Firmin Debrabander, in the NYTImes, on “The Freedom of an Armed Society“:
The night of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I was in the car with my wife and children, working out details for our eldest son’s 12th birthday the following Sunday — convening a group of friends at a showing of the film “The Hobbit.” The memory of the Aurora movie theatre massacre was fresh in his mind, so he was concerned that it not be a late night showing. At that moment, like so many families, my wife and I were weighing whether to turn on the radio and expose our children to coverage of the school shootings in Connecticut. We did. The car was silent in the face of the flood of gory details. When the story was over, there was a long thoughtful pause in the back of the car. Then my eldest son asked if he could be homeschooled…
Via the Washington Post, a mother talks about being on the other side of the nightmare:
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, [13-year-old] Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.
That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.
We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work….
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness…
Mr. Charles P. Pierce, on Friday afternoon:
… There are things we must do together, in a political context, because these things are too big — and, in this case, too monstrous — for us to handle alone. Self-government and its institutions — public schools, police and fire departments, the ridiculously underfunded mental-health facilities, and all the people to whom we increasingly begrudge their salaries — are the only things keeping us from falling back into barbarism, and the only things keeping us safe and sane when one of us falls back into it on their own.
We are our brother’s keeper. The bell tolls for all of us… We all have an investment in the institutions through which we apply these concepts to each other and to ourselves. We have to nurture those institutions and guard them, because they are so very much more easily destroyed than they are to build. And, yes, dammit, we have to pay for them, and we have to pay the salaries of the people who work for them, because we are their keepers, too, and because the bell tolls for them the same way it tolls for all of us.
Resist, then, the forces who tell you that the creation and maintenance of that commonwealth is too expensive or too complicated, or that it is an appeal to a time now lost to technology and modernity and the glories of free trade. Resist the frauds and mountebanks who seek to prosper from fragmentation and isolation, and who tell you that your “freedom” exists in a place outside of that creative process of self-government, and that, in fact, the institutions produced by that process are the enemies of that “freedom.” Resist, as strongly as you can, the people who seek to profit by isolating you in your homes, and in your anger, and in your wounded sense of aggrieved entitlement, and with all your guns…