Sunday, December 23, 2012

Using Newtown Shooting for Political Purposes? You don’t say!

(Any comments would be much appreciated.)

We are now two days away from Christmas and the people of Newtown Connecticut and the entire nation are still reeling from the horrible tragedies that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary school. So much has unraveled since that terrifying day when dam Lanza killed twenty-six people before doing himself in, many of those things I have covered here in this blog. But one thing I haven’t been covering as much is the use of the tragedy by politicians for their own purposes. I did say in an earlier blog that we shouldn’t expect too much from politicians as they will only offer us sympathy and promises with no real solutions.

The political tension in the wake of Sandy Hook is rising as Democrats and Republicans are both coming up with their own ideas as to how these tragedies can be prevented and how their own agenda can be furthered. Republicans are saying that armed guards should be present in all schools for protection, while Democrats are saying that gun control laws are too lax and that further regulation of firearms and ammunition is needed.

But this is the perfect time for either party to take a shot at one another as well. In an article I found on Yahoo! News Grover Norquist accuses President Obama and Democrats of using the Newtown tragedy to push their gun control agenda. 

Grover Norquist on ABC accusing Obama and Dems of using Sandy Hook for political purposes


"We ought to calm down and not take tragedies like this, crimes like this, and use them for political purposes," Norquist told me on "This Week." "President Obama has been president for four years. If he thought some gun control could solve this problem, he should have been pushing it years ago."

I love that first part of the sentence, "We ought to calm down and not take tragedies like this, crimes like this, and use them for political purposes”, as Norquist himself is actually endorsing an NRA recommendation to place armed guards in our public schools for protection. So who should be calming down? The guys who want to regulate guns more, or the guys who think armed guards should be in every school? In my opinion, both. 

NRA recommends all schools have armed guards.

When you’re anti-something, there is always going to be another side to the issue, a pro-something side, like anti-gun/pro-gun, and people who are anti-gun will call for the amount of guns to be reduced while pro-gun people will call for a proliferation of guns. And after an event like the Sandy Hook shooting the anti-gun folks are going try to make you believe this happened because there are so many guns in the country and they are easily obtainable, while the pro-gun people will try to get you to believe the tragedy happened because there aren’t enough guns.

And now it’s time to point the fingers in the political world and blame each other for taking political advantage of a horrible occurrence even though both sides are doing the same exact thing.

How can Norqusit come out and accuse Obama and other Democrats for using the Sandy Hook event to push gun control laws when he and Republicans are using the event to push gun proliferation? Norqusit says he thinks Democrats should “calm down” and not turn this into a political hot button and at the same time saying that we need to put armed guards in every school to protect our children. 

Retired marine Staff SGT standing guard at local school

Don’t both of those ideas sound the least bit alarmist to you? I mean, how can we be so fearful as to put armed guards in our schools yet tell others they need to clam down about the ease in which guns are available?  Or vise versa.

The gun control debate itself doesn’t seem to be centered around a all out ban of hand guns or assault weapons, although those ideas are being vocalized by politicians, but rather on the ban of extended magazines and high capacity ammunition clips.

One writer believes that giving up these extended clips is the real solution and that focusing on mental health is just a distraction.


Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said that LaPierre's suggestion that the effect of a violent culture on the mentally ill has contributed to increased gun violence, but she believes that Congress should pursue some gun control measures.

"I am for the banning of the extended magazines and extended clips," Noonan said.

Editor and Publisher of The Nation Katrina vanden Heuvel said that focusing on the mentally ill is a distraction from the issue of gun violence.

"The mental illness argument has been used to evade action," vanden Huevel said. "More guns and bullets, more dead children."

The idea that more bullets and more guns equal more dead children is absolute horse shit. According to this writer the ban of extended mags and high cap clips will reduce the amount of children being shot up in school violence. I hate this argument, because if I was out of my mind and wanted to hurt somebody I DO NOT need either of those extended capacity ammunition clips, PERIOD.

When we look at these shooting incidences we see that they all have one major thing in common; they are all suffering from some type of mental issue or some case of extreme anger in which case therapy or any other type of help was not sought or was not successful. These events don’t just happen at schools either, as proved by the recent shootings at malls and movie theaters by deranged psychopaths who have no sense of wrong or right and simply put are deluded individuals. The excuses, “I wanted to see what would happen” or “I wanted to kill all the phonies” or “I was upset with the way my life was going” or the excuses of people who have little to no moral compass or little to no understanding of the consequences of their actions (unless of course they do understand their consequences in which case they just don’t care or are planning to off themselves anyway at the end of their deed).

I guess what I am saying here is that we shouldn’t get caught up in thinking that only one side of the political spectrum is using this event for political gain. They both are, and it is quite evident that they are.

Norquist was right about one thing though, we do need to calm down, all of us. Those who want guns in our schools for protection and those who wanted to place regulations on firearms. The presences of armed guards in schools won’t limit tragedies, and neither will a ban on high capacity ammunition clips.

If we have armed guards in school surely they may not be able to react quickly enough to each and every instance. The idea that a bad guy with a gun can only be thwarted by a good guy with a gun is pretty accurate, but what if the good guys couldn’t react in time and a few people died?

The ban of high caps won’t do shit. As I said, if I truly wanted to hurt someone I can do it without a lot of ammunition. If Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook with only one hand gun and a regular capacity ammunition clip he would have STILL KILLED PEOPLE. Sure it may not have been as many, but the deed would still have been done, nothing can stop that. And if an armed guard was on the premises maybe he would have gotten to Adam sooner and only a few people were injured or killed, but still the act was accomplished, people died.

Adam Lanza was in fact a troubled young man. According to reports he hardly spoke to anyone and would rarely if ever look them in the eyes. He was hiding from the world, descending into his basement room where he would hide every day and immerse himself in the fantasies he created that he was more able to cope with. He was truly a young man who was in need of some serious therapy, which his mother tried to provide for him.

There are many people who knew Nancy Lanza that are being quoted in news articles saying that Nancy was trying to find help or Adam, and a conflicting report that she had considered to commit him to a mental institution.

With that being said, why are people trying to say that the mental health argument is just a distraction from the real cause? The real cause IS mental health, and this needs to be addressed in our country.

What I do find funny is that the Republicans are the ones who are really saying that this is an issue of mental health rather than firearms regulation, yet the Republicans are responsible for 4.3 billion dollars worth in cuts for mental health programs.

So yes, this is very much a matter of mental health and it should be treated as such. No need to go into a fear mongering campaign by either trying to reduced or increase the amount of weapons available to the general population. The more people who have healthy minds the less senseless violence will occur. 



  1. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You know better than that.

    It is mathematically impossible for the mentally ill to be the major threat. 1 in 4 people in the United States will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives, and yet only 4% of violent crimes are committed by a person suffering from mental illness. Furthermore, people who suffer from mental illness, such as myself, are 11 times more likely to be the victim of violent crimes. The math does not add up.

    Furthermore, it is insulting that you would perpetuate these false stereotypes that are intended to play on the fears of Americans. Yes, there IS a need for better mental health care in the US, but it is NOT because those suffering from mental illness are dangerous. Indeed, if anyone needs to be protected from violence, it is the mentally ill.

    Your insistence to spread this bullshit sickens me.

  2. Breanna, no one is saying that the mentally ill are a "major threat". I'm sorry if the blog made you think that was what I was going for. I'm not saying that they are a significant source of crime in the USA.

    What I am saying is that when you look at all of these shootings the perpetrator happens to be unbalanced in some way or another. I am not saying in that statement that just because someone is mentally unbalanced they will go commit a crime.

    And who is talking about stereotypes? Like I said, I am not labeling the mentally ill as a major source of crime, nor am I pointing the finger. I know plenty of people with issues of mental imbalance myself and I know they aren't criminals, nor will be because of their imbalance.

    You're right, the mentally ill should have protection too, just like they already do like everyone else.

    Don't take this as anything personal, because it's not. I'm not saying, nor have I said anytime that people with mental illnesses are dangerous, nor did I ever perpetuate any stereotype. But look at the guy shot up the theater while "Batman: Rise of the Dark Knight" was showing. He was deranged. What about the kids who perpetrated Columbine? They were crazy!

    Certainly there is a reason for this, and the solution does not have anything to do with gun control. If these people were given the resources that they needed to get over whatever issue they were facing these occurrences would not be happening as frequently as they are.

  3. Fine, let me address your argument directly, and I do this both as someone who has been in long-term treatment for mental illness and as someone who spent a long time studying to become a mental health provider. In almost every case of these tragic shootings, the perpetrator was given every resource available. Most of them were from fairly well-off families and were provided for with the best mental health care available to them. And they refused it.

    They refused to go to therapy, they stopped taking their medications, etc. They refused it because they believed they didn't need it, and no one could convince them otherwise.

    In the particular case of Columbine, Eric Harris, by all accounts the mastermind of the operation, was described by psychologists as likely having psychopathic personality disorder, a disorder that is literally impossible to treat. Not only that, but it's also characterized by cruelty to others for personal amusement. When it comes to personality disorders, it is impossible to treat them, because, as the name implies, they are ingrained in the person's identity.

    The only way mental health providers could have prevented any of these cases is if we had a pre-1960's style of mental health care, a system that was characterized by forceful institutionalization, widespread patient abuse, and infrastructure costs so out of control they would make the current national debt look like pocket change.

    If you would rather see that put in place than have an honest discussion about gun control, then you are a sick, disgusting human being.

  4. I think you're taking this way to personally. I say this is a mental health issue, you jump out of your sick and come out to try to defend yourself as if you were being attacked when no one is attacking you. So take a deep breath and clam down for a sec, because no one said anything about treating the mentally ill as second class citizens or starting pre-1960's mental health care so I don't know where you're getting that from.

  5. And lets talk about these people who commit these acts getting ever resource available. Obviously there weren't enough, regardless if they decided to take treatment or medication.

    What I am getting at here is that our mental health as a country is declining. More and more people are being diagnosed with mental disorders, and I'm very sure there are a lot of Americans out there who are mentally ill and have no idea because they operate within 'normal parameters'.

    Hell lets get down to the real nitty gritty here and stop pussy footing around the issue because in reality all humans have some type of mental infliction or another. People who aren't diagnosed with a serious mental condition can be depressed, they can withdrawal from the world, they can get angry and commit rash acts, etc. I'm not saying "hey lets focus on mental illness, BUT ONLY people with THESE kinds of mental illnesses."

    I'm talking about the mental health of the country as a whole. You don't have to be born with a mental illness or disability, they can manifest themselves through out time given an individuals circumstances. Not just for the young adults who commit these acts, but their parents as well. What about their mental health? Could they possibly be ill, or be ill and not even know it?

    All I am saying is that the proliferation and regulation of guns won't solve this issue. The proliferation and promotion of mental health services will. And I'm not talking about the crazy, men in white suits coming to take you away, strap you down, drug you up, shock the shit out of your brain, or any of that "One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest" kind of shit. I'm talking about more mental health resources for all Americans.

  6. I'm sure you're taking you're medication (if you need to) right? How much does that stuff cost on average? I'm sure that even with your status in your state as a person with a mental illness still may have issues paying for certain treatment or medications that you need.

    Let's talk about copycat shootings. Don't you think it's crazy that when a shooting happens like this it gets wide spread media coverage over and over and over again for weeks and someone watching it decides to copy the incident? Don't you think that is a mental health issue, when TV dictates what people should say say or do? Like the guy who burned down a mosque a while back, he got up in front of the judge and said he thought all Muslims and people of the Islamic faith were terrorists and that they hated Jesus? Oh, and what about when he said, "I only know what I hear on Fox News"? Isn't that some type of indication to you that mental health in this country is in serious trouble? Let's talk about the kid in Germany who shot up his school. When that happened it was all over the news, and they repeated showed the killers face and talked about how many people died. They had a forensic psychologist on the news talking about the incident and when asked how thinks like this can be prevented he said that the media should stop isn't massive coverage of shootings like this because it only incites people to be copy cats.

    Come on, Breanna. Doesn't it sounds to you like there is a mental health crisis in this country when people watch TV and commit copycat crimes, or refuse treatment or medication they need? And maybe, just maybe if mental health resources were made even more available and at better expense there could be ways to detect these things earlier on?

    Someone like Eric Harris, who had a psychopathic personality disorder, who you claim was 100% absolutely impossible to treat, should have been red flagged and something could have been done. Again, this isn't just an issue with the kids who do these things, it's there parents too. Where were the fucking parents? How could you just let your kid do whatever the fuck he wants when he's a god damn psychopath? What is wrong with YOUR mental health when you know your child is psychotic and you're not doing anything to help treat them?

    That's all I'm saying. Again nothing being said about placing some medieval archaic system in place. No indiscriminate lobotomies.

    I have you say you almost sound like Sarah Palin, blasting my views on healthcare and accusing me of setting up "Death Panels". Try to remember I'm on your side Breanna. I think mental health care should be this country's number one priority so people can get the help they need, because not everyone comes from a well-off home or knows that they may have certain resources at their disposal.

  7. You clearly are not on my side when you are going out of your way not to grasp the absolute fail of what you are proposing. People willingly going off their medication is not something that can be prevented in any reasonable manner. We tried forcing their medications on them for over a century and all it served to do was destroy lives, sedate otherwise helpless people and create an infrastructure that was completely unsustainable.

    As to the issues of people going out and doing "copycat" shootings, as you say, most of them actually are not mentally ill in any legal sense. They do it because they are stupid (note: not a technical term) and want to get attention. That's why most of them call ahead and make threats and then get caught. They are not mentally ill; they're just dumbasses.

    As to the people that watch Fox News and go on a rampage because they think they are threatened, that has nothing to do with mental illness. That is the same phenomena as mass hysteria, only in the particular case it is one person who takes it upon themselves to fight against a perceived threat that isn't there. It's a common phenomenon among people with an authoritarian personality. I suggest you read up on the research of Stanley Milgram, a social scientist who explored the topic in the 1960's. He discovered that most people will do just about anything if a person they perceive as an authority figure directs them to, even if it goes against their personal morals.

  8. Nothing will solve this. No amount of gun control or better mental health care.... With the billions of people on the planet, sane or otherwise, and given humans' innate destructive nature, random acts of violence are bound to happen regardless what we try or try not to prevent. It is inevitable and will inevitably happen again. You both need to sit back with a cocktail and smoke a bowl. Shit!

  9. Still searching the blog for where he says, "Mentally ill people are the biggest threat to American children."

    I honestly believe that Breanna here is just upset, being that she has a mental illness herself, and feels like Reno is singling her out. But I disagree with that.

    I don't see anything wrong with a stronger mental health budget. Maybe if we focused on people's mental health this type of stuff won't happen as much. Still have to agree with this other person though, who says that no form of mental health services or gun control will stop these school shootings.

    I'm not really commenting on this blog because of the mental health issue or the issue of politicians using current events for their own political purposes, I'm commenting mainly on the fact that Breanna here is upset and feels like the writer is using stereotypes and indiscriminately grouping her up with those same people who have committed terrible acts of violence.

    There is a difference between those who have a mental illness and those who have a mental illness and do something insane, like shooting up a school. So I don't think Breanna should feel as though Reno is targeting her and every other person with a mental illness as a threat. I think she has essentially put words in his blog that he never used.

    Just my two-cents.

    1. You're half right, I AM upset, but not for the reason you say. I'm upset because "Reno" is a friend of mine IRL. He and I grew up together. He's seen me through my struggles, and has seen me at my best. He knows the challenges I've faced, and he knows that I'm a lot smarter than many people give me credit for. And I'm upset because he has been feeding out this story without questioning it at all, which is extremely unusual for him.

      It's frustrating to me because I know he's smarter than that, and yet in this particular case, for some reason, he has dug his bootheels into the ground and will find whatever reason he can to justify his hypothesis, despite evidence to the contrary. And I'm frustrated because he is doing this despite my urging not to, treating me as though I'm a fool who doesn't know anything.

      At the end of the day, he knows that I have a greater knowledge of the psychiatric field than he does. Want proof? Ask him to provide a series of mental health reforms that would prevent violent mass shootings without reverting back to the system of asylums we used to have back before the 60's. I have 90% certainty he can't do it.

  10. Someone is full of themselves. OMG comments are so stupid on this thread. After reading the blog I was like let checks out the comments. What a stupid mistake.

    After reading this stuff I thought my brain was going to have a melt down. I think this girl Breanna is offended just like the comments say, but not because she has some mental illness but because she knows the writer and is upset with his opinion. "It's frustrating to me because I know he's smarter than that, and yet in this particular case, for some reason, he has dug his bootheels into the ground and will find whatever reason he can to justify his hypothesis, despite evidence to the contrary. And I'm frustrated because he is doing this despite my urging not to, treating me as though I'm a fool who doesn't know anything."

    No where, and I mean no where has this guy ever called or treated you like a fool in this entire thread. Rather you've been attacking him this whole time and acting like no one could no more than you about the subject of mental illness unless they too are mentally ill. And isn't that kind of funny too that you say he is digging his bootheels into the ground on this when you are doing the same exactly thing and have provided no evidence?

    To provide a series of mental health reforms that would prevent massive shootings like this is impossible because there have been no major mental heath reforms that have been enacted. If there had been some major mental health reforms maybe this wouldn't have happened.

    And here you go with this I know better than you do crap. "At the end of the day, he knows that I have a greater knowledge of the psychiatric field than he does." Then to try to prove yourself you ask readers to ask him to provide a series of mental health reforms which would prevent this sort of thing?

    First off, you're so terribly full of yourself it's stupid. Only you can know about this topic because you're mentally ill. Secondly, of course he cannot provide any list of mental health reforms that were made to prevent this stuff because they were never made. Haven't you thought that maybe the writer is saying that here in this blog? Maybe if there were some of these reforms this wouldn't have happened. Did you even try to see it from that point of view? Of course not, because you were too busy attacking him for things he never said, and why? Because just like the comments say here, you are upset that a friend you know in real life has a different opinion than you because your opinion is the only one that is right since you actually are mentally ill and he should know that having grown up with you.

    By the way, statistics show that a career as a mental health caretaker is quite dangerous. Some of prone to violence and hurt their caretakers, although not all of them do it on purpose. My mother is in the mental health field and has been ever since I was in high school so she's been exposed to this for over twenty years. She has had lacerations, scars from being bitten, concussions, and even internal bleeding from a time when one of her patients threw a chair at her. So to say that the mentally ill are no danger is the most absolutely stupid statement to make. There is however proof that the mental ill who are out on the street don't prove to be a huge risk to the general public. It is a fact according to studies and statistics that violence and serious mental disorder are rare occurrences. In a study conducted it was shown that mentally ill people are more likely to act violently with family members or friends and that the violence typically took place in the home.

  11. (Christ Reno, can't you extend the amount of character allowed in your comments? Holy fuck...)

    "Similarly, in a social network study that followed 169 people with serious mental disorder over thirty months (30), violence most frequently erupted in the family when relationships were characterized by mutual threat, hostility, and financial dependence; when there was a diagnosis of schizophrenia with concurrent substance abuse; and when outpatient mental health services were used infrequently. Of the over 3,000 social network members studied, only 1.5% were ever targets of violent acts or threats."

    So only 1.5% of people 3,000 people were targets of threats of violence by 169 mentally ill people. The odds are low, but lets look at the massive shootings that have happened. Adam Lanza was mentally ill, he killed over 20 people, so he falls into that 1.5%. The Columbine guys were mentally ill, they fall into the 1.5%. A lot of the copycats who repeat things they see on TV are a part of the 1.5%

    So it doesn't matter how infrequently mentally ill people attack. When they do they can cause some damage. But my sources also had this to say. "Finally, too much past research has focussed on the person with the mental illness, rather than the nature of the social interchange that led up to the violence."

    So maybe the writer has a good idea. Maybe if we had some better mental health program then psychologists and psychiatrists may be able to better follow the social habits of the subject, and can possibly better prevent this stuff from happening again.

    1. You missed the part where I mentioned I studied for years to be a mental health provider and have volunteered to help people for years. I'm not an expert, but I know what I'm talking about.

  12. I remember someone like that in high school. He used to tell us all the time that he was mentally ill but non of us evr saw it. He used to tell us all the time about how hard it is to be mentally ill and that he couldn't operate like the rest of us. But he joined the plays in theater class, was a great actor, had a good personality, was smart, just a little weird all tje time which he blamed on mental illness. We used to tell him all the time that he was a great guy but sometimes he acted as if we were just saying that to make him feel better. He used to tell us about how challanging it was for him to come to school and be a person when really he was the one who made all of those challanges for himself and try to pass it on as somethign else. I think his name was Brandon. Sorry Bree, we love you. We know how pasonate you are about mental illness because you think your mentally ill but just because you think you are or may be and have read about it doesn't mean you know everything about it.

    1. Real nice. You could be a little less, oh, I don't know, directly insulting.

  13. Wow, well thank everyone. I wanted comments but I didn't realize I would get this many, nor did I think the topic in the comments would be related to mental health.

    This is going to be my last comment on this blog as I'm tired of thinking about this topic. The truth is I never said any of the things that Breanna is saying I am for. I never said that mentally ill people are the direct cause of the majority of violence in this country, and I didn't suggust that mental health care should revert to a pre-1960's fashion (E.I. One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest).

    What I was actually saying is that guns don't MAKE people violent. You don't get a gun and become a killer because you have it or are in contact with it. But when we look at these guys who do a lot of these horrible acts we find that they are mentally ill. And like Jeff said (nice comment BTW and thanks for the e-mail on the mental illness stats, it will help me in my next blog)we shouldn't focus on the person and their mental illness, but the social interchange that led up to the violence. I believe one way we can do that is by focusing on mental health services more, so that we can ALL get the help we need when and if we need it. We need to make sure we all have healthy minds, and to get there we can start by curbing bullying or have programs for identify bullying and identifying who is bully to assure they both get the services they need to help them get past it. And make sure people are on the correct medications if you're going to give them medications! Erica Harris had Fluvoxamine in his system when the autopsy was performed. Fluvoxamine is an SSRI antidepressant which some believe may actually have increased his aggressive behavior.

    I'm not saying, "Let's drug'em all up until they can't see straight." I'm saying that we should have these services more available to the public, programs with good doctors available to everyone. We need to get the proper diagnoses for people and make sure they get the correct medication if needed.

    Basically all I am saying is that we need to pay attention to our kids and try to realize what they are going through and how it may be different from how you grew up. If you notice an issue such as constant bullying then it should be nipped in the bud, with your child and his bully. Therapy or mediation should be offered free of cost to prevent the issue from becoming a wild fire.

    1. I agree that we need better mental health care, but I strongly disagree that it will prevent shootings like this. There is absolutely no evidence that it will, and to suggest so is extremely irresponsible.

      Making mental health care more available is a noble idea, but in pretty much every single case we've examined it was FULLY AVAILABLE. The only further thing that could have been done to prevent any violence would have been to force the perpetrators in some way, whether by force feeding them medication or by having them institutionalized, both of which can actually induce violent behavior if handled improperly.

      To say that this is a mental health issue is to promote an abject, blatant falsehood not supported by any solid evidence whatsoever.

      I would also like to point out that not once have I made this about guns, the availability of guns, or gun control specifically because that is a separate issue altogether. What we are dealing with here is the spread of a misconception that, while it is often cited as being done in the best interest of the country, is actually doing more harm than good by stigmatizing an entire group of people for whom the stigma is the LAST thing they need.


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