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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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Truthspeak

Liane, thank you for this powerful post, and I am so saddened that this discussion is even required.

HIPPA laws clearly were enacted to protect people from malicious use of medical and psychiatric/psychological information that could be used against them. Initially, this was a “good” intention, but as in the case of the VA Tech shootings, the perpetrator clearly, CLEARLY suffered severe mental illness. Even if the family members had demanded that he receive mental health care, the young man could have walked out of the treatment without a reason.

Laws need revision, and “community” needs to be re-enacted so that “THEIR business” is treated as the fact that it clearly is “MY business.”

When someone who is mentally ill (or, a sociopathic predator) commits a lethal crime, EVERYONE suffers. Taxpayers are paying the legal fees for defense attorneys, investigations, inmate or psychiatric housing and care, prosecution, judges’ salaries, and on down the line. Social workers are on the payroll as well as court-ordered psychiatrists to provide assessments. There can literally be upwards of 30 PAID individuals involved in any given case.

Society and culture pays the tremendous cost of our current “Not my business” approach in the form of anxiety for our own safety, workplace harassment and violence, and a whole new breed of psychopathic generation that is so desensitized to violence and mayhem that I don’t see any hope of recovering from. It’s almost like the days before the fall of the Roman Empire. It’s a bloody free-for-all, and anything goes as long as there’s a label or an excuse.

Laws need revision, absolutely. Society needs severe revision. Culture needs to swing back into balance of moral, ethical, and legal epectations.

Thank you for this post, Liane.

Brightest blessings

Liane,
This is so much more complicated. Psychopathy is not just a disease that affects an individual. Almost by definition it REQUIRES enablers, those that the individual psychopath manipulates.

We’ve been there done that. We’ve been the enablers. We know the cognitive dissonance that the spath creates. I’ve done some tests, on myself. I allowed myself to be in the presence of a manipulator to see how it affected my emotions even while I was AWARE of the manipulations. The result: My brain still responded with all the emotions it would have, if I didn’t know.

My parents are another prime example. They know what my brother is. But he has never killed them in the past, so they believe he will never kill them in the future. Not logical, but there it is.

Education about boundaries is the best bet, I think. When all people learn to have boundaries, it limits the power of the psychopath.

Truthspeak

Skylar, good points – and, they rather go back to the discussion about “expectations” that OxD wrote. I think the “expectations” that people are going to intervene or “do the right thing” leaves even the people in the midst of cog/diss to pass the ball off to someone else.

Education and setting boundaries is vital, but making those boundaries a cultural, social, and legal “expectation” puts the onus upon us all, I think.

I dunno – it’s disturbing in that this is escalating, but very, very terrifying because the swath of damage goes far beyond the primary source targets. In this case, a whole nation is in shock, disbelief, and horror. Then, by next week, the focus will move on to the next psychopath in line for infamy. UGH……

Louise

Has anyone ever noticed that a lot of these kids who do these mass shootings are really smart? I just read an article and someone who actually used to hang out with Adam said he was really smart…probably a genius. I don’t know what, but I think there is something to this being brilliant in the mind and being a bit off. I know I am probably not saying this correctly, but I think you know what I mean. I just wonder what the connection is? This is really making me think…

Truthspeak

Louise, I don’t think that there’s any more percentage of “smart vs. dull” kids perpetrating these massacres. What I have noticed is that they typically share similar traits and psychological issues – some, even were suspected of organic mental illnesses. What remains constant is that someone, somewhere, somehow, had prior knowledge that this young man was unhinged and potentially dangerous.

Cognitive dissonance. Denial. And, as Liane has discussed, plain inability to “force” treatment, legally, all contribute to these horrific situations.

Ox Drover

Liane, great articles but sometimes I think that the “voices of reason” about violence and mental illness etc are like John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness…not many folks listening.

In Switzerland where EVERY HOME has a fully automatic rifle and ammo provided by the government (as the men in the country are required to be in the militia) there IS ESSENTIALLY NO GUN CRIME because, I think, everyone knows that everyone else is ARMED.

So guns are I think NOT the issue (how about the Chinese guy a year or so back that killed 20+ kindergardeners with a KNIFE) but like you said “People control.”

My elderly neighbor has lost his judgment, but is not “demented” by law, and it is not against the law to have poor judgment and to not take care of yourself….to refuse medical care or take your medication…or to not pick up a drug addict “meth ho” in a wal mart parking lot who shows up every first of the month when your SS check comes and takes it, leaving you with no food or utilities etc. but because he knows what month it is, and who the president is and can tell time on a clock face, he is “sane” and his daughter cannot protect him.

My own egg donor is legally sane but she is delusional about my son Patrick and there is nothing I can do to stop her from sending money to him or hiring an attorney to work toward his parole. I can’t keep her from being “unduly influenced” by her love for him to give him everything she owns

I think though that every one of us here have been UNDULY INFLUENCED by the psychopaths in our lives and have had POOR JUDGMENT where they were concerned.

Back when the “human rights” movements released tens of thousands of mentally ill from institutions, and many of those became instantly homeless and instantly non compliant with their medications and self medicated with street drugs….many medical personnel shook their heads in disbelief, yet…who is to say how I should live? Who should lock me up for a crime I MIGHT COMMIT? The “thought police”?

Liane, I wish there was an answer….I wish I was Solomon and was wise enough to find a way to control humans and the things that we humans do. (sadly saking my head here) but in the meantime, I KNOW FOR A FACT that my son Patrick WILL make an attempt to kill me if he gets out of prison and in the meantime if he can find a buddy to convince to kill me, he will also try that route again. So All I can do in the meantime is to try to keep the parole board from letting him out.

I actually DO have an answer. Spath Insurance!!

Insurance lobbyists have incredible power over our government officials. If we create an insurance product to protect specifically against fraud, guess what? Insurance companies would pour millions – no BILLIONS – into educating and protecting their policy holders from fraud.

You better believe EVERYONE would learn the red flags.
Not only that, but the insurance company would investigate your relationships before, during and after any policy was assigned. They know that relationshits are the quickest way into being defrauded.

Insurance co: “Do you have a BF or husband who lies all the time?”
Me: “well, yes…”
Insurance co: “Sorry ma’am, dump the creep or we cancel your insurance policy.”
Me: “Hey! how did you know that “the creep” was his nickname?”

KingOne

I saw this post on line and it made me think about a variety of things like the connection to the Batman shooting in Colorado as well as all the way back to President Reagan’s assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr., whose father John Hinckley Sr. shared oil interests and dinners with George H.W. Bush and other oil men, who wanted tax breaks during the Reagan Administration. Doesn’t it strike anybody as it being odd as to how close a connection this is? My suggestion to you all is to begin looking more deeply at the connections, the how’s, the why’s from JFK, RFK, MalcolmX, MLK, the Reagan attempt, the McDonald’s massacre of 1984, 9/11,the Benazir Bhutto assassination of 2007, the Batman shootings of Colorado, the Sikh temple shootings, both earlier in 2012, and now this current and horrific shooting at this Connecticut elementary school, which I believe are symptomatic of a bigger issue. Sounds terribly conspiratorial doesn’t it? Yet, if you do the homework, connect the dots, and keep digging answers will be found. People want a nice neat package so they can go on living because it makes it easier for them to cope which is understandable. Yet, I can’t help but feel very strongly how this tragic incident is a distraction to either a bigger issue or multiple issues to take away the public’s focus on other crucial issues the country currently faces. Yes, we must all pause now and grieve for these people. I would also ask that we remember those people who made a ton of money on the stock market with regards to 9/11. I say to you all that we must embrace the truth by making the proper investigations not getting caught up in a sense of black and white thinking. With that said, let me remind everyone of the current state of our country which as a result of the Patriot Act which is a direct carbon copy of Hitler’s 1933 Enabling Act. Follow the trail and I believe that incidents like these will lead to virtually all these crooked politicians. How can I say that? Just look at the state of the country and the world for that matter. Look at how your local politician votes on line for things. What was the connection of this young man’s mother & father to anyone in the current political machine? What meds was this young man on? How long was he on them? Was he placed in those classes as a younger child that were geared for those deemed with higher intelligence? It was reported that his mother was “rigid ” which already sounds like spin in the media to blame the mother in order to help create a nice neat package. With regards to the recent Batman shooting and evidence of another assisting that particular shooter, when the question is raised as to how he got the weapons, it might be easily pointed that this shooter in Connecticut probably had assistence of some sort as well. Yet, what is the bigger issue here? They stir up animosity towards people who are gun owners. I don’t own a gun but with the recent attempts by the UN to stick their nose into US business with a gun ban is completely unconstitutional. The UN has no business in US affairs. My point here is what if somebody of foreign origin came in to your house to put your Grandmother away in a FEMA camp, would you let then do it? What would happen if they came into your home with guns to do what they wanted to do with you and your family then what? The Patriot Act is a part of this mess in an effort to disarm the American public. Let me further mention something else here: ammunition that is coated with depleted uranium that is used by our troops in the Mideast which is illegal but they use it anyway. Every time a weapon is discharged the residue from such ammunition is radioactive which lasts 30 million years and beyond which has caused thousands of birth defects in Iraqi children, yet not a word of it in the US media. Just Google Iraqi birth defects and you’ll see photographs of it. Of course it will affect our soldiers and has been affecting them for quite awhile. So when we talk about the loss of children I ask you all to look carefully and to think clearly without prejudice.

Kingone,
yes, think clearly without prejudice or paranoia.

Sarah999

I think public education of psychopathy is very important. I don’t believe we can change the psychopath. If we (the public) recognize them earlier (from our education/knowledge), we can track their behavior and/or isolate them (if necessary), to prevent them from hurting others.

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