Off Topic Messages

On behalf of people with problems

Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:31 am

I almost feel a witch-hunt coming on, against people with either emotional, "mental," or social-skils problems. We're talking about millions of people, and about many of our good members here, some of whom have shared their problems, some of whom have chosen not to do so. They are NOT potential violent maniacs, and research supports this.

We must avoid this becoming a witch-hunt with forced drugging of people, forced electro-convulsive therapy, and even forced commitment (which was a long-standing problem in the nation, and which was solved without concern to the well-being of these folks out on their own). At one time, people were given pre-frontal lobotomies without their consent, including President Kennedy's sister Rosemary, who apparently was depressed, and not "retarded" - which then was seen as "out-of-control" in an adolescent/young woman, capable of intimate desires. It was "for her own good." Now, "treatments" will be instituted for everyone's "good." With all the best of intentions, we will be hunting witches, and putting them through "tests." Witches are tested, in often gruesome ways. Rosemary's "disturbing behavior" (meeting boys), btw, all "stopped" with the procedure, and she was destroyed for life, institutionalized forever, due to it. If we don't do that today, we'll find other ways to "treat" all these "potential killers."

Here's an academic piece from 1998, one among many. I can provide more, if you like:

Psych Central wrote:http://psychcentral.com/archives/violence.htm

Dispelling the Myth of Violence and Mental Illness
John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

June 1998; Reviewed: February 2004

Historically, society (this means you!) has perceived people with mental disorders as being more violent and dangerous than normal folks. People have this image of someone who is "crazy" as being more inclined to acting on those thoughts and causing mayhem and destruction. This has always been a part of the stigma associated with the mentally ill, and one which has been especially difficult to successfully deal with. It is difficult because when it comes to a person's own feelings of safety and security (mixed in with our innate fear response), we tend to be very conservative. "If I ignore that crazy person, then they won't harm me!" Luckily, the proof that people with mental disorders -- such as depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety -- has finally been published.

A study published in May, 1998 in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that:

[...] patients discharged from psychiatric facilities who did not abuse alcohol and illegal drugs had a rate of violence no different than that of their neighbors in the community. Substance abuse raised the rate of violence both among discharged psychiatric patients and among non-patients. However, a higher portion of discharged patients than of others in their neighborhoods reported having symptoms of substance abuse, and -- at least when they first got out of the hospital --substance abuse was more likely to lead to violence among discharged patients than among non-patients.
Significantly, this contradicts one of central perceptions of mental illness within society today. Unless drugs or alcohol are involved, people with mental disorders do not pose any more threat to the community than anyone else. This finding cannot be emphasized enough.

In the commentary accompanying the study, Bruce Link, Ph.D. and Ann Stueve, Ph.D. note

[...] Steadman et al asked about the targets of violence and found that the vast majority (86%) of violent acts committed by former patients occurred within the context of family and friendship networks. Indeed, members of the Pittsburgh public who were violent were slightly (but not significantly) more likely to target strangers (22%) than were Pittsburgh patients (11%)! Public fears that patients with mental illness will attack them are sharply contradicted by such findings.
This is something to note, but not to blow out of proportion. The violence that does occur in those individuals who have a co-existing substance abuse problem is focused on family members and others known to the individual. This doesn't mean you need to be paranoid that someone with a mental illness who is your friend or family member is going to hurt you. It does mean, however, that you need to be wary of someone you know who has a substance abuse problem and a mental disorder. Statistically, they are more prone to violence. Taking reasonable precautions to reduce that violent potential may be prudent if you find yourself in such a situation. A good predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If the person has acted violently toward you in the past, they are likely to do so again in the future, regardless of their mental health status.

In an interesting development coinciding with the study's release, one organization has put its own unique spin on the findings (as first reported by MadNation). The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill took the study's results and suggested it "[...] conclusively demonstrates what many people have long suspected: treating individuals with major psychiatric disorders markedly reduces episodes of violent behavior." Yet, importantly, this study did not measure the effectiveness of treatment versus no treatment on violence rate (e.g., no control group was used specifically examining the effects of treatment on violence rate). The authors themselves warn of drawing conclusions from the data in this manner:

Our most unexpected finding is the decline in the proportion of subjects engaging in violence over time. Substantive hypotheses to account for this decline are legion. Patients may become more engaged in treatment over time or social support from family members may increase. Rates of violence may peak around the time of hospital admission, when patients are in acute crisis, and remain high for a period of time after discharge because many patients still have active mental disorders after they leave the hospital.
Caution should be exercised before using the rates reported here as summary statistics to characterize violence by discharged patients. We found that the rate of patient violence varied during the course of the 1-year follow-up for the 2 groups with co-occurring substance abuse diagnoses. The effects of hospitalization and treatment on these rates are unknown. In addition, for all 3 patient diagnostic groups, the highest rate of reported violence did not occur during the follow-up year at all, but rather during the 10 weeks prior to the hospitalization during which the patients were enrolled in the study. The prehospitalization rates are likely to be artificially high due to ascertainment bias (ie, violence may have precipitated hospitalization). In addition, an inevitable limitation of research in this area is that patient refusal or attrition can compromise the representativeness of the sample studied.

Significantly, NAMI used some creative statistical methods to obtain its claims that violence is reduced by half by treatment. As Table 4. Prevalence of Violence and Other Aggressive Acts clearly shows, violence is reduced significantly over time. When patients first come out of treatment, note that violence is still significantly higher than by Follow-Up 5. Also note that the pre-hospital admission violence rate is self-reported only. The authors warn about drawing conclusions based upon only one source of data, "Our data suggest that it is crucial for [...] studies to use multiple measures of violence rather than the single measures that have characterized most prior research." Relying on a patient's self-report of violence is not a very reliable or accurate means in which to draw conclusions from.

Modified** Table 4. Prevalence of Violence and Other Aggressive Acts

Major Mental Disorder,
No Substance Abuse
Major Mental Disorder,
Substance Abuse

Violence Other
Aggressive
Acts Only % Change
in
Violence Violence Other
Aggressive
Acts Only % Change
in
Violence
Prehospital admission 8.9 21.2 22.6 28.4
Follow-up 1 6.7 22.4 -25% 17.9 24.7 -21%
Follow-up 2 5.8 18.6 -35% 10.2 27.5 -55%
Follow-up 3 4.0 14.3 -55% 8.4 19.4 -63%
Follow-up 4 6.4 14.0 -28% 8.7 19.8 -62%
Follow-up 5 4.4 10.4 -51% 6.1 18.3 -73%
1-Year aggregate 17.9 32.7 31.1 33.7
Other Mental Disorder,
Substance Abuse
Total Patient
Sample

Violence Other
Aggressive
Acts Only % Change
in
Violence Violence Other
Aggressive
Acts Only % Change
in
Violence
Prehospital admission 24.9 31.4 17.4 25.8
Follow-up 1 22.3 34.7 -10% 13.5 25.2 -22%
Follow-up 2 22.1 22.1 -11% 10.3 22.7 -41%
Follow-up 3 11.1 30.3 -55% 6.9 18.8 -60%
Follow-up 4 9.2 24.5 -63% 7.6 18.0 -56%
Follow-up 5 11.9 12.9 -52% 6.3 14.2 -64%
1-Year aggregate 43.0 32.4 27.5 33.0
* All data are given as percentage unless otherwise indicated.
Includes 21 subjects with a personality disorder and no major mental or substance abuse disorder.
Self-report only.
** In order to make the table more readable for our purposes, we left out the "Number" column and added the "% Change in Violence" column. You can view the original table here.
Analysis of Table 4's Violence Data:
Major Mental Disorder, No Substance Abuse
Major Mental Disorder, Substance Abuse
Other Mental Disorder, Substance Abuse
Total Patient Sample
Change immediately after treatment 25% 21% 10% 22%
Change which occurred with passage of time* 26% 52% 42% 42%
* % Change at Followup 1 - % Change at Followup 5
Our own analysis of Table 4's data clearly shows that time alone could easily account for more than one-half of the improvement in violence ratings, and in some cases could account for more than 80% of the improvement. This is a far cry from NAMI's claim that "the effect of treatment in reducing violence [... is] 54 percent." The fact of the matter is, though, that we don't know what really accounted for these reductions, as the authors conclude. NAMI ignored the author's own conclusions and instead created their own.

There is another finding entirely ignored by NAMI, which should raise some additional questions and concerns about NAMI's conclusions. Look closely at Table 4 above. When you look at the columns labeled "Other Aggressive Acts Only," treatment in some cases appears to actually cause these rates to rise in comparison to pre-hospitalization rates. The authors defined these acts as "other aggressive acts (battery that did not result in physical injury)" and "acts that were coded as other aggressive acts were primarily 'throw objects/push/grab/shove/slap.'" Potentially serious aggressive behaviors such as these should not be ignored.

NAMI twisted the study's findings in this manner apparently in order to promote its political agenda. In late 1997, the NAMI-Treatment Advocacy Center was formed to promote the implementation of laws and practices that increase access to treatment for persons with mental disorders. A major focus of that effort involves issues concerning involuntary commitment. In this light, NAMI appears to be suggesting that, if need be, laws should be created or reinforced which encourage the greater use of involuntary commitment for those with mental disorders. This research study, from NAMI's point of view, shows how violence can be reduced through treatment, voluntary or not.

This study has nothing to do with involuntary commitment and showed nothing related to that issue. Don't be confused by this attempt by NAMI to cloud the study's findings -- the mentally ill are no more violent that those who carry no diagnosis.

It's time that, as a society, we begin to knock down stereotypes and start breaking down the stigma associated with mental disorders. The first stereotype to go down -- permanently, we hope -- is that people who suffer from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, an eating disorder, or any other type of mental disorder, are somehow more violent than others. This simply isn't true, unless they are involved in substance abuse. Use and abuse of substances such as drugs or alcohol is often correlated with an increase in violence anyway (e.g., due to impaired judgment).

Violence is most often a criminal activity which has little correlation with a person's mental health. Most people who suffer from a mental disorder are not violent -- there is no need to fear them. Embrace them for who they are -- normal human beings experiencing a difficult time, who need your open mind, caring attitude, and helpful support.

Reference
Grohol, J.M. (Jun 1998). Dispelling the violence myth. [Online].

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Dec 2008
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:18 am

The history of treating mental illness in America has its tragedies for sure-but we've come a long way. In the late 1970's, deinstitutionalization began-state hospitals shut down everywhere. People who had been in facilities-sometimes for decades-were placed in their communities in least restrictive environments. In treatment centers, it became a mandate to empower patients (now called "consumers") through Person-Centered-Planning. Consumers, themselves, became Peer Advocates to assist other consumers. Every facility has a Rights Advisor to ensure that consumers are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. Are mentally I'll consumers sometimes violent? Yes, but probably no more than is the general population. The biggest problem facing all mental health programs is lack of funding. Programs are cut. Remaining programs operate on very slim budgets. Because of the lack of funding, many consumers don't get the resources they need to live a productive life. On another note, here is a recent trend: as the jails are overcrowded-many are being moved into the mental health system. Many of them are not mentally I'll. This further taxes the already underfunded system. An additional problem is that some of them are sociopaths. They have a Personality Disorder. Community Mental Health Programs don't have the resources (funding) to adequately address their needs. They frequently wind up back behind bars. Yet, they receive mental health treatment while incarcerated also. America is a compassionate country overall. We value the mentally ill-and have made great strides in treatment since that days of lobotomies. That does not happen now. I've been in practice for 30 years and have not heard of one case of it in my experience. I've not not heard of any forced ECT treatments either. Did they happen somewhere/sometime? Sure. As far as involuntary commitments- they do happen all the time. The average stay in a psychiatric ward is now 3 to 5 days. If anything, the stays are not long enough to even stabilize the person. There are a few state hospitals still around. It is very difficult to get a person in one. I have had a few admitted. I would have liked to have seen more admissions to state facllities-some people need long-term placement. Its disrespectful to not hospitalize a person when they are truly unable to live independently. So you're concerns are valid and noted but I don't think we are going to see anything negative occur to the mentally I'll as a result of what happened. If anything it just points to the fact that more funding is needed.

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:43 am

It's not treatment of mental illness which is the problem either in America or the UK - it is the non-treatment of mental illness because it is still so stigmatised and misunderstood. It is a continual uphill struggle for sufferers (or which I admit I am one) of mental illness to either explain or hide their illness.

If we can get away from the sense that sufferers of depression, bipolar and other conditions are skiving when they are unable to go to work, school or college then this would be a big step in the right direction.

On the other hand, sufferers and their families also need to learn more about their condition in order for them to move forward and have as close to a "normal life" as possible. That's not the same as saying "get over it", but I am saying that there are ways to deal with depression and bipolar inparticular through medication, counselling and adapting your life accordingly - which means making the most of the good times, and preparing and having a strategy for the bad ones. I think these strategies are different for everyone, but they are possible: I used to have significant time off work with my illness a decade ago, but since then have learned to look for the signs and catch them early etc - and now, maybe, I'd lose a couple of days at work during a period. No, I might not be at my best, but at least I can function.

In order to get rid of the stigma, the condition needs to normalised and viewed as something anyone can get. There is a pop group in the UK called McFly, and one of the members recently "came out" as having severe depression and gave a lengthy interview about it in a teen magazine and on websites etc. The more people like this who are willing to admit publicly their problems in this area, then the better in my opinion - not least because depression often first hits during the teenage years.

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:37 am

poormadpeter wrote:It's not treatment of mental illness which is the problem either in America or the UK - it is the non-treatment of mental illness because it is still so stigmatised and misunderstood. It is a continual uphill struggle for sufferers (or which I admit I am one) of mental illness to either explain or hide their illness.

If we can get away from the sense that sufferers of depression, bipolar and other conditions are skiving when they are unable to go to work, school or college then this would be a big step in the right direction.

On the other hand, sufferers and their families also need to learn more about their condition in order for them to move forward and have as close to a "normal life" as possible. That's not the same as saying "get over it", but I am saying that there are ways to deal with depression and bipolar in particular through medication, counselling and adapting your life accordingly - which means making the most of the good times, and preparing and having a strategy for the bad ones. I think these strategies are different for everyone, but they are possible: I used to have significant time off work with my illness a decade ago, but since then have learned to look for the signs and catch them early etc - and now, maybe, I'd lose a couple of days at work during a period. No, I might not be at my best, but at least I can function.

In order to get rid of the stigma, the condition needs to normalised and viewed as something anyone can get. There is a pop group in the UK called McFly, and one of the members recently "came out" as having severe depression and gave a lengthy interview about it in a teen magazine and on websites etc. The more people like this who are willing to admit publicly their problems in this area, then the better in my opinion - not least because depression often first hits during the teenage years.


All very rational and spot-on. Certainly we need to direct priorities to treatment of all people who need treatment for ANY illness, without a special stigma for some. (Since alcohol is the biggest factor in violent incidents - maybe not this recent one, but in general and on an everyday basis, one would hope that treatment for alcoholism and substance abuse will have increased access.) One hopes that the ACA will increase access to help.

One hopes that homeless mentally ill people will have more places to live, and get whatever help they need to live their lives, and not be miserable. One also hopes that people will have increased access to whatever care and help they need. "Understanding," though? I think that's even further away than it was. To "come out" as having such a problem, at least in the U.S. (understand that), may cause people to become total social outcasts, thus intensifying their misery. And keeping it a secret, keeps people from seeking help, thus increasing their misery. It may also cause thousands, maybe millions, to be hunted down as "potentially dangerous."

I have a feeling that "rationality" in regard to this is about to go out the window, as people are associating "mental illness" (usually VERY poorly defined) with outbursts of homicidal violence and rage. Alcohol is the biggest factor in all kinds of severe violence, and this applies across the board. Poor social skills, manifested, say, in a diagnosis of "Asperger's syndrom" has never, as far as I can tell, been associated with savage, sociopathic violence.

But the next time a young person tells a school or college guidance counselor that they've been diagnosed with "Asperger's," you can bet the counselor will BE on the phone! "This person MAY BE A DANGER TO THE COMMUNITY!" Many people are speaking out on behalf of those who have poor social skills, are morbidly shy, depressed, or even schizophrenic (who, unless of the paranoid variety, are mostly dangerous to themselves). But mostly, people are speaking about the mentally ill as though they were walking weapons. Dangerous just being with other people. It's not a new fear, but it has just grown exponentially, simply because one of the worst mass killers in modern western history had poor social skills. (There's no evidence thus far of anything else, although one can assume 1) he was not happy, and 2) he wasn't possessed of much conscience - not at the end, anyway.)

How do I know that people jump to conclusions? Experience. I had a student who, it turned out, had Tourettes' Syndrome, a tic disorder. He would say the wrong things at the wrong times (vocal tics), and had a lot of physical tics. Opened and closed his jacket a lot, facial tics. Said odd things. Many students first left his row, and then left his classes. Without knowing he had the tic disorder, the dept. chair, and another professor (not me), called the Campus Police. They swooped down, and detained him for "questioning." He had done nothing wrong. But the professor told the chair "I was a police officer; he's gonna BLOW." (She was briefly a cop, then went back to school.) The "police experts" determined, through things said in the interrogation, over which he had no control - vocal tics, that he was "misogynist" and thus a danger to female students and teachers. A Campus Police officer was placed in all his classes, to "protect us." They were ready to do just about anything to him, I guess.

This was utterly and completely false; he was no misogynist - or anything else anti-social. In his papers, he expressed his frustration over being "misunderstood" (an understatement). I would say, that after what he experienced, he was very restrained in his expression. He was a wonderful student; despite his disability, he did his oral report (I gently let him know, by telling everyone, that there were options for everyone, if an oral report wasn't for them.) He courageously struggled through it, and did fine. His papers were excellent, and he never did anything to anyone. Throughout all this, the campus cop stayed in the room. He wore "plain clothes," but everyone knew what he was.

So, he was treated as a potential killer, by a growing moral panic over "going postal" (and this was a year BEFORE Columbine, no less). In other words, although he was not "mentally ill," he WAS a witch.

(Everyone wanted him to "drop out" of school, but he graduated, the campus cops following him all around. I was at the graduation.)

Get ready for more witch-trials to come. I sure hope not, but things sure look ripe for it. A witch-hunt, the real thing, happens with alarming speed and savagery: worse than a moral panic, which is not identical, but a panic can become a hunt, if the "right" group is targeted. Certain demographics are targeted in witch-hunts, and such groups usually are rather helpless, socially. Get ready for a real war on youth. ("Music," "video games," "The Internet" "Violent Movies" -- all are youth pastimes that have been attacked as "causes" of sociopathic violence.) We saw some of this after Columbine; it will really increase now.

We do all have love and compassion for the little victims of this horror and their victimized families. But when other children are just a bit older, when they are teenagers/adolescents, we BLAME them for everything bad that happens. "They now have a uniform: 'dressed in black.'" Clearly implying they saw this in "a movie." Or some youthful entertainment. People forget the young victims of Virginia Tech, many of whom lay dead, with cell phones ringing in their pockets. Their parents were trying to find out if they were okay, and were calling them. And this is the group that will be targeted in the hunt for "the bad guys."

rjm

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:50 am

rjm wrote:
One hopes that homeless mentally ill people will have more places to live, and get whatever help they need to live their lives, and not be miserable. One also hopes that people will have increased access to whatever care and help they need. "Understanding," though? I think that's even further away than it was. To "come out" as having such a problem, at least in the U.S. (understand that), may cause people to become total social outcasts, thus intensifying their misery. And keeping it a secret, keeps people from seeking help, thus increasing their misery. It may also cause thousands, maybe millions, to be hunted down as "potentially dangerous."


Which proves my point that education is required. There have been relatively successful poster campaigns in part of the UK regarding mental illness and depression, for example. There are ways to get messages across. Whether anyone will give a damn in a month's time when all of this latest incident is off the TV screens is another thing altogether. It seems to me that many Americans are more than happy to stick their fingers in their ears and scream "la la la" instead of actually educating themselves and trying to move forward and understand other points of view. That's not tarring all americans with the same brush, of course, but it certainly seems symptomatic of a number on these boards as we have seen over the last year.

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:31 pm

poormadpeter wrote:...In order to get rid of the stigma, the condition needs to normalised and viewed as something anyone can get. There is a pop group in the UK called McFly, and one of the members recently "came out" as having severe depression and gave a lengthy interview about it in a teen magazine and on websites etc. The more people like this who are willing to admit publicly their problems in this area, then the better in my opinion - not least because depression often first hits during the teenage years.


Also James Arthur - winner of this year's X Factor - was battling with his inner troubles during the competition (fellow contestants interpreting his preference for his own company as arrogance, his need to stay true to himself in the face of the notorious British media, his panic attack, even his reflection on suicidal thoughts brought about by an earlier period of depression, and so on). The massivley shy chap won despite the odds. A real champion, I say. I, for one hope his triumph will create more understanding about shyness (which is a normal human trait) and mental issues (which affected his behaviour in the past).

I confess I haven't read RJM's piece, but will do.

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:41 pm

I was very impressed with James Arthur. His story is a remarkable one, and I personally think he was a worthy winner (and I don't think he won because of his story either). Is he an easy listen? Noooo, but music doesn't have to be pretty. His version of Feeling Good in the final was brilliant. It's actually quite odd how it is the British who are stereotyped as "stiff upper lip" and not showing feelings, when it now seems as if the opposite is true.

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:38 am

I think there are other factors aside from the mental illness and the lack of treatment that contribute to this violence. I am sure mental illness
is a worldwide problem, and many third world countries have worse mental health treatment programs than USA.. There are "crazy" people all
over the world. But why is it these school mass shootings happen frequently in America. Maybe it's the culture, fascination with guns liberal gun laws,
glorification of violence in movies, video games etc and of course the lack of God (I could be stoned here )in their lives.

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:49 am

Jove wrote:I think there are other factors aside from the mental illness and the lack of treatment that contribute to this violence. I am sure mental illness
is a worldwide problem, and many third world countries have worse mental health treatment programs than USA.. There are "crazy" people all
over the world. But why is it these school mass shootings happen frequently in America. Maybe it's the culture, fascination with guns liberal gun laws,
glorification of violence in movies, video games etc and of course the lack of God (I could be stoned here )in their lives.


Considering the amount of war and hatred that religion causes, I would hardly think the lack of it would increase the crime rate.

But to answer your question, what do Americans have more access to than most other countries? Guns. It doesn't take a genius to work this out. If you put that together with the seeming lack of education and acceptance of mental health issues and you you land up with events like this. Treatment programs for mental health in America may well be very good, but people are going to hide their problems and pretend they are not there if society outside the medical profession either ridicules or doesn't try to understand them.

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:57 am

poormadpeter wrote:But to answer your question, what do Americans have more access to than most other countries? Guns.


Precisely!

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:30 am

Jove wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:But to answer your question, what do Americans have more access to than most other countries? Guns.


Precisely!


I'm glad you agree, but where you comments about religion come into the debate still puzzles me. To suggest that part of America's problem is that people no longer believe in God and so are taking to the streets with guns is absolutely ludicrous and, frankly, obscene. For some reason, a lack of religion is equated in your post to immorality, a lack of conscience and the existence of evil in that person.

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:17 am

poormadpeter wrote:
Jove wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:But to answer your question, what do Americans have more access to than most other countries? Guns.


Precisely!


I'm glad you agree, but where you comments about religion come into the debate still puzzles me. To suggest that part of America's problem is that people no longer believe in God and so are taking to the streets with guns is absolutely ludicrous and, frankly, obscene. For some reason, a lack of religion is equated in your post to immorality, a lack of conscience and the existence of evil in that person.


While I do agree with the most logical conclusion, there is, of course, the school of thought that something - "religion," "culture," something that people belong to, and have to answer to, can give them comfort and provide boundaries beyond which they may not cross. Frankly, it's a very tattered old notion that has been pretty much debunked as to the methodology used: it is Émile Durkheim's theory in his "Le Suicide." It's one of the first things you read in grad school as a soc. student. But there have been many great critiques, and his work, great for its time, tends to wither under assault. Douglas's "The Social Meanings of Suicide" is one of the strongest critiques that tears it apart - with all due respect to one of the founders, but he tears it up.

Durkheim studied various social problems, like divorce, and found a correlation between stricter religions in a certain region, and less personal upheavals that might result in despair. It hasn't really held up over the past century of scrutiny.

But it's a critique with a background, a pedigree, and it doesn't always equate with, say, Mike Huckabee's offensive statements about God being kicked out of public schools, so therefore . . . God abandoned the children in the Godless School. They didn't let Him in, so they got killed, apparently. Can't think of any Western nation other than the good ole USA where somebody would get away with something like that. A guy like that: you wanna take a swing at! The disgusting notion that God abandoned these innocent children, many of them from very religious homes, is worse than perverse. I certainly don't think that was intended in the post here by Jove. ("By Jove!" ;) )


He ran for president in the primaries. One of a lovely buncha coconuts.

rjm

Re: On behalf of people with problems

Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:16 am

RJM- I definitely appreciate all your points and certainly fear any infringement on anyone's civil liberties. And I also know in times of national crisis we tend to panic and pick on the powerless. However, I would hate to find out that if this kid (and that's what he was a kid) did this awful, hideous slaughter because he had some sort of imbalance and maybe if he'd have the right medication, he and his victims would be alive today. I think it's the method of focus on mental illness. I think and I advocated this for a long time, the focus should be on saving the potential shooter so that he never becomes that. If a teacher or someone sees a sign, not to notify security in the school but to notify the school nurse and the child's parents so that person can get treatment before they become a killer. Peter's call for education and tolerance is a good one as well. If someone in your inner circle can point out that you have a problem and not have that be a shameful issue then I think we'd save some people. I think the process should be spotting signs and then pointing the person and his or her family towards help.

On the culture, I don't think it's the lack of religion, but clearly something has happened culture wide to encourage acts like this. There have always been sociopaths and killers, but prior to the mid-1960s this type of shooting did not have much, if any, profile in the United States prior to that. I don't know what it is that exactly happened, but something culturally moved and has been exacerbated over the past decades that helped instigate acts like these.

Peter is absolutely right about the ease of access to deadly weapons in the US. The number slaughtered here is probably half of the amount murdered in the UK by gun violence in an entire year. If there were bans on large capacity clips, magazines etc. many of the children slaughtered may still be here. If you have a six shooter and have to stop and reload, that's that much more time for police to get there and stop you, that much more time for people to run away.