Connecticut shooting: It is time for “people control”

President Bush designated the 1990s as the Decade of the Brain: “to enhance public awareness of the benefits to be derived from brain research” through “appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.” Thirteen years after the decade of the brain, the public is now aware that brain function is impaired in mental illness (including psychopathy) and addiction. Research has uncovered the brain regions involved in mental illnesses (including psychopathy) and addiction and the mechanism of action of many helpful medications.

Now this may still be difficult for some people to comprehend but, I say categorically that, “a 20 year old male who kills his mother, several other women and 20 five year old children does not have a normal brain.” I also ask, “when are our laws regarding mental illness going to catch up with our scientific knowledge of same?”

In the wake of the Newtown elementary school shootings, news commentators are talking about gun control and I claim no specific expertise in that matter. However it would be terrible if we didn’t take this time to also think about the problem of “civil rights” and mental illness. We need to institute “people control” in addition to gun control.

Many mental illnesses start in early adulthood, a time when young people are still financially and emotionally dependent on their families. Parents have no real power to compel a teenager into treatment much less a dependent young adult. The most parents can do is to expel the mentally ill teen or adult child from the home. What good does that do? Parents are rendered powerless by the government to help society and their children.

Doesn’t it seem logical that a dependent young person who has a brain problem severe enough to prevent self-care should be required to adhere to the decision making of parents who provide care? As current law stands, family members are not even allowed information about the dependent’s condition if they are in treatment. Does that make sense?

Empowering families also means accountability and education. If you have a mentally ill family member and you own weapons it is your responsibility to keep those weapons away from the mentally ill person.

Clearly the realities of family life no longer dictate that an individual member’s rights be considered in a vacuum. Sure “the right to refuse treatment” sounds good in theory but in practice it leads to suicide, murder and homelessness. Speaking of the homeless, many receive SSI or Social Security Disability. They are dependents of the state. Shouldn’t we all then have an interest in their treatment and possible return to productivity? Does it make sense for us to pay them to remain mentally ill, addicted and homeless?

Psychopathy is a mental illness that may manifest at any point from childhood through emergent adulthood. Furthermore, the individual symptoms of psychopathy as described by the psychopathy checklist contribute to crime and all forms of aggression. It is time we tackle psychopathy at all levels of severity as a mental health issue. Tackling it means treatment, public education and the empowerment of families to intervene. There is emerging evidence that treatment can lessen the severity of the condition. Supervision does reduce aggression and crime.

I have repeatedly said that psychopathic individuals could not do what they do without the help of their families. The Newtown school shooting is no exception to this because although the perpetrator killed his mother, the guns he used to kill legally belonged to her. He clearly should not have had access to weapons. We have yet to know the full extent of the mother’s lack of judgement when it came to her son’s disorder. But our laws and attitudes toward mentally ill individuals including those with psychopathy do not facilitate family education or responsibility.

In summary, since mental illness including psychopathy impairs judgement, creates dependency and predisposes to violence, mentally ill individuals should not have a blanket right to refuse treatment. The current criteria for compelled treatment are too restrictive. Families should be empowered to take both control and responsibility for the problems caused by mental illnesses including psychopathy.

See also Civil Commitment of Sociopaths, an article I wrote in 2010.

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54 Comments on "Connecticut shooting: It is time for “people control”"

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yes, the pattern is beginning to emerge –Again.
There’s that familiar URGENCY to “ACT NOW” to solve this problem with gun control and people control. It’s got spath written all over it: control.

Remember, when they want us to act quickly is when we should step back and take another thoughtful look at the matter.

I didn’t say I was starting to feel like a nut job, though. I said I am acquainted with paranoid nut jobs and they are not always totally wrong in their perceptions, but other times, I know they are. The paranoid nut jobs also try to slime others with their paranoia, they want everyone to be as paranoid as they are. So again, we are going to encounter lies mixed with truth, so that it we have to be careful not to buy into the entire ball of wax.

The reporting on this case was very different than any other reporting I’ve witnessed. There have been other sensational news stories and I’ve never in my life, seen what happened, go down the way it did: the confusion on the details, the lies mixed with truth. The only time I’ve ever seen it before was with the spath’s stories.

For those who don’t know how to spot spaths, as well as we do, we probably DO seem paranoid because spaths ARE everywhere.

It doesn’t matter though, because as long as we hold on to our boundaries, we don’t have to discern WHO the spath is and what he wants (we all know he wants us to let down our boundaries ).

Hi folks, It’s been awhile since I logged in. Since I last logged in I have had 2 more grand babies born and I was busy helping with the election. So I have been very, very, busy.
However, I wanted to comment on the shooting. This happened in my local. We, being my family and I was a family friend of one of the teachers who were killed. I can remember when Colombine happened my young son was in elementary school and I asked the principal when where they going to install mental detector’s in school or have armed guards and his reply was, “you don’t have to worry about that in CT”. Well bingo here it is, ‘it happened right in my backyard area.’
I am for the right to bear arms as set up in our Constitution by the founding fathers. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people and I believe it was more than likely Lanza was not ‘autistic’
as believed but more than likely an undiagnosed ‘sociopath.’
I have an autistic grandchild and autistic people have human feelings they just can’t express themselves as normal people do.
So I feel rather than take away more of our rights that we can do more to protect our kids.
I think installing metal detector’s with an armed security guard should suffice. We have them in most state and federal buildings to protect politician’s and judges so why don’t we have them in our school’s to protect our most precious assets our kids.

Joanie123, welcome back and congratulations on your grandbabies!!!!!!!! I am so sorry that you and your family were intimately connected with such horrific grief. I cannot imagine what the survivors of that catastrophe are feeling, I simply can’t.

I agree that Lanza probably had a host of undiagnosed disorders and I have worked with numerous autistic and Asperger’s children. They are NOT devoid of empathy, at all, but they don’t know how to express it. They only became “violent” when they were touched or their routines were disrupted, and that was a REACTION to a situation or event, and NOT a premeditated act.

My personal beliefs about gun control are going to remain personal. Whether I’m pro or con isn’t necessarily appropriate for me to discuss, at this time, only because people are still very, very raw from the shootings in Connecticut, and the most recent slayings of the firemen by an absolute madman.

It is my deepest hope that changes will be affected with regard to mental health issues and HIPPA laws, as well as an understanding of sociopathy and psychopathy being a “condition” rather than a “disorder.” In my untrained and humble opinion, a “disorder” is an abnormality that can benefit from treatment, surgery, or counseling. A “condition” is something that exists just because it DOES and will ever benefit from any type of treatment, surgery, or counseling – it always has existed, and it always will.

Brightest blessings

My own personal guess is that it takes multiple factors to result in mass murder in public places, which is why its hard to predict who is going to wind up enacting a murder/suicide spree.

I have a theory that it takes a combination of a severe Cluster B personality disorder (and/or psychopathy) PLUS a psychotic break with reality to create the “ticking time bomb” of mass murder.

The severe Cluster B personality disorder (and/or psychopathy) provides the cognitive distortion/delusional thinking, the buildup of narcissistic rage (grudge collecting) or the buildup of irrational, paranoid fear, the lack of affective empathy, the lack of a conscience, the elaborate, detailed fantasies of revenge and the sense of being justified to or entitled to seek revenge. The addition of a psychotic break disengages the brain’s executive function, or the moral/ethical “brakes” that normal people possess that prevent them from actually carrying out revenge fantasies.

So if the “ticking time bomb” is living on his own or in his parents’ home pretty much unsupervised, and has access to private transportation and access to weapons, then tragedy is likely to ensue when some precipitating event occurs that sets the countdown in motion.

There are more than a few states that have something similar to Florida’s “Baker Act”, which is a law that allows the involuntary commitment of an individual for psychiatric evaluation. The problem is that in most states, the family members can’t request an involuntary commitment, it has to be a doctor, a social worker or a police officer. And the individual has to be deemed an immediate danger to himself or to others before a doctor or officer will order an involuntary commitment for evaluation. Most of the holds are for 72 hours, which is 3 days.

I agree that there needs to be changes in the law that allow the parents or guardians of someone who is making threats of violence and/or showing signs of becoming physically violent (raging, vandalism, destroying possessions or property or pets, stalking, physical intimidation, etc.) to request a hold-and-evaluation, before it gets to a point where actual physical violence is carried out and innocent people are harmed or killed.

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