Friday, May 30, 2014

A Thought Supported by Statistics

Hello Friends,
Generally I don’t say much on Facebook. I have my own blog and I usually write things there but today, I will make a rare exception. I do this because two of you who I have known for a long time and respected personally have commented – as you often do – on this particular subject or incident. One of you was commenting on guns. One of you was making a comedic reference to misogyny – whatever the hell that is. I seldom express my opinion because so few people today seem inclined to fight arguments with the weight of evidence. People just want to win, at any expense, even if it’s wrong - even if it’s destructive. And so I reluctantly expound.
We have just endured another mysterious, even eerie, senseless crime out in Santa Barbara, California. Good innocent people lost their lives. Post-incident blame is strangely predictable. More fantastic, in my view, the truly remarkable video evidence left behind by the criminal. And when I watched them, as I suppose many of you did, I found it so utterly bizarre and morally corrupt and depraved, that I wondered where was anyone with even a little common sense in this fellow’s life who might have raised a red flag and intervened. And so I thought again, as I have for a good while now, about how mentally depraved people go undetected in our society.
When I was a kid, I’m quite sure that no one I ever went to school with was taking prescribed Amphetamines to endure Mrs. Tracy’s third grade class. We had dumb kids, smart kids, excitable kids, fat kids, skinny kids, sleepy kids, cool kids, not cool kids, hard working kids, lazy kids. It wasn’t until eighth grade that we had a black kid. But we just ran farther, threw dirt clods, built forts, rode our bikes, skated on skate boards, climbed trees, drew peace signs on the street – and our parents and teachers were present – most of the time – for our unique individual needs. And we all just grew up. But the World was different then.
In 1984 during Ronald Regan’s presidency, the Government emptied out mental health facilities and institutions of all but the most helpless and dangerous mental misfits. If you were not an immediate threat to yourself or to others, you were free to live the American Dream. And so for thirty years now, all of us have been desensitized to mental illness. On every street corner in every city people talk to themselves, act out their feverish ticks, fill up their rolling basket as we walk right on by as if they were invisible. And every once in a while, one of them grabs a hammer and splatters a customer at a street side cafĂ© – and only then do we take the moment to administer the understanding that this one’s a threat to the good and well being of others and we lock them up.
More worrisome than that is that six out of every ten school children is taking some sort of speed, anti anxiety or psychotropic medication – medications which are designed to manipulate brain chemistry, and alas, throughout the threshold years of the developmental brain. Shorty, we will have an entire generation of young people whose brains - the very seat of our personality and our perception, the most fantastic and divine achievement in the Universe which propels us not just to humanity, but to the pinnacle of existence with the gift of reason - were toyed with completely outside of Evolution’s design.
Ad into the that the same sort of occasional youthful experimentation that comes with Mushrooms, Weed, Molly, Ecstasy, Cocaine, LSD, Potpourri, Bath Salts, Alcohol, all manner of Opiate and pharmaceutical drugs and the list is endlessly long – or a mixture of the same – it is no wonder that so many young people are completely screwed up and can’t think their way out of a paper bag – much less solve simple social interactive problems.
We can blame the NRA. We can blame inaction by the Congress. We can blame video games. There’s lots of blame to go around. But in nearly ever-major catastrophic criminal event of late, the likes of which we have just again witnessed, it was committed by someone who was mentally ill, by someone who had been administered mental health care with a history of psychotropic medical interventions.
Young people are not prepared intellectually, educationally or socially to make good judgments about the mental fitness of their friends and colleagues. We overlook it every day. And even if they did, what would they do? Who would they call? And who anywhere actually has the guts to make those judgments when everyone is worried about offending someone or about what people might think.
Maybe it’s time to re-think all of this. It isn’t rocket science to be able look across the street, or across the hall, or in the next room or across the gun counter – or even the kitchen table - at the odd, abnormal, antisocial, depressed, anxious, manic, psychopathic, delusional, angry, violent, impulsive, self-destructive behaviors of someone you know or run across and do something besides scratch your head and say, “that aint right.” Maybe it’s time to empower our cops with a little more authority to intervene until valid, professional assessments can be made. Maybe it’s time to empower Mental Health authorities not just with the moral obligation but the lawful obligation to protect the public.

There are always red flags! Maybe it’s time.