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FINALLY! An intelligent news article on the recent spate of shootings.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tulianr, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    Our Failed Approach to Schizophrenia

    TOO many pendulums have swung in the wrong directions in the United States. I am not referring only to the bizarre all-or-nothing rhetoric around gun control, but to the swing in mental health care over the past 50 years: too little institutionalizing of teenagers and young adults (particularly men, generally more prone to violence) who have had a recent onset of schizophrenia; too little education about the public health impact of untreated mental illness; too few psychiatrists to talk about and treat severe mental disorders — even though the medications available in the past 15 to 20 years can be remarkably effective.

    Instead we have too much concern about privacy, labeling and stereotyping, about the civil liberties of people who have horrifically distorted thinking. In our concern for the rights of people with mental illness, we have come to neglect the rights of ordinary Americans to be safe from the fear of being shot — at home and at schools, in movie theaters, houses of worship and shopping malls.

    “Psychosis” — a loss of touch with reality — is an umbrella term, not unlike “fever.” As with fevers, there are many causes, from drugs and alcohol to head injuries and dementias. The most common source of severe psychosis in young adults is schizophrenia, a badly named disorder that, in the original Greek, means “split mind.”

    In fact, schizophrenia has nothing to do with multiple personality, a disorder that is usually caused by major repeated traumas in childhood. Schizophrenia is a physiological disorder caused by changes in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that is essential for language, abstract thinking and appropriate social behavior. This highly evolved brain area is weakened by stress, as often occurs in adolescence.

    Psychiatrists and neurobiologists have observed biochemical changes and alterations in brain connections in patients with schizophrenia. For example, miscommunications between the prefrontal cortex and the language area in the temporal cortex may result in auditory hallucinations, as well as disorganized thoughts. When the voices become commands, all bets are off. The commands might insist, for example, that a person jump out of a window, even if he has no intention of dying, or grab a set of guns and kill people, without any sense that he is wreaking havoc. Additional symptoms include other distorted thinking, like the notion that something — even a spaceship, or a comic book character — is controlling one’s thoughts and actions.

    Schizophrenia generally rears its head between the ages of 15 and 24, with a slightly later age for females. Early signs may include being a quirky loner — often mistaken for Asperger’s syndrome — but acute signs and symptoms do not appear until adolescence or young adulthood.

    People with schizophrenia are unaware of how strange their thinking is and do not seek out treatment. At Virginia Tech, where Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people in a rampage shooting in 2007, professors knew something was terribly wrong, but he was not hospitalized for long enough to get well. The parents and community-college classmates of Jared L. Loughner, who killed 6 people and shot and injured 13 others (including a member of Congress) in 2011, did not know where to turn. We may never know with certainty what demons tormented Adam Lanza, who slaughtered 26 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, though his acts strongly suggest undiagnosed schizophrenia.

    I write this despite the so-called Goldwater Rule, an ethical standard the American Psychiatric Association adopted in the 1970s that directs psychiatrists not to comment on someone’s mental state if they have not examined him and gotten permission to discuss his case. It has had a chilling effect. After mass murders, our airwaves are filled with unfounded speculations about video games, our culture of hedonism and our loss of religious faith, while psychiatrists, the ones who know the most about severe mental illness, are largely marginalized.

    Severely ill people like Mr. Lanza fall through the cracks, in part because school counselors are more familiar with anxiety and depression than with psychosis.

    Hospitalizations for acute onset of schizophrenia have been shortened to the point of absurdity. Insurance companies and families try to get patients out of hospitals as quickly as possible because of the prohibitively high cost of care.

    As documented by writers like the law professor Elyn R. Saks, author of the memoir “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness,” medication and treatment work. The vast majority of people with schizophrenia, treated or untreated, are not violent, though they are more likely than others to commit violent crimes. When treated with medication after a rampage, many perpetrators who have shown signs of schizophrenia — including John Lennon’s killer and Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin — have recognized the heinousness of their actions and expressed deep remorse.

    It takes a village to stop a rampage. We need reasonable controls on semiautomatic weapons; criminal penalties for those who sell weapons to people with clear signs of psychosis; greater insurance coverage and capacity at private and public hospitals for lengthier care for patients with schizophrenia; intense public education about how to deal with schizophrenia; greater willingness to seek involuntary commitment of those who pose a threat to themselves or others; and greater incentives for psychiatrists (and other mental health professionals) to treat the disorder, rather than less dangerous conditions.

    Too many people with acute schizophrenia have gone untreated. There have been too many Glocks, too many kids and adults cut down in their prime. Enough already.
  2. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Tulianr, Unfortunately, this will be but a footnote (if that) on the now global debate regarding small arms, American 2nd amendment, and mass shootings.

    They want quick fixes. Band-aids if you will, to patch up the arterial hemmorage. No getting to the root cause, just make it go away.
    tulianr likes this.
  3. CraftyMofo

    CraftyMofo Monkey+++

    Nice post, tulianr. It's really unfortunate that there is no shortage of expert opinions on matters of politics, the economy, sports....but hardly anything on the signs/biology/psychology/endocrinology of these individuals.

    Its pretty sad that we can send a man to the moon, but have so little understanding of what happens between the ears.
    tulianr, VisuTrac and chelloveck like this.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    That cites a number of reasons why it's a fail in my mind. Who decides what a "reasonable control" might be? How will sellers become qualified to recognize schizophrenia? Who is going to pay for the greater coverage and public education? Who will be empowered to do the involuntary committments? (And who can assess a "cured" schizophrenic?)

    Face it, there will always be the numerically miniscule cases like Cho, Laughner and Lanza, as attention getting as they are. I think we cannot allow the very few to handcuff the rest of the nation. All three of those beggar the question, "What if the rest of the village had been armed?" ("What ifs" are what they are, no point to playing that game.)

    Tully, I am sure you aren't endorsing that article --
    Capt. Tyree and tacmotusn like this.
  5. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Say Crafty, there is plenty of information and has been for years on cause and effect of most "brain" problems.

    AS you can see from the link below this was a world wide move to dump the needy that could not vote onto those who could but did not. Even the Aussies blew it.

    5. Closing the hospitals, 1960s to 1990s - Mental health services - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

    Read the whole series of the above link but below is a sample.
    Story: Mental health services

    Page 5 – Closing the hospitals, 1960s to 1990s
    Protesting mental hospital closures
    Mental Health Foundation, 1977
    Claims of abuse by former psychiatric patients

    From the 1960s psychiatric patients were encouraged to take part in their own care and treatment. The general community also became more tolerant of the mentally ill. In this period many of the more manageable patients were discharged from hospital. Planning for new psychiatric hospitals ended in 1963 and no extra beds were provided from 1973. Instead, from the 1970s psychiatric services came to emphasise outpatient care, community-based treatment and more modern facilities. Every mental hospital patient was assessed, and 26% of psychiatric and 46% of mentally disabled patients were recommended for accommodation outside the major psychiatric hospitals.

    But what most of the folks here miss and especially the younger set, below 50, is that the Great Government of the US started shuting down mental health care in the 80s and left it all " To the States , Charities, Churches and Families to take care of."" and yes that is a quote from the leaders of the time.

    The younger set here does not know or remember the charges of "Dumping" of mental needy and the excuse was always "The Budget".

    What a price we have begun to pay.

    "Reagan shut down all the insane asylums, creating the homeless problem"

    YMMV , but I remember.

  6. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    I absolutely AM endorsing that article. When we start nit-picking about "who will be empowered" and "how will sellers become qualified" we are as much of a speedbump to progress on this issue as are those who will only discuss greater gun-control measures as a solution. We are saying, "Well, that's just the way things are. Crazy people WILL be crazy people. What are you going to do? Mass shootings are just part of the American experience."

    Mass murder is not inevitable in our society, and we should not sit back and ignore opportunities to address the phenomena. In every mass shooting that has ever occurred, there have been two common denominators - a deranged individual, and a gun. If we remove one of these elements - the gun, there is every possibility that the violence and deaths will still occur through other mechanisms - fire, explosives, a car, a machete. If we remove the other element - the deranged individual, the violence and deaths do not occur. It seems only common sense to me that we should begin to address how to make this happen. I'd rather not sit back on my civil liberties until my wife or child becomes a victim of a deranged killer.

    I get your concerns. None of us here want a nanny state. None of us want to place into the hands of a governmental authority the ability to arbitrarily lock up people for what they may do at some future time. None of us want to deny the rights of law abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional rights to purchase and own firearms.

    But by not addressing mental illness, we are sticking our heads into the sand and allowing this madness to continue. Even without the consideration of mass shootings, we are doing an amazing disservice to the citizens of this nation who suffer from mental illness by turning our collective heads and pretending that nothing is wrong. Something is definitely wrong, and it is the apathy of people who are okay with the current situation. Our prisons are full of the mentally ill; people who cannot function in society, and so run afoul of our laws. We are paying the price for these incarcerations in the form of taxes, but we are getting no return on our money. These people will be incarcerated, at the cost of fifty to a hundred dollars a day, and will be released back into society - still incapable of functioning properly. They will go right back to prison, and we will continue to pay for their upkeep; but after they have hurt someone or killed someone.

    Why don't we, as a society, try to "stop the madness" literally? How is it an intelligent course for us to simply ignore the problem, until it is one of our family members that was unlucky enough to be at the scene of the latest mass murder? Our initial experience with mental institutions in this country did not go well. Many people were locked up because their family members didn't want to care for them. Many people were locked up because their illness, and the treatment for it, hadn't fully come to light at the time. And there was widespread abuse and neglect within the system. So, the facilities were abolished. Does that make any sense? If your roof leaks, do you simply remove it; or do you repair the leaks?

    I'm not saying that every word in this article is exactly what I would have written. I'm not saying that the the mental illness catastrophe in this nation has easy solutions. And I'm not saying that we shouldn't tread carefully, and not attempt to keep infringement on civil liberties to a minimum while looking for a solution. I AM saying that the writer of this article at least gets the basic idea that we need to stop talking about gun control, and start talking about mental illness in this country. His is one article, amongst the thousands that have been published in main stream media concerning the mass shooting phenomena, that doesn't focus on the gun.

    So yes, one ringing endorsement from me. Halleluiah and pass the ammunition!
    CATO, tacmotusn, HK_User and 2 others like this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    [quote="tulianr, post: 244768,

    It takes a village to stop a rampage. We need reasonable controls on semiautomatic weapons; criminal penalties for those who sell weapons to people with clear signs of psychosis; greater insurance coverage and capacity at private and public hospitals for lengthier care for patients with schizophrenia; intense public education about how to deal with schizophrenia; greater willingness to seek involuntary commitment of those who pose a threat to themselves or others; and greater incentives for psychiatrists (and other mental health professionals) to treat the disorder, rather than less dangerous conditions.

    Too many people with acute schizophrenia have gone untreated. There have been too many Glocks, too many kids and adults cut down in their prime. Enough already.[/quote]

    I liked the post. I few points though for clarification.

    1) I absolutely despise the phrase "It takes a village". This phrase sets me on edge, because it usually means someone thinks they know more about my family than I do. That I should defer to others as to the raising of my children. This may be true of broken homes, but not of mine, or any traditional family unit, consisting of two parents (preferably one of each sex) possibly siblings, and perhaps pets. The village would be advised to heed the "No Trespassing" signs.
    2) Reasonable controls on semiautomatic weapons. We have that, it's called a safety and a gunsafe.
    3)"criminal penalties for those who sell weapons to people with clear signs of psychosis" NO. This requires a dealer to be a doctor, able to recognize mental illness, distress, or what may be nothing more than the need to fart. They are NOT qualified to do that, and I wouldn't want to give them that much power over who gets a gun and who doesn't. That is what the background checks are supposed to do. Add a waiver from your Doctor to the form if you like, but some doctors don't like guns for anyone, and would refuse to sign off. (think on that)
    4) "greater insurance coverage and capacity at private and public hospitals for lengthier care for patients with schizophrenia; intense public education about how to deal with schizophrenia; greater willingness to seek involuntary commitment of those who pose a threat to themselves or others; and greater incentives for psychiatrists (and other mental health professionals) to treat the disorder, rather than less dangerous conditions." I am sorry to say, it is not a perfect world, and going down hill at an alarming rate. The good of the patient, the will of the bill payer, and the safety of the innocent will always be a three way fight to the finish. There are no winners there, just equally screwed.
    My personal opinion is those who are proven harmful to themselves or others should be held apart. Those who are correctable with medication, should be able to live their lives (as long as the meds work), but those who may pose a danger, and will not or do not, take their meds, should lose the right to be a better killer with a gun. Make 'em work for it. maybe nothing with an edge or a point? If they are that fragile, then they belong under someone else's care and protection. Let the protector be armed for the both of them. Call it Self defense by proxy.
    And lastly, if just ONE of your village had a CCW, your village would be minus it's idiot, not it's future.
    Capt. Tyree, CraftyMofo and tulianr like this.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I've read this post several times now. I fail, totally, to understand endorsing a trade off between lay diagnosis of mental disease or defect and more weapon control regulations that will be ignored or overcome by those that want to in any case.

    I also balk, right up to my back to the wall over this taking a village bit. It takes an armed citizen to limit the mayhem by an armed perp, sane or insane. A village full of armed citizens, well that could work. The decisions over who makes the judgements is a critical question that must be answered (not nit picking) before any further restrictions can be placed, either on mental cases OR weapon ownership (and sales.) Speed bump? No, an out and out road block is more like it, and do pass the ammunition.

    I have to add rather gratuitously, that at the present time, society cannot afford intensive or custodial care for the mentally ill, potentially harmful or not. The economic woes are a much higher priority, or should be. IMHO and YMMV uv cuss.
    BTPost likes this.
  9. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    We are doomed.
    I'll bet they reclassify prepping as an unhealthy fear of the future and future events. Plus the fact that we are anti-social due to our OPSEC nature.

    WE ARE THEM!! Take your pills you'll be fine but won't be able to purchase nor posses firearms, sorry that's just the way it is. There is no mental health counselling available to treat preppers so you can never be cured. You've been heaped in with the other mental defectives in society.

    Welcome to happy pill land (sans firearms)
  10. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    Ghrit, I can respect what you are saying, in general. We seem to be at odds in a couple of areas, and some of it may be perspective.

    Treatment might just have to include incarceration for some period of time if "perfectly good enough" cures don't happen readily. As we've seen, some do not without constant supervision. Meds are not taken.
    You mentioned that "treatment might just have to include incarceration." I am so good with that, and it is central to what I am trying to say. I am saying that we NEED permanent in-patient facilities, and that dangerous mentally ill individuals should be there. I'm not saying to dump them in and throw away the key. If therapy and medication can help them readjust to society, fine. But if they need medications to safely function in society, and they are not taking them, they should be involuntarily confined, permanently if necessary. Does it infringe upon their civil rights? Sure. And I am good with that. A person's civil rights need to be curtailed when the exercise of those rights needlessly endangers innocents. I know, I know, that line of reasoning can be taken to an extreme, and even used as an excuse to ban weapons ownership. You could also hold so dearly to personal civil liberties as to claim that traffic laws are an infringement to ones civil liberties; and that we need not obey them. Both extremes of reasoning are unreasonable.

    The otherwise unidentified individual will still find a way. IMHO, inevitable.
    We are good with incarcerating criminals, because they represent at disruption and a danger to society. We should also be good with incarcerating the mentally unstable for the same reason. Perhaps we can't stop mass murder from occurring, but should we court it? To say that the mentally unstable will always find a way to commit these atrocities is pure fatalism.

    Maybe, just maybe, I'm reading you wrong. But it looks from above that you are nearly advocating for more regulations, be they on weapons (I don't limit the discussion to guns) or on people.
    I'm not advocating an increase to gun regulations in any fashion. We have too many gun regulations as it is. My whole point is that the gun is immaterial. We need to focus on the other side of the equation - the person pulling the trigger, and why he is pulling it.

    OK, let's say for a minute that genetic testing can identify mental problems. Are you even willing to allow such testing on your family and yourself?
    I'm not advocating genetic testing to determine possible future actions in any way what so ever. That never entered my mind. A person should be judged according to their actions. But we don't need to wait for those actions to include mass murder before something is done to protect society. The young man in the Connecticut shooting had been acting oddly for a long time. Everyone knew that there was a problem, but little was done about it. The mother, according to some reports, had been working toward having him declared mentally incompetent for up to a year, so as to have better control over his actions. I'm saying that there should be some form of assistance for the parents of these children, up to and including a mechanism facilitating permanent incarceration and treatment.

    The prisons are indeed laden with folks that are anti-social, and the majority of them are felons that are already regulated against weapon acquisition. Does it stop them, I ask, rhetorically?
    No. Gun regulations do not stop felons and nut jobs from getting guns. A main reason why I do not favor more stringent gun regulation, and why I would like to do away with ninety percent of existing regulations. All that greater gun regulation would do is to make criminals out of law abiding citizens. My point about the mentally ill being consigned to prisons is that they don't get better, they get worse; and they get turned loose at the completion of their time for whatever criminal act they committed.

    So we have identified defectives, legislated against their actions once released and in some cases laid on three strikes, and we pay for them until they get to potter's field. Has that stopped recidivism?
    They should not be in prisons, they should be in mental health facilities. Their release back into society should not be determined by the judicial code, it should be determined by their capacity to function within society, and the degree of threat that they pose to society. Even these sorts of facilities wouldn't be a guarantee against future violent actions; but it would be a start. As it is, we as a society seem to be studiously ignoring the five-hundred pound gorilla in the center of the room in all of these shootings - the deranged individual behind the trigger.

    Arming more people is one way. No, that will not stop a madman, but very well could limit the damages.
    I totally agree. The more guns in the hands of mentally stable, law abiding citizens, the better.

    For some things the answer is clear. Mental illness does not admit of that fast and positive a diagnosis, much less clear. How do you repair a brain?
    My point is that society at large isn't even addressing the problem. All they want to focus on is gun control. Guns aren't the problem. And maybe you can't repair a brain. My analogy wasn't referring to the brain. I am referring to our tendency as a society to ignore mental illness until it bites us in the butt.

    The writer is missing the obvious point that limiting liberties for the sake of potentially limiting future maniacs is a bad scheme, at least in my mind.
    The limiting of some liberties is necessary in any society. That being said, anything can be taken to an extreme. I don't want a big brother society (at least any more than we already have). I would like to see smaller government, in general. I'd like to see fewer regulations, in general. I'd like to see fewer infringements upon our civil liberties, in general.

    But a snake doesn't have to bite me before I take action against him. Maybe I've whacked a couple of snakes along the way who wouldn't have taken the opportunity to sink their fangs into me. Sorry about needlessly infringing upon their civil liberties, but I tend to err on the side of safety. To deny the need for infringement of personal liberty within a society, on some level, is to embrace anarchy - a totally bankrupt concept. The question is where we draw the lines. About that, we can all debate endlessly.
    HK_User, kellory and chelloveck like this.
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    sick slum-butch.[reddevil]Roast in heck mammy jammer.
  13. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    There's not enough information in the referenced article to infer that the perp was a "nutcase". Not every murderer or attempted murderer has a clinical psychopathology. Folk who sleep rough are probably as much at risk of being assaulted by "sane" people as being attacked by "insane" people.

    The kind of sociopath who is capable of callously violating the basic human rights of others without care or remorse, often functions very effectively in society and are sometimes well rewarded for it....as suited executives in large corporations.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I admit to jumping to a diagnosis without a long term study of the subject. However, a charge of assault with intent to kill will get the study done. In the end, they will find a psychosis that excuses it. Maybe they'll find he tortured cats, I don't know, nor care. For now, until the med regimen is decided on, he's off the streets until a sharp (lib?) attorney gets him bailed out. (Or so I imagine.)
    tulianr likes this.
  15. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I consider the study concluded, when he tossed the match. At that point I don't care "WHY" he did it, it's done.
    Prove the case, make sure you have the right guy, have him tried by his peers, (which may be hard to find 12 psychos that can agree on anything) pronounce sentence, and carry it out. No haggling, no pleading to lesser charges.
    he did his best to kill in great pain, now we do our best to kill him back. I don't care about his childhood, his lovelife, his obsession about his mother, or the death of the family pet, or how he feels about it. There IS no excuse for this kind of behavior.
    tulianr likes this.
  16. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    Come on Chelloveck. Anybody who can do what he did is a nut case. I don't care whether he is declared "clinically psychopathic" by a psychiatrist or not. I agree with kellory, I don't care why he did it. If he's found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of attempting to burn alive another human being, when they posed no direct threat to him, he needs to be fried. Not that he will be. Ghrit is probably correct; he'll be back on the streets.
  17. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    The point I was trying to make is that, sane people even if social deviants are capable of commiting heinous acts of cruelty. Good people who act lawfully and are careing and compassionate towards others find it difficult to comprehend that anyone other than a "nutcase" could be capable of such an act of aggression.

    I don't disagree that if after due process, the alleged perp, if found guilty of the crime in accordance with the law, is punished in accordance with the law. If found guilty in a capital punishment state, then execution may possibly be an option if the victim dies...otherwise a very long custodial sentence would seem to be the minimum punishment.
  18. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I disagree. The act of setting someone else on fire, without cause, is not the act of a sane mind. If found insane, then lock 'em up. If found sane, this act, which appears premeditated, intended death, and deserves death. I see no reason to feed and house him for the rest of his natural life, with health care, cable TV, weight room, library, and all the perks (except freedom). For all I know, that could have been his motivation. If proven guilty, scrag 'em.
    tulianr likes this.
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