve already said this. I’ve demonstrated why this assertion is a pile of shit. Things don’t suddenly become true just because you keep repeating them. Either evince your position or drop it.

    This doesn’t mean that all people who are mentally ill will become mass murderers, or even most of them.

    It doesn’t mean anything, because your basic premise a pile of shit. Mass murderers don’t need to be mentally ill to commit mass murder. They could be bitter, or fanatical, or high, or anything. They need to have guns, because you can’t murder 20 people in ten minutes with a knife or a hammer unless you’re really fortunate and nobody stops you, but mental illness is not a key component of these crimes. It isn’t even a factor in most of them.

    And deflecting this particular area of behavior by associating it with other types of behavior is a very destructive way to address the issue.

    What issue? The issue of mass murder with guns? Prevent people having guns, and they can’t use them to commit mass murder.

    The issue of mental illness being a key factor in mass murders? It isn’t. It’s not even present in the majority of cases.

    The issue of mental health care provision being sub-standard or non-existent? That’s unrelated to the issue of mass murders, but it would help prevent those cases where psychiatric illness IS a factor alongside alleviating the suffering of a great many sufferers and their families.

    It’s as if you are saying that we should do nothing to acknowledge that this is a problem; therefore we should do nothing about it,

    No; I’m saying the problem you’re imagining – that mass murderers are mentally ill – doesn’t exist, and is instead a problem with your comprehension of the phrase “mental illness”. Either that or you’re using mental illness as a rhetorical device, which is a cruel thing to do, for reasons I’ve gone over several times now.

    and if you have a kid like ours, you should just shut the fuck up.

    No, if I have a kid like yours I should be pounding out the message that just because someone is mentally ill doesn’t mean they’re a potential mass murderer from the rooftops as loudly and as often as possible. Hammering that message home is the only way I could ever hope to engender within society some empathy and compassion for my afflicted child.

    The first people who should admit that their kid has a problem are the parents,

    I agree completely. I also think parents have a responsibility to care for their children; and if they’re incapable of doing so, to seek as much help and support as they can get.

    The problem with what I think is that when parents have a child who is mentally ill they need a special kind of help and support. That specialist help and support is often not available, and when it does come it’s sub-standard, which leaves parents in a horrendous situation – dealing with mental illness in a loved one without the right support network. That’s an absolute nightmare situation to be in, especially when you’re surrounded by people who think your child is a freak or a weirdo, or who are worried she might blow her top one day and kill them with a shotgun or something.

    and look what happened to the brave soul who identifies with Adam Lanza’s mother.

    What happened to her? Do you think she’s being attacked? She isn’t. What she said is wrong; she ISN’T Adam Lanza’s mother. She’s the mother of a boy with mental health problems. Her situation is horrendous and she’s being left to fend for herself because the support she needs – the support all parents raising a mentally ill child need – simply isn’t there. That should never be the case. People should never be left to fend for themselves in situations like that. It’s not fair, and not only does she have my full sympathy, she also has my absolute support when she says that mental health care provision is inadequate and should be improved immediately.

    I can’t support her assertion that without such support her son will grow up to be a mass murderer, because the evidence simply doesn’t bear that conclusion out. If she doesn’t get the help she and her son need then the outcome is going to be bad – but it isn’t necessarily going to be a mass murder, or even a murder, or even violence at all.

  63. 63
    F.A.

    That isn’t what I meant. I would never say that a person’s mental illness is not real.

    But when you say “he must have done this because of mental illness” you present mental illness as an endlessly malleable concept, something that can be used to explain pretty much any instance of bad behaviour. It can’t. It doesn’t work that way.

    And nothing could make me feel better about any of it.

    You’ve already said that blaming your father’s behaviour on mental illness makes you feel better about it — or that blaming it on his own choice would make you feel worse. That’s what I mean.

    My dad did horrible things, but I love him anyway

    Which must be incredibly painful.

    I worked on a case involving a man who was horribly emotionally, sexually and economically abusive to a series of women. He himself claimed “mental illness” to get sympathy — which sometimes worked, sometimes kept the woman from walking away. Eventually he would escalate to physical violence and death threats. After they left he would destroy any property of theirs that he could get his hands on, and stalk and harass them in every way imaginable, in ways that clearly required extensive thought and planning, for years at a time. He was a glib and effortless liar; some of his lies were transparently stupid, but he could deliver them with such conviction that police and others were fooled.

    I don’t believe he was mentally ill. I believe he is grotesquely narcissistic and quite possibly a sociopath. In other words there was something very wrong with him — but not mental illness.

    everyone was so ashamed of calling him mentally ill that they refused to see things the way the were.

    Are you sure the mental illness was the source of the shame, though?

    I’m coming at this from my own experience and thinking of the women I’ve known (they have been all women so far) who have thought everything would be OK once he got treatment for his alcoholism or his drugging or his “anger management problems” when in fact, he was hitting her, raping her, terrorizing her, because he believed it was his right to do that, and no treatment was going to change that belief.

  64. 64
    Whats up

    I support Ms. Long’s article. She was not generalizing and targeting those with specific disorders to be just like Lanza. By talking about her son, she was describing a fear/hope that resonates in every parent: raising a child that is independent and makes a positive impact on the world. For people with mental illnesses and disabilities, achieving this goal is more difficult and many parents are filled with uncertainty. But regardless of the condition of a child, making progress towards this goal requires a lot of patience and hard work. When patience and support runs dry and a child does not receive all the help they need, the consequences range from two very different extremes –one being the cases of Lanza, Cho et al. She illustrates this with a very specific case study, but in no way does this target or stigmatize mental illnesses.

  65. 65
    EA

    “Anyone who knows the difference between mental illness and personal conviction.”

    Read a book about neuroscience before you start making assertions about how personal conviction or free will somehow supercedes the physicality of the brain. That works if you presuppose the existence of something supernatural or immaterial, such as God. If you’re being as rational as you seem to think you are being, you haven’t made such an unscientific leap and recognize that our thoughts and feelings come from the physical structure that is our brain. You’re able to act on ‘personal conviction’ because your brain is relatively healthy. A very small percentage of mentally ill people are truly unable to exercise the personal conviction you speak of.

    “As the mother of a son with psychiatric problems, you really should know better.”

    As the stater of that statment, I seriously doubt you’ve watched someone you’ve known and love your whole life be transformed beyond recognition by mental illness.

  66. 66
    paige

    You know I am mentally ill. Schizo-affective bipolar. My mother is bipolar. Her mother’s opinion on the hollocaust was “what’s the big deal?” Anyway I tell everyone I know that I am mentally ill. The reason is because just about nobody who meets me thinks that I am mentally ill no matter how I am dressed, or not, at the time. I think any discussion about mental illness is invaluable. It sheds light on a medical condition, it’s treatment, and how society is addressing it. Mental health funding at least in Santa Clara County in California has gone way down. I’ve been in the mental health system for about 30 years now and I remember the golden age of mental health care. That’s all in the past now with all the cut backs.
    What really amazes me is how new doctors, therapist, etc. ask you when they meet you what your mental health history is. Hell if I know. I don’t remember anymore. And they don’t have any of that info at their finger tips. Or if they do why are they waisting both of our time asking the patient about it. why not focus on how you are doing today instead? How you’re doing right now. How you doing period? Did some guy on the bus just piss you off? How are you coping with the latest cut back in mental health services, housing, food, other medical health, the list goes on and on… Paraphrasing the Lost Prophets in Performance… Wake up people or we’re all thru…

  67. 67
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Have you ever lived with someone who has violent, uncontrollable outbursts? Where it takes four full-grown men (and even they were struggling) to subdue the person? Where you never know if your sibling is going to try to hurt you for no reason other than “I thought it was fun”? Where having your stuff stolen and destroyed (for funsies, no less!) is considered a “good” day?

    No?

    Then sit down and shut the fuck up. These kids, when they’re in that place, when they’re in that rage-storm, ARE monsters. That mother has not exhausted ALL of her options — she can legally relinquish the child to the state. It’s what we had to do with my younger brother.

  68. 68
    Anathema

    But it’s not really fair to say that Lanza committed mass murderer because of some untreated mental illness until we actually know that he has some untreated mental illness.

    At the moment, we don’t have any evidence that he did. If we don’t know why Lanza did what he did, we ought to be able to just admit that we don’t know. We don’t get to say “I don’t know why Lanza did what he did, ergo he must have had some untreated mental illness.” Leaping to conclusions before we have all the facts doesn’t help anyone either. That’s also dangerous and it doesn’t do anything to help anyone struggling with mental illness either.

  69. 69
    kirti

    I just shared the article in question, but I don’t think the idea I got from it was to marginalize or shun the mentally ill. I think the author was simply raising the question of how little support she was getting in the case of her difficult child. Yes, she did pick up a sensitive issue to illustrate her point and generalizations. But it is better than having her son charged with crime to garner attention.

    P.S: I did not feel she was defending her son or the killer. Perhaps she felt the real danger lies deeper than the individual.

  70. 70
    trishy

    I sympathize with this woman. I know that dealing with a child with a mental illness is hard. However it was wrong for her to correlate mass murder with mental illness. That makes it harder for people with mental illness to live life without someone thinking they’re a dangerous freak. I know someone who is schizophrenic. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. But can he get a job? No. Cause when he mentians his problem people assume he’s going to go psycho on them. I also have some mental health issues. I feel sorry for my mom I was a very hard child to bring up because of my issuers. Did I become a mass murderer? No. And I can tell you this no matter how bad I acted my mom probably never compaired me to mass murderers.

  71. 71
    Caterina Maria

    “It’s really hard to hear these kinds of comments from people who have no idea what it’s like to live with this kind of illness.”

    Yeah, well, it’s really hard to be the person who has a serious mental health issue, too, but I guess when we try to talk about this or get some reassurance that we’re still people, too, it’s “an agenda”.

    I say this as someone who has likely inherited some screwy brain chemistry, all right? Watched it tear my parents’ marriage apart, locked up my father’s guns (oh, that was a fun afternoon), sat with him, been sat with in turn, been carted to the ER, wished I could afford to go inpatient but had no health insurance and didn’t want to wipe out my savings — that last one has happened in the last three months, by the way, thanks in part to the massive stress my dad’s narcissistic tendencies have put me under.

    I have not been able to stomach the coverage of all of this because I absolutely feel as if I am being tarred with the same brush as a mass murderer, all on speculation. Because we are not his care providers. We cannot possibly know the truth behind the killer’s illness or lack thereof. Maybe his provider, if he had one, will come forward at some point. Maybe not.

    None of this brings anyone back to life. I’d wager that very little of it actually sets us up to prevent future tragedies. Some murderous individuals are obvious about it. Others hide in plain sight. Could you have picked him out of a crowd and said “That one’s going to shoot up an elementary school”? Could any of us who weren’t friends of that family?

    If your answer is “no”, and this is a blanket admonition to press and populace alike, you have no business speculating.

  72. 72
    F.A.

    When patience and support runs dry and a child does not receive all the help they need, the consequences range from two very different extremes –one being the cases of Lanza, Cho et al.

    You don’t know that Lanza’s case was like Cho’s. We don’t know at this point why he did what he did. Claiming it was “mental illness” when we don’t know that IS stigmatizing mental illness.

  73. 73
    F.A.

    There’s no problem with her describing her experience and what she has been through. Claiming that her child is like Seung-Hui Cho or Adam Lanza, though, is not OK.

  74. 74
    Ghenjia

    Thank you.

    I am an Aspie. Currently, I am a single mom raising a child lower on the autism spectrum than myself. He’s actually considered moderate. I have one typical developing son. I read this normie’s article associating her “monster” with my people. She is the monster.

    We have mental health programs both public or private to help us. We have complex networks of support for genuine need. If at anytime you feel someone is a danger to themselves or others, call 911. Your local hospital will commit them for a minimum of 72 hours in most places. I have 4 regular doctors. My son has 11. He has 3 therapist. If I could not afford my medical bills, then Medicaid would cover all of our expenses. If I am overwhelmed by a challenging period, I can call a nurse from social services to come watch my son for a few hours or coach me through the behavior. If you live in the system, then you know it. If you are an Aspie, then you memorize the booklet in the waiting room to know your legal rights. No child left behind gives massive equality rights in the schools.

    So, I call this woman an opportunist and a bad parent. I would gladly take her child (knives sharpened) into my family.

    Every conversation isn’t positive. If it weren’t already a stigma, you normies would know more about your mental health. You wouldn’t hurt yourself and others so bad before talking to a professional. I know my status. Most normies assume theirs. The vast amount of crimes are not us in the system. It’s you. So stop talking about what’s wrong with me.

    The conversation should be why does this lady still have a child she clearly cannot raise. People like me would be willing to raise him.

    Signed, one of the 1.5 million that are not monsters

  75. 75
    Ana

    So should we start proclaiming that all black kids are murderers in order to get more attention on inner city issues/violence? Based on your logic – the end would justify the means, regardless of the effects the resulting stigma would have on a whole population of people.

  76. 76
    Dianna

    @ Fred Salvador. – Go ahead and keep repeating yourself as much as you like. Keep ignoring the parts of her story about how unreasonable he gets and how he keeps threatening violence. We’re not just talking delusions or depression or anxiety here. You are not the one with a child that has a “mental disorder” that cannot be controlled. I am and so is the author of that article.
    When someone goes to the trouble to write a detailed blog about how wrong you are about a personal issue like this, it is very much an attack. And I very seriously question the sincerity of your sympathetic comments if you insist on lumping all mentally disordered children together in order to try to deny that mass murders are seriously disordered people.
    I am still Adam Lanza’s mother and so are a number of others.

  77. 77
    Alisa

    Thank you for writing this. As someone who has been on social security disability for mental illness for over a decade, it always concerns me when people write things such as that post that end up scaring the public into thinking all people with mental illness or Autism/Asperger’s have the potential to kill or hurt people. I know it’s scary to have someone in your home who is out of control, but not all of us ever reach that point, and it makes me helpless when people around me worry that one day I will, because of the way events like this are handled in the news and the public eye. We DO need greater access to services, for respite for caretakers, for medications that curb the aggression, and for learning environments that don’t take an already confused child and try to dictate to them what color pants they can wear (seriously?). We do not need parents and caretakers put in a situation where they feel guilty or responsible for a child who, at worse, might end up homeless one day. For what it’s worth, I only ever injure myself. I have never pulled a knife out on anyone in my whole life, threatened their lives, or injured them. I needed help because I wasn’t functional. I did not and don’t need the assumption that one day I might open fire on a group of school children.

  78. 78
    Alisa

    Hear, hear.

  79. 79
    Ana

    I both cared for and was abused by a schizophrenic family member, and I completely agree with F.A. and (from both an emotional and intellectual standpoint) think everything they wrote is spot on.

    Parents and family members like Dianna + Jane often have to train themselves to hate the ‘illness’ instead of taking out their anger/frustration on their affected family member directly, and that’s showing in a lot of the comments here.

  80. 80
    Dianna

    At this point, we do in fact know that Adam Lanza had some psych. issues. There was at least an ASD issue, and given the descriptions related by family members there were other problems, too (typical with ASD). that are too close to home for me and the author of that article.
    If you really cared about children with mh problems, you wouldn’t be contradicting her like this. I would expect you to realize that this isn’t all about you, an adult I presume.
    And with Breivik’s switched diagnoses you’ve raised another very serious shortcoming in the mental health establishment which has not created a consistent diagnostic system and allows diagnoses to be adjusted as suits the moment. Awesome. They changed Breivik’s diagnonis to one that is very close to that of my son’s and that of the author. Sane or not, this was another mass murderer.
    Now, we are Anders Breivik’s mother, too.

  81. 81
    Ana

    Dianna,

    By your definition – I guess I’m Adam Lanzas mother too.

    As Adam Lanzas mother, I disagree with every single bit of what you’ve contributed to this discussion.

    As Adam Lanzas mother, I was also extremely upset by the way the mum who wrote the original article chose to go about things and was happy to see this article being passed around.

    You need to learn how to rationalize your situation without demonizing ‘mental illness’ + an extremely diverse group of people.

  82. 82
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Yeah, let’s just wait until he actually KILLS someone. Then we can sit here and rabbit on about how “someone should have done something” and blah blah blah.

    I say, lock him up NOW. He is clearly an imminent threat to his mother and to his siblings, and they shouldn’t have to pay with blood for the system’s failure.

  83. 83
    Ana

    How did you get ‘let’s just wait until he kills someone’ from the responses to your comment? I don’t think anyone here is arguing against the need for help/intervention in these types of situations.

  84. 84
    F.A.

    At this point, we do in fact know that Adam Lanza had some psych. issues. There was at least an ASD issue, and given the descriptions related by family members there were other problems, too (typical with ASD). that are too close to home for me and the author of that article.

    And? My understanding is that ASD is not a “mental illness”, it is a neurological issue.

    If you really cared about children with mh problems, you wouldn’t be contradicting her like this.

    Because she’s the expert on pediatric mental health? Jesus, not even she claims that.

    I would expect you to realize that this isn’t all about you, an adult I presume.

    Ohhhh really. Because being an adult with mental health issues, I couldn’t possibly have been a child with mental health issues. Nope.

    In fact I was a child with mental health issues and I am getting really sick of reading that I can’t understand the awful plight of parents whose children have mental health issues, that I’m self-obsessed and destructive if I protest when told that parenting a child like the child I used to be is a uniquely horrible experience that I couldn’t possibly understand or have anything to say about.

    If you don’t want me to treat this like it’s about me, don’t use an umbrella term that includes me and every kid with panic attacks or anorexia nervosa or a compulsion to self-injure. Be more specific.

    Of course, if you are more specific you’ll have to give up the connection between “Michael” and Adam Lanza, as we currently have no evidence that Adam Lanza acted out violently the way Michael does.

    And with Breivik’s switched diagnoses you’ve raised another very serious shortcoming in the mental health establishment which has not created a consistent diagnostic system and allows diagnoses to be adjusted as suits the moment. Awesome.

    Which should make you a bit skeptical of the whole “mental illness” explanation for behaviour, shouldn’t it?

    They changed Breivik’s diagnonis to one that is very close to that of my son’s and that of the author. Sane or not, this was another mass murderer.

    Erm, isn’t “sane or not” the entire point of this discussion? Haven’t you been defending your choice to refer to people who commit mass murder as by definition “mentally ill”? Since when do you not care about “sane or not”?

  85. 85
    F.A.

    “These kids.” Which kids? Kids who have violent, uncontrollable outbursts? Kids who hurt people and steal things?

    Because “mentally ill” != “has violent, uncontrollable outbursts, hurts people and steals things.” Some mentally ill kids do that. Most don’t.

    Was Adam Lanza one of those kids? Because no one has mentioned that. He was described as very timid, socially awkward, unable to relate to people. I’ve read about him having tantrums, but not about him hurting people and stealing things. Maybe later it’ll turn out that he did. For now you’re making an assumption. So is Liza Long. It’s not a fair assumption.

    I’m sorry you lived with a violent, scary person, but that violent, scary person has nothing to do with me. You don’t get to say anything you want about me and millions of people like me because you once lived with a violent, scary person. You don’t get to tell us to sit down and shut the fuck up while you attack us for something we didn’t do.

  86. 86
    danarel

    You most certainly did not miss the point and I thank you for having the courage to call this mother out. Airing her families private matters and calling her child the things she does for the world to see?

    Shameful.

  87. 87
    Ana

    Anyone here dealing with a mental illness diagnosis alone?

    Anyone here have to deal with discrimination and dehumanizing treatment as the result of misconceptions about what it means to be mentally ill?

    Anyone here trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their head while living with a mental illness diagnosis?

    Anyone here know what it’s like to fear for physical safety/ability to provide/etc as a result of the negative stereotypes perpetuated by that moms words?

    The article being discussed stigmatized millions of people in a way that will ultimately prove detrimental to their quality of life.

    THAT’S the point.

    And these people are just as alone and without a paddle as that mom claims to, if not more. Your lack of consideration for their perspective proves that.

    http://www.care2.com/causes/actually-mentally-ill-people-are-more-likely-to-be-victims-of-violence.html

  88. 88
    F.A.

    I didn’t say do nothing. I didn’t even say “don’t lock him up”, though I hope that isn’t necessary (but I don’t know). I said it’s not OK to label him a monster at the age of 13.

  89. 89
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    THe point I believe Ashley’s trying to make, and which many people here are claiming she missed, is that people like Lazna and Breivik are NOT the disturbed mentally ill children this woman speaks about.
    I understand her pain, I feel her pain, I know how fucking hard it is.
    Not as a mother, thankfully. My cousin, who is to me like my brother (we’re one month apart and grew up together) suffers from psychosis. Yes, he attacked his dad with a hammer. Yes they had to cut him off the ceiling, thankfully still in time. He talked to me about him being god, the next day about him being god’s best follower (he’s been a life-long atheist), and then about building a castle with his own hands.
    And it was damn hard getting help for him, even in a country with socialized healthcare.

    But you know what:
    Nobody would ever let him own a gun.
    Hell, he isn’t even allowed to drive a car anymore.
    And those mentally ill children, would you trust them with guns and assault rifles?
    No, you wouldn’t even think about it.
    Lazna wasn’t one of them. He was deemed fit by everybody to have and use those weapons.

  90. 90
    Ana

    An estimated one in four people in the United States requires treatment for mental health issues in any given year, and about one in 17 people lives with what is known as a a “serious mental illness,” such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. 25% of the people in this country living with mental illness can expect to be victims of violent crime, in contrast with 3% of the general population. A study conducted in Britain noted that approximately 10% of murders were committed by “people known to have had mental health problems at the time of the offense.” In other words, mentally ill people have more to fear from society than society does from them.

    Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/actually-mentally-ill-people-are-more-likely-to-be-victims-of-violence.html#ixzz2FIgarrFe

  91. 91
    billyeager

    Actually the point you are trying to make says more about the fact that mental dysfunction is frequently ignored when it comes to acts of violence. That these people might have been able to function within society without behaving in such a way as to be deemed mentally ill, belies the fact that, in order to commit the atrocities they did, they would have had very serious personality disorders. The evidence exists to explain how the vast majority of dysfunctional adults were raised in toxic sociofamilial environments which actually alter the neurological development of the brain during childhood, resulting in actual physiological differences in the mature brain. We unfortunately still view much that is clearly dysfunctional behaviour as being down to someone just being ‘that sort of person’. We normalise toxic mentalities, the ‘cultural’ and ‘traditional’ values, instead of recognising it as being the root source of most of that which ails humankind.

    Remember when wife-beating was is simply labelled by the authorities as a couple ‘having a domestic’, instead of recognising that violence against another human being is indicative of psychiatric disorder.

    So, no, we shouldn’t reduce the instances of labelling the perpetrators of these crimes as being mentally ill, we should increase it.

    Instead of fearing that people with non-violence-related mental illnesses will all be tarred with the same brush, we need to expand the definitions of psychiatric disorders so that people can learn what they actually mean in the real world.

  92. 92
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    EA:

    “Anyone who knows the difference between mental illness and personal conviction.”

    Read a book about neuroscience before you start making assertions about how personal conviction or free will somehow supercedes the physicality of the brain.

    Tell me the Hamas terrorists who walk into cafes or onto buses in Israel and start shooting, or blow themselves up, are mentally ill. Tell me the IDF pilots who fire missiles into Gaza neighbourhoods in the sure and certain knowledge that they’re going to kill civilians are mentally ill. Watch a video of a firefight between ISAF forces and Taliban units, and tell me any of the people involved are mentally ill.

    You won’t, because these people aren’t. Neither was Wade Michael Page. Neither was Anders Breivik, or Thomas Hamilton, or Derrick Bird. Neither were Nathaniel Brown or Ross Truett Ashley, although those two are only “attempted” mass murderers rather than successful ones, so we’ve never heard of them. Neither were the Munich Olympics hostage-takers, or the LA bank robbers who spent an hour fighting off police with automatic rifles.

    Taking weapons into a crowded place and using them to shoot at people is not solely the preserve of mentally ill people. People of sufficient faith, conviction, anger, despair and delusion are perfectly capable of rationalising such horror. None of these things are mental illnesses.

    That works if you presuppose the existence of something supernatural or immaterial, such as God. If you’re being as rational as you seem to think you are being, you haven’t made such an unscientific leap and recognize that our thoughts and feelings come from the physical structure that is our brain. You’re able to act on ‘personal conviction’ because your brain is relatively healthy.

    So because I refuse to accept the hyperbolic assertion that people HAVE to be mentally ill to commit mass murder, I’m as rational as a theist? The overwhelming preponderance of evidence – stretching back to antiquity, to people like the Conquistadores and the Mongols and the Romans – tends to suggest that mental illness is not a crucial factor in mass murder. Believing their premises while studiously ignoring evidence is what theists do.

    A very small percentage of mentally ill people are truly unable to exercise the personal conviction you speak of.

    I don’t deny that – but that’s a seperate issue, and has nothing to do with the observable, demonstrable fact that mental illness is not a defining component of mass murderers.

    As the stater of that statment, I seriously doubt you’ve watched someone you’ve known and love your whole life be transformed beyond recognition by mental illness.

    I don’t need to dredge up personal experiences or appeal to sympathy, because I’m arguing from evidence. Mental illness is not a component in mass murderers. It’s not even present in the majority of mass murderers. What I have or haven’t seen is completely irrelevant to that fact.

    Dianna:

    @ Fred Salvador. – Go ahead and keep repeating yourself as much as you like.

    I full intend to, because I have plenty of evidence to support my conviction. I’m not just parroting the same argument over and over and appealing to emotion to get people to believe it.

    Keep ignoring the parts of her story about how unreasonable he gets and how he keeps threatening violence.

    I’m not ignoring that. I sympathise very deeply with this woman. Her son being irrational and threatening violence does NOT make him a potential mass murderer, and therefore it does not justify her comparison between this boy and Adam Lanza (who as far as we know never threatened violence or behaved irrationally in any way). Lots of people are irrational. Lots of people threaten violence – and lots of people COMMIT violence. The overwhelming majority of them never commit mass murder, and a large number of them aren’t even mentally ill to begin with.

    We’re not just talking delusions or depression or anxiety here. You are not the one with a child that has a “mental disorder” that cannot be controlled. I am and so is the author of that article.

    Whatever sympathy your situation, or anyone else’s, deserves is not relevant to the validity of your argument. You need help and support. So does she. What you don’t need, and won’t get – not from me, at least – is automatic acceptance of your obviously, demonstrably fallacious arguments simply because you’re dealing with difficult circumstances.

    Sympathy and empathy have no place in logic. If you’re wrong, you’re wrong. And so is she.

    When someone goes to the trouble to write a detailed blog about how wrong you are about a personal issue like this, it is very much an attack.

    If you can’t extricate your deeply-held beliefs from your sense of self, it might feel like a personal attack. That’s why religious people get so het-up when their religion is criticised.

    And I very seriously question the sincerity of your sympathetic comments if you insist on lumping all mentally disordered children together in order to try to deny that mass murders are seriously disordered people.

    You’re the one trying to equate mental illness with mass murder; not me. Your argument is the one that requires us to ignore the heterogeneity of mental illness and people who live with it; mine requires us to recognise this demonstrable fact.

    You, and everyone who supports the nonsense that mental illness is a crucial factor in mass murder, are the one trying to lump all mentally ill people together in order to help you rationalise denial of reality.

    Also, “seriously disordered” is NOT the same as “mentally ill”. Disorder can be pathological, so can fanaticism, delusion, sociopathy and violence – they can also flourish in individuals who are not mentally ill.

  93. 93
    AnnOnimous

    When I first read this article by the woman who is obviously delusional at the least, what I thought was, “Yep, help is needed…” but then again………

    We don’t know how mentally stable SHE is… (now look, I’m not saying we don’t know if she’s mentally ill, I’m talking about mental ~stability~… which counts for a lot more than mental health… anyone can snap, right? The question is, how much does it take for you to snap, and how badly do you snap?)

    http://sarahkendzior.com/2012/12/16/want-the-truth-behind-i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-read-her-blog/

    I read that…
    This woman is snap-o-licious….

  94. 94
    Murfomurf

    Please stop condemning the other blogger who is scared of her odd, unpredictable child. She has just as much right to her opinions and learnings about Asperger’s or autism or schizophrenia as anyone else. Please don’t tell her to go away and learn- you need to learn just as much. No one knows what makes some people tick & we don’t have pat solutions. Let’s all have our own opinions but act together to enable the whole community to take on responsibility for it’s unusual members. It would also be amazing if America restricted gun ownership and usage and got rid of the rednecks who think some words in an old document mean you can never take away people’s “right to defend themselves”. It’s a heap of crap, in my opinion- ie. the way those phrases in the constitution are interpreted to back up the gun lobby. It would be a whole lot easier to prevent mass killings by changing gun laws than with trying to change the whole community to be more humane. I have absolutely no faith in the community changing without the laws changing.

  95. 95
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Actually, yes, I DO get to tell you to sit down and STFU.

    The column detailed how “Michael” frequently went into rages, was violent, and the other very young children memorized a safety plan, suggesting that this happens quite often. It would be best for “Michael”, his parent(s), and his siblings, if he were locked in a secure treatment facility. Maybe, if treatment helps him, he could be reunited with his siblings at a later date, but right now — violent rages, murder attempts, going off the rails over the color of his pants — he is just too dangerous to be allowed in society.

    Again, I’VE DEALT WITH THIS. You clearly haven’t, or you wouldn’t be sitting there telling me to ignore the MASSIVE RED FLAGS “Michael” is waving with his behavior.

    “Michael’s” mother NEEDS to relinquish her little monster into the care of the state, for his safety, for her safety, and for her children’s safety. If that means calling the cops and pressing charges for every incident, so be it — it’s what we did, and it got my little brother locked up and given the care he needed.

  96. 96
    Michelle

    Really Kate Donovan? As a parent of an exceptional child, I must speak out and say that I think you and apparently others are reading the article as literal, when quite simply the author meant it as a WAKE-UP call. A wake-up call about mental illness and the stigma that is associated with it. What we don’t need is blogs like this from people who have NO idea about the subject at hand…

  97. 97
    A

    Thank you. If nothing else, the title of that article was sheer attention whoring.

  98. 98
    Kristee

    AnnOnimous has a valid reference. The woman who wrote this article everyone is circulating has additional blog posts describing her thoughts about her children and I personally question her parenting abilities if she is writing this for the world to see. It’s worth a read. I would never say anything like this about my children, EVER. It’s plainly obvious why her kid acts the way he does if this is how she treats him.

    http://sarahkendzior.com/2012/12/16/want-the-truth-behind-i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-read-her-blog/

  99. 99
    Ana

    Oh, stop.

    I’ve spent the last few hours reading blog posts + commentary from both those with mental illness and family members of those with mental illness (like me!) who agree with everything Ms. Donovan wrote here. But you obviously know way more than they do and I do and the other commenters here do. *eyeroll*

  100. 100
    F.A.

    I disagree. As has been stated numerous times in the comments to this post, using “mental dysfunction” as a synonym for “whatever causes deviant behaviour” doesn’t do anything to help us understand mental dysfunction or deviant behaviour. It just encourages the association that already exists — “mentally ill people are deviants.”

    As for wife-beating, no, violence against another human being is not a sign of a psychiatric disorder, unless you want to describe every soldier who’s ever lived as suffering from a psychiatric disorder — which makes the term so vague that it’s meaningless. Wife-beating has been not only tolerated but encouraged in many cultures and many contexts over the years. Having a fucked-up value system is not a psychiatric disorder.

  101. 101
    F.A.

    For the umpteenth time, NO ONE is saying Michael’s behaviour should be ignored. NO ONE is saying these aren’t red flags. NO ONE is disputing that he and his family need help and treatment. People here have repeatedly said the exact opposite of what you accuse them of saying.

    You are apparently not reading what people actually write because you prefer to project on to the commenters to this post, and mentally ill people in general, all the rage you feel at your brother and the people who didn’t protect you from your brother.

    No one here had ANYTHING to do with what happened to you. You want a punching bag, join a gym.

  102. 102
    ischemgeek

    What FA said.

    And nothing excuses demonizing your kid on a national stage. I lived with a kid just like ‘Michael’. I used to drag heavy objects in front of my door before I went to sleep because she would pick the lock and try to kill me in my sleep if I didn’t. She would be about fifteen now.

    And I would never, in a million years ever refer to her as Jennifer San Marco in public, let alone on a national stage. Because that’s not fucking cool. Even though I still have nightmares about her. Even though to a large extent, I still hate her. Because she’s a sick kid who needs help. She is not Jennifer San Marco. Likewise, Michael is not Adam Lanza.

    At 13, I did shit very similar to Michael’s behavior because I was bullied, emotionally abused, in pain, angry, and dealing with a whole lot of shit a 13-year-old shouldn’t have to deal with and I had no way to cope because in my family, any emotion I had other than cheery sunshine-and-rainbow-farting-unicorn happiness was invalid. That does not excuse what I did. But it explains it. And I like to think that I’ve grown into a decent human being. Who I am at 25 doesn’t much like who I was at 13, but that’s life. Where someone is at 13 and where they’ll be as an adult are often very far from each other.

    Michael does need help. He won’t get it if instead of helping him, people are content to just demonize him, call him a monster and treat him as a side-show freak to be poked at with sticks.

  103. 103
    Kate Donovan

    That still, in fact, doesn’t make him Adam Lanza.

    My point here is NOT that this child doesn’t need care, that we don’t need a better system of support. It’s that you don’t get to demonize your child by latching on to a tragedy.

  104. 104
    Kate Donovan

    What FA and ischemgeek said. I would have absofuckinglutely promoted this article if she hadn’t been all over tying her child to the actions of a mass murderer for no reason.

  105. 105
    Kate Donovan

    I agree with everythng you said here….except that that wasn’t my objection. My objection was in saying that and then trying to tie her son’s behavior to that of mass murderers with no evidence.

  106. 106
    Kate Donovan

    Er….Do you have any familiarity with my writing at all?

    Also, this isn’t about not speaking up, it’s about not tying your mentally ill son to a mass murderer for attention.

  107. 107
    Kate Donovan

    Yes, you capture my point well–it’s not about disagreeing that health care is important. It’s about not tying your own mentally ill child to mass murderers.

  108. 108
    F.A.

    This is a meme that’s going around comments to posts critical of Liza Long, that everybody who objects to the statement “I am Adam Lanza’s mother” must think she was claiming that she was actually, literally Nancy Lanza. Because we’re stoopid like that.

  109. 109
    F.A.

    I’ve read the blog and I really don’t think it warrants this kind of condemnation. Lots of people have violent thoughts and urges that they don’t act on, including (maybe especially) towards their own kids. Lots of people use violent language without ever actually hurting anyone.

    Liza Long’s more of an open book than I might choose to be, and I think her political ideology may be driving her claims about Michael (she can only justify asking taxpayers, or the community at large, to help her with his care if he’s a threat to them, a criminal in the making; most conservatives reject the idea of universal health care). And I think the post that made her famous was exploitive of her son and of the Newtown tragedy. But I don’t see any evidence that she’s dangerous or delusional or generally an awful mother.

  110. 110
    Dianna

    @FA – ** They changed Breivik’s diagnonis to one that is very close to that of my son’s and that of the author. Sane or not, this was another mass murderer.

    Erm, isn’t “sane or not” the entire point of this discussion? Haven’t you been defending your choice to refer to people who commit mass murder as by definition “mentally ill”? Since when do you not care about “sane or not”?**

    Erm, the entire point of this discussion is whether or not people with children who have psychiatric issues should be allowed to identify with Adam’s mother. You’ve only made it more clear that these kids have so much in common, and done nothing to make me worry less about what will happen to my son.

  111. 111
    Jern

    This is too bad, I read that blog post, and I was shocked at her descriptions; they are sadly accurate and telling of people in her situation. I thought that was a good blog post.

  112. 112
    Dianna

    @Ana you can choose to live in denial about you child’s condition or not. In spite of countless hours in therapist’s offices, socialization groups, functional adaptive training, school meetings and home counseling, I’m facing the harsh reality the my child will never be able to fend for himself and will always pick fights and aleniate others long after we are gone to care for him. A rational parent does what they can to make sure their child will be able to live a full life. Rationally, I see a future for my son werein he winds up very much alone. I’m not the one demonizing all forms of mental illness. I’m just trying to make a safe future for my son, as I’m sure the other mothers are as well.

  113. 113
    Dianna

    I saw that blog and saw nothing wrong with it. Do you have an ASD child who has violent outbursts and threatens to kill you, even to point of grabbing a knife? Do you have to protect your younger children from your older ones. Have you ever had a child kick holes in your walls? Have you ever had to call the police because you child got so violent?

  114. 114
    F.A.

    How do you identify with someone you know almost nothing about? Really?

    You’ve only made it more clear that these kids have so much in common

    How does a profoundly withdrawn kid like Lanza have “so much in common” with an impulsive, raging kid like Michael, or a depressed and angry (but not violent) kid like me, or a self-starving kid like some of my classmates, or a possibly sociopathic kid like Anders Breivik? Really, how?

  115. 115
    F.A.

    You’re changing the subject. This is not about whether your kid has problems. This is not about whether your kid is going to have an easy or a good life. This is about whether kids like yours are mass murderers in the making. Nothing you’ve said about your kid would warrant that assumption.

  116. 116
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yes, actually, I have. Door with deadbolt with knife wounds in it instead of me, the whole thing.

    Almost thirty years later, said sibling has done far more damage to his own life than to anyone else’s, largely because he never got the help he needed. You see, he ended up in the justice system instead of a treatment program that taught him to cope with all the impulses and sort out what he needed to succeed in an ugly situation. Instead he learned just enough self-contrrol to turn it all on himself instead of other people, because he isn’t a monster, just a person with too much to handle.

    So, no, I’m not going to STFU. Claiming that this kid is going to end up a mass murderer is disgusting and irresponsible.

  117. 117
    F.A.

    I find it really interesting that again and again, on this post and others, comments defending people with mental illnesses from the most extreme accusations are taken as statements that we don’t take mental illness seriously, that we don’t care what happens to the families, that we don’t believe in treatment. It’s as if there’s some sort of mental block affecting large numbers of people.

    When we speak up on our own behalf we’re accused of “silencing” our parents. On the Girl Who Was Thursday’s blog, there has been a lot of hostility directed at the suggestion that “Michael” might have something of value to say about himself and what he’s going through. A number of commenters have said they don’t care what he thinks or how he feels, that no one should care how his mother’s recent behaviour is going to affect him because he’s caused so much misery to her that she’s justified in whatever she does.

    This event and these comments have made me realize that the hatred of people with mental illness goes a lot broader and deeper than I thought it did. I’m very sad.

  118. 118
    Dianna

    I am not changing the subject. I’m expanding on it. We identify with AL’s mother because of the specific behaviors of our own children, and we are not alone. It’s very disappointing that the last people that we can turn to for support are the mentally ill, who want to make this all about themselves and keep denying that some children have the problems that ours do. I hope you all realize that by making this into a big stigmatization issue you are very likely cutting off pathways to funding that would help all people with mental health issues.

  119. 119
    Dianna

    Also:

    http://inthesetimes.com/duly-noted/entry/14322/on_being_or_not_being_adam_lanzas_mother

    “A mom just can’t win.”

  120. 120
    F.A.

    Bullshit.

    Michael is an individual, not an metaphor for all people with mental illness, or autism, or blond hair, or anything else.

    Agreed. He’s Michael, not Adam Lanza or Seung-Hui Cho or Jared Loughner. That’s the entire substance of Kate’s complaint about Liza Long’s post.

    Are we going to tell ASM, not knowing her kid, that she’s wrong to be worried?

    Who’s said she’s wrong to be worried? Not Kate. Not me.

    Yes, a blog post could follow Michael around, but it’s a lot better than a criminal record.

    “It’s okay to do this bad thing because something worse might also happen”? Are we supposed to assume that publishing his story to the Internet will stop him from committing crimes in the future? Is that how it’s supposed to work?

    Privacy is important, but it’s not an absolute right. Michael is violent and the people around him have a right to know what he’s already done and what his mother fears he might be capable of.

    Wrong. Michael is a child and children’s privacy deserves, and usually gets, more protection than that of adults. Michael’s brain is still developing and he does not bear the same responsibility for his actions that an adult would bear. The law recognizes this almost everywhere. Also, “the people around him” who might need protection from him are the people he actually interacts with in Boise, not the entire Internet and viewers of national TV programming.

  121. 121
    F.A.

    It’s very disappointing that the last people that we can turn to for support are the mentally ill, who want to make this all about themselves

    Yeah, how dare people with mental illnesses want to participate in a discussion of mental illnesses! The nerve!

    and keep denying that some children have the problems that ours do.

    Please point out where I, or Kate Donovan, or Fred Salvador, or Ana, or Alisa, said that your children don’t have the problems you say they do, aside from disagreeing that they are mass murderers. I see a couple of people who said Liza Long is the reason her son is unwell. I don’t agree with them. The rest of us, the writers of the vast majority of comments here, have consistently acknowledged that Michael’s problems are real.

    And I’m not going to stop protesting your ignorant nasty dehumanizing statements just in case the Funding Fairy shows up with a bag of money for mute crazies only. Sorry.

  122. 122
    rory

    F.A., I’d just like to say that everything you’ve written in this thread is in my opinion spot on. Very clear and cogent, and if I didn’t already agree with Kate’s post you’d have talked me around to it. Kudos.

  123. 123
    Kate Donovan

    Seconded. I’ve been away from my computer for a while, and exhausted managing multiple comment threads, and FA has pretty much been carrying every point I was trying to make.

  124. 124
    Priscilla Parker

    Kate, until you experience something first hand, PLEASE don’t speak to it. You have NO idea what it means to be a parent of a child who lacks the ability to communicate in an affective manner and who has great trouble controlling their emotions. While I completely agree that equating a mental illness with a mass murderer is uncalled for, I don’t think this mother was using this as an opportunity.

    I have two children with “special needs.” One is autistic and the other has high functioning Asperger’s. I can tell you from experience that it is not easy knowing how to handle situations where one of your children attacks the other because they are irritated or angry. You are torn between protecting your other children and trying to help the child that literally cannot control themselves. It’s also not helpful when people chime in with their two cents and criticize when they haven’t come close to having to deal with such a situation.

    Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to talk to others about your problems but you felt like whenever you did, you always ran into a wall and felt completely helpless, afraid, uncertain, isolated and judged? Just try to put yourself in this woman’s shoes. You don’t know how frustrating it is to go to doctors, and specialists and spend endless hours trying to figure what is going on let alone how to handle it. This woman was saying what every woman who has experienced similar situations wants to say. WE NEED HELP! And if writing that helped her and perhaps others, however small, it was worth writing. You using her grief and anguish to write this blog is doing the same thing you are accusing her of, using someone else’s pain as an opportunity.

  125. 125
    Kate Donovan

    Please please understand that I do not object at all to her writing about her son (though I do wish she’d protect his privacy by not writing under her own name and using his pictures). It is incredibly hard and incredibly straining to live with, and she deserves an outlet.

    The single, solitary thing I am objecting to is her conflating her child, his symptoms, and his actions with Adam Lanza.

  126. 126
    kirti

    But is it not possible that without the proper care, he may turn out to be like them? Or their smaller version? I am sure she got such ideas with the feedback she got “Get him charged with a crime”. If that is what you need to get done to be paid attention, anyone would start to get ideas.

  127. 127
    kirti

    Well, this line of thought, I understand and vote up.

  128. 128
    MatthewLaboratory

    If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns

  129. 129
    nickmatzke

    Test

  130. 130
    nickmatzke

    My previous posts didn’t go through, but Fred, you’re just wrong when you say:

    “Mental illness is not a component in mass murderers. It’s not even present in the majority of mass murderers.”

    You didn’t read the whole Mother Jones article I cited above. You read the summary only, and then went full-nuclear-ahole on me when you didn’t find what you were looking for. The article said:

    “And according to additional research we completed recently, at least 38 of them displayed signs of mental health problems prior to the killings. (That data is now included in the interactive map linked above.)”

    That’s 38/61 = at least 62.295% of mass shooters in the last 30 years in the United States. You ignorantly, insultingly denied my 60% number based on nothing. Looks like I was right and you were wrong.

    There’s lots of things this number *doesn’t* mean, but one thing it *does* mean is that you can’t go around pretending that mental health isn’t a significant factor in random mass shootings.

  131. 131
    ROLEX激安

    サンドイッチ型”のダイヤル構造:パネライ店舗の壁の一部として、大きな壁の時計はパネライの時計のユニークな特性を示してハング。

  132. 132
    F.A.

    Sure, it’s possible. Is it likely? No. Does drawing the comparison help anyone understand Adam Lanza *or* Michael better? No.

    I am sure she got such ideas with the feedback she got “Get him charged with a crime”. If that is what you need to get done to be paid attention, anyone would start to get ideas.

    I don’t know what you mean by this exactly. Do you mean that she’s making hyperbolic claims about the evil brewing in her child in order to get attention? Probably true, but that doesn’t make it OK.

  133. 133
    Funny Diva

    Thank you, Kate for staying on this tack. I might have fallen into the “mentally ill/insane/cray-cray by definition” trap myself if you hadn’t spoken up. I’m glad Chris Clarke highlighted your first post.

    F.A. and Fred Salvador, Colonialist:
    Huge thank you for doing so much heavy lifting with your comments. Logic: UR doin’ it rite. And also clearly applying it with compassion and deep humanity.

  134. 134
    Grace

    Baby,
    If he was a black man, he would have been labeled a vicious criminal. But he is a white man so he must have a mental illness. But seriously, it doesn’t matter at this point. He and those children are dead. America needs to take a departure from the liberal gun ownership practices, hold owners accountable for what happens with their guns; and, revamp services for MENTALLY ILL persons so that the ill and their families get the support they need to lead healthy as possible, positively impactful lives.

  135. 135
    Shayna

    F.A.,
    I don’t believe he was mentally ill. I believe he is grotesquely narcissistic and quite possibly a sociopath. In other words there was something very wrong with him — but not mental illness.

    Um, narcissistic personality disorder and sociopathy/psychopathy ARE mental illnesses. I think you and Jane are using different definitions of that term.

    Also, you mentioned When did I deny there was a problem? There is a problem. It’s just not necessarily mental illness. There’s no point treating a “mental illness” when the patient really has a brain injury. There’s no point treating a mental illness or a brain injury when the patient really just has emotional problems stemming from childhood trauma.

    If someone is clinically depressed, they are mentally ill. It doesn’t matter if the illness is caused by brain injury, chemical imbalance, emotional trauma or some combination of the above…those differences are important, they absolutely affect treatment, but they don’t change the diagnosis.

  136. 136
    F.A.

    “Mental illness” is not a catch-all term for anything wrong with a person’s brain or attitude or way of relating to the world. When I say “mental illness” I am primarily referring to the Axis I disorders in the DSM-IV. I do understand it’s an artificial distinction, but when we talk about disorders that you can go on meds for, for example, we are usually talking about Axis I disorders. Ugly attitudes and nasty habits of relating to other people and the world, I wouldn’t call mental illness. I agree I should have clarified that.

    If someone is clinically depressed, they are mentally ill. It doesn’t matter if the illness is caused by brain injury, chemical imbalance, emotional trauma or some combination of the above…those differences are important, they absolutely affect treatment, but they don’t change the diagnosis.

    True, but I don’t see how it’s relevant here. When someone has the symptoms of MDD, it makes sense to diagnose MDD. But when someone does something evil, it doesn’t make sense to automatically pin the blame on “mental illness” and then go fishing for a diagnosis that fits the person who did the evil thing. Sane people do evil things all the time.

  137. 137
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    She published that article under her real name, with a photo of her son. Then she supposedly “protected her son’s privacy” by changing his name. That makes me suspicious of her good intentions.

    Also, I get that parents can joke about getting sick of their kids, but there is just something about a person who jokes about leaving her children to the state who tells her son that she’s going to lock him up in a mental hospital who is actually seeking a way to get him committed.

  138. 138
  139. 139
    Beth

    Also, unless we’re counting in some weird base that I haven’t been introduced to, “60%” does not equal “at least half”. Can a factor really be “key” if it appears in only 50% of your sample?

    Since 60% is greater than 50%, it qualifies as “at least half”. What base you are working in would make no difference, it’s still more than half. And yes, a factor can be “key” even if it appears in only 50% of the sample. If the rate of 50% is statistically significantly higher than the ordinary rate in the baseline population, that would indicate that it is a factor worthy of further investigation. BTW, please note I am only saying that it can be a key factor, not that it has been shown to be a key factor.

  140. 140
    Beth

    Sane people do evil things all the time.

    Yes, they do. At least from the perspective of other people and sometimes even from their own. But they have some non-crazy purpose for doing those evil things whether it be torture for the sake of obtaining terrorist information or because higher level officials have ordered them to gas all the prisoners. They have assessed the situation they are in and come to the conclusion the evil they are perpetrating is either worth it or not an evil act in their particular context.

    The Newtown shooting was not this sort of situation. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to look at what happened and say ‘No sane person does this. The perpetrator had to be mentally ill.’ Behavior too far from the norm for human beings is pretty much the definition of mentally ill, particularly behavior that becomes harmful to self or others. We can make similar statements about equally bizarre acts that are not horrendous, excessive hand-washing behavior for example.

    I can understand wanting to keep misconceptions to a minimum. The conditional probability of a mentally ill person committing such an act is very low. It is quite different from the conditional probability that a person who committed such an act was mentally ill, which I assess to be a near certainty.

  141. 141
    Beth

    The single, solitary thing I am objecting to is her conflating her child, his symptoms, and his actions with Adam Lanza.

    It seems to me that she is afraid that her son might do something like that. It seems to me that if a mother, one who loves her child despite the difficulties they are enduring, says that she is afraid that her child might do something like that, we should listen and try to help her. She knows better than anyone else what her child might be capable of if he continues on the current path. To tell her, “no no, your child is not likely to do something like that” seems inappropriate and wrong.

  142. 142
    gshelley

    I hadn’t seen the original, but having read it, my thoughts seem very close to Kate’s
    It was a terrible piece, exploiting a national tragedy to draw attention to something that is at best tangentially related. What if Lanza was unemployed? Does that make it ok for someone who also has an unemployed son to write a “I am Adam Lanza’s mother” post? Or any of dozens of other traits any person might share with Lanza. And this is ignoring the fact that other than people saying he was a bit strange and might have had Aspergers, we have basically no information on his mental state.
    To compare her son to a mass murderer, when there is no reason at all to think that either Lanza had the same issues as her son, or that under any conditions, her son could in future carry out a similar attack is appalling.

  143. 143
    Recreant

    Growing up, I was frequenlty told that people expected me to be a mass murderer. Even today, wearing a long coat on rainy days can draw worried looks, not from strangers but from people I work with on a regular basis. Getting treated like an unexploded bomb because I have an ASD hurts. I don’t wish it upon anyone.

    Thank you Kate for speaking up on this

  144. 144
    This Again

    Bear in mind we are also getting one side of the story. How has *she* treated her child? How do we know she has done everything right and has not in any ill way provoked his behavior?

  145. 145
    Shayna

    The post I made this morning doesn’t seem to have come up, so I will try again.

    When I say “mental illness” I am primarily referring to the Axis I disorders in the DSM-IV.

    Which is absolutely fine. Reading the conversation between you and Jane, I had the feeling you were using different definitions, which was why I made the point.

    But when someone does something evil, it doesn’t make sense to automatically pin the blame on “mental illness” and then go fishing for a diagnosis that fits the person who did the evil thing.

    You will get no argument from me on that front. I’m not a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist – even if I was, there’s no way I would be making claims as to the mental state of someone who wasn’t my patient. My second point was that saying There’s no point treating a “mental illness” when the patient really has a brain injury doesn’t work for me. Injury, emotional trauma, or physical issues elsewhere in the body can all cause mental illness, or at least trigger it. If a brain injury caused depression (to stick with my example from earlier), you would still be treating a mental illness, you’d just treat it differently from depression caused by trauma, or hypothyroidism, or NT imbalances.

  146. 146
    F.A.

    You’ll get no argument from me that what she did with this post — plastering her barely-teenage son’s face all over the Internet and ultimately the international press, drawing a spurious connection between him and Adam Lanza, exploiting both him and the Newtown shooting — was awful. The post that’s making the rounds about what a fucked up person she is based on the other blog posts she’s made, though, I just don’t find persuasive.

    but there is just something about a person who jokes about leaving her children to the state who tells her son that she’s going to lock him up in a mental hospital who is actually seeking a way to get him committed.

    That’s a very good point and does put what she says in a different light. It does sound as if their family situation is really difficult right now and the kids are being exposed to some pretty awful adult behaviour — which would contribute to Michael’s problems, no question.

  147. 147
    F.A.

    This post another commenter linked to really is excellent on that point:

    http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/12/16/no-you-are-not-adam-lanzas-mother/

    I’d add:

    1. She doesn’t know better than anyone else what her child might be capable of. Parents make mistakes about their children all the time. My parents had some wrong ideas about what I was going to be when I was 13. I expect yours had some wrong ideas about you.

    2. Statistically, he is not likely to do something like Adam Lanza just did, because even in the current “epidemic” in the U.S., very, very few people do that. I’m not saying he’ll never hurt anyone, because he might. But gun down 10 or 20 or 30 strangers in a public place? Even in the current “epidemic”, that’s a very rare thing to do.

    3. What she just did to her child was not loving. It was exploitive and cruel. There are ways to say “I’m scared of my son” without sensationalizing it. There are ways to ask for help that don’t involve outing your child to thousands of strangers who won’t do anything but say “He’s a monster, I don’t care what he thinks or feels, lock him up and throw away the key.” There are ways to express your feelings that don’t involve telling everyone with an Internet connection what your child looks like and where he lives and what are the dumbest things that have ever made him angry.

  148. 148
    F.A.

    But [people who aren't mentally ill] have some non-crazy purpose for doing those evil things

    I do understand the broader point you’re trying to make but I still don’t think it’s that clear-cut. Many people abuse and even kill their relatives, for example. There may be a “non-crazy purpose” for doing it — if I kill my child because I don’t want to take care of her any more, or kill my parent because I want to inherit her money right away, or shoot my ex dead because I can’t stand the thought of her leaving me, or blow up 100+ people in a government building to terrorize a nation and promote my political views, I suppose you could say those are all at least intelligible purposes, but the act itself is still not rational, nor am I likely to have weighed the consequences all that well. People with no history of mental illness do “crazy” things quite routinely.

    I get the broader point, which is that this particular crime makes no sense, we can’t even hypothesize a “why”, but I really think we need to resist the urge to medicalize instances of irrational behaviour.

    If a brain injury caused depression (to stick with my example from earlier), you would still be treating a mental illness, you’d just treat it differently from depression caused by trauma, or hypothyroidism, or NT imbalances.

    This isn’t really my area of expertise so I admit you may be right. I kind of assumed that the low mood, low energy, loss of interest in activities, etc. associated with depression were symptoms — for example, when someone feels and acts that way right after a loved one dies we don’t say he or she is “ill”, when someone has hallucinations after taking LSD we don’t say he or she is “schizophrenic” because those are just shared symptoms between LSD use and schizophrenia. But there is a fair bit of fluidity in the categories here.

  149. 149
    B-Lar

    I would have fallen into the trap of blanket diagnosing agents of tragedy with mental illness. I have done a lot of thinking on the subject in the last few days, and I am deeply sorry for propogating this myth.

  150. 150
    Beth

    #1. While parents are not able to perfectly predict what their children will do (that’s quite impossible), parents are better able to predict their children’s reaction future than anyone else. Certainly better than people who have never met their child.

    #2. Yes, it’s a rare thing to do. Based on the statistics alone, the best guess for any individual is that they will never commit such an atrocity. But some people do. It would be nice if our society could figure out how to identify such people before they commit attrocities. I think listening to mothers who say “please help me and my child because I’m afraid he might turn into such a person” is one invaluable way to try to identify those people. Turn’s out that Adam Lanza’s mother may have been planning to have him committed, so perhaps she was one of those mothers. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/19/adam-lanza-motive_n_2329508.html

    #3. I agree it was cruel. The link you posted makes a good argument that it wasn’t in his best interest. But I thought it seemed motivated more by desperation than exploitation. She’s afraid of her son and what he might someday do to her and his siblings. While the mass murderers are thankfully quite rare, murderers of family members are not. I think that having him charged with a crime would also be a cruel act born of desperation . I don’t feel comfortable condemning this mother for trying to find another option by talking about her situation and the choices she is faced with. I hope she finds the help she needs for herself and her family.

  151. 151
    F.A.

    parents are better able to predict their children’s reaction future than anyone else.

    [citation needed]

    Even people who specialize in the study of mass murder haven’t been able to predict who will do it and who won’t. Millions of people have mental disorders, are angry, isolated, play violent video games, etc., etc. Liza Long knows her son, she knows what’s already happened and she knows what she’s afraid of. That’s not nothing but neither does it qualify her to draw parallels between her situation and Nancy Lanza’s in ways that are highly derogatory of, and damaging to, a minor child.

    As the post on Disability and Representation stated far more eloquently than I can, there is a whole lot of territory between “not talking about her situation” and splashing her child’s photo and personal details across the Internet for millions of strangers to read.

  152. 152
    F.A.

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s excellent.

  153. 153
    Martha

    Jane, thank you for writing so clearly and sensibly about your pain. I did not suffer the trauma that you did in your childhood as a result of mental illness, but I know well the unexplainable shifts between dealing with a charming, witty man and one of sudden, uncontrolled rages at essentially no provocation. It wasn’t my father; it was my brother. And, in the end, he did kill. Himself and another.

    For those of you who feel unfairly labeled every time something like this happens, remember that the alternative telling of this scenario is that his (usually) family must have provided a terribly toxic environment, etc. etc. Mitt Romney blamed gun violence on single mothers in the presidential debates, after all. I will never forgive him for that insensitive remark. So the writer of this article heard, once again, this is the mother’s fault, and she wrote a much-needed response to that meme. Yes, it is not without flaws. This is an emotional subject, and it is clear to me that many of us involved have trouble getting beyond our emotional responses. This seems like a case in which we should give one another credit for trying to do so rather than lashing out at imperfect attempts. Whether we hear “it was the family’s fault; they raised a monster” or “mentally ill people are dangerous” depends on our life experiences. And those life experiences have been traumatic for all of us.

    We can all agree that we need far less stigmatization of mentally ill people so that we can help children like “Michael” and their families. And so that those suffering from non-violent mental illness can live full and happy lives.

    I’ll echo what Beth said above. It can absolutely be the case that mental illness is not a predictor of violence toward others and *still* be the case that the incidence of mental illness among mass murderers (or those who commit murder-suicide) is far above the level in the general population. That’s because there are many thousands of times more people suffering from mental illness than there are murderers in our society. Just as there are many more men in our society than there are murderers, even if almost all mass murderers or those who commit murder-suicide are male. So there’s not need to argue that many of these perpetrators aren’t mentally ill. Some aren’t, but many are. That doesn’t mean that mentally ill people are a ticking time bomb, and I agree strongly with those who take offense at that very notion. That view is utter nonsense, and it does much harm in our society.

    Finally, I agree with Kate that the writer above is *not* Adam Lanza’s mother and should be much more careful in her phrasing. Furthermore, I find the emphasis on Lanza’s ASD diagnosis in the media to be absurd. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t suffering from, say, clinical depression, though. The data don’t suggest that people who are mentally ill are likely to commit these crimes, but, as noted above, they do suggest that those who commit these crimes are likely to have been mentally ill, with depression as the most likely cause.

  154. 154
    Katita186

    Are you kidding???
    You mean to tell me that the people who do this would not have benefitted from mental health services? Please. So what if we don’t know exactly what disorder they qualify for. Maybe they don’t meet the criteria for any. They are still obviously sick!
    Furthermore, no one is saying that all people with mental illness are dangerous…

  155. 155
    Kate Donovan

    A thousand thank-yous.

  156. 156
    priscilla parker

    I completely agree with you there. I think this is tricky though. I know correlating her sons disorder with a mass murderer can and frustratingly has established stereotypes of individuals with ASD. I can see your point more clearly now in light of advocacy groups for people with ASD having to assure the public they are not a threat. Thanks for posting your perspective!

  157. 157
    momsaid

    Did you not read the article? She said she was: Adam Lanza’s, Jared Loughner’s, and others’ mother. As in, ‘this is what parents of dangerously disturbed children have to deal with’. And how hard it is to get them out of society safely, without putting them in jail.

  158. 158
    Kate Donovan

    I read the article. Which is why I *still* object to her describing her child as just like those mass murderers who don’t have the same diagnoses as my child! She’s taking a very important story about how hard it is to have children with these issues, and glomming it on to a tragedy for no good reason. That’s awful.

  159. 159
    Janelle

    Hello Ashley, I understand where you are coming in saying that it is wrong to call her child a monster like Adam Lanza. But I really think you may have missed the point to the whole article. I have a brother with a mental illness and violent outburst. I am from Canada and the care that they provide for my brother only resulted after a very bad and dangerous act of violence towards my mother. The point the writer is trying to make is that their are many children with Mental illnesses that need help, no they are not monsters, but whats it got to take for them to get the right kind of care and assistance for their familys?

  160. 160
    Kate Donovan

    Hi! I’m Kate Donovan, the author here.

    As I said multiple times in the comments, this article would have been fabulous if it had been about the struggles of dealing with a mentally ill child with violent outbursts. Instead, it did that and the glommed onto a horrible tragedy for no good reason, painting the child with the brush of violent killers for no good reason.

  161. 161
    debra hamidian

    I just came across this article and I am so glad you wrote it. It’s ridicules to take mentally ill and put them in the same comparison as mean mass murderers. Her son is mentally ill and doesn’t have the capabilities in his mind to orchestrate such a plan of mass killiing.. To compare her child to such evil is putting a stigma on all the mentally ill. She is pleading in desperation for assistance but it has nothing to do with this case. People lose their jobs and are not hired behiind media thinking in this direction. When did evil quit being evil and were attached on the backs of the mentally ill. If it’s mentally ill, why doesn’t it happen in poor neighborhoods. Why does it happen in upper class where they excel more and have more expected from them. Therefore, if you don’t meet a certain criteria; you just fall through the cracks left behind. Does that have anything to do with her mentally ill child. Does it have anything to do with his violence over a chemical imbalance. No. This Lanza didn’t have any of those symptoms as a child . He is not her child. The FBI agent said that he was well aware of what he was doing. That is not bipolar or schizophrenic. That is a psychopath with no conscience. That is not a chemical disease of the brain as mental illness perse. I am sick of the death of the stigma of violence, heartless murderders. I have never ever tried to harm anyone. Yet, if I want to see a person step back, lose their train of thought, or look shocked; all I have to tell them is I am bipolar.

  1. 162
    A Violent Child » Almost Diamonds

    [...] seen the post. It’s been linked everywhere. She’s his mother, she says, though she’s not. His mother is dead, as is he, and neither can answer any questions. Her son hasn’t killed [...]

  2. 163
    Everyone Shut Up. Shut up Now. | Mayonnaise's Mayonnaise

    [...] Publicly likening your own mentally ill child to a spree killer is cruel to that child, and proports to speak for the dead. Don’t get me started on “mommy blogging” either, which seems to be some [...]

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