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In Washington State there is a legislator from the suburban and farming area around Vancouver, Wa (just across the Columbia River from Portland, Or) who has announced the intention to file a bill to require teachers to carry firearms and qualify for firearm proficiency, like airline pilots.  Liz Pike is a Republican who owns an advertising agency and has a small farm.  

This would likely be filed with the Education Committee of the Legislature.  Given Washington, it may not actually get out of committee.  One hopes not.  But there are similar bills being contemplated across the US in legislatures and in Congress.

I think most people here would agree this is the wrong approach.  It will saddle teachers with a requirement to spend their own money on guns and firearms training, which will cost hundreds of dollars.  It will take time and attention away from the real problem, which is to arm teachers with better support for the mission of the school and for which they have already trained.  

What legislators ought to be doing in every legislature is looking for ways to prevent future Newtowns (and Auroras, and Tucsons and Columbines, etc.) through real analysis of the issues involved and more perceptive approaches that come from understanding what education is.

As we grow out of infancy we need to develop the ability to see the difference between our internal state and the external world, and to relate to what civilization is, which is a system for interpersonal living.  

Early literacy is about gaining a sense of the wonder of education through reading, but it is also a fundamental grounding in the human context created over the millenia by many who came before us.  

The use of words and the ability to share thinking with others is absolutely basic to life in a world full of other humans.  

Mental illness has layers.  There are components which are not well understood, despite a century of effort, that derive from biological predisposition.  Science has advanced far enough that the worst of the effects, the periodic episodes of out of control psychosis, can be mitigated and held at bay for a good while.  For the purpose of this diary, let's assume that "mental illness" refers to the way the problem has been described in relation to the school shooters of recent weeks and years.  There are actually quite a few categories and shades and degrees that professionals would have to evaluate case by case.  

Early onset of beginning symptoms may start to show around the middle school to high school time frame.  Not always, but most of the time.  Teachers can see this happening because they spend the entire day with students working on learning tasks.  

One problem seems to be that teachers who tell parents that their kid may be showing signs of mental illness tend to get punished for it.  This is really not good news and no parent wants to hear this.  It is understandable that people would have strong reaction.

One administrative rule change, whether mandated by legislation or by some other method, would be to create incentives instead of disincentives for teachers to offer honest opinions, to call for professional evaluation, to have that paid for through some kind of insurance, and to not have the results become a blot on the student's permanent record.  The teacher, the student, the parents and the mental health professionals should work together.  This could further advance the cause of education and civilization, and help the child overcome or at least function more adequately.  

The whole argument is really skewed in the wrong direction if it is about putting armed guards on the job of watching the door for the student who might one day cross the threshold with the idea in mind of blowing people away.  You could be hiring people, arming them and training them for a mission that may never be needed, in all the years they are on the job.  

Meanwhile the people you do have on the job will have fewer resources and those who need help the most will not get it.  So we need to be paying attention to supporting schools.  What promotes sanity and civilization are more music teachers and programs, not guns.  More librarians, not more ammo magazines.  

Meanwhile, the issue of guns has to be addressed.  

There should not be easy availability for spectacularly high capacity mass kill weapons.  Bullets that explode flesh, rapid fire capacity, magazines that hold massive numbers of rounds, these are not needed for any use except the battlefield.  That should be fairly easy to deal with through regulation.  

But after the eagerness to get that done wears off, the problem remains:  schools need better resources to do what schools are supposed to do, which is to help kids become better able to cope as humans in human society and to succeed in using their intelligence for intelligent purposes.  

And isn't that our challenge?

So, does anyone know of any legislator or congress person looking into education or mental health from this perspective, addressing these crisis episodes?

Originally posted to Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:03 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Community Spotlight, and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:03:35 PM PST

  •  There's going to be a giant sucking (16+ / 0-)

    sound sucking resources away from schools' efforts to educate and toward schools' security. We're going to spend, one way or another, a huge amount of time, energy, and money talking about security when in the end there is literally nothing we can do to completely eliminate the threat from a determined lunatic, and meanwhile our kids everywhere are going to get a shittier education. I can hear the sucking sound coming on.

    •  Agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elginblt, marleycat

      IMO even if all the money in the world were thrown at the problem there is no way of spotting potential lunatics.

      This diary said it best for me:

      No one knows what causes someone to take a gun and start shooting people. No one ever will. Every time there is a mass shooting, news reporters dig into the personal history of the murderer, as if something in the biography will provide a clue. It never does. Mental illness, abusive childhoods, collapsed relationships, setbacks at school or work, and any number of other factors often are found, but none provides the answer. Hundreds of millions of people have suffered from mental illness, abusive childhoods, collapsed relationships, setbacks at school or work, and every other form of stress or trauma without deciding to kill people. Why do these individuals become killers? Bob Geldof's answer remains the best explanation, because there is no explanation

      Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

      by Starbrite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:50:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again, that goes in the wrong direction (8+ / 0-)

        It is possible to spot children who may be at risk for developing mental illness at an early point.

        The purpose for doing so is not to find kids to paint a big red letter onto, and put them into a category of future threats to watch out for.  The purpose is to be able to offer them help in becoming educational success stories, to the fullest extent possible.  

        If we watch that threshold and never see anyone coming and there is no incidents, how do we measure success when nothing has happened?

        What you measure in terms of educational outcomes is people able to handle life.  You don't always see a way to measure that.  

        We ought to know that.

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:58:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm all for (3+ / 0-)

          whatever interventions may be useful in the education system to help children handle life and become educational success stories within whatever budget is available - as an end in itself.  

          I'm just very nervous about such measures being linked to gun control/shooting death prevention.   I want effective gun control/shooting death prevention measures not something that, even if well funded, is extremely unlikely to help with the problem.

          Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

          by Starbrite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:14:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The linkage is there. (6+ / 0-)

            The story of Adam Lanza is the story of a kid whose parents were able to take him out of school because they didn't like being told he needed psychiatric help.  

            Perhaps linking this case to the general need for paying more attention to funding that helps schools deal with children who need help will cause things to move in a better direction.  

            Without seeing that link, there is no real motivation to act.  

            Thus, we take money away from where it is really needed and put it where it won't do anything except satisfy an immediate emotional need to vent.  

            hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

            by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:19:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

              Piggybacking on the publicity generated by the shootings to raise the profile of currently underfunded areas...to the benefit of many..I'm sure that will happen and I have no problem with that. (if that's what you mean)

              But as a specific worthwhile measure to directly try and address the gun violence problems in America?  Waste of time IMO.

              Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

              by Starbrite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:37:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think this is justified: (4+ / 0-)
              The story of Adam Lanza is the story of a kid whose parents were able to take him out of school because they didn't like being told he needed psychiatric help.  
              For one, I am not aware that this is even true.  But more importantly, supposing it is true - that Lanza's parents were told that he needed psychiatric help, but that they thought a better approach might be to home school him - would you blame them?

              Would it even be self-evident that this was wrong?  I've known plenty of kids who were really unhappy and dysfunctional in a school environment (a very odd environment, when you think about it), especially very bright kids, and who did just fine when educated out of school.

              Mental illness is one thing; predicting rare violent acts is quite another.  Preventing the latter by diagnosing the former is largely a fantasy.  Better to find ways of spotting specific risky behaviours perhaps.

              •  I don't know the truth of that statement either (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DarkLadyNyara

                but it is not uncommon for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to opt for home schooling because their children are targets of taunting and bullying at school and teachers and administrators are unable or unwilling to put a stop to it.  

                I likewise have no evidence that this was the case here but we should be careful in assigning motives to actions.

                A petty criminal is someone with predatory instincts but insufficient capital to form a corporation. --Clarence Darrow

                by stlsophos on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:36:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Needs clarification on a couple of counts... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  stlsophos

                  Most important, whether or not Lanza had an autism spectrum disorder like Asperger's syndrome, autism has never in any way been linked to planned sociopathic behavior like Newtown, Columbine, VT etc.  

                  Aggression in autism spectrum disorders IS an issue for quite a few with ASDs but it manifests itself as immediate "fight or flight" behavior, generally in reaction to sensory overstimulation of some type.  These behaviors are typically fleeting and often referred to as "meltdowns" because theres nothing methodical or organized about the behavior...it's oftenjust flailing or "lashing out".  

                  These horrific murders had nothing to do with autism...mental illness perhaps, but autism isn't a mental illness, it's a developmental disability.

                  Second, it is pretty uncommon for parents who have kids on the autism spectrum to home school, since schools are the primary delivery system of behavioral interventions for the vast majority.  Home schooling does happen of course but it's not a routine or preferred choice in our community.  

                  "Those dunes are to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona and the Yosemite is to California." - Carl Sandburg

                  by Critical Dune on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:56:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There is nothing in my post to suggest a link (0+ / 0-)

                    between ASD and violent or sociopathic behavior.  I merely suggested another reason why Lanza quit attending school.

                    I agree that one is a developmental disability and the other a mental illness but there seems to be an increasing number of ASD individuals with a dual MI diagnosis, often bipolar, ocd or odd.  Treatment for these individuals is complex and expensive and states often assign one or another division within their mental health agencies for primary treatment responsibility and then do not have the resources within their network to carry it out.  When the two diagnoses cohere in one person, it becomes much more complicated to treat the person and what we call one or the other is far less important.

                    Again, I didn't suggest that home schooling is either routine or preferred for ASD individuals.  But when the school is the source of the student's meltdowns, removing them from that environment makes sense and some parents do choose this.

                    I don't believe you gave a very careful reading to my post or you would not have responded to points I never made or intimated.  I have worked for 32 years in the developmental disability field and my knowledge and experience comports with what I originally posted.

                    A petty criminal is someone with predatory instincts but insufficient capital to form a corporation. --Clarence Darrow

                    by stlsophos on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:28:40 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Not sure the medical profession is equipped (0+ / 0-)

                    Before we go identifying and labeling kids "psychos", (and you know some peers will call them that) we need to make sure the medical profession has effective and safe solutions.  Today, 1 in 10 take a SSRI drug.  These miracle drugs have help millions.  But they also can cause violent outbursts. One of the shooters at Columbine  had "therapeutic levels" of a prescribed SRRI.

                    Suppose teachers identify 1,000 kids in need of psychological help (one of which may go postal at some future date) and all 1,000 see their doctors.  800 are prescribed an SRRI because of depression.  How many of these will have a violent reaction and create more Columbines?  I would like to see studies as to the role SSRIs do or do not play in these shootings.  

                    Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

                    by Helpless on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:29:04 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  "No way we ever will..." (7+ / 0-)

        is the same line of argumentation used in the anti-slavery debate, the vote for women debate, the causes of cancer debate, the causes of AIDS debate, the causes of tyranny debate and the causes of gun violence debate. In other words, when someone doesnt WANT an answer to be researched and found, they will claim "there is no way we will ever.. (supply your issue here).

        We already know what some causes of depression, anxiety and childhood onset mental illness are, and we have vastly more diagnosis and treatment tools than we did even 30 years ago. People dont like to be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, which mental illness is. But that does not mean we have discovered no causes and no treatments, and never will. Faulty argumentation, Mr. Starbrite, and despite your skepticism, we will make progress on this even if millions of people believe it cannot be done.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:12:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In a land of 350 million people, (2+ / 0-)

          You cannot identify every murderer in time. It is impossible now, and forever. You can do things to reduce murder, bu you can't eliminate it.

          •  Yes. And we can do even more. (5+ / 0-)

            We know how. We need the people in the teaching, counseling, psychiatry and helping professions to be increased substantially instead of cut to the bone as they have been in the last four years.

            We are threatening thousands of innocent people, in all walks of society, when we cut back on these professionals who teach and  treat adolescents in trouble.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:59:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              doc2, stlsophos, burlydee

              If wishes were dollars, we'd all be billionaires.

              To Doc2's earlier point about the giant sucking sound....no doubt America will throw a bunch of money at what happened at Newtown by beefing up security, and perhaps something on the school counselor side of the equation...and it will make parents feel good briefly, but drain resources over the long term for real education.

              Meanwhile, students in other countries are eating our kids' lunches.

              Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

              by Keith930 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:18:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  We can dream (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MPociask

            What if we learned enough about murder to prevent it, oh, with a hundredth of the effectiveness with which we prevent rickets?

            •  Right. We are going to "learn" (0+ / 0-)

              how to prevent human beings from taking certain actions. Ever.

              •  We already have.. (0+ / 0-)

                If you look at the trend lines, we have learned how. Now we just need to continue. The Reich Wing doesnt like it; inhibiting murder by individual or group action cuts into their "freedoms" by restricting their available field of play, but tough luck. Bullies will never understand why and how we have done this, but we can safely ignore them and let them implode one by one. It will improve the gene pool anyway.

                Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                by OregonOak on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:25:03 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Reducing murder is a good goal itself. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MPociask

            **Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does** h/t Clytemnestra/Victoria Jackson

            by glorificus on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:07:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, no kidding. And some reduction (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              glorificus

              in murder rates, commensurate with a reasonable investment on the part of society, is ideal. Overinvest, and you get diminishing returns and ignore other pressing problems (such as the quality of education in general). Underinvest, and you get more of these terrible incidents than you should. But there is no magic bullet.

              •  Gibberish. What degree do you hold? (0+ / 0-)

                Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                by OregonOak on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:26:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Nonsense. (0+ / 0-)

                These terrible incidents happen because weapons are available whose sole purpose is to allow a shooter to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. They are often inaccurate and unsuited for such pastimes as hunting.

                My son has been diagnosed at different times with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He is capable of violence - all you needed to do was look at the holes in my walls until friends helped me fix them.

                But his violence has always been impulsive. He is incapable of planning and executing anything like any of these killings. On the streets he may get into fights but usually ends up needing stitches and other medical treatment. The sociopaths always get the best of him.

                He has been getting psychological and/or psychiatric treatment since he was small.

                There is woefully little available for the mentally ill in this country, and we certainly need more money spent on mental health care and education. But don't confuse that with stopping tragedies like Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, etc.  

                The mentally ill do not for the most part

                Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

                by ramara on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:41:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So what is the magic bullet? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ramara
                  •  There is no magic bullet (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Stuart Heady

                    We have to live without it. So we need to outlaw killer bullets, high capacity weapons, and high capacity magazines.

                    We need to put money into schools, including full funding for IDEA so kids with special needs can get the best education possible. We need overall healthcare for everybody, including mental health.

                    Then we can see.

                    Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

                    by ramara on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:12:33 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Not nonsense, -absolute- nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                  The Browning Hi-Power is a 9mm handgun with a 13 round "high-capacity" magazine and has been around since 1935. The Thompson "Tommy Gun" in semi-auto form with a 50 round drum has been around since 1927. The semi-auto M1 Carbine (identical to the military-issue weapon) with 15- or 30-round removable magazines has been available to civlians since the end of WW2. For the majority of the period from then until now, gun control laws were looser.

                  Clearly, the frequency of mass shooting has little to do with this type of weapon being available, since they have been widely and easily available before most of your fathers were even born. Arguments of that nature are factually unsupportable.

                  •  Mentally ill people (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Shamash

                    have been around much longer than that, without these mass shootings happening.

                    It's the marketing and availability and profitability. And a culture that depersonalizes violence in general as used to be for soldiers. It's kids with nothing to look forward to. It's so many things. So we need income fairness and enrichment (something to feed the soul) in schools.

                    But we have to start somewhere.

                    Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

                    by ramara on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:45:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sure progress will be made (0+ / 0-)

          and don't get me wrong - a heck of a lot of good work is being done IMHO - but with the state of play right now - it's just not 'there' yet and we'd be naive and irresponsible to look to this profession to give us meaningful solutions at the moment....

          Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

          by Starbrite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:27:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree strongly. (5+ / 0-)

            I work with extremely competent counselors, psychologists, and vice principals with decades of experience in helping adolescents and young adults get through this most difficult period of life.

            We save lives. I save lives. Every year, I have students come back and thank me for literally saving their lives by spending time with them, helping, taking the time to counsel and listen and share words. Sometimes that is all it takes. Sometimes it takes more.

            But, in the end. we CAN depend on our public schools and the professionals in them to head off the worst case scenarios when we fully fund and support them in their dangerous and critical work. Its the right thing to do, and it has the added benefit of working.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:02:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is the exact opposite of this. (5+ / 0-)

        We all know what causes someone to take a gun and start shooting. If some director gets clever and puts together a movie, with each scene brilliantly framed and the actors perfectly cast, with all the facial expressions and humiliations and unhealthy fixations choreographed, we can watch that movie and see it. Much of the time we walk away feeling just a little like the killer was a hero, in his own way, even if flawed/misguided.

        But the story told is just one variation out of billions, each of which ends in comparable tragedy. This does make it more difficult to spot it coming, obviously, but even that doesn't put it beyond the limits of our abilities.

        No, the obstacle is something different. It is not a failure of imagination or lack of empathy or anything like that. It's that in the story that is real life all around us, we know we're not the troubled kid who is spurned at every opportunity eventually falling into a downward spiral.

        And if we know that, we know that we're either the apathetic motherfuckers who turned a blind eye at best. Much more likely though, we're the spiteful lowlifes that took a little too much joy in the kid's pain, who found too much amusement in his embarrassment. We're the adults a little too busy to get home early instead of exhausting ourselves being there to say the kind or insightful words that might just nudge the guy onto a better path.

        That's us. Boy do we ever get what's causing this. We are. You, me, and everyone else.

        And we're really fucking selfish about it too. We don't just shrug and say "oh what the fuck, I don't give a shit". No, we tell ourselves pretty lies, tell ourselves "no one could have seen this coming!". Then we sob and be melodramatic and yuck it up playing victim.

        50 or 60 years from now, some Columbine survivor will have a guilty conscience (just one, odds are there won't be two) and will write some memoire about how he lied back then because he was "afraid", but that he remembers something in the leadup how he saw the change when Klebold or Harris  snapped, how he might have said or done something to spare his classmate but didn't.

        No, if you want to know what the amazing part is, there's some inner resovoir, something, in these kids that they don't all go postal. They turn it inward into neuroses and suicide. They just suffer the rest of their lives in mental pain that no therapy or drug can touch. Despite everything we all throw at them, they don't turn into monsters. If there is a mystery here, it is that.

      •  you got that right, (3+ / 0-)

        the diarist is making a connection that is not there.  People with MI issuesARE NOT the problem.  THE FUCKING GUNS AND A SOCIETY THAT GLORIFIES VIOLENCE is the program! People need to stop calling these shooters lunatics. This is insulting to people who are MI. A shit storm would blow over us if such pejorative language was used for gays or women or people of color. So why is it allowed for people who are MI?

        •  I don't know if that is a serious question... (2+ / 0-)

          A conversational way that people have is to say, "I don't know why...." to dismiss something they disagree with, not to seek any sort of enlightenment.  

          I have lived with a close relative being bipolar for many years.  Most of the time he was not causing anyone to have issues.

          But every now and then he could scare the shit out of people by becoming psychotic.  One time he got in a car and drove around, deciding that he had the authority to interpret that green lights meant stop and red lights meant go.  He thought it hugely funny that he happened to be driving around at 3am and didn't get into an accident or attract police attention.  

          Such episodes lead to involuntary commitment because no one can handle it when people get into situations like that.  There really is danger.  

          More common mental health issues like general nervousness or attention deficit disorder or whatever don't really come with the same degree of trust issues.

          But mental illness does come with a general sense that there is something that ought to concern people as a matter of public health and safety, even if it isn't clear what.  It is true that people over generalize.  But that points to a need for better public education about these issues.  

          hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

          by Stuart Heady on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:06:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sooo glad I'm 56 and not 16 these days (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doc2

      this country never fails to over-react to every single thing, and this will be just another one.

      Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:10:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Funny, that's already happened and the money (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fuzzyguy, MPociask, DarkLadyNyara, ancblu

      went to the Prison Industrial Complex.

      The NAACP has pointed out in their 2011 report, we are spending 6 times as much as we spend on prisons than on education.

      The balance went to our Military Industrial Complex.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:27:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Probably not because money is more important than (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, DefendOurConstitution

    American children.

    More money for security= less money for actual education. That is the rotten American way.

  •  Twitter trends on gun topics (6+ / 0-)

    ...have returned back to normal levels.

    That's all I got.

    Good essay, though.



    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:03:55 PM PST

    •  Reminds me of something (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, Matt Z, fuzzyguy

      my 16 yr old son said when all the gun control debates broke out:

      "God, Typical American flash mob reaction.. then we'll move on to something else..."

      Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

      by Starbrite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:03:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't moved on. I am a teacher. (8+ / 0-)

        And I hope you haven't moved on. We can show young people the value of committment here. They don't believe us when we say we care about issues, because they think we will move along to the next "exciting" news cycle, as they do. This normalizes crisis.  This is our chance to show them.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:15:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fuzzyguy
          They don't believe us when we say we care about issues, because they think we will move along to the next "exciting" news cycle, as they do.
          That is because the massive majority of people DO move on to the next "exciting" news cycle 99.9998% of the time. It's time to model good behavior, yes, but you're blaming young people's own cynicism on the fact that "they" themselves move on too quickly? What?
          •  No Blame.. adults lead the way (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Stuart Heady, glorificus, fuzzyguy

            in cynicism and short attention span emotionalism. Kids learn that they should not care either, because the adults in their lives have 24-hour news cycle brains, and few adults have their backs when they try to think more deeply and with more consistency.

            As Kurt Vonnegut said, we are the only country on earth with historical amnesia. Or as Mark Twain said, a lie can run around the world before the truth even gets its shoes tied. That is our nature, so kids just follow the pattern.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:41:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I'm glad you raised the subject of Mental Health (5+ / 0-)

    I too am keenly looking out for any specific measures in this direction and will be extremely interested to know the details of any upcoming proposals.

    Just hoping it's not some vague ineffecctive 'black box' measure that tries to sweep the problem under the carpet/pass the buck - or if it is - I would like to see it exposed as such.

    Thanks for the diary.

    Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

    by Starbrite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:58:16 PM PST

  •  In good school districts, this is a team effort (5+ / 0-)

    with teachers, counselors, principals, school psychologists, and outside health providers all involved in assessing a change in a student's affect or behavior, often starting with poor school performance or a student's issues with other kids.

    In other words, there are checks and balances, no one person's word is taken as gospel, there is a consensus of professionals, contact with parents, teachers are insulated from accusations and health care providers are given the final authority, along with parents.

    Needless to say, this is the infrastructure the Republicans are trying so hard to demolish. They are succeeding, and more kids are falling through the safety net holes, to endanger us all.

    Conservatives are fools.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:22:28 PM PST

    •  Sounds like you might have a good example (0+ / 0-)

      Perhaps one problem is that people don't hear about the places where the system is working.  

      We tend to hear about the extremely outrageous, sensational cases that are headline tragedies.  Then we try to build a case for reform based on those experiences.  

      That isn't the whole story.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:35:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right... there are thousands of victories.. (5+ / 0-)

        every day based on really good, non-threatening, non-invasive systems of diagnosis and intervention, along with courageous adults working to head off these crisis in young people. It works. We never hear about any of it because of privacy concerns, and because you cannot prove you actually intervened in time.

        I would be willing to bet that literally thousands of violent crimes are prevented by adults working now in public schools at every level, which they do every day, every hour, in every district in this country. We are actually winning the war on mental illness and violence in youth, and could be almost completely effective if the money machine for guns, drugs and stupidity weren't so powerful.

        Thanks for the help, conservatives. Thanks a whole frickin Lot for placing barriers to effective work among the at-risk young people of the country.  

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:55:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What is your perspective? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          glorificus

          How do you come to have this point of view?  Do you know of situations where things are working pretty well or have worked?  Do you know of any literature in this area?

          I think this side of discussion is mostly missing.

          hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

          by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:13:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  32 years of teaching English in every corner (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            glorificus

            of the Empire.. with at-risk, "regular," advanced and every nationality in the world. I cannot prove what works, but I do know what works.

            I will do a literature review of effective interventions for teen violence and personality problems. I should anyway... just for my own satisfaction.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:56:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for hanging in there on this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            glorificus, OregonOak

            Thank God for teachers and the sanity that you all promote.

            Have you run across the book, Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings" by Katherine Newman?  There is probably some more work like this out there, but here is an example of someone doing a systematic study on the causes of school shootings.  

            In the end it sounds like common sense.  But I think more work like this could help with the effort to help more kids who need help.  

            A lot of the comments in reaction to this seem to be unable to get away from the problem of profiling potential shooters.  I think that if you look at it this way, you miss the point.  What teachers and schools need is the ability to do what they know how to do, which is to help kids grow up and become sane adults.  The more we get away from focusing on this, the more the result is mayhem.  

            hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

            by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:25:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Education is not training.. (0+ / 0-)

              and this is what the behaviorists can never wrap their minds around. They are so busy trying to extinguish this behavior with intermittent reinforcement or promote that behavior with intermittent reinforcement that they forget they are not training pigeons. They are trapped in a bunch of trees, and staring at the bark of one of them, never realizing its the forest that needs their attention.  

              This in my view is the basic problem; the American public is suspicious of Education, but they love Training. The words are used interchangeably so that no discussion ever really gets to the point; what are we talking about?

              Education is the process of creating morally functioning, happy, and healthy human beings who can operate in a democratic fashion for the good of the whole. Training is for the promotion of the individual in competition with other individuals. BIG difference, and until we decide what we want, we wont get either one.

              Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

              by OregonOak on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 01:15:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  A problem with assessing every preventive measure (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MPociask

          There's no practical way to accumulate the numbers that would show that caring adults, or team approaches, or gun bans, or vitamins in the school lunches was preventing violence.

          It's frustrating for someone with a technical turn of mind, and it's a political problem for securing funding.

          I don't have an answer, except to do things that are good ideas anyway.

  •  Ok, let me see if I get this straight. (0+ / 0-)

    Teachers aren't qualified and don't earn enough to justify saddling them with firearms.

    The world's smartest psychology researchers can't quite get a handle on what makes crazy people crazy.

    But somehow these teachers will make predictions about which student will go nuts and shoot up the school.

    Yeh, that's brilliant logic. How many false positives will they have? And how bad is the outcome for the false positive? You know the kid who's awkward and just trying to survive through all the other bullshit, and some asshole teacher (you know, the kind that DKers are afraid to let have guns) pins the label on him as "future-shooter" because he's pissed off at a parking ticket that morning or because he's envious of the kid's talent or any of a million other petty and spiteful reasons.

    They don't pump you full of thorazine and electroshock you anymore, at least. Now they're much more pleasant drugs.

    And how do you even evaluate whether teachers are managing to identify the correct nutcases, in addition to all those who aren't going to blowup?

    How many can they miss before you decide the policy is flawed and end it?

    I expect public school teachers to be about as good at being stewards of children's mental health as I do of children's critical thinking or children's literacy. In other words, I would expect millions of ruined lives.

    Really, I'm astounded by some of these proposals. We can't trust teachers to know when a dangerous killer needs to be shot, but we can trust them with pernicious and unshakeable labels like "mentally ill and requiring intervention to avoid massacres"?

    There should not be easy availability for spectacularly high capacity mass kill weapons.  Bullets that explode flesh, rapid fire capacity, magazines that hold massive numbers of rounds, these are not needed for any use except the battlefield.  That should be fairly easy to deal with through regulation.  
    It must be easy to imagine that once "all guns are gone" that the world will be wonderful. But the rest of us, here's how our thinking works:

    1. No firearms we possess will ever be used for murder and therefor are safe and ignorable for everyone else. (Statistics prove this true, by the way.)
    2. You do not plan on the police or military ever getting rid of their own firearms.
    3. You do plan on somehow using either or both of those agencies to demand that we surrender our firearms.
    4. No one who disarms another person while remaining armed themselves ever has anything good or even benign in mind for those they disarm.

    Each of these is true. How do you think this makes you feel? Do you think any of your arguments (which are little more than appeals to emotion, conformity etc) does much to change our minds?

    •  Wrong arguments (4+ / 0-)

      I don't think anyone would suggest teachers are in a position to predict the future course of life for a child who might be showing signs of needing help.  

      What teachers are in a position to do is to engage with parents, the student involved, professional specialists and anyone else needed in order to begin a process involving a lot of people and a lot of steps over multiple years.

      Ensuring that there is a system that can bring in the participation of all those who are needed is the work of citizens,
      legislators and school board members.  

      And even people who are presented with issues like this on blogs.

      Again, the process of education involves all of us because it is about building a civilization that benefits us all and which we can pass along to the future.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:06:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blah blah blah. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not asking whether they are "in a position to".

        That much is clear, yes they are.

        I'm asking why you could ever think they'd be able to understand that there is a need to "engage with X". There's no evidence that they ever understand when to do this, when it might be needed.

        The ability to take action is not the ability to know when to take action.

        •  It isn't clear what you are saying (4+ / 0-)

          Are you saying you don't believe teachers are competent to assess students in terms of classroom behavior and engagement in lessons?

          That seems a sweeping sort of cynicism.  

          hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

          by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:06:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Uh. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kaminpdx

            Psychiatrists have trouble telling which students are in need of "engagement" or whatever you want to call it. These are people with medical degrees and a high level of expertise in the subject.

            We're talking about mental health. Not whether the teacher can tell little Joey needs more help reading.

            You said this:

            Early onset of beginning symptoms may start to show around the middle school to high school time frame.  Not always, but most of the time.  Teachers can see this happening because they spend the entire day with students working on learning tasks.  

            One problem seems to be that teachers who tell parents that their kid may be showing signs of mental illness tend to get punished for it.  This is really not good news and no parent wants to hear this.  It is understandable that people would have strong reaction.

            Teachers are wholly unqualified to do this. They can't tell the difference between the 1-3 teenagers who do this per year, and the other million that act just the same but eventually grow out of it without any intervention.

            If you set them up to bale those million children as "potential spree killers" the only thing you'll be doing is ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of teens who already have a hard time of it.

            This is a completely fucked up policy proposal. It's illogical, doesn't solve the problem it purports to solve, and will cause great harm to those who are completely innocent.

            •  If you see them every day.. (5+ / 0-)

              you can tell when something is up. Its better methodology than a professional psychologist. Heck, they even ask teachers to fill out evaluation forms for kids who have suddenly changed. We are in a position to know, because its obvious to anyone who is a human being. Even you would be able to tell if a kid was having emotional difficulties in class, and had changed. Its not that hard. Really.

              Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

              by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:11:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Something's up" (0+ / 0-)

                Is always happening. They're teenagers.

                However, you're not trying to discover something's up. You're trying to pick out the ones that will be trouble if left to their own devices.

                •  Well, maybe some people can't tell. (2+ / 0-)

                  I can tell. Better than a psych or a counselor. They want to tell us.. that is another feature of teenagerhood. They want us to know if something is up, so we can stop them, or chat about it, or find out if its good or bad. They want to spill the beans. You have to understand that about teenage psychology. They are not enemies, they are just feeling left out.

                  Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                  by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:49:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're missing the point. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    DarkLadyNyara

                    I am aware that teenagers almost always have something going on. And yes, you don't have to be psychic to tell this is so. Being within 500 yards of them is often enough.

                    However, there are millions like that. And very few if any will turn into a spree killer if left to themselves. Just a handful in a calendar year, it would seem.

                    You can't tell the difference between normal teenage "something's going on" and "just about to snap and shoot 20 kindergarteners in a few years".

                    So, if you're intervening to protect against the latter, you risk -- no, scratch that, you guarantee smearing all the rest that weren't going to go on a killing spree. That's bad.

                    Unless you gear the policy so that it's not about preventing spree killers at all... at which point it's just feel-good-fuzzy-bullshit that's a solution in search of a problem.

                    This isn't something you can handwave away. It's a serious flaw that makes such a policy fundamentally unviable.

                    •  Intelligent Adults who are backed up (3+ / 0-)

                      by the society and culture to be viewed as competent are, like competent judges, competent legislators, competent police officers, competent health care workers, competent hardware store owners the key to every sucess we have.

                      At the moment, and I mean since the BornAgain(tm) movement and  since the Reagan TrickelDown(tm) Revolution, we have been promoting the incompetent. Incompetent economists, psychologists, administrators, banksters and yes, teachers have broken the faith the American public had in their own professional class.

                      That is a TeaParty article of faith. Break public confidence in competent adults. Then the incompetent may fill the gap with selfish and myopic but profitable people and policies. Strip mine the public good will for profit.

                      I am sincerely hoping you have not sipped their KoolAid.

                      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                      by OregonOak on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:46:50 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No, I don't drink Koolaid. (0+ / 0-)

                        But I do recognize logical fallacies when I see them.

                        You don't know what you're talking about, and when I try to explain it as simply as possible, you just stick your fingers in your ears and say "la la la I can't hear you la la la" and ignore me.

                        This isn't a problem of "backup". By the time "competent judges" are involved, you've already ruined the kids life.  I know damn well that while only three kids will go apeshit next year and do a school shooting, there will be many more than three going before "competent judges".

                        So even if you do get the right three, all the rest, all those in excess of that... you've just labeled them "potential spree killer" for no good reason.

                        This will ruin their lives. It will be a label they cannot shake.

                        And if you're honest, you'll also realize that you didn't even get the three that would go on that year to become spree killers.

                        •  If you have competent adults in public schools, (0+ / 0-)

                          law enforcement, churches, social services, neighborhoods, community centers, there will be almost no need for competent judges. Good to have them there too, but the point is PREVENTION. Social systems which function. Jobs for kids. Adults who care and are willing to risk their lives for kids.

                          And the public has to trust that we know what we are doing. If they dont, the Teahadists win by making people mistrust the public effort and the public sector.

                          May I ask where you live? Are there enough comptent adults in your community? What is going on there?

                          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                          by OregonOak on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:15:56 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

      •  An advantage teachers have (5+ / 0-)

        Multiple hours of exposure to a child in the child's normal life is something that virtually no psychologist will ever have.

        •  Merchant marines... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kaminpdx

          Also get to look at the night sky far more than professional astronomers.

          Guess how many major astronomical discoveries they made last year?

            •  That's not a strawman. (0+ / 0-)

              You should learn the named fallacies. It's useful, not just in identifying it when they're used against you, but also when you're using them yourself without realizing it.

              "Strawman" is when you misrepresent your opponent's position in a way that's easy to rebut and then start to demolish it. It's not that easy, you still have to make the misrepresentation plausible enough that people will believe it. For instance, you can't claim that Mitt Romney wants to sell black infants into slavery to pay for the cost of welfare, and by god haven't we already decided as a nation that slavery is wrong??!? That would be a "strawman", and a poorly-conceived one.

              Your position almost certainly isn't that merchant marines have a lot of time on their hands to watch the night sky. That's my position. I never claimed it was yours. Furthermore, I'm not tearing down that position, I use it to make the point that expertise isn't a matter of just clocking in as many hours as possible.

              At best you can claim that it's a bad analogy. But to claim it's a strawman is bizarre and incorrect.

              •  Okay (0+ / 0-)
                Multiple hours of exposure to a child in the child's normal life is something that virtually no psychologist will ever have
                Also get to look at the night sky far more than professional astronomers.

                Guess how many major astronomical discoveries they made last year?

                Time spent interacting with a child on a daily basis because that interaction is the purpose of them being in that same place is exactly the same as sailors who stare at the sky in the moments they aren't busy.  My apologies.
    •  The future shooter label (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Anderson, glorificus, jabney

      Yes - how would that work exactly?  I'd like to know that too.

      1. No firearms we possess will ever be used for murder and therefor are safe and ignorable for everyone else. (Statistics prove this true, by the way.)
      Re your point above and I'm sure this point has been done to death already...   but Nancy Lanza was part of your  'we' wasn't she?  With firearms that she most certainly would have considered safe ad ignorable for everyone else.

      Another example - huge row broke out with my neighbors teenage son (I live in an almost zero crime area).  He pointed the gun at his mom and shot at the ceiling and shot the gun outside.  The whole neighborhood heard it.  The police were called.  He did the SAME thing the following night.  This young man is very troubled for whatever reason and will probably grow out of it but at that moment he had a gun available.  The police didn't confiscate the guns from the house despite pleas from the neighbors.  That boy worries me.
      His mom and dad.  Lovely people.  They too would say that their firearms are safe and ignorable wouldn't they?

      Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

      by Starbrite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:50:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They need to take the guns out of the home. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tom Anderson, glorificus

        Now. Yesterday. For their own protection and the protection of their son. If it werent for the NRA and the Supreme Court scaring people to death, they would have done it already.

        Their guns are far more dangerous, eight times more dangerous IN the home than any home invader would be to them. See if you can talk sometime soon with them.

        The son needs help. Does he go to school? Does the District have a school psych? Or a dependable counselor?

        This situation sounds like we will read about it soon on the daily list of gun violence stats.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:15:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They won't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          glorificus

          This happened 6 months ago and we all sent a joint letter of concern and asked them to remove the guns from the house but the dad got offended didn't want to be told what to do and assured everyone that the guns were 'locked up'.

          Police wouldn't do a thing about the guns.

          The families with very young children were particularly freaked out - particularly as he'd started shooting outside (just in the air I think to express his anger at his parents)

          This is a typical  middle class area suburban area ..the last place you'd think of..but I bet it happens all the time all over america

          He's 20 now - they had sent him previously to some private (and hugely expensive) residential mental health facility for about a year when he was 18 because he was was drinking and totally disrespecting his parents.  He came back even worse and it was constant rows and conflicts culminating in the gun incident.

          He lives out of the house now - they put him on a college course somewhere I think?  He does come back to visit.  They  put the house on the market soon after the shooting incident but they haven't sold yet.

          Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

          by Starbrite on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:45:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, this is a common thing in "Suburbia" (0+ / 0-)

            I have seen kids do this kind of acting out pretty consistently.

            It does make a person wonder how to raise kids better, but for my money I'd like to see a real effort to take as many toxic inorganic and man-made chemicals out of the environmental soup we are all exposed to daily. This seems to have a profound effect on some young brains, and its an easier thing to start than trying to change millions of people's behaviors.

            As an educator, I have seen young people get more irritable, less resiliant, less emotionally robust, less healthy and more dependent on drug prescriptions over the years.

            There is a biological cause to this, I am certain, and it starts with PCB's, lead, mercury, pesticides, herbicides and fire retardants. The kid should be tested for chemical load before anything else.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:15:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The police handle a lot of these situations (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Silvia Nightshade, glorificus

        The parents with the teenage son who is shooting the gun off have to ask the police for specific help.  If they don't all the officers can do is tell them what the law is.  

        If they tell the officer that they are in danger because they aren't sure if their son will kill them or himself, then they have a cause for action.  They will take him into custody and in many cases, take the young man to a hospital where a doctor will determine whether involuntary commitment is indicated.  

        If not, then the kid just goes home.  If so, he will be really pissed off, but he will be in a locked psychiatric ward for a period of time set by a judge.  Usually just a few days.

        The parents may know all this and may have decided to keep this within the family.  This could be a risk, as the son may indeed kill himself of someone else.  

        Dealing with a near adult who has passed through various stages before the issue of developing mental illness gets addressed, if that is what this case is, becomes harder and harder.  Way better to try and deal with it earlier.  If they still have guns in the house, it probably means that they have been in denial about what has been going on. Aiming a gun at your mother is not exactly Miss Manners.  

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:35:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

        It's apparent that she could not have been part of the "we", because her guns were used to harm people.

        You may not like it, because it's an unassailable argument. But it's not a false one, because to claim it was a false one would mean that most or all firearms are used to harm.

        With 270 million of them in the nation, would anyone even be left alive if they were all used to harm, even at a rate of less than 1 incident per year?

        He did the SAME thing the following night.
        And? What he did was illegal, that first night. If there's a problem here, it's that the police did not enforce existing laws that first incident. Why they did not do so I cannot even guess. But there's no need for a new law here.
        His mom and dad.  Lovely people.
        How are they lovely? Apparently when he fires a gun into the ceiling, the very next night they let him do that again. Knowing that he's disturbed, knowing that he's illegally discharged a firearm, they somehow let him have access to the things again.

        That's not lovely. That's criminal. They're criminal people.

    •  The diarist never said anything (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silvia Nightshade

      about "all guns are gone". Where'd you get that from?

      How would a citizen, like this diarist, use "agencies to demand that we surrender our firearms"? The Supreme Court has affirmed the individual right to bear arms, and so has Obama, so firearms ain't goin nowhere.

      As for your no.4, so if a police officer disarmed a potential school shooter, what? The police officer is going to then take every gun from every gun owner everywhere? No, he'd arrest that one individual and go on with his job.

      Stop the alarmism -- this is a reasonable discussion about preventing future massacres with the most high powered weapons.

      The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

      by LiberalLady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:55:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Remove guns from the equation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DefendOurConstitution

    and exactly how does the mental health thing get worse again?

    More sand and BS.

  •  What if... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theboz, Starbrite, OregonOak

    ....schooling experiences as they exist now are catalysts for mental illness?

    Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

    by semioticjim on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:35:32 PM PST

    •  This can happen too. (5+ / 0-)

      In the universe of human responses to human interaction and contact, kids can and do prompt each other to develop mental illness. Fact of life. I should know. I had to learn over time how to socially be successful, as most kids do. It worked. I function very well because my parents said.. nope. get back in the ring and learn how to do it right.

       Withdrawal from these experiences, however, will only solidify the harms. The strategies of resilience, self-concept and social skill must be taught to every kid, and can be done successfully if people were not so easily willing to isolate to ease the pain.

      We need to teach tolerance, acceptance and diversity for all kids, and all kids need resilience, self-concept and social skill. That is what we are trying to do.

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:20:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What about the fact that... (0+ / 0-)

        ...children are left outside the decision making processes central to the learning activities they engage in?

        Do you think rampant Pavlovian behaviorism has an affect on formative minds?

        Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

        by semioticjim on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:03:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. Behaviorism is evil incarnate. (4+ / 0-)

          in all educational settings. It cannot be justified as either an end or a means. It has caused more confusion, stress and emotional collapse than any other ideology since... communism AND fascism put together, in my view.

          We have to get along with the job of restructuring our schools to teach successful democracy and human agency.  Capital D Democracy, not the style of authoritarianism so prevalent today; I have decided what to do, now you talk among yourselves and decide why its a good thing for you to support, hmmm? This is the way our corporate management at all levels is now operating, and its mere behaviorism with a veneer of butt covering small d democracy. Disgusting.

          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

          by OregonOak on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:52:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! Made the Community Spotlight! (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for recommending this up.  this subject seems to be just the sort of thing to roll down off the conveyor belt and get forgotten quickly.  I really think progressives ought to be on top of this and I hope a lot more attention gets paid.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:19:51 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary (5+ / 0-)

    and very reasonable responses to less-than-reasonable comments. From what I recall, Obama's task force/committee is supposed to deliver recommendations this month, no? I hope those recommendations are comprehensive, and include the assault rifle ban (other guns are fine, protected), funding for school counselors, and ongoing federal-level research into mass shootings.

    One BIG problem with the guns-in-schools proposal is that it ignores the fact that mass shootings have occurred in other places -- movie theater, workplaces, etc. And turning the NRA logic upside down, if shooters know that there is a guard in every school, they will find another target, or find a way to get around the guard, like the Columbine shooters did.

    Let's keep the discussion going and remember that we all want to end school shootings and other mass shootings -- even if we don't have all the answers right now. We can't be paralyzed by that fact or by our own cynicism.

    The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

    by LiberalLady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:50:41 PM PST

  •  Don't think this will come to a vote. (2+ / 0-)

    In our state, members get elected to the legislature with their own little pet projects all the time.  When reality sets in they find that 90% of what the legislature here actually does has something to do with passing a budget.  That's a good thing because each year there are all sorts of wacko bills submitted.  The leadership understands that this is just grandstanding usually to carry out some campaign pledge.  Depending on favors traded they may get a hearing or not but they won't make the cut for an actual vote.  

    You know like:  "If I'm elected I promise to repeal the law of gravity."  And the Teabag crowd goes, " YEAH, no more gravity.  So the legislator calls a press conference or at least sends out a press release damning gravity and praising themselves for their valiant attempts to ban this abomination toward God or whatever.  
    Then of course the bill dies a quite death but next election they proclaim their fight to outlaw that nasty gravity thing and if "you'll just re-elect me I promise to get it done the next time," and the wacko crowd goes "YEAH no more Communist inspired gravity."

    Fool me a dozen times.  Duh!

    There are many problems with attempts to legislate a mental illness solution.  First is the implication that that everybody who has any diagnosis is dangerous which couldn't be farther from the truth.  I can't quickly find the official number but it's in the multiple hundred and most aren't dangerous at all.  Second even with such diagnosis like psychosis or anti-social personality disorder the relative number who will "go off" is very small and there is no know reliable way to predict which ones.  An estimated 26.5 percent US citizens (56 million) people are believed to have some mental illness. (National Associate of Mental Health statistics.)  How do we deal with numbers like that.  

    Mental issues is one of those "look at this not that" distractions.  The real problem is guns.  

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:58:24 PM PST

  •  I Dont think Violent MH disorders are teacher (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Anderson, glorificus

    controllable or manageable. Its just not going to work with  extremely troubled youth at the point of violence.

     I speak from experience. When the society you live in lets you grow up in pain and suffering because you look or act like you deserve it, when your daily torment and pain become the entertainment for the "well adjusted kids" at school, you are not going to trust the authority figures at that school. How do you articulate your hate, rage and pain to an adult who may or may not choose or be able to help you? Who may go back to the very parents or guardians that may be causing your issues because that's what the law requires? In my case trying to speak out about my issues as a teen got me 2 years in an institution until I could sign myself out.

    Shrinks and teachers and cops and clergy and family and friends can only help you if they can accept you and get their pretty minds around your ugly reality. If (when) they can't, it becomes a further break in the link between "humanity" and the sufferer.

    This is where the process begins that you can harm other people. When you feel like they have their society and each other and you have only you and your demon(s). What happens the day you lose the argument with yourself? That is what you are trying to fight against. The demons in other peoples heads we all really don't want to talk about.

    I know many MH/MI "professionals who won't/can't deal with this, your average teacher not likely. But it does start at school age I can tell you that. When you can sense it, your years too late.

    •  What you describe is part of the issue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Anderson, glorificus, MPociask

      There are a variety of reasons why the system doesn't work.

      Usually, when you get to a perspective about how to run things, there are lots of people involved are would-be Napoleans who are argumentative instead of helpful and it all bogs down.  What is usually more important is funding. The confusion tends to clear up when there is a bit better leadership and a bit better funding.  That is a broad generalization, but mostly true enough.  

      Teachers are people who went through a lot of education in order to help kids.  It may be that they signed on in order to turn kids on academically, and really care a lot about that.  It may be that things that kids bring to the classroom that aren't part of that known universe may be referred on to someone else.  

      It is a difficult time.  But it is difficult for everyone.  We all think we are absolutely unique in this.  But people who want to help should be given a chance.  

      We, who are concerned with the politics of all this, should be interested in doing whatever we can to ensure that schools have resources and are not continually undercut by misguided ideas about saving money.  

      We can save money and lose kids.  That appears to be what is happening too much of the time.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:23:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dont misunderstand (0+ / 0-)

        I do agree with the obvious concept that their needs to be more funding for MH/MI, and schools in general.

        I disagree that more teacher "participation" into the personal issues of a kid dealing with this level of issue will help. When a student expresses violent impulses, then what happens is the teacher has a duty to Report it not Treat it. Kids who have these severe problems Already Know This. That's why they won't seek help. Because they are smart, not dumb. They recognize the teacher is part of a Reporting system, not a Help system. Their issues get to be filtered through a "safety & security" system, and the next step is an interview with law enforcement, with an emphasis on determining threat level, and LE using their own threats of consequences to pressure the youth and or parents into some type of expression of compliance. What does not happen is  intense mental health counseling with or by the teacher, nor should it.

        Teachers can do a better job of teaching if they have the additional funding. This does not make them mental health professionals. Especially because they don't have the time or resources to do that additional job, funding or not. If your end goal is to truly reach these specific young people  though, its the approach, not the funding that must change in my opinion.

        •  Where would you put resources? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DefendOurConstitution

          I think the problem is that money can be cut, or perhaps it can be re-allocated or increased.  

          The proposal to arm teachers or hire armed guards is a proposal to spend money in a new area.  That creates a trade off.  Money will have to be cut from other places in the system,
          most likely from teachers.

          If you were going to propose a place to allocate funding, where do you think it would do the most good?

          hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

          by Stuart Heady on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:34:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  what we need is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, MPociask


    large magazines and semi-auto assault weapons put back on the ban list...

    and a bill funding a national gun buyback.  There are spontaneous - and donation-funded gun buybacks - even churches are getting into the gun buyback donation business - and thousands of weapons - with a bonus payment for assault weapons, even netted some tommy guns and full-auto machine guns which have been illegal for decades.  We need gun buybacks.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:06:47 AM PST

  •  It can't require them to buy their own guns. (0+ / 0-)

    If that's in the bill, it's dead in the water already.

    It is ignorance which is hopeless.

    by IdeaTipper on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:21:33 AM PST

  •  Sociological element suggests a problem (3+ / 0-)

    In this week's "The Nation," Katherine Newman writes, of her book (with two co-authors), Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings that psychology will not necessarily detect nor prevent such tragedies. She points out that these killings occur away from cities, in families of wealth, by boys who are under social stress and exhibiting escalating (and sudden) mental illness.

    In a sense, the focus on "mental health" will help, as it must, but it won't help prevent school shooters, because she argues that the mental illness was secondary in the spree shooters they studied. First came stress, displacement, and rejection.

    People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

    by The Geogre on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:26:13 AM PST

    •  Me5natl healtg is extremely important and must (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre

      be addressed. That said, the fundamentalist followers of the gun cults always latch on to mental health as the shiny object everyone should look at to avoid having their sacred text/rights/idols talked about in anything other than a reverent tone.

      Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

      by DefendOurConstitution on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:04:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the issue is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask

    That its perfectly acceptable for society to breed, mock torment, and isolate human beings into feeling like "monsters". We call that "kids being kids" and adults "just being real" and attempting to "toughen up" a child.

    What is not tolerated is for those human beings with monstrous feelings and souls to then act on what they have experienced, and the feelings they now carry. We prefer they stuff it or find any way they can to disappear outward signs of discontent.

  •  We're not going to do jack shit. (0+ / 0-)

    Everything is off the table except budget cuts.

    If we do anything with education it will be to drain more money from it.  We fund the prison system better than the education system.  

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:16:13 AM PST

  •  NO.... that would be too sensible... we dont (0+ / 0-)

    ACTUALLY solve problems in this country, we just pontificate and blather over our own pet thoughts on various subjects.

    You wouldn't want facts or science or common sense (actual, not tea party defined) to drive action and solutions.

    An "assault weapons" ban will not pass constitutional muster now, post Scotus ruling, but a MUCH more stringent licensing requirement, background check, and strict sales restrictions would all be completely constitutional and pass the "reasonable restriction" test.

    A real background check, including psychological evaluations for a firearms license would NOT be unconstitutional as well.

    Perfectly honest law abiding, mentally healthy persons have nothing to fear and will not lose their right to bare arms, but establishing a mechanism that stops the mentally ill, criminal, domestically violent, and their potential straw purchasers from obtaining weapons would all be perfectly reasonable REAL solutions to our problems.

    Making any straw purchaser legally responsible for the crime committed down the line makes complete sense. The woman involved in the NY fireman maniac case, for example,  should be tried for Depraved Indifference Murder and given life in prison.

  •  More mental health for schools (3+ / 0-)

    Would be an awesome, awesome thing to come about.  

    I know I fell through the cracks going through school, and was never diagnosed as ADHD.  I was lucky, and managed to stumble through it.  

    How many hard working kids are we losing every year, who desperately want to learn but can't because of a learning disorder of some kind?  

    How many kids desperately want to have good relationships with their peers, but end up developing anti-social behaviors because, for example, they didn't learn sharing in preschool?  

    It's fine to ask, what would it cost to make sure our K-12 system is producing well-adjusted, independent adults who are ready to prosper in society.  I think though, you must also ask, what is it costing us, right now, because we'd rather ignore or blame the kids our K-12 system is failing?

  •  ? your basis for these claims ? References ? (0+ / 0-)

    Your assertions are not consistent with my knowledge and experience. If I am wrong, please correct me. What is your basis for these assertions?

    Early onset of beginning symptoms may start to show around the middle school to high school time frame.  Not always, but most of the time.  Teachers can see this happening because they spend the entire day with students working on learning tasks.  

    One problem seems to be that teachers who tell parents that their kid may be showing signs of mental illness tend to get punished for it.  This is really not good news and no parent wants to hear this.  It is understandable that people would have strong reaction.

    One administrative rule change, whether mandated by legislation or by some other method, would be to create incentives instead of disincentives for teachers to offer honest opinions, to call for professional evaluation, to have that paid for through some kind of insurance, and to not have the results become a blot on the student's permanent record.  The teacher, the student, the parents and the mental health professionals should work together.  This could further advance the cause of education and civilization, and help the child overcome or at least function more adequately.  

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:29:17 PM PST

    •  I have some experience (0+ / 0-)

      Fair question.  

      A close relative began to show signs of mental illness sometime in the 8th or 9th grade.  This became full blown in the 10th.  Perhaps some sign might have been observable earlier if someone had been alert.  But I don't know.  

      But when the symptoms began to be a problem the question of what this was and what to do about it brought up a lot of confusion, blame, shame and just about everything except effective ways to address the problem.  There was a lot of shouting.  

      There was denial, there was attempts to punish what seemed like some sort of sloth or weakness, and this aggravated the condition until it erupted into a psychotic episode at school.  

      This resulted in involuntary commitment, electroshock therapy and then heavy doses of what I would call horse tranquilizers because they are incredibly powerful.

      That was something like forty years ago, and the succeeding years were a long drawn out series of crisis episodes with struggles to just maintain in between.    

      From what I have seen, the situation in the schools is somewhat better, but not as much as I would have hoped.  I see the pictures of these kids like Loughner and Lanza and I see the same wide eyes and strangely ecstatic smile.  It's very painful to see it because of the tragedy it represents, the tragedy of a bright kid whose life gets wasted.  

      The thing is, this may be called bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or other terminology may be used, but the practical problem is that it would be better if it could be addressed earlier.  Later on it seems to be too late, particularly after the K-12 environment with the possibility for the coming together of people who could help pretty well expires.  

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:35:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nope, no one is addressing mental health (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stuart Heady

    at all-- seriously, man, that takes "work" and "effort" and requires "long term planning". There are no quick, easy, sound-bite "solutions", just the promise of money going to studies, research... you know, by those scientists.*

    No, it looks like the few pundits that give-a-damn are going to hang their hats on "gun control" as the magic fairies that will ride in on their unicorn cavalry and Solve Everything... because that is easy, requires little effort, and no one actually has to fund anything to do it but it will make everyone Feel Good About The Situation.

    *Prolly those same consarn "scientists" that invented Global Warming because.... socialism!

    All we can do is kick back and wait to see how long this goes until the next news cycle/celebrity death or topless photo floats to the top.

  •  Accuracy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stuart Heady

    I almost regret making this comment as this diary has provoked a lot of good discussion of the issue raised.

    But I think the introduction is very inaccurate.

    According to a local newspaper:
    http://www.columbian.com/...

    The Washington State legislator did NOT introduce a bill requiring anyone to carry a gun into schools. The bill would ALLOW a teacher - after taking appropriate training - to bring a gun into the school.

    There is a difference.

    •  Correction noted - it is a proposal (0+ / 0-)

      Actually in the formative stages.  There are several articles and the legislator has a FaceBook page discussing it.  

      She talks about airline pilots being armed and getting qualified through firearms training.  Considering the budget implications, she mentioned the idea that perhaps teachers could afford the training.  I don't recall who would pay for the guns.

      To me, the training teachers need, they already have.  What they need is more support for the mission of the schools, and that may include better funding for whatever might help with mental health for students who need it.  

      To reiterate, I don't think the ultimate aim is to profile students who may one day become violent.  I think the aim is to make education as effective as possible for each and every student, even for those whose mental health needs might, in prior years and decades, have made it difficult to succeed.  

      I think we hope to never know what we have prevented.  

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:42:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The high profile shooting in my area (0+ / 0-)

    Was perpetrated by a middle age female college professor who was married with four children. She pulled a weapon at a staff meeting after her appeal for denied tenure was rejected. It's obvious that the woman had a break with reality, but she still was thinking clearly enough to procure a weapon and carry out the massacre without her husband or coworkers suspecting she was capable of such horror. She entered a plea of guilty and is serving her sentence so no trial as such to determine why this happened. I've been frustrated by this turn of events because we'll never know why this happened.

    I don't know what this has to do with anything, but I keep thinking about it since Aurora and Newtown.

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