Monday, December 17, 2012

What *Is* The Answer? Part I

I've spent the weekend thinking about what happened on Friday, reading a lot of what has been posted, taking into consideration the sources.  I've also gone back to sources that I absolutely trust and respect.  I've tried to tune out the rhetoric - and Lord knows there's a lot of it out there right now.

My heart is breaking for the families, friends and community of Conneticut.  It's a terrible tragedy that can't easily be solved.

From the antis, we're hearing, "Ban Guns!"

From the pro-gunners, we're hearing, "Arm Teachers!"

For what seems like the first time ever (or at least since I've been a shooter), the antis and the pros agree on one thing: Mental Health availability needs an overhaul. (Now, if we could just get the politicians to effing listen to us!)

Teachers, neighbors, even parents (who aren't in denial) are able to pick out children who are going to be a problem.  Not "oh, little Johnny's a handful" problem, but "oh, this kid's going to grow up to be a mass-murderer" problem.  However, even if those children are identified, there is nothing as teachers that can be done about it.  Parents have no resources to help them.

Fifty years ago, when children like this were identified, they were institutionalized.  However, in our kinder, gentler society we want to do everything we can for our children, which I completely understand, having three of my own.  But there are some members of our society - juveniles - who are just "wrong" and "dangerous".  As a society we acknowledge them, sort of.  Otherwise there wouldn't be the TV show "Killer Kids" on Biography, or "Kids Who Kill" on the Crime and Investigation (History) channel.

On one hand, we're fascinated by them and say, "wow, I'm so glad my kids aren't like that!".  On the other hand, how many people actually think, "oh shit, we need to do something!"?

Until we figure out what to do with the kids who are identified as dangerous, and start offering support to the families who are trying to deal with these children on their own, nothing is going to change.

Nothing.

You can take guns away from law-abiding citizens (hypothetically, let's not get crazy here).

You can arm teachers.

But until we address the root of the problem, we're not going to see any change.  We're still going to have mass killings.

If it means locking up dangerous children, then by God, DO IT! This namby-pamby, touchy-feely stuff is killing innocent children.  I know people are afraid of locking up a child who might not be dangerous, but, honestly, I'd rather take that chance than have to see another massacre like we had Friday.

Even if we don't go so far as institutionalizing dangerous children, we need to have resources available for teachers and parents.  Something other than a patronizing pat on the head by the mental health professionals and a script for yet another medication.

6 comments:

Mrs Mom said...

Right on the money, Diva. There is NO "easy solution" in any of this- and addressing the root cause- the mental health aspect of it- is critical. You're right-- folks in positions of power are NOT going to listen. (I have to wonder if they are not going to listen because they too have some form of mental disorder. But that's a whole 'nother subject.)

Keep calm and carry on folks, and PAY ATTENTION!

agirlandhergun said...

Exactly. Lets address the real problem and implement solutions that will actually work, not ones that makes us feel better.

Double Tap said...

The only part of your post I question is how do you institutionalize "dangerous" children that have not done anything wrong to that point? You can't be the thought police. Dangerous kids that have shown themselves to be dangerous, sure you can.

Yes, agree mental health needs to be addressed.

Tammy MomWithAGun said...

As the parent of a teen with mental health issues that sometimes manifest as explosive rage and violence, I wholeheartedly agree. As to DoubleTap's question, I think a good start would be taking symptoms of mental health issues seriously. When my daughter was not yet treated, the response of officials to her acts of violence ranged from "teens will be teens" to "what did you do to make her mad?" In one memorable case, we called police after a rage escalated to punching, kicking, clawing and biting. I stood there and explained to the cops what had happened, with rivulets of blood oozing down my chest from where she'd clawed me, and with nary a mark on my daughter despite the fact I'd had to restrain her for her own safety as well as mine. The cops did absolutely nothing to her, and made a child abuse report against me for restraining her. THIS is how "the system" responds to mental illness in this country.

Luckily, my daughter's on medication right now that's making a huge difference in her behavior. But I fear what will happen when she turns 18 next year and loses the state-sponsored health insurance (which she gets as a result of having been adopted from foster care) that's currently paying for the thousands of dollars worth of medication and therapy that's keeping her on an even keel.

GunDiva said...

Thank you Tammy. Double Tap, I certainly don't want to be the thought police. I'm thinking along the lines Tammy described. We *know* who the violent (maybe I should have used that word instead of dangerous) children are. Tammy's daughter is one example - with proper care and treatment - life can be good. But when she reached out for help, she got punished by the system.

That has got to be fixed.

mathar1 said...

No amount of mental screening or jail cells will stop insame people from committing insane acts. Not every spree killer showed signs of mental illness before the act.