Monday, 17 December 2012

The New Town Kllings: When the Social Safety Net Protects Everyone:

Why do mass killings in the US happen? Partly because of the culture of violence there, but also because of problems with the social safety net.

Having mental problems is always difficult, and therapy is frequently not very effective. But things are much, much worse when there is no public system to help. Adam:Lanza's mother, as far as I know, didn't write or talk about her son's difficulties, but another woman has--most eloquently.

After telling about the latest in her son's explosions, Liza Long writes about how she had to head for the emergency room and the police when he came at her over something silly.  "Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer."

Finally he was subdued, but the chances of finding good help for him are not very great.

"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," Long writes.

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

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

Gun control would help too, but never forget that the Right Wing agenda is not good for people, either.

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