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One Mother's Anguished Story.

Society & Culture  (tags: children, crime, family, humans, sadness, politics, murder, violence, environment, child, safety )

- 1977 days ago -
This is a post by a mother raising a child she fears may be capable of something horrible. We are all talking about gun control, and that is important, but the real issue here is mental health, and that we are not talking about or providing.

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Gene J (290)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 9:08 am
This mother's story is legion. That is exactly the problem. The solution? I have no idea. The cause? American greed. I am convinced, and am starting to see articles saying so too, that what is happening is the inevitable result of the toxins we have been pouring into our ground and water table and air for the last 60 years. I saw a story correlating where some of these kids lived with toxin levels in those areas. What a mother ingests during critical stages of pregnancy matters. I feel for that woman and all like her.

My own Brandon was much like that as a child all the way through to the end of his life at 21. Most of the time he was the most loving child a parent could want but from birth sometimes something would set him off and we'd be off on one of those wild episodes. When he was small, he'd be so angry his whole little body would be stiff as a board, I'd just hold him close until his breathing eased and his body started to relax, then we could talk about what went wrong - often something with his brother, but not always. It got worse as he got older and stronger. At 13 he got so mad one day, he kicked holes in the apartment walls, went to a PDQ across the street, bought a half dozen eggs and egged our apartment from down below, his brother and I on the balcony trying to catch them. He got himself arrested a couple times for acting out that way at school. He was so sensitive to criticism of any kind, he'd take it so personally. I'd go to those parent teacher meetings at the beginning of the school year where you spend 15 minutes in each classroom and could pick out the ones I'd be hearing from soon.

The summer before he died the following winter, I asked him to leave in July because I was actually afraid of him, he was bigger and stronger than me, and like this mom, I thought him capable of killing me in my sleep. When he came home in the fall, he was careful to behave, that was a condition, and then he took his own life in February.

We are failing these kids, but I'm not sure what can help them, I don't think traditional therapies can if the problem is caused by something that went wrong before birth. But they are out there, more and more of them every year, and we still have our heads stuck in the sand over this. I, like her, fear this is far from over and it isn't a gun control problem, though that contributes, but a mental health problem we have yet to find an accurate diagnosis and treatment for. Though if the cause is physically damaged brains, I just don't know how any therapy fixes that. It is enough to make one despair. I know, though it has been nearly 16 years since Brandon committed suicide, I still despair and miss him as much as ever. Over the years, as things like this have happened, I have been unable to keep myself from wondering, what might have happened had he not done what he did, what our lives might have been like, what he spared us all. Even the thought brings tears, but I know, as does this mother, it could have been so much worse. We really need to get fixated on the problem and helping these children, if we can, because their numbers are growing every day. Despite having done so, I don't know how you raise a child like this, love is not enough.

Sara W (18)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 9:41 am
Gene, thank you for sharing your story. It is hard to find a solution when you don't actually know the problem. I would not at all be surprised if one day they finally figure out it was one of the many chemicals in our food, medicine, or environment. Personally, I am very concerned about the effects of GMO's in our diet. I think a lot of people suffer from food allergies but don't associate the symptoms with the food they eat. Western medicine is always quick to just prescribe a medicine to mitigate the symptoms without questioning the cause. It is simply easier.

. (0)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 9:46 am
Thanks so much for sharing with us Gene. It's so heart breaking and there can be so many causes as to why this happens in a growing number of children. Toxins, mental health issues, etc.-one can never be sure. All parents can do (in my opinion) is to find institutions that thoroughly investigate the problem, leaving no stone unturned. Unfortunately, most get a quick fix answer which does not even begin to address the problem. Unfortunately, love is not enough although I know (without really knowing you) that you tried hard with Brandon. May he be at peace.

Arielle S (313)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:05 am
I know a mother like this - there is little help out there for this kind of situation and the mother I know fights for every bit of it. Doctors want to treat it all with drugs - if one doesn't help, they go to another and then another.
We have to stop looking for easy answers and really deal with the problem - chemicals in our food? Yeah and in our air and in our water, too. Not enough money spent on education and health care, too much violence in our society - all kinds of excuses and reasons. Time to get serious about fixing it all.

Gene J (290)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:14 am
You're welcome, Sara and Toni. Yes, GMO's worry me too. We have no idea what will happen in 10, 20 or more years as a result of our chemical tinkering with nature. I do know the poisons we have used as fertilizers and pesticides linger in the soil and water table for more years than we can imagine. My older son was not like his brother at all, but he wasn't as affectionate either, more independent. One of my favorite memories, and one I have a picture of, is when Brandon was around a year, he loved to lay on my shoulder and we'd just rock slowly in the chair. The picture is from behind us and he looks so peaceful. Most of the time that is who he was, a wonderful friend too, but then something would happen and in an instant he'd be a dangerous stranger, unrecognizable. His whole life was mostly wonderful, but also wildly unpredictable,and what this mother shared, I lived. And that was from 1976 to 1997, things have not improved it seems and we are still not looking in the right direction to deal with these children before they do something horrible. That is the part that both scares and saddens me. Because I know just how lost those parents feel. All the schools and mental health system had to offer Brandon was various punishments and behavioral ideas that had no effect whatsoever. It isn't like even HE could control that, one of the scariest parts of it was just how uncontrollable he was even by himself. None of it was deliberate, purposed, it just was. Most of the time he was so loving and thoughtful, you couldn't ask for more, but then something would happen and off we'd go again. Nothing helped, no amount of talking, loving, counseling or punishment. I still can't blame him because I know he had no control either. And that still makes me cry just to type. Or say. Or think about it.

Elizabeth F (134)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:21 am
It is really sad that drug companies can release drugs to treat mental health that may and do cause death by poring money into those whom ok these drugs with minimal testing and yet the powers that be will not put obviously needed money into mental health CARE.

Lisa N (206)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:33 am
Noted, thank you for posting & sharing your personal experience with us Gene. And thanks to Toni for the forward.

Chris C (152)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:34 am
Gene: Yes - so tragic. You and Brandon and all those babies that died and all the parents that must deal with this problem with their kids are in my prayers. I posted this article on another thread on Care2 last weekend I think, as I, too, believe it is a mental health problem...although all those nutjobs on the right that are coming out of the woodwork, advocating that we arm our teachers, doesn't help either. It's a huge mess and it must be dealt with NOW...and that includes getting common sense gun safety in place in this gun-crazy country and well as funding for mental health issues ! I also believe alot ot it is all the toxins, chemicals - not only hurting the earth but it's children, too.

Sandi C (98)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:36 am
Thanks for posting and sharing.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:37 am

The problems are so deeply complex and mental health is so very ignored. Most health insurance companies will now limit therapy to a few visits, not enough to even begin to address real problems. It is far cheaper to put millions of people (needed or not) on a quick prescription of "anti-depressants" gain a huge profit and ignore the real problems. We do know so much more about how the brain works, what types of scans reveal the most about the internal working of the brain. This too will require a ground swell of support by WE THE PEOPLE to force the needed changes. Some (the few) many need drug therapy along with talk therapy, others may need hospitalization to address the problems, each person should be treated as a unique being with unique and individual and family problems. We can have that as long as we allow a "one size fits all" approach to mental health.

I have expressed my personal feelings to you Gene, I will not repeat them here. I believe you know that I have deep sorrow for your losses.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:38 am

***. We can NOT have that as long as we allow a "one size fits all" approach to mental health.***

My mistake above.

Beth S (330)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:40 am
This is an excellent piece, Gene, and it's a conversation that needs desperately to be had by everyone in our society. There are many things happening in American society that might be leading to kids becoming alienated, drifting into mental illness and taking it out in a violent manner.

The government and private agencies need to address what's becoming a national emergency. Help with mental issues needs to be studied seriously and pilot programs need to be developed.

I hate to say it, too, that something ALSO needs to be done in the meantime, and I think Texas has a good idea on how to deal with the potential of ever more people coming to schools to mow down students and faculty alike. Someone sent the following to me:

Stop school shootings by letting teachers fire back, say Texas officials

By Michael Jaccarino

Published December 18, 2012


Harrold school superintendent David Thweatt says armed teachers can stop school shootings. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) (AP2008)

Lawmakers and educators in Texas say the way to guard against school shootings like last Friday's at a Connecticut elementary school is to make sure teachers can shoot back.

While the rampage that left 20 young children and six adults dead in a small Northeastern community has sparked a national debate on gun control, assault weapons and a culture of violence, David Thweatt, superintendent of the 103-student Harrold Independent School District in Wilbarger County, said his teachers are armed and ready to protect their young charges.

"As educators, we don’t have to be police officers and learn about Miranda Rights and related procedures. We just have to be accurate.”

- David Thweatt, superintendent of Harrold Independent School District in Texas

“We give our ‘Guardians’ training in addition to the regular Texas conceal-and-carry training,” Thweatt, whose school is about three hours northwest of Dallas, told “It mainly entails improving accuracy…You know, as educators, we don’t have to be police officers and learn about Miranda Rights and related procedures. We just have to be accurate.”

Thweatt is the architect of “The Guardian Plan,” a blueprint for arming school staff, including teachers, that may be catching on, at least in the Lone Star state. Teachers there are allowed to have weapons in the classroom, as Thweatt's faculty members do, but State Attorney General Greg Abbott suggested Monday that lawmakers may consider ways to encourage the practice statewide.

"Bearing arms whether by teachers and guards and things like that will be all a part of more comprehensive policy issues for the legislature to take up in the coming weeks," Abbott said. "And you can be assured in the aftermath of what happened in Connecticut that these legislators care dearly about the lives of students at their schools and they will evaluate all possible measures that are necessary to protect those lives," he said.

More momentum for the idea is evidenced by Austin gun shop dealer Crocket Keller, who announced his store will now extend the same discount on firearm purchases to teachers as it does to veterans.

Thweatt said there have been no incidents since October 2007, when his district adopted the plan giving an unspecified number of teachers and school staff -- dubbed "Guardians" -- authority to carry concealed weapons on school premises. Participating staff are anonymous and known only to Thweatt and the school board, which must approve each application for an employee to become a Guardian. They receive a small stipend annually.

“We’re 18 miles and 30 minutes from the nearest police station," Thweatt said. "So we are our first responders. If something happened here, we would have to protect our children. You know, police officers are true, everyday heroes in my book, but one of them once told me something very revealing. He said, ‘Ninety-five percent of the time, we get to the scene late.’ I can’t afford to let that happen.”

Each Guardian must obtain a Texas conceal-and-carry permit, and must lock-and-load their weapons with “frangible” bullets that break apart when colliding with a target. “They go through people,” assured Thweatt.

“They’re very similar to what the air marshals use. The bullets are glued together with polymers, and we insist upon them because we don’t want the bullet to ricochet off a wall after it’s fired and hit a child.”

Thweatt says parents have embraced The Guardian Plan, a fact evidenced by the transfer rate into his school district. “We’re a high-transfer district,” he told, “which means only 18 percent of students come to the school because they live in the district. The rest transfer in or choose to come here from other districts.”

There’s a simple thread, Thweatt says, that binds together many of the mass shootings that have recently rocked the U.S.: They happened in places where the shooter knew there was going to be little resistance.

“These shooters, even though they are evil and have mental problems, they inevitably know where they are going,” explained Thweatt. “They are going where they won’t get any resistance. Let’s put it this way, would you put a sign in front of your house that says, ‘I am against guns. You will find no resistance here?’ That would be a stupid thing to do. You’re going to invite people who like to take advantage of helpless individuals.

“Would my policy have stopped this?” Thweatt asked. “Nobody knows for sure or for 100 percent, but what we do know is that active shooters go where there is no one there to resist. The Guardian Plan addresses that fact.”


Beth S (330)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:42 am
Gene, I am so sorry for your loss.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:42 am
The right just doesn't seem to have the ability to care. They just hate!

Mike Huckabee took to the air to blame the Sandy Hook massacre on gays, atheists and the "abortion pill".
Tell Fox News to take Mike Huckabee off the air.

TOM T (246)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:46 am
Thank you for sharing the Interesting Article.

Michela M (3964)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:50 am

ParsifalAWAY S (99)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 11:00 am
Thank you Gene for sharing your thoughts and Toni for forwarding.

Now is that I understand you better Toni and that is good.

If you have time, read my article in NSearch

Yes, The Weapons Kill The Children. Never the reporting on a rampage was as extensive as that which takes place because of the shooting at the school in Newtown. For days, the newspapers and TV stations roll over with reports and always is the message that is conveyed only, to prohibit firearms.

And meditate why your constitution should be scrambled totally.

Adam Lanza was a patsy !


Gene J (290)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 11:07 am
Thanks, Kit, yes you have and I know you understand. I appreciate that. Brandon was the love of my life, well both my boys were, but he was SO special in some ways. Once his brother, as a teen said something pretty mean to me, and that set Brandon off, defending me.

He was an amazing child in so many ways, a dreamer (the kind of kid who'd sit in the bathroom singing to himself, open the door once in a while and shout out a question, like dad, what holds the stars up?), a cuddler too but something was horribly broken in him. And in many more kids now. You can't reason with one in that state as that story illustrates, you love them and fear for them and no one has a clue about how to deal with them. Drugging them isn't it either, they won't take them, or Brandon wouldn't because he hated how they made him feel. And talk therapy, well he'd blow that off, pretend to go along as long as it suited him, then blow when something didn't.

I just know this is not the last such thing coming. As I read about that 20 year old's life, I had just the most horrible feeling of deja vu - even if he had not acted out violently, ANY teacher should have known something was horribly wrong, but no one apparently took any notice at all because he wasn't one who acted out. I've heard the argument too about arming teachers, but is that really what we've become? A nation that needs to arm ourselves against our own children? That too is horrifying. Police in every school, metal detectors? We have them now in many places of business. And though we have concealed carry laws, I don't know of many, any, crimes that have been thwarted by a private armed citizens, the few attempts I know of didn't end well for anyone. The gun issue is important, but what we really need is to figure out what is wrong with these children and help them. As she points out in her story, she has two perfectly normal children, I had one. And if we are talking about guns, we are talking about the wrong end of the problem, that is doing little until they are grown, then killing them before they kill someone else, or after.

One of my favorite authors talked about this sort of situation, only in the context of permissiveness in parenting, or lack of parenting which doesn't really apply here because parents with kids like this ARE trying, everything, we just don't know what it is that is wrong. But Robert Heinlein's point was that kids need help while they are kids. He told an anecdote that he said described 20th century parenting. You get a puppy, he pees on the floor, you rub his nose in it but do nothing else, he continues to pee on the floor, you continue to rub his nose in it, then one day you notice he is now a fully grown dog and this time when he pees on the floor, you pull out a gun and shoot him. Not finding a way to work with, fix, or heal these children who definitely show signs long before they do anything terrible is the same method to me. Like I said, I don't know what the answer is, only that we haven't found it yet.

Arlene Mary Baladi (40)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 11:17 am
I believe that the problems go all the way back to when Ronald Regan closed the state-run hospitals for the insane. Time to change the law so that ALL sick people are treated with dignity and get the proper care and treatment for their illness!

Arielle S (313)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 11:50 am
Thank you for sharing your story, Gene - my heart aches for you and your son and your family. Giant hugs coming for you.

Bob hardly here P (394)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 11:50 am
thanks for sharing

Robert Hamm (54)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 11:51 am
Well said Gene. Our Mental health is all a matter of luck.It's all a matter of a matter of what chemical goes through our bodies at what time during the pregnancy. Health care industry doesn't like to deal with these issue because they are too expensive for them to gamble with. On top of that is usually a life long thing. They just like to send them home and let the family deal with them. KInda like our returning soldiers. Sorry we cant afford you.
Mental health is so precarious. Its never guaranteed. And sometimes it doesn't stay around our whole lives. The brain sooooo complex.
Most teachers...especially of the early grades dont have the mentality to kill someone. Most of them are very tenderhearted women This Man/boy was covered with a bullet proof vest. he didn't feel pain. MOST people cannot aim and hit someones head in a dangerous and emotionally charged moment. Its hard to kill someone when they are staring right at you. I live in Texas....I understand the gun culture in the state, but this is not the answer. Making them impenetrable IS. Glass should be bulletproof. but this all costs money. Adding enough guards to a school would also cost a lot of money. And people squawk about every dime of tax increases. There are no easy answers to this problem. Trying to make them easy is a disservice. It requires a certain mindset to kill people, Ask anyone who has done so. Huckabee is a clown and should be treated as one. He should be completely ignored.

All these solutions cost a lot of money. ALL of America will have to decide if they want to spend more to make this happen. For the people that say we study these people too much just kill them. Thats fine except THEY HAVE ALREADY KILLED PEOPLE WE LOVE!! WE HAVE to know whats CAUSING this, is it the drugs they take? WE need answers to this problem. not arming even more people. We ave to make it impossible for them to get in. But then they will use bombs. So finding the answer to what drives them to do this is imperative.

Joan S (41)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:00 pm
Gene thanks for sharing your story and Michael's story. Heartbreaking. Yesterday at lunch a friend and I were discussing the shootings and both of us brought up the use of all the artificial everythings and especilly the PBA plastic in baby bottles. To have a child that can be loving one minute and want to kill you the next has to be the hardest thing and I just can't imagine how to help,

penny C (83)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:07 pm
Thanks for sharing your story.

Nicole W (646)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:22 pm
thank you for sharing Gene and thank you for the forward Toni.

Christeen A (368)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:27 pm
Thank you for your story. Mental health is a serious condition and if not treated properly it can do many things to a person. The whole system needs to be changed. Let's work on this together. Thank you.

Fiona D (47)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:42 pm
Dear Gene,
Thanks for your courage to tell your own personal experience. Only those who have walked in the shoes can explain. My heart goes out to you and your family. And to all the families who are struggling with similar situations.
I haven't even been close to walking in your shoes. But a very close friend has taught K-1 for over 30 years. There do exist caring teachers who, if properly trained, can spot unusual behaviors very early on and at least make some recommendations to parents. On the other hand, anecdotally I know some parents of very young kids do not want them tested or examined at all. I'm absolutely in no way saying this in relation to your own story... only trying to encourage better early childhood advanced education for teachers since they are in a position to make a big difference in the lives of kids and their siblings and families.

Kathy Crews (71)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:51 pm
Wow, I am really glad to see such responsive replies to your posting Gene/ I, too, am so sorry....not just for your loss but more for your entire ordeal. I, too, had a daughter that suffered from some pretty severe mental health issues from early childhood. What a parenting nightmare!! One that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. For me, I was a single mother dealing with my daughter and younger son (who was the brunt of most of my daughters anger and physical assaults)....bur I had to deal with a system that (at that time) did not firmly believe that children actually HAD certain mental health issues. Thank God I happened to be a nurse and worked in the mental health arena so I was able to recognize what my daughter was going through and try to diffuse things before they would get too badly out of control. The problem was that I was not with her 24/7. I had my parents to fight constantly because they just felt like I was trying to put a label on her which would ruin her life forever.....or because she was what I always called "a perfect liar" she could convince people of ANYTHING....and I do mean anything!! Let's face it, she had and still was growing up with a mother that worked in the system so she saw, learned and thus knew exactly how the system worked and she "worked it" like a pro. By the time she got through with an evaluator at a hospital intake prior to an admission she would almost have them convinced that I was the one that needed to be put in the locked

She attempted to take her own life more times that I can even remember over the years with the last time being only 2 years ago when she was 29. She is now 31, has 2 children, age 11 and 8 and they have a very difficult life. My daughter, more than once, attempted to actually kill my son when he was younger. My son is now 26 and will still tell you how a couple of those incidents horrified him...even looking back now as a 6'6" 280 pound man you can tell that his 5'6" sister really did scare him during those years. Her illness does seem to have improved some over the years but I know all too well that should she EVER stop taking any of her lifetime medications anything could happen tomorrow.

Like you Gene, you will always love your child but that doesn't mean that you don't have fear of them.

Gun control is NOT the answer here....all of the regulations in the world is NOT going to stop what happened in Newtown last week. All that new regulations will do it make it more difficult for legal and GOOD citizens to obtain weapons or take the biggest and baddest guns off of the American market....however, these regulations will NEVER take the illegal guns out of the hands of people like the gunman that took all of the innocent life in Newtown. They will always find the guns and ammo or other weapons that they want...IF they are wanting them....PERIOD!!!

Fiona D (47)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:53 pm
The referenced story by Liza Long was originally published on the Blue Review at and has since been re-published on the Huffington Post and other sites.
Read it. It's important.

Chris C (152)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:55 pm
Jason R - THANK YOU for that link to the petition to get rid of crazy Mike Huckabee - his commentary on the deaths of the 20 children was incredibly stupid and insensitive. We got rid of Glenn Beck this way - maybe we can also get rid of Huckabee. I am repeating the link again. Please, everyone, sign the petition.

June Lacy (6)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 1:00 pm

Gene J (290)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 1:02 pm
I agree Fiona and thank you. I wasn't one who didn't want Brandon treated, it isn't as if he was that way all, or most of the time, he was in advanced placement classes from second grade on, he was really a very smart kid, he loved his second grade teacher but that was the last good year. When I met his third grade teacher, I knew he'd have trouble and he did. He could not, would not, abide being made fun of, whether for real or in his own opinion, and she was a smart mouth, sharp talking teacher, not the kind of person he bonded with, you know? We spent years in principal's offices, school counselor's offices, psychologist's offices. I even warned some teachers that they needed to be sure to not make him the butt of any kind of joke, not one listened, and he fought them. I asked him once, Brandon, don't you realize that by causing trouble YOU get hurt too, he said, yes, dad, I know. But they don't want to deal with me, and I MAKE them. No amount of therapy took that out of him. I thought when he got to high school things might be better, his brother was there and doing fine, but during those evening meetings I met his math teacher who talked about his sense of humor (HIS supposed sense of humor) and how he'd use it to make points with his classes, he thought that making everyone laugh made things better, broke the ice. I stayed after and asked him to never do that with Brandon and told him why, Brandon took every slight extremely personally, and he agreed, but forgot, by the third week I got the first call from the principal's office. Brandon had gotten into a screaming match with THAT teacher in class, they never even cared what that guy said to Brandon and that was ALL Brandon cared about. There are a lot of great teachers, but there a lot who should never be allowed near any child too. It is an imperfect world, it is a crying shame we are not all capable of dealing with that. And I do know there are parents who are in complete denial and believe their child can do no wrong, I have met them in my career too, they do their children no favor by acting that way and those children suffer too, though maybe in different ways. I am sure this is going to get worse before it gets better. Because, first, we don't know what causes this, and if it is pesticides and artificial fertilizers or toxins, and a link can be proven, well we know what the wealth producers do in that situation, they hire their own scientists to refute the truth, so I think this is a very long and horrible road we are looking at. And a lot more people, children and adults (those toxins harm US too) are going to die needlessly before we figure out the problem and are serious enough to solve it.

Chris C (152)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 1:03 pm
There is another thought that keeps haunting me...why, why, WHY did this shooter's mother, knowing how mentally ill her son was, have guns in the house? And especially these specific types of guns? And especially after all the OTHER shootings that had taken place. Her judgment was extremely flawed!

Ron B (213)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 1:15 pm
Thanks, Gene. This takes courage. We have been fortunate with our daughter. I can only imagine what you and everyone else involved went through.

Jim P (3257)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 1:21 pm

Lanterman–Petris–Short Act
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Lanterman–Petris–Short (LPS) Act (Cal. Welf & Inst. Code, sec. 5000 et seq.) concerns the involuntary civil commitment to a mental health institution in the State of California. The act set the precedent for modern mental health commitment procedures in the United States. It was co-authored by California State Assemblyman Frank Lanterman (R) and California State Senators Nicholas C. Petris (D) and Alan Short (D), and signed into law in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan. The Act went into full effect on July 1, 1972. It cited seven articles of intent:
To end the inappropriate, indefinite, and involuntary commitment of mentally disordered persons, people with developmental disabilities, and persons impaired by chronic alcoholism, and to eliminate legal disabilities;
To provide prompt evaluation and treatment of persons with serious mental disorders or impaired by chronic alcoholism;
To guarantee and protect public safety;
To safeguard individual rights through judicial review;
To provide individualized treatment, supervision, and placement services by a conservatorship program for gravely disabled persons;
To encourage the full use of all existing agencies, professional personnel and public funds to accomplish these objectives and to prevent duplication of services and unnecessary expenditures;
To protect mentally disordered persons and developmentally disabled persons from criminal acts.
The Act in effect ended all hospital commitments by the judiciary system, except in the case of criminal sentencing, e.g., convicted sexual offenders, and those who were "gravely disabled", defined as unable to obtain food, clothing, or housing [Conservatorship of Susan T., 8 Cal. 4th 1005 (1994)]. It did not, however, impede the right of voluntary commitments. It expanded the evaluative power of psychiatrists and created provisions and criteria for holds.

This is from:;f=37;t=001063;p=0

The law that Reagan signed was the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS), passed by the legislature & signed into law in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan. The idea was to "stem entry into the state hospital by encouraging the community system to accept more patients, hopefully improving quality of care while allowing state expense to be alleviated by the newly available federal funds." It also was designed to protect the rights of mental patients. It was considered a landmark of its time--a change in the attitude toward mental illness and its treatment.

The law restricted involuntary commitment, among other things. It allows people to refuse treatment for mental illness, unless they are clearly a danger to someone else or themselves. It facilitated release of many patients---supposedly to go to community mental health treatment programs.

Reagan's role, besides signing the bill, was using it as a reason to cut his budget. What Reagan did was, at the same time the bill was passed, to reduce the budget for state mental hospitals. His budget bill "abolished 1700 hospital staff positions and closed several of the state-operated aftercare facilities. Reagan promised to eliminate even more hospitals if the patient population continued to decline. Year-end population counts for the state hospitals had been declining by approximately 2000 people per year since 1960."

This law presumed that the people released from hospitals or not committed at all would be funneled in community treatment as provided by the Short Doyle Act of 1957. It was "was designed to organize and finance community mental health services for persons with mental illness through locally administered and locally controlled community health programs."

It also presumed that the mentally ill would voluntarily accept treatment if it were made available to them on a community basis. However, because of the restrictions on involuntary commitment, seriously mentally ill people who would not consent to treatment "who clearly needed treatment but did not fit the new criteria or who recycled through short term stays -- became a community dilemma. For them, there was nowhere to go." Once released, they would fail to take meds or get counseling and went right back to being seriously ill.

Also, unfortunately, at the time LPS was implemented, funding for community systems either declined or was not beefed up. Many counties did not have adequate community mental health services in place and were unable to fund them. Federal funds for community mental health programs, which LPS assumed would pick up the slack, began drying up in the early 1980s, due to budget cutbacks in general. The Feds shifted funding responsibility to the states.

Reform of the Lanterman, Petris, Short Act


Stan B (123)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 1:36 pm
As always you raise some very valid and important points, Gene, and I am very sorry to hear about your own heart-breaking experience.
I guess the simple answer to all this is that there's much more money in the production and sale of weapons than there is in treating and researching mental health problems.
I know this sounds trite but sadly it's a bi-product of the society in which we live.

Gene J (290)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 1:50 pm
Kathy, ".or because she was what I always called "a perfect liar" she could convince people of ANYTHING.' oh, does that ring true. Brandon was exactly like that. This is actually a mostly good memory, but it comes partly at the expense of my oldest son, but illustrates just what you mean by perfect liar. First, though, he was absolutely a magician at lying, he would come in and tell me stories that were true and I'd be upset at what happened, but the trick was he'd only tell part of the truth, leaving HIS part out, which caused me to learn early on that before I went out to the playground or to visit another parent, I needed to hear another side of the story. Always.

When he was 5, in nursery school, before kindergarten, his brother was in first grade, one morning I was taking them to their day care before school for Evan (which was a block away) and work for me. Evan told me about what he'd done the day before at school, his class had taken a field trip, first ride in an actual school bus, to a farm out in the suburbs and had gotten to see all sorts of animals and pet some of them, he was just bubbling he was so excited. Just after he finished, Brandon, who was in the back seat (one in the front on the way TO somewhere, the other on the way FROM to home) said his day care class had gone on a field trip too but they had gone to the Minnesota Zoo, still pretty new then and full of exotic animals, we'd been there and his memory was fantastic, and he describe their trip and the animals they'd seen, and how they'd gotten to to go the petting zoo (which wasn't open yet when we'd been there), and poor Evan's face just sunk, his trip didn't seem so cool after all. So I asked Brandon, how did you get there, did you get to ride a school bus too? He said, no, a big plane had landed on County Road B2 (street the day care was on) and picked them up. At which point both Evan and I knew he was lying - and he was laughing. But right up to then, he had us both. 5. He never lost that "ability" and I never stopped checking out his stories myself.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 2:02 pm
Gene, my heart goes out to you too. I absolutely believe the poisons that are out there are a big factor in this area. Cher recently posted an article ( that 3.2 million people every year die from the results of air pollution alone, not including water pollution or food pollution, and certainly not counting GMOs since we aren't even allowed to know about them. If that many people die, how can anyone believe that those who survived the same conditions were not affected at all? It boggles the mind.

I was in California in 1967, I remember the Lanterman, Petris, Short Act passing (I thought it was a bad idea then and have since had no reason to change my mind). I also remember that then, though there were differing political points of view, and that discussion of them could become acrimonious, that facts were known to be facts. It was viewpoints upon which we differed. People then did not believe that a President had a forged birth certificate, or that a person who all his life has attended only Christian churches could really be a Muslim, or that a person had become President because the CIA has perfected time travel, and went back in time to when this person was 12 and started setting him up to become President. This may not be a violent form of insanity, but isn't it insanity nonetheless? From people who for the last fifty-plus years have been breathing polluted air, drinking polluted water, eating polluted food (not to mention GMO comestibles)? People's minds simply do not function in the same way now that they did fifty years ago.

And yet I have reservations about treating anyone with mental health techniques when the behavioral issues are traceable to something physical. I personally have a deep interest in head injuries since my husband of 28 years is a survivor of a head injury incurred 48 years ago. Impulse control is a huge issue. Unlike many with this issue, he has never harmed anyone. Yet he has just been sentenced to prison. Do I believe this is the right thing for him? No. Is there any available alternative? No. Has he been treated with mental health techniques? Most of his life. Have they had any effect on the head-injury induced behavior? None whatsoever. What has helped him the most has been Paxil, which makes sense: a physical response to a physical problem.

And the other thing is, with all my own experience, and Gene's experience, and the experience of the author of the article Gene has shared, and all of the commenters on that article and here --- I STILL don't believe ANYONE outside of a combat zone and outside of the military needs to own an assault rifle! And we STILL need to have the gun conversation too.

Sandra s (130)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 2:35 pm
Sadly kids are given meds for bad behaviour.The mother in this case seems to be blaming this poor kids behavour on mental illness.Hes being pushed to the brink by his mother telling him hes mad.He sounds sick to death of everyone picking on his every action .Kids are not soldiers ,so for gods sake stop nagging at him ,over and over again.After rearing 4 kids and having 5 grankids,this boy is acting out of complete frustration.His mother knows his boiling point and she delivers him to it and then calls him crazy.He seems to be so controlled and medicated, that how can he ever learn how to take control of himself and learn what limits he can go to.He has never learnt to be in control of himself.If he wants the video game and has tried to reason and apoligise ,only to be rebuffed and nagged,he must feel whats the point anyway.Give this kid space and change his meds.Hes not mad hes frustrated at how hes being treated,particularly in light of him being an intelligent boy.Adults and siblings and professionals take a few steps back.Leave the kid alone to learn how to live his own life.Sometimes we learn by our mistakes,thats normal.Sorry if my view is not the one you wanted,but Put yourself in this very normal and intelligent kids shoes.Thank yo ,Sandra,:))

Henriette Matthijssen (154)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 3:10 pm
The greed of the few has created this in our society! Our children needs our time & love more then anything else in their lives. But our so busy lifestyle does not permit this to take place & kids are left to themselves watching TV as their babysitter where they witness much violence rather then being active playing outdoors like we used too! Their mental health deteriorates to the point where parents feel they need to be medicated with drugs which adds insult to injury! We can change this by changing our thoughts. A good video to watch for positive changes to take place!
Dec 21 Our Last Stand

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 4:16 pm
Mental illness is a terrible thing for the entire family and the stigma must be crushed. Psychiatric science is still in its infancy and far from a perfected discipline. I believe these problems are congenital for the most part and certainly no fault of parenting or society in 99% of cases. Psychiatry doesn't get enough respect, understanding or funding. Cancer and other illness while important probably effect fewer people than mental health issues. I was myself once admitted to a psych hospital for voluntarily for depression. It turned out to be sleep deprivation from sleep apnea and was easily remedied but while there, I learned SO munch about mental illness, its stigma and the desperation of the sufferers. I was told something that still resonates with me..."Many mental illnesses are chemical in origin just like diabetes.Would you tell a diabetic to stop taknig their insulin and smarten up?" Yet that is what is often told to people with mental illness. As a nurse I realized I didn't even have the compassion I should have had until then. Now I understand. Add to that the natural cruelty of some people regarding anyone who is a little different and there is littler wonder these poor people feel isolated and angry.
Gene, thank you for your own personal history as well. All my love to you for your compassion and courage.

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 4:26 pm
Thank you Gene and Toni for the forward.
Most of us have problems when the kids leave home and get involved in drugs and alcohol.
My heart goes out to these poor parents, we never know how hard it is for others till they can share with us.
Agreed we need help for these poor parents and their kids,, both stories were so hard to read.
Sharing to facebook so maybe this can touch others who need help. Thank you again

Terry V (30)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 4:56 pm

Remember the Child

pam w (139)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 5:46 pm
Gene......(((((ENORMOUS HUGS)))))

Bruno Moreira (61)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 5:54 pm

Barb K (1688)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 6:02 pm
Maybe I've seen too many bad movies but to institutionlize your child over a mental disability seems like a very scary, BAD idea. ANYTHING from ELECTRIC SHOCK THERAPY, that pretty much FRIES your brain, to God only knows what tortures they'll put your child through, to make him/her 'well!' And a lot of these institutions won't even allow parents to VISIT their child much less allow them to go home with the parents. That raises a BIG RED FLAG WITH ME!! I could NEVER be seperated from my child--if I had one.

I believe in order for 'Joe Blow' from down the street to have a high-powered gun like the one that took out those precious babies-he MUST COMPLETE A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION with all the bells and whistles and every idea they can come up with. Not only that, but 'Joe Blow' needs to be TRAINED on PROPER PROCEDURE on how to handle it and WHEN he should/should NOT USE IT. In other words, EDUCATE the STUFFIN' OUT OF 'JOE BLOW' and by the time he graduates he'll be ready for the ENEMY; But he will not BE the ENEMY....

Erika M (0)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 6:30 pm
Gene, thank yo for this. My heart goes out to you and the mother who wrote the article. i would like to recommend a book called "Infinite Mind" by Valerie Hunt. It is an excellent book and provide a different aspect into the mental problems these children are having.

Shadow Manypaths (16)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 7:17 pm
i didn't comment on the direct thread as there was nothing i had to say that hadn't been stated...i was an undiagnosed Aspie (mostly because i predate any "reasons", medical or otherwise, why children could be anything but docile and obedient), and fortunately for those around me - and unfortunately for myself - i internalized most of it. i had a son with roughly the same problems, but my own survival of them helped us both get through it...that, and flatly refusing to have the smptoms medicated away.

the key we found was dealing with underlying causes and/or environmental issues that exacerbated the problem, and constantly reassuring one another that we loved each other no matter what happened. we evolved what amounted to "safe words" that helped cue the beginning of an explosion and defuse it. by not allowing episodes to escalate into confrontation, we were able to work together to make things work.

"shotgun" medications to blunt the edges are NOT the answer - a dull knife is far more dangerous than a sharp one.


Catherine Turley (192)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 8:40 pm
thanks to gene, and toni for the forward. i'm a tough critic, because i witness so much lazy parenting. i just babysat a little girl who is now on meds for oppositional defiance disorder. the problem is that she's not too defiant at my house where the discipline is strict and consistent or at her grandparent's house. liza long's story bothers me because she's willing to sacrifice the safety of her other children in order to protect the eldest. could her child's problems stem from over-indulgence or lack of positive attention during the early years. hard to say. however, i do know that there are great, attentive parents whose kids have the same issues.

Marianne B (107)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 9:17 pm
Gene, i am grateful for you posting this, Many great comments here. How hard it must have been on your family, and then him taking his life. My heart goes out to you.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 10:34 pm
We give so much of our earnings to the government, and they decide how to spend it. Why are we not protesting more that they put us last, and those who need help are not receiving it? The US manufactures killing machines and arms the entire planet. Gene, my mother also had a child who we all feared to a point, as he lacked a certain restraint at times and sought out danger, and he also worsened over the years, but never to the point that he killed or came close to killing. My brother wreaked havoc on all of our lives. I was youngest and the only girl, so I was picked on between ages 4 and 6 by him. I have read that the frontal lobe is thinner when autopsies are done on mass murderers. If one has to deal with a member of the family who is not balanced, there must be readily accessible care! And the same is true for those with substance abuse issues! We have the money to help everyone! instead, we subsidize those who kill animals, steal the clean waters and pollute the sky and the earth, and build up military presence, support many unethical activities.

Ellen m (215)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 11:59 pm
Gene, When i got notice of this article by you in a forward i was instantly struck with a selfish little fear...i knew no matter what, i would end up in tears. And i have.

I must now confess that i have, on many occasions gone to your blog and read an entry or two w/o leaving a comment..for that i apologize, for you write beautifully and always from the heart as well as the head, and you deserve the recognition as the wonderful person who wears his heart on his sleeve that you are.

So i knew with the events of last week you would be touching on it in one way or another, and i wasn't sure if i could take anymore of the conversation coming from one who has been there in his own way, and on more than one occasion...and been honest and trusting enough to share it with us along the way.

I feel the presence of Brandon and Evan, your grand kids and Cisco, the Ryans, Steve G. and many more thoughts every time i see your photo on a comment, so i knew it wasn't going to be easy in my "emotions on steroids" phase i am in the midst of.
And i also feared remembering my own little brother, who took his own life 35 years still hurts, and i can't imagine having the strength you have to share it all.

So leaving a smart, intelligent comment on the subject of this article is beyond my capabilities right now, just as i finish watching the news and the burials of 3 more little angels....
But i can say that i know it cannot be fixed with a single new gun bill, or a tweak in mental health guidelines and attitudes.

It has to be with ALL of us coming together to say No More, We Are Better Than This!..and meaning it ~ 1love


Robert O (12)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 1:10 am
Thanks for sharing that mother's story Gene and and even bigger thank you for sharing yours with all of us. I'm sure it wasn't an easy thing to do but is appreciated. Just what was written in that piece I honestly do believe "It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal." Stricter gun control is only a part of the complex equation but so is placing more attention on mental health and the system that is in place to work with and care for people with mental/behavioral issues. Thanks again Gene.


Robert O (12)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 1:11 am
By the way, thanks Jason for the petition which I gladly signed.

Lauren Berrizbeitia (68)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 2:40 am

Iain A (66)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 3:10 am
Noted Toni...

So many broken hearts, so many tears. How many more must we suffer before CHANGE!

Brings back memories of the Dunblane Primary School Massacre 1996 (16 children and one adult shot dead)

Prayers to all at Sandy Hook Elementary

Farah Hage Ali (152)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 3:12 am
noted, thank you for sharing

Jay S (116)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 3:47 am
Gene, thank you. What pain you and your family, including Brandon, must have endured, and still do. People like your son are not evil or bad, they are ill, and there could be so many causes, and maybe none that can be now discovered.

We would recommend to you to read the very enlightening book "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" by Dr. Daniel G. Amen a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and recognized expert on the relationship between the brain and behavior. He's pioneered many kinds of treatments that have turned lives around and literally saved many. It talks about so many behavioral problems that seem uncontrollable but have roots in brain imbalances and injuries. You may find something in there to answer your nagging questions. And anyone else who faces problem behavior from a loved one etc., you too may find answers and solutions there.

One thing he points out is how often people become uncontrollably angry and violent after they've had a head injury - a fall etc, and it doesn't have to be something major either, but it injures the part of the brain where we control our behavior. Lots of good information and ways to treat many of these seemingly insurmountable problems. Too bad his discoveries and ideas aren't more well known. Our prisons are full of people who could be productive members of society with just the right treatment, sometimes just changes in diet alone.

Carola May (20)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 4:09 am
Gene, my heart aches for you and your family. As the article points out, something must be done. There is something extremely disturbing about a society that brags so often of being the richest in the world yet has 50 million working poor people who can't afford medical treatment, let alone the huge cost of mental health counseling.

A society that can without blinking spend trillions on invading and destroying so many other countries one after another for decades unrelentingly, yet can't find the money to protect its own people from the 'terrorists' of disease - mental and physical?

A society that increases the military budget each year, when it is already more than all military budgets in the world combined! yet is closing libraries and bridges for lack of funds? It seems this is a whole society that is in dire need of mental health care. Incredible.

One subject that is never spoken of in this debate is American Machismo and how that "I've got mine and the rest of you can go to hell", or "Let's kick some ass" - that arrogant, aggressiveness that US Americans are so known for. How much does this influence the violence that permeates US society in comparison to all the other Western advanced nations who have only fractions of the violence and poverty of the US, the only developed country without universal national health care for all? That is a subject well worth debating, if it can be done without guns being drawn.

Teresa W (782)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 5:50 am

P A (117)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 6:18 am
Thanks Toni A and Philip A for forwarding this - oh Gene what pain you and your family have gone through!!! And poor Lisa Long of the article - living in fear of the son she loves - yet unable to help him - I so desperately wish there was something that could help all in such an anguished and conflicted position.

Please, PLEASE forgive me if I speak out of turn, but I do think that your Brandon was a hero to have taken his own life and not given in to whatever apparently irresistible force it is that makes those in a similar position kill many others then themselves - to avoid doing that was truly heroic. Your love for him must have helped him so much in his life.

Having encountered the phenomenon before - I too understand Kathy and you and Lisa when you say that your children could lie perfectly and sooo convincingly - it adds so much pain onto the original wounds they have caused in my view when trying to get help for them - and makes it even more difficult if not impossible!

Thank you for so bravely talking about such painful and important matters.


Kenneth L (314)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 6:52 am
It's too simplistic to say 'we need more mental health services!' meaning the current system of mental health set up by gov't. and funded by drug companies. Since when does everyone love or trust the gov't. and drug corporations? And SYSTEMS?
LOTS of heinous things done by gov't. and drug companies, like the slanted even deceitful studies and trials of psychiatric drugs done before they're approved and flooded out by the billions into the 'mental health' services for the evidently trusting and sheeple public.
Lots of corruption regarding insurance and psychiatric diagnosed 'mental disorders' and financial ties by doctors and psychiatrists to drug companies.
WAY too much bottom line interest by drug companies and doctors and psychiatrists as HOW MUCH MONEY THEY MAKE PERIOD over concern for people's 'mental health'.
I bet a lot of people who simply jump on the bandwagon with the mantra of 'We need more mental health services!' have NEVER researched any of the above regarding the 'mental health'. industry.
There are a ton of alternative treatments and therapies that even if they did nothing actually effective certainly wouldn't be harmful like the black box warning labels on many psychotropic drug packaging with lists long as your arm of harmful side-effects, both medical and psychological.
But then you need to check these things out for yourself.


Kenneth L (314)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 6:56 am
Oh yes, and let's not forget the infants and children and youth, and now even in the womb, who are 'diagnosed' ( or being proposed by Psychiatry as potential candidates for diagnosis) with 'mental disorders' and drugged up the wazoo and who have suffered terrible medical problems because of it, and all who have hanged or shot themselves that the mothers and fathers were 100% certain was the RESULT of those 'mental health' drugs.

Kerrie G (116)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 7:18 am
Noted, thanks.

Ela V (85)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 7:57 am
Thank you gene for sharing your story and that article. It helped me understand some things better, and I agree with you when you say that toxins in food and water are damaging us.

Gene J (290)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 10:17 am
I want to thank all of you for your thoughts and comments and your love. That was not what I was expecting when I submitted this story and said a little about my son.

Kenneth, no, I don't think the answer is drugging our children. I don't know what the answer is but I have this feeling it is connected to the way we have treated our air, soil and water over the last 60 years. The increased incidences of autism, horrible childhood diseases, behavioral disorders, just everything seems interconnected to me. If it is something that went wrong during gestation, I don't know how you fix that, nor that we can. When I was a child I didn't know anyone with anything more than hay fever. That is not the case now, half of every class has something wrong or some disease, asthma, autism, ADD, all these variants on a theme. I am heartened that scientists are looking into the causality finally, that this has finally gotten on the radar and people are seriously looking for answers. Because right now we don't have any. No one does. I really mentioned Brandon only to point out that this is not new, this whatever it is has been going on for a while, more than 30 years, and only know is it happening with a frequency great enough to get it looked at in a systematic way. That gives me hope.

With Brandon, there were few like him, I thought we were completely alone and nothing we did worked. And we tried everything available. He found the only solution for himself and though I wish there was another way, I am grateful that he did not end up harming anyone but himself. I'd never thought about it in the way Pat put it just above. But it is something that has nagged at me over the years. If he hadn't done what he did just a month past his 21st birthday, what would his life, our lives have been like as he aged. He was such a loving child when not in the grips of whatever it was in him that was so broken, but what he was capable of when he was in the middle of a meltdown was scary even when he was a toddler because there was nothing I could do to help him. Could he have been one of these "lost" ones we read about and fear? I don't know and I'm glad I never had to find out. But even that is conflicted because he is still alive in me and I still love him as do everyone who knew him. His service must have had 200 kids at it, all knew him and loved him, and knew both sides of him.

The most hopeless feeling in the world to watch someone you love so very much struggle and be able to do nothing to help them. Yes, we'd talk, there'd be consequences, but NONE of that was enough to stop another meltdown, never. He had no more control over that than I did, nor does the mother in the story I submitted. She does realize she is not alone, that is both a good and a bad thing, it helps to know you're not alone because when you think you are, you tend to blame yourself, to feel guilty, and I still do after all these years feel I should have been able to stop him, that if I'd been home that last day I could have talked him through it. That was our life in many ways, he climbed out on ledges, I talked him down. That day he didn't give me a chance to do my part and it left me with this horrible "unfinished" feeling that took more than 10 years to start ebbing away after talking to professionals for me. But it is still there, in my heart he is still my sweet loving child, that doesn't go away. I just was so glad to see that article and the responses, the nice ones anyway, to it, so that SHE didn't feel so alone, because you really do. And to give it more readership because the more people know about children like this the sooner we may be able to find a way to help them. Before they do something horrible to themselves or others. Anyway, thank you all for your kindness and love, that was not my intent here, but I am grateful for it anyway, and you.

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 10:55 am
I think some are misunderstanding this. We are talking about kids the parents themselves are afraid of. Not hyper kids. I shared this because I further think support groups for these parents and kids would be a huge help. I babysat for a boy when I was 13 years old. He tried to burn the neighbors house down with the people inside. This child not only had mental issues but his mother beat him. A child myself then I told authorities. Back then it wasn't a crime :( He is now spending the rest of his life in prison in Florida for armed bank robbery.

divergent revolution (309)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 11:35 am
Noted.So much sorrow.
I think these days people blame the victims.
Thanks everyone for your personal stories of courage.
A lot of heroic parents here.Kudos to all.
Btw.On the 18-34 website I sometimes visit all of them have meds.

Gene J (290)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 12:30 pm
I understand Kathy, that was my intent too. I want all of us to be thinking about what exactly it is that causes this and what we can do to fix it, and hopefully them too. Brandon wasn't a hyper kid at all, far from it, when he was good, he was as mellow a child as you'd want, but whatever was in him was there from birth, as I suspect it is with these others in that story. I really believe it is something in our air, water, soil and food, that something goes wrong during gestation. I've mentioned this to a couple people but perhaps should put it here too for context.

This did not develop in Brandon, it was there from birth. His mother stopped breast feeding him at four months, from that day on he never let her give him a bottle while holding him again, I could, not her, she had to prop it or he wouldn't drink. I had him in the back of a shopping cart at Target once when he was probably 9 or 10 months old, he was such a beautiful baby lots of people thought he was a little girl, I don't think he objected to that but he definitely didn't like being touched by strangers, we hadn't cut his hair yet, it was that baby fine snow white blonde kind that curls a little when it is a few inches long and he had sky blue eyes, we were just shopping when this woman came up to us and said, aren't you a cutie and grabbed his chin, he took a swing at her. Dead serious too, it was don't touch me period. That was more than a little embarrassing, but only a foreshadowing of what was coming. Point is, like with these other children, it isn't something that happened after birth (though there ARE certainly kids who develop traumas because of abuse and other things after being born) whatever was wrong with Brandon was wrong when he was born. Sadly. And I think the same is true with children like the one in the story. And many, many others.

Richelle Rausch (43)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 8:53 pm
Mental illness is obviously caused in the brain. But if the mother was not drinking, smoking, taking drugs or living near a toxic waste dump, it's difficult to find a cause. And mental illness has existed for a long time. Some of the most brilliant people in history had mental issues. Unfortunately, guns make things worse. I had a neighbor that was mentally unstable. She threw beer bottles at me, glared at me, put beer cans in my car & flattened my tire. She thought I was flirting with her husband because one time, at the mail boxes, we joked about who got the most bills. Her husband had many guns. One night, well, at around 2:00 am, she pounded on my door. I didn't open the door because she scared me. And thank goodness my kids were not home. At 9:00am, that same morning she took her youngest child, a sweetheart, to a park, where she shot him in the head and then shot herself in the head. Yes, she already had serious issues, but it was the gun that made things worse, and killed her son.

Ruth C (87)
Friday December 21, 2012, 3:21 am
Thank you for posting.

Kenneth L (314)
Friday December 21, 2012, 8:09 am
Gene, my post wasn't aimed at you personally. It was aimed at throngs of people who simply go around demanding 'we need mental health services because we don't have them now!', without taking any personal responsibility of finding out for themselves or knowing for themselves just what those 'mental health services' consist of with all the accompanying corruption and deceit and profit-seeking and misinformation regarding most of it, such as the FDA, NIMH, Big Pharma, Psychiatry, drug trials and studies and approval, off-labeling, black box warning labels, harmful effects, on and on and on. In other words just throwing people into these things does NOT mean it's all solved or someone else is going to take care of it all for you (you in general).

Jabi Yeonnmin (164)
Friday December 21, 2012, 9:05 am
Thank you for posting this

Missy G (24)
Friday December 21, 2012, 9:20 am

Suzanne L (99)
Friday December 21, 2012, 10:28 am
Gene, thank you for sharing your story.

Charlene Rush (79)
Friday December 21, 2012, 12:04 pm
GREED, which leads to POWER, is responsible for the majority of problems around the world.

Were do conservatives get the nerve, to bring up the subject of 'mental illness, when they consistantly vote to eliminate the social programs, that would assist the mentally ill, in the first place?
The NRA wants to put a dangerous weapon into the hands of any one who can pull a trigger and cares NOT for the safety of our citnzes. It's all about power and those who support this concept, are no better.

I'm not against a responsible citizen owning a weapon, but these guns that can slaughter large numbers of people in seconds are a humiliation for our society.
If other countries, think we have lost our minds, perhaps they are right.


Rose Becke (141)
Friday December 21, 2012, 2:22 pm
Ban them

Theodore Shayne (56)
Friday December 21, 2012, 3:58 pm
Thanks Gene. I think you raise a valid point about mental illness. If it wasn't guns it would be something else. Also I think we need to address how much affect all the toxins we have placed in every aspect of our modern life is responsible for this.

Gina Caracci (219)
Sunday December 23, 2012, 2:35 pm
Thanks Gene for posting this story and sharing your own heartbreaking story of confusion, frustration and desperation and of course, unconditional love.

Part is a scary mix of toxins/pesticides in our air, water, soil and food and the additives/preservatives in the food and what is supposed to pass as food. The industrial revolution spawned chemicals and they are eveywhere.

God bless all the families who are going thru this, and I hope they get the help they deserve.

Past Member (0)
Monday December 24, 2012, 4:18 am

Gillian M (218)
Monday December 24, 2012, 4:19 pm
Gene, my love to you and yours and condolences for the sadnesses in your lives. I hope that you all only have happiness in your futures.

Sandra S, you show no understanding or empathy with people who have children who are unwell. You said that the mother was endangering her other children. What do you suggest that she do with her eldest child, dump him in the street? Put him into care where he will be passed from pillar to post or put in an institution where he will deteriorate? Sadly, your attitude is far too common. Yes some children are medicated when it is not needed. Drugs such as Ritalin have their place but often they are prescribed when they shouldn’t be and alternative therapies tried.

Mental health is a big issue in all countries as so many people do not understand it and are scared of that which they do not understand. It also receives the least money of any health section. I see so much of it here having spent time in social services, the homeless and those that end up in the courts. We have a specialist kind of mental institution/prison for people with extreme mental health issues who commit crimes.

A little while ago I read an article that said some schizophrenics are children from older parents. There are many reasons for different kinds of mental illnesses from a nervous breakdown to taking drugs to ? Certainly physical illnesses can be linked to poisons in the environment and, from the many petitions and articles that I have received, America is appalling in protecting the people from toxins in the water. Fracking is just one example and the XL Pipeline is set to cause terrible problems. The poisonous insecticides etc that are in the environment are causing the bees to die and that is a real problem for farmers and, of course, the consumers. A water board knew that there were cancerous toxins in a water supply and failed to notify the consumers. We need bees for fruit and nuts as well other kinds of foods but they are suffering from CCD because of poisons in the environment. The food additives given to cattle and poultry cause illnesses in people and the American cattle are so poisonous that both Europe and Russia will not import it. It is terrible that the big corporations get away with so much.

I have been investigating diets recently and was recommended one low in oxylates. It has been found that such a diet helps children with autism and some kinds of conditions that cause pain. Diets and supplements may help in some cases. For those, such as the mother in this story, a proper hospital where they are counselled, assessed, diet reviewed (it can make a difference as many of the artificial colours and flavourings are known to cause issues and American sweets and foods are full of it) and drugs, if necessary. Once someone has been stabilised then they can be released, subject to supervision and support. This is a pipedream as no government would fund it and many would not use it as mental health has a terrible stigma, it shouldn't. It is an unwell mind just as arthritis or Parkinson's is an unwell body.

My hopes and prayers for a future where these vulnerable people and their families are helped and supported.

"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds."
-- Aldo Leopold

Gillian M (218)
Monday December 24, 2012, 4:22 pm
Sorry Gene, I'm not sure if I made it clear that I agree with you that the toxins in the environment are as likely to cause mental health as physical problems.

Gene J (290)
Monday December 24, 2012, 7:34 pm
No worries, Gillian. Medical science has no idea what a given toxin might to do a developing brain in any particular moment of gestation. If gestation lasts 9 months and the brain is developing all of that time, that is, on average, 23,288,000 seconds and if the wrong chemical hits that developing brain at a critical second, which does sometimes happen naturally, we have no idea what effect that has on that future being. My point is that we humans have exponentially increased the odds of something not natural happening by the "insane" use of chemicals in our world, our food, our water over the past 60 plus years. Ever since the end of WWII when we found ourselves with a monstrous supply of nitrogen and discovered that it could make plants grow bigger. That is what I think of as our folly, our hubris, that we decided WE could grow food better than "nature" could. It seems to me that when we substitute our judgment for the universe's, or the natural order of things, we rarely come out on top.

Chris W (79)
Tuesday December 25, 2012, 10:21 am
TY, what an inspiring and amazing story. Thank you.

Gillian M (218)
Tuesday December 25, 2012, 4:39 pm
Gene, it reminds me of a "joke". A group of scientists got together to and decided that they no longer needed G-d as they could do everything. So, one f them went to G-d and issued Him with a challenge that they should both make a person. G-d agreed so the scientist knelt down and picked up a handful of soil. And then G-d said, "Make your own!".

We know that diseases of the auto-immune system are on the increase and it is tied in to environmental factors such as atmospheric pollution. It also causes asthma. We all know that cigarette smoking damages the foetus and, if it is a girl, their eggs so the grandchild is damaged before it is even born. I have not come across similar research into atmospheric pollution so we do not know what damage that does. Add other issues.........

Patricia H. (440)
Wednesday December 26, 2012, 4:58 am

Robert Hardy (68)
Wednesday December 26, 2012, 8:25 am
Genetic diversity is a bitch. And what can one do? I have great sympathy for this poor woman... and her son.

Yvonne White (229)
Wednesday December 26, 2012, 5:34 pm
Nothing is "normal" in America. If it ever was.. Sometimes I envy my autistic son, he doesn't have to worry. But then again, I don't know if or what he worries about. I just don't want my older & younger sons to carry our burden. My husband & I love all 3 of our sons, but we don't Know what our autistic son thinks or why he may think it. Therapy is more for us than him, he doesn't talk. He can answer yes/no questions & can repeat what you say - but can't converse in any meaningful way. It's scarey that he can't tell us exactly where it hurts, how it hurts, to what degree.. Drugs don't Cure, but any relief from whatever "hurts" is the best we can hope for. Real "fixes" won't happen until medicine regains some pride to replace the greed that seems to permeate every profession in America..Until then we just experiment & try to "do no harm".

paul m (93)
Thursday December 27, 2012, 5:26 am


Yvonne F (181)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 4:33 am
Interesting, but horrible! Thanks Gene for sharing

Süheyla C (234)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 9:26 am

Devon Leonar (54)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 1:29 pm
Ever since I 1st read your profile and took your story into my heart I have been sending you love and hugs most every day....everyone here is finding all the words that I can't speak... you and your son's are always in my heart.

Lydia S (71)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 2:16 pm
Thanks for sharing, Gene. My heart goes out to you & I pray that you can find peace & healing.

The two links below are very interesting & relevant. We must find a solution to this problem!
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