For forty-eight hours and more I've watched diary after diary stream by, some thoughtful, some ranting, most* about the need for better gun control. No one in their right mind would argue that reinstating the ban on assault weapons and banning certain types of ammunition and mandating background checks at gun shows are not steps in the right direction. This diary isn't about gun control. It's about the severe lack of mental health services in this country of ours.
This diary is also not about autism. Autistic kids are NOT inherently more violent than the rest of us. If you disagree, please go write your own diary about it.
KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
People who arm themselves and set out to kill as many people as they can do not "snap" or transform into killers overnight. Someone always knows how troubled they are. There are family members or friends or teachers or co-workers who step forward after the fact and say, "I knew he was in a downward spiral." Sadly, past efforts to get help for these killers were rarely successful. Counseling and treatment are expensive, poorly covered by even the best health insurance policies, and limited in scope.
I urge you to read I Am Adam Lanza's Mother, posted this morning on Gawker.com by Liza Long, for a first person account of how difficult it is to get help for a violent child. You may not agree with her decision to not file charges against her 13-year-old son, but you'll have a better idea of why the mentally ill are filling our prisons instead of our broken healthcare system.
Except, of course, for the ones whose mental illness isn't addressed until it's too late.
We're pretty good around here about making noise. Please, while you're doing everything you can to force enactment of better gun control legislation, spare some time to make noise about our national lack of mental health coverage.
If we fail, more states will do what Colorado has done: allow virtually anyone to carry concealed weapons virtually anywhere. I don't have all the right answers, but I'm smart enough to know that is not the solution!
Please join me in the comments for a polite discussion of what might be done.
*For another, better, diary on this topic, read Stuart Heady's post from this morning.
NOTE: Today's scheduled diarist, CyberLady1, and I got our signals crossed. Her wonderful diary is currently in Community Spotlight and, with your help, could earn the Rescued to Recommended tag. Please read and recommend!