I wish that I could tell you that I entered law enforcement because I loved my fellow man and I wanted to make the world a better place. But that would be untruthful. My reasons were far more shallow than that. I thought law enforcement would be fun. I wanted to be entertained. I'm not sure it was any more complicated than that.
Eventually, that superficial thought process would fade away.
About six weeks ago, I read this story about a woman who stabbed and killed her 7 year old son, a 5 year old girl she was babysitting, and the two family dogs. She made the children pray before she stabbed them to death. What are the chances that this woman is insane? Better than average. I landed on schizophrenia for her. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/11/01/babysitter-charged-with-killing-kids-due-in-bond-court/#photo-1
When you are prescribed medication for mental health issues- the translation is that we don't have any way of fixing you- so society's answer is that we will just medicate you for 40 or 50 years and hope that everything turns out well. Medication is not a cure. It never has been. For millions and millions of undiagnosed and/or depressed people- many simply self medicate with booze, pot, or maybe some valium.
The point I am trying to make is simple. Drugs do not cure people. In a country devoid of patience- we want what we want- now.
We have been sold this ridiculous notion that we can fix broken people with some magical compound while ignoring all internal and external influences on this person. In an emergency room, they might refer to this as a mechanism of injury. If you don't know the precise mechanism of injury- you cannot possibly hope to properly treat the underlying illness.
For several years, I taught mental illness at the state police academy. My degree is in law enforcement. This was a bare bones kind of mental illness approach. I taught young police officers the basic differences between schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and depression. I also had a rudimentary knowledge of lesser known problems like obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, and the new kid on the block, Asperger's Syndrome. I taught these things in an attempt to understand them primarily- and then secondarily- to assist young officers in rapidly assessing what they were most likely dealing with when confronting these folks in their daily activities.
Here was my experience. Schizophrenics and people with Aspergers could be highly difficult to deal with. They were prone to violence and highly impulsive. Depressed people tended to be more isolated and if prone to violence- it tended to be suicide ideation. I never needed validation of that opinion. This was my truth and my experience. So when a young man shoots his mother in the face and then oddly, goes to a school she is associated with, that tells me that his actions were highly impulsive. Having a lack of empathy for others, allowed him to kill children. That type of rage and impulsivity, in my experience, was limited to people with schizophrenia and possibly Asperger's. Indeed this morning, I read this piece. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/12/14/newtown-school-shooting-who-is-adam-lanza/
So how do we deal with mental illness? Are we going to lock up everyone with a schizophrenic or AS diagnosis? No, the supreme court has decided that. No plan B.
So one of the things this country is very good at- is ignoring our own problems like we don't have any. Our leaders have plenty of money to drop bombs on middle easterners while telling us we don't have any way of dealing with the mentally ill.
This is beyond bullshit. The truth is- this country doesn't give two shits about the mentally ill until some insanely tragic thing happens in Connecticut, West Virginia, or Colorado. In Idaho, I have actually listened to state legislators publicly DOUBT the existence of mental illness. I am not kidding. That level of unconsciousness is hard to comprehend.
So for the next few days, we will have to listen to talking heads with alleged credentials yak on television or listen to the left talk about gun control like that is the real issue. We love to blame the symptoms.
I have refused to turn my television on.
In all three cases- Virginia Tech, Columbine, and now Sandy Hook- the shooters were all people with a long history of mental illness. What a coincidence! Who deals directly with those people? Teachers and cops. Every day. Who's asking the teachers and cops for information about these people? Nobody. Because nobody thinks that is important and worse yet, other than social workers and immediate family members- I don't think anyone really cares about these people. They have been marginalized.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that our society is horrible at diagnosing, identifying, treating, and then providing after care for this particular demographic. We don't check on these people regularly. We don't assist them with housing or help. Instead we write out some script- get them some prescriptions and hope that they take them. That's our solution to a mental health problem that will only enlarge and get worse. To presume otherwise means some sort of large scale intervention by a government that up to this point- would clearly rather spend OUR billions bombing and killing foreigners than provide aid to our own people. We can see where the priorities are.
Now all of this might sound socialistic to you. But I have to say this. I know of no other mechanism to help the mentally ill while preventing death and destruction to the rest of us. Perhaps programs administered by states with all of that largesse the government confiscates from us each year. I simply can't think of a better way. In my mind- it's a win for everyone in our country and a vast improvement over the wars, waste, and destruction that we currently engage in year after miserable year.
To me, wasting our money on wars makes socialism look wonderful.
If the government diverted 5 billion dollars or one day's spending, that would be a hundred million dollars per state for mental health care. Chump change. But instead we will waste billions upon billions bombing other countries and paying interest on the debt we borrowed to bomb them. It seems, the warlords keep winning. The people keep losing.
Whether we decide to voluntarily help the mentally ill or we are ultimately forced to do it, will simply be a matter of how bad our society continues to break down. For years I worked with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. I advocated for better treatment of the mentally ill. Law enforcement taught me that the mentally ill are a huge problem for the rest of us. I gave up when I realized that beyond the people who are intimately and directly effected by the mentally ill- nobody seemed to care. That's too bad.
Because the mentally ill keep showing up at places like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook. It doesn't appear that they are going away any time soon.