It’s mental health that is the problem, not guns – UPDATED

by Political Arena Editor Chuck Norton

Liberal activists stopped new laws in Connecticut that could have helped Adam Lanza get the mental help he needed…..

[Political Arena Editor’s Note: Before we get onto the the disturbing details, this very writer has a great deal of experience in helping treating a schizophrenic. I have pretty much seen it all. As well as read the articles, dealt with good doctors and as well as the bad ones who just “don’t get it”. I have dealt with the insurance issues, legal issues and the social issues of it. As much as any non MD can be I am an expert.

With that said,  I was lucky in that most of the time mine wanted treatment because she was getting the “Clive Barker” treatment behind her eyes and that scared her. Some patients resist treatment which is a mistake. The legal system must back parents up and help the patient even if it is against their wishes. D.J. Jaffe has a GREAT editorial about changes in the law that can help such patients – LINK ]

There is little doubt that not only was Adam Lanza partially autistic,  (Asperger’s syndrome – this disorder has no history of causing violence),  he also suffered from extreme depression and/or schizophrenic disorder as he fits the profile like a glove.

What is schizophrenia?

It is not multiple personality disorder as is so often shown on television. Schizophrenia acts to change how your brain perceives what the five senses tell it. The signals to the brain intermix the schizophrenic’s perception of reality with ones own imagination and even memories such as what one has seen in a movie.

What the schizophrenic sees, feels, and hears sometimes becomes a jumble. At other times one can hallucinate and/or hear voices. Those with schizophrenia have a hard time relating with others because they misperceive the nonverbal cues that are so crucial in interpersonal communication. If the disorder is pronounced enough the direct verbal cues may also be misperceived.

The mind tries to make order out of the chaos. The mind does not wish to accept their condition so the schizophrenic invents elaborate conspiracies to attempt to rationalize and make order out of the chaos they are perceiving. Since schizophrenic events are often accompanied with a cognitive skills impact the conspiracies do not seem too outlandish to one so affected.


Most normal people can look at a problem of moderate complexity and come to the same conclusion. The schizophrenic will come to a different, completely irrational conclusion, and if you don’t agree with them YOU must be crazy, because to them it is so obvious. For Example:

Three plus seven is 18 and I can prove it by counting the clouds outside. If you can’t see that than you are either an effing idiot or a liar.

The unfortunate truth is that for those so affected such as Jarrod Loughner, who perpetrated the Gabby Giffords shooting in Arizona, in his schizophrenic mind he had to shoot Giffords and her party because reason demanded it.

In more severe cases the schizophrenic may hear voices, see people who aren’t there and have conversations with them that are as real to them as can be. For some schizophrenics the life they live behind their own eyes is like a Clive Barker horror movie that they can never escape from without treatment.

Those who get the help can usually be treated with the proper medication. Those who do not usually try to self medicate with drugs or alcohol to try to cope.

To compound the problem, there are a great many family doctors who simply “don’t get” schizophrenia and I have personally encountered a staff psychiatrist at a hospital who could not comprehend the condition. Why? Largely because of “Normalcy Bias”. In a nutshell, those with “Normalcy Bias” apply their ability to reason to everyone else and assume that simply because the person with the bias can make out the situation with relative ease, that the schizophrenic patient must also, so therefore the patient is just lying, or acting out for attention etc. They will ask things like, “Well if you heard things then how come you don’t now” and “you are all better now you faker?” Those with schizophrenia and associated conditions have episodes where the problem is much worse, and much better. Stress can bring about a psychotic episode even over the effects of medication.

As in the case of Jarrod Loughner, the signs were there, lots of people including parents, teachers, administrators and even police saw them and yet, no one took the appropriate action.

The UK Daily Mail published a quite complete bio of Adam Lanza that shows that he fit the profile of someone with a schizophrenic or similar disorder. Here are excerpts:

Crazed killer Adam Lanza was a ‘ticking time bomb’ who suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome and was painfully shy and awkward, former classmates said yesterday.

Last night, a troubling portrait began to emerge of the ‘Goth’ loner, who dressed all in black and was obsessed with video games.

Goth like “death music” with theses about rejection, suicide, and the horrors of the world seem appealing to schizophrenics as in some ways it is how they perceive their own world. Some video games are popular with schizophrenics because in them they can have some control over their reality and create dramatic scenarios , again, in which unlike in the real world, they have some control.

Others say Lanza used to be a mild-mannered student in high school, making the honor roll, and living with his mother, Nancy Lanza, who in turn loved playing dice games and decorating their upscale home for the holidays.

‘No one is surprised. He always seemed like he was someone who was capable of that because he didn’t really connect with our high school, with our town.’

Another former school friend, Jamie Crespo, 19, said: ‘He used to hang with the freaks, guys who dressed in trench coats.’

Other students remember him walking through school dressed in black, carrying a black briefcase.

Family friends said Lanza’s problems started to escalate when his parents divorced in 2008 after 18 years together.

His father Peter, a wealthy executive for General Electric, who is believed to earn $1 million a year, moved out of the family home in 2006, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’.

One of Lanza’s former classmates spoke of his ‘noticeable decline’ after his parents’ divorce. ‘He was a loner at school and hyper intelligent,’ he said. ‘But in recent years he disappeared off the radar.

‘The word is that he was badly affected when his parents split and that might be what pushed him over the edge.’

‘He was always weird but the divorce affected him. He was arguing with his mother. He was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.’

In several press accounts, Adam Lanza went from a typical Asperger’s kid, to a dark, more disturbed, more isolated troubled young man. This is typical of those with schizophrenia because it tends to manifest itself after puberty. Stress tends to bring on more psychotic events and makes the condition worse.

A relative to the family said that Adam Lanza was ‘obviously not well,’ adding that he often seemed troubled.

Lanza’s aunt, Marsha Lanza, said her nephew was raised by kind, nurturing parents who would not have hesitated to seek mental help for him if he needed it.

Everyone hesitated including mom and dad. As is so often the case, parents and some relatives just won’t see it. Some are shamed into inaction, some are just too proud to admit that “their offspring is schizo” because of the stigma. Some are simply in denial. “Oh he just had a bad day”, “but he only does that sometimes”, “the stressful situation made him do it”, “no really he is better now (until the next psychotic episode)”, “but what can I do”, “it’s just kids being kids” and “every kid now a days acts strange” are typical rationalities.

How long did mom (who is now dead sadly) hesitate?

The New York Daily News reports:

Less than a week before her son would launch his horrifying attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School, Nancy Lanza knew “she was losing him” and that “he was getting worse.”

A drinking buddy of Lanza told The Daily News that her son Adam had long been troubled and rarely came up in conversation.

“She just looked down at the glass and said, ‘I don’t know. I’m worried I’m losing him,’” said the bar pal, who did not wish to be named, of the ominous conversation at the bar My Place in Newtown, Conn.

“She said it was getting worse. She was having trouble reaching him.”

Adam, who the coroner’s office said Sunday shot Nancy Lanza, 54, several times in the head before unleashing a nightmarish attack that killed 20 schoolchildren and six others Friday, was prone to hurting himself, the drinking buddy said.

“Nancy told me he was burning himself with a lighter. In the ankles or arms or something,” he recalled of a conversation they had about a year ago. “It was like he was trying to feel something.”

Self mutilation such as cutting and burning actually provide temporary relief to those having psychotic events of depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Criminal Psychologist Dr. Alan Lipman: The FACT is that every One of these episodes Is proceeded by an undiagnosed mental illness:

UPDATE II – Unconfirmed report that Nancy Lanza was petitioning the court for conservator-ship over her son to have him involuntarily committed:

Joshua Flashman, 25, who grew up not far from where the shooting took place. Flashman, a U.S. Marine, is the son of a pastor at an area church where many of the victims’ families worship.

“From what I’ve been told, Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed,” Flashman told “Adam was apparently very upset about this. He thought she just wanted to send him away. From what I understand, he was really, really angry. I think this could have been it, what set him off.”

Off the cuff, I do not think this update is true. If it is where is the court petition and where is the attorney? I do think that it is entirely possible that she discussed doing this at one point. However, if Connecticut had an AOT law such as “Laura’s Law” Nancy Lanza would have been able to get Adam Lanza the help he needed with little difficulty. But who is it who actively resists such laws? Read below.

Far Left Groups Defeated Connecticut Mental Health Protection Laws Just Months Before Shooting (Via Jim Hoft):

Counter Contempt reported:

Here’s a fact you might not know – Connecticut is one of only SIX states in the U.S. that doesn’t have a type of “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) law (sometimes referred to as “involuntary outpatient treatment”). There’s no one standard for these types of laws, but (roughly speaking) these are laws that allow for people with mental illness to be forcibly treated BEFORE they commit a serious crime. Whereas previous legal standards held that the mentally ill cannot be institutionalized or medicated until they harm someone or themselves, or until they express an immediate intent to do so, AOT laws (again, roughly speaking) allow for preventative institutionalization or forced medication (I highly recommend reading the data cited in the link I provided in this paragraph, especially regarding what is known as “first episode psychosis”).

AOT laws vary state-by-state, and often bear the name of a person murdered by an untreated mentally ill person (“Kendra’s Law” in New York, “Laura’s Law” in California, etc.).

Earlier this year, Connecticut considered passing an AOT law (and a weak one, at that), and it failed, due to protests from “civil liberties” groups.

Most states have laws and even a 1-800 mental health hotline and free clinics to help those who are mentally ill. Arizona had such laws and facilities, but not even the local police called the number after they determined that Jarod Loughner had troubles perceiving reality. Loughner, like Lanza should have been forcibly evaluated. If evaluated, Jarrod Loughner would not have been able to buy the weapon that he bought to do his terrible deed as his evaluation would have been reported to the proper authorities.

We have gun laws that work pretty well, but no system works unless the people on the ground take action to put those laws and resources into action.

Those who engage in “Normalcy Bias” when it comes to mental illness have plenty of cover in leftist academia (also via Jim Hoft):

For Your Country posted this back after schizophrenic Jared Loughner went on his shooting rampage in Arizona that left several people dead and US Rep. Gabby Giffords seriously wounded.

It actually very hard to force people with severe mental diseases to be treated because of a range of reforms pushed by progressives starting in the 60′s:

  1. Ronald David Laing, a Scottish Psychiatrist, In the 60′s put forth the foundation of the Anti-Psychiatry movement. He maintained that schizophrenia was “a theory not a fact”. The popularity of Laing’s theories is blamed for decline in students entering the psychology profession.
  2. President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 Community Mental Health Centers Act accelerated the trend toward deinstitutionalization with the establishment of a network of community mental health centers and changes in laws regarding commitment.
  3. Kenneth Kesey, wrote “One Flew over the Cukoo’s Nest” based in part on Laing’s thinking (and his own intensive use of drugs). “Kesey did not believe that these patients were insane, rather that society had pushed them out because they did not fit the conventional ideas of how people were supposed to act and behave.” The Book,play, and later the movie, portrayed a anti-psychiatry philosophy leading to a public displeasure with residential mental facilities resulting in further deinstitutionalization policies.
  4. Deinstitutioanlization led to many legal and structural changes. American public mental hospital patients declined from more than 550,000 in 1955 to fewer than 40,000 at present. The displaced patients now represent 30-50% of the homeless populations.

As a result of Laing, Kennedy, Kesey and public efforts to transform the mental health care system to be more humane, to characterize mentally ill people as “Just thinking differently”, and characterizing mental health care as some form of evil, we now have a system that makes it virtually impossible to get folks like Loughner the care they need.

Deinstitutionalization policies driven by “do good” liberals and the federal government put focus on limited bad acts. Kesey wrote a story based on his LSD induced observations in one VA mental hospital. Once his story was put into film, his small example falsely characterized the bulk of mental health care as dehumanizing and made it impossible to force the Loughners of the world to get treatment.

Critics will focus on gun control after today’s school massacre. The focus should be on failed liberal policies that excuse rather than assist extremely dysfunctional individuals.


Illinois Issues blog: Closing mental health facilities could cause other problems, opponents say

Alabama Plans to Shut Most Mental Hospitals

After closing psychiatric hospitals, Michigan incarcerates mentally ill

Illinois Mental Hospitals to Turn Away Thousands of Patients

We here at Political Arena are the last to look for government to offer up solutions, but in the case of the mentally ill, most do not have insurance and need state assistance for treatment. Only by education and treatment on a level comparable to that which has been used to combat AIDS will this problem get seriously better.

But What About Guns

Israeli Teacher protecting  children
Israeli Teacher Protecting Children

[Editor’s Note – While not every teacher in Israel carries a rifle, military personnel, reservists, and those with a gun license may carry a weapon openly in Israel. Israel provides armed security for most of its institutions including schools.]

While there is no question that those who are bent on destruction will often find a way to do so with or without access to firearms, sometimes access to guns, in this case stolen guns from a relative, amplifies the damage a disturbed person can cause.

It is important to examine the big picture. In Switzerland and Israel where guns are everywhere there is very little gun crime and very few mass shootings, but in areas of Europe that have gun control laws that essentially turn the citizens into mere subjects, according to studies by Dr. John R. Lott and others, per capita they have about the same number of deaths via mass shooting as the United States does. In states areas where more citizens carry guns legally there are drops in crime and gun violence in almost every instance. Put simply, criminals and those with ill intent prefer helpless unarmed victims.

England may have a virtual ban on guns, but they also have among the highest violent crime in the world, even higher than South Africa and the United States. England’s gun crime increased by 35% in the years following the ban.

In fact, it seems that the Aurora, Colorado Cinemark shooter, aside from being schizophrenic, targeted that particular theater because it had signs up announcing that it was a “Gun Free Zone”.

gun signs childrenUPDATE – When Adam Lanza discovered that armed responders were on the scene, that is when the rampage ended – “We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that, decided to take his own life,” Mr. Malloy said on ABC’s “This Week.”

According to the Brady Center to Prevent Handgun Violence Connecticut ranks fifth best in the country for toughest gun laws.

Dana Loesch has put together a handy list of sourced and credible statistics about gun crime in general. Notice how violent crime, according to government and academic sources, is much higher in areas where citizens are restricted from using firearms for self defense.

Those with a knee jerk reaction may blame the guns, but do they credit guns with the killing of Osama bin Laden or do they credit the Navy Seals? There is clearly a double standard at play here, and in the case of politicians who know better, the double standard is an agenda driven one.

That agenda is parroted by a liberal elite media which not only focuses on the guns due to their statist ideology, that agenda is also what results in that same elite media not reporting cases where armed citizens prevented mass shooting such as the case of Appalachian Law School, and just two days ago an armed citizen stopped a mall shooting in Portland. When the deranged gunman saw the armed citizen he took cover and then took his own life. When heroic Sandy Brook School principal Dawn Hochsprung lunged at Adam Lanza, she deserved to have the right to lunge at him with something better than a ball point pen.

Many critics are being nakedly political by blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA trains every police firearms instructor and almost every civilian firearms safety instructor in the country.  The NRA runs the largest firearm safety program for kids in the country and teaches in many schools. The NRA is also the most powerful political lobby in Washington DC.

Blaming the NRA for this tragedy is like blaming anti-drug war groups for substance abuse and drug overdoses. It really does not get much more irrational than that.

2 thoughts on “It’s mental health that is the problem, not guns – UPDATED”

  1. A reader asks about over-medication of active children and so here is my answer:

    While over-medication of active children is a problem, schools do it because they often want compliant, feminized, docile males. When they do that it is wrong.

    But extreme depression and schizophrenia are in a totally different league. Almost always the problem is untreated people with depression and bi-polar, not medicated ones.

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