Friday, December 14, 2012

Mark Follman — Mass Shootings: Maybe What We Need Is a Better Mental-Health Policy

What our in-depth investigation reveals about mental illness and America's mass killings with guns.
Mother Jones
Mass Shootings: Maybe What We Need Is a Better Mental-Health Policy
Mark Follman | Senior Editor

10 comments:

Dan Kervick said...

I agree with the general theme here. But I would suggest that the problem isn't really the metal health "system". It is attachment to a highly individualistic way of life in which people are not properly and deeply embedded in the kinds of social networks, and layers of family and community, that sustain a healthy mental outlook and guide and deflect the wayward soul away from its worst possible extremes. Human beings are social creatures by design, but we have extolled an approach to life that perverts our natural psychological frame and holds out a dangerous and antisocial ideal of titanic individualism, personal gratification and self-sufficient achievement and fantasy. We are a country full of drifters, loners, wanderers, egomaniacs and rolling stones, with many degrees of detachment and rage. A person can drift in plain site, even inside his own hope, and no social forces swoop in to stop the process.

The mental health "system" is like the military battlefield medical system, a remedial tent of coaching, doping and managerial upkeep that then sends people back into a landscape of madness.

It's not the mental health system that is failing so much as the cracked and demented social matrix that makes such a remedial system necessary.

WillORNG said...

Prevention is better than cure. A rampantly selfish society is socio pathogenic. The irony is that the more specialised and productive we are the more interdependent we are and the more we teamwork.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Yeah, no problem with a mental health system that drugs people out of their minds with powerful brain disabling drugs, starting as young as two. Once they're in school they are then labeled and medicated into submissive zombies. I know, I taught many of these chemically straight jacketed students for decades.

And on a related note this idea that folks keep floating of the highly individualistic life, whatever the heck that means, as the cause of these mass murders is simplistic nonsense. Socialization and maintaining and strong individual identity are not mutually exclusive.

Oh, and WillORNG, you've got it backwards. The more specialized and productive we are the more pathological we've become.

Chewitup said...

Well said Dan. I will also add that throughout the generations, the zeitgeist pendulum swings from we and us to me and I. Hopefully we are nearing the end of this current extreme individualism of which you just mentioned. It always takes crisis type events to push the pendulum the other way.

Matt Franko said...

"but we have extolled an approach to life that perverts our natural psychological frame and holds out a dangerous and antisocial ideal of titanic individualism, personal gratification and self-sufficient achievement and fantasy."

Dan, sounds like the Libertarian Manifesto...

Malmo's Ghost said...

Liberals don't act selfishly, only libertarians/conservatives do? Do you people hear how ridiculous you sound? Are we to take it on faith that all the self described leftists here are more selfless than the non leftists? LOL. Time to crawl out from your pompous, self righteous bubbles.

Dan Kervick said...

Liberals act selfishly too. I'm talking about a broader cultural trend on both the "left" and "right" with an extreme emphasis on individual achievement and the liberation of individuals from every kind of social norm, system and framework. We need a return to solidarity and culture.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Dan,

What on earth does any of what you've said have to do with Adam Lanza?

Dan Kervick said...

Adam Lanza was an alienated loner, like so many of the people who do these kinds of things. His alienation and detachment and mental unraveling took place right inside his own home, inside a town. In America it is possible to live somewhere with people all around and yet be as isolated as a mountain man.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Dan,

Lanza's emotional condition and background are not widely known in enough detail to draw any definitive conclusions as to cause and effect. From what is known he seems to have been very shy, but that does not make him a radical individualist, whatever that designation even means. We also do not know what level of psychiatric treatment he was receiving, if any. Not sure that a better mental health policy is germane here. In the coming days we will get more clarity. In the meantime I would caution people to hold back on presumptuous opinions on what triggered this persons behavior. I'm just as disturbed as you are about what happened yesterday, but will reserve judgement until law enforcement/reputable media provides us with a more complete picture.