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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Around the Blogroll and Elsewhere: Again and again and again edition
Posted by Jill | 7:41 AM
Patricia on the hidden health crisis of mental illness.

Ashley Miller agrees that there's a mental health crisis, but makes the good point that since mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of crime, it's counterproductive to tie the issue to Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Bridget Magnus correctly notes that since the guns used in Newtown were not purchased by Adam Lanza, it's not clear that stricter gun control would have prevented what happened. She's on Team Mental Illness.

Margaret and Helen are on Team Guns.

(For the record, I'm on both teams, particularly if, as has been reported, Nancy Lanza was a bit of a doomsday prepper, getting ready to protect herself from the marauding hordes when It All Falls Apart. I'd also be interested in knowing from whence she get these ideas and about her television and radio listening habits. OK. Carry on.)

Ramona doesn't need to know their names to give them faces.

Jayhawk attributes the increase in gun-related violence to our fascination with violence and death, from unjust wars to government-sanctioned assassinations to eliminationist rhetoric.

Walk a mile, etc. Via Susie Madrak comes this post by Lisa Long about living with a mentally ill son.

Digby notes that if we have a 50% jump in the number of guns since 1995, why isn't "More Guns" proving to mean less violence, as the right continues to promise?

(In closing, just a note: When I do these, I just click around my blogroll at random, then check out Facebook looking for interesting links. Usually these compendia consist of mostly male bloggers. No particular reason, it just works out that way. Today it's almost all women. Does the mass death of female public school teachers and six-year-olds resonate more with women because we are wired that way? Discuss.) .

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Friday, December 14, 2012

If not now, when?
Posted by Jill | 3:33 PM
Christina Green, age 9, Granddaughter of former baseball player and manager Dallas Green. Shot dead by Jared Lee Loughner on January 8, 2011.

Gabriel Zimmerman, age 30. Community outreach director for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, shot dead by Jared Lee Loughner on January 8, 2011.

Jonathan Blunk, age 24; Alexander J. Boik, 18; Jesse Childress, 29; Gordon Cowden, 51; Jessica Ghawi, 24; John Larimer, 27; Matt McQuinn, 27; Micayla Medek, 23; Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6; Alex Sullivan, 27; Alexander C. Teves, 24; and Rebecca Wingo, 32. All shot dead by James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012.

Andres Ordonez, 25. Shot dead in a Los Angeles church after a dispute over graffiti, November 5, 2012.

Eighteen as-yet-unidentified kindergartners, shot dead today by Ryan Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut.

Kasandra Perkins, 22. Shot dead by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, who later shot himself to death.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney:
"I think it's important, on a day like today, to view this -- as I know the president, as a father, does, and I as a father and others who are parents certainly do, which is to feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected and to do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement and support those who are enduring what appears to be a very tragic event. There is, I am sure -- will be, rather -- a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I do not think today is that day."

When IS the day, Jay? Tomorrow? A week from Tuesday? After the first of the year? When Jesus comes back? Mitvoch and donnershtick? When? Can we set a date? Can we make an appointment? Maybe do lunch? If you can't talk about gun violence when eighteen kindergartners have lost their lives ten fucking days before Christmas, when can you?

A few weeks ago, Ross Douchebag in the New York Times wrote about how American women need to have more babies. And yet nobody is writing about how guns are stealing the future of America. Yes, there are older people who are shot dead in mass shootings, and they are no less of a loss to their loved ones. But here we are, awash in guns, and every young person who is caught up in a mass shooting because s/he went to the movies or went to school or did any of the perfectly ordinary things that people do, is a young person who will never get her Ph.D. or find a new treatment for melanoma or discover a new clean source of energy or develop a car that runs on common household trash. Every young person who is killed in these shootings will never grow up and marry and have Babies For Ross Douchebag. Every young person who is killed in these shootings is an empty bed, an empty childhood room, an empty place at the dinner table, in the classroom, in the chemistry lab, at cheer practice, at the local Habitat for Humanity build.

Where is our outrage at this? Right-wing politicians scream at women to have more babies for America's future. They want to cut government spending to the bone in the name of America's future. They give lip service to America's future and then they shrug their shoulders when a sick person with easy access to guns goes nuts and decides to kill everyone he sees just because they were there.

Guns are destroying our future. Democrats, there's your framing. Now let's get out there and fucking use it.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

I may have been right after all
Posted by Jill | 6:58 PM
When I posted earlier this week about the Aurora shootings, I noted that my first thought after hearing about James Holmes was "schizophrenia". Looks like I may have been right:
The suspected Batman movie premiere gunman was seeing a university psychiatrist specializing in schizophrenia before the shooting that killed 12, court documents showed Friday.

James Holmes sent a notebook to Lynne Fenton, who teaches at the University of Colorado’s medical school and heads student mental services there, that included details and drawings depicting his planned mass killing, according to reports.

It was unclear when the package reached the school, and officials remained tight-lipped due to a gag order imposed by the judge overseeing the case.


In a preview of likely battles to come, the defense lawyers argued that the contents of the package should not be used as evidence because “Mr Holmes was a psychiatric patient of Dr Fenton, and his communications with her are protected.”

Holmes, who was studying neuroscience in a doctoral program at the University of Colorado Denver, is expected to be charged with 12 murders and 58 attempted murders at his next court appearance on Monday, when he is due to be formally charged over the July 20 shooting.

Sylvester granted a hearing on the defense motion also be held on that day.

Fenton’s research focuses on schizophrenia and other major mental illnesses.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

The larger picture
Posted by Jill | 8:53 AM


Are you getting as tired as I am of the same old arguments about guns every time something like this happens? It's the same old arguments, the same "experts" being trotted out to speculate about What Could Have Made Him Do It. Last night Mr. Brilliant pointed out that I said something like "Every time this happens...", and how it meant that some guy going off his nut and shooting a bunch of people for no reason is no longer all that unusual.

The blather about the sort of massacre that took place in Aurora, Colorado the other night is always framed in terms of gun control or the Second Amendment or the NRA, or speculation about whatever the Cause Du Jour is (in this case it seems to be bullying). Last night I ventured for a few minutes into the fetid swamp of right-wing talk radio, just to see how the right was spinning, as they do every time some guy goes off his nut and shoots a bunch of people, which causes people to start rationally thinking about some kind of responsibility to go with the right to amass a military-style arsenal. It seems that ABC News rumormonger Brian Ross, who is rarely right about anything, had decided that James Holmes was some kind of Tea Partier. Ross had to apologize later on when his speculation turned out to be baseless, but that hasn't stopped the Usual Suspects from continuing the Breitbartian meme (I'm not going to link to Breitbart, look it up for yourself) of some kind of Mass Liberal Media Conspiracy to make the Tea Party look bad. But on the radio last night, Mark Levin was ranting about how liberals hate conservatives and want to destroy them with baseless allegations like this, never once mentioning, or even thinking, about the Kenyan Muslim Terrorist Anti-Colonial Drug Addict kind of filth that people like Mark Levin have been flinging at this country's first black president for the last three-plus years.

I may have strong political leanings, but my first as-yet-baseless-speculation, especially in the aftermath of the Arizona shooting last year, was schizophrenia, a disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, an altered sense of self, lack of motivation, flat affect, depression, and social withdrawal. Schizophrenia tends to manifest for the first time between the ages of 10 and 25, which puts Holmes right in the ballpark. Research is mixed about a correlation between high intelligence and schizophrenia, so the fact that Holmes graduated with honors from the University of California with a degree in neuroscience may or may not be significant. Neuroscience is hardly the sort of major that someone looking to slack his way through college would choose.

The other aspect of this evolving story that leaped out at me is that a guy who is described by everyone who knew him as being ferociously intelligent ended up working at a McDonald's after getting this honors degree in neuroscience. With all the talk we hear from Barack Obama on the stump about education, and about science education, we are still a nation in which an honors science graduate can't find a job and ends up slinging hamburgers. There aren't any reports about how much, if any, college debt Holmes ended up with, but when you live in a society where the president preaches about excellence in science but where science has no value in the job market, it's easy to imagine someone deciding to pursue a Ph.D. and then deciding it's all bullshit and might as well go out in a blaze of glory.

Was Holmes affected by mental illness? The planetary alignment in his birth chart? Fueled by economic rage and a sense of futility? A combination of all of them? Or are the Aurora shootings just a case of Shit Happens? We just don't know yet.

The only thing that's certain is that today this country is just a little more frightened and a little more confused. And that never bodes well.

UPDATE: Let the finger-pointing begin:

Rick Warren blames the teaching of evolution. Because if James Holmes had just stopped all this science nonsense and studied Jesus like a good boy, he wouldn't have left grad school and none of this would have happened. Or something.

The stupidest fucking person on the planet not named "Michele Bachmann" blames "attacks on our Judeo-Christian beliefs."

Are people really blaming Batman?

And there is at least one blogger who blames Obama. I won't link to the site, just google "Your n----- president", only spell out the word. Warning: Highly foul, vile, toxic stuff. AND ANOTHER UPDATE: Inevitably, everything with these people comes down to "Liberals Liberals Liberals We're Going To Heaven And You're Not Nyaah Nyaah Nyaah".

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