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Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read

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1 Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:20 pm

I Am Adam Lanza's Mother

By Liza Long, Dec 16, 2012 9:33 AM

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

"I can wear these pants," he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

"They are navy blue," I told him. "Your school's dress code says black or khaki pants only."

"They told me I could wear these," he insisted. "You're a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!"

"You can't wear whatever pants you want to," I said, my tone affable, reasonable. "And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You're grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school."

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, 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.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he's in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He's in a good mood most of the time. But when he's not, watch out. And it's impossible to predict what will set him off.

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district's most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can't function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, "Look, Mom, I'm really sorry. Can I have video games back today?"

"No way," I told him. "You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly."

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. "Then I'm going to kill myself," he said. "I'm going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself."

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.

"Where are you taking me?" he said, suddenly worried. "Where are we going?"

"You know where we are going," I replied.

"No! You can't do that to me! You're sending me to hell! You're sending me straight to hell!"

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. "Call the police," I said. "Hurry."

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn't escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I'm still stronger than he is, but I won't be for much longer.

The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork-"Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…"

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You'll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying-that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, "I hate you. And I'm going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here."

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I've heard those promises for years. I don't believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, "What are your expectations for treatment?" I wrote, "I need help."

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza's mother. I am Dylan Klebold's and Eric Harris's mother. I am Jason 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.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son's social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. "If he's back in the system, they'll create a paper trail," he said. "That's the only way you're ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you've got charges."

I don't believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael's sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn't deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise-in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill-Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation's largest treatment centers in 2011.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, "Something must be done."

I agree that something must be done. It's time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That's the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

liza long is an author, musician, and erstwhile classicist. she is also a single mother of four bright, loved children, one of whom has special needs.

Republished with permission from the Blue Review, a non-profit publication affiliated with Boise State University that publishes a mix of scholarly essays and journalism. The original post can be found here.

Image via AP.

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2 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:11 pm


Yeah, as soon as we heard this at work we knew mental health providers would become a scapegoat.

Bottom line is the problem was his age made him ineligible for the services that he needed which are forensic mental health. Also, the lack of hospitals ability to properly assess clients until they claim theyre at "baseline" and are pressured to be discharged. This is an issues because when family argue that this is not the patients baseline as we know him for 10+ years and family forever..and the hospital knows him for say, 3 days; They decide if hes at "baseline". And they just have to make sure he was in no violent incidents or a threat to self or others by asking and assessing. Then they have pressure to get them out of the hospital asap.

In this case, the mother should have said, no he can not come back to live with me and that would have been the only way the hospitals wouldnt discharge him. Thats what I would have advocated for if I was involved. However, no one can foresee this retaliation.

The problem is when law dictates treatment. State hospital are being closed all over the country in exchange for community outreach programs like the ones I manage. A legal settlement called the "Olmstead Act" forces hospitals who have had clients for 30+ days to 10 years get discharged. If they have no where to go, they get discharged to a government subsidized and furnished apartment that they pay for monthly. The providers (me) do not get to refuse any referrals. I have had so many pedophiles and violent sex offenders referred to me since this bill passed its disgusting. I literally have to agitate them in an interview to prove theyre not ready for discharge then email the state ccing 10 people explaining why I refuse to accept violent people. My team is 13 women, 2 men and we outreach people in their homes, unarmed and liable for their behavior.

Bottom line is it costs the state about $600 a day for psychiatric hospital patients. So for those long term hospitalizations (6 month +), they figure why not pay a grand a month for an apartment and hook them up with an outreach team as there is no progress in the hospital. They have bidding wars for expansions and expansion and funding usually goes to the agency willing to provide services for the least cost. We have had a 100% failure rate meaning those who were discharged to an apartment followed up but not letting us in or refusing services but every one (25+) returned to the hospital or jail within a week. Mental health system is becoming the fiscal management of undesirable people and it is getting worse. There are hardly any preventive programs for people under 18 and the state doesnt want to fund them. I even wrote a proposal to Eli Lilly (makers of useless expensive drug zyprexa) asking for funding for a program for adolescents working with highschools that was refused because Zyprexa was not recommended for use with adolescents. Therefore, they can not promote their company with my needed program. Obama care will make it worse.

Nobody could have foreseen this but them mother made a mistake by allowing him to live with his family after she knew he was a danger to others (hiding sharps). The hospital should have listened to the mother, but is under pressure to discharge people asap whether theyre ready or not. This is why I am sarcastic about my field. It not treatment, its fiscal management of undesirables and the pressure comes from a law that forces discharge because one person believed her son was hospitalized for too long and was rich enough to have money.

When it comes to jail, stats show black people and hispanics do not receive treatment or are more resistant to psychiatric care and rely on family support and other cultural issues like machismo come into play. Most people in jail were undiagnosed until their assessment during their intake. The system is broken and I can do nothing about it. So dangerous people are discharged home way too early because everyone is scared of being sued.

Its a fuckin mess and it is why I am moving to program development for adolescents who first show signs of psyciatric/behavioral issues with private investors. The state refuses to fund these programs but they do exist for those with money and good insurance and a lawyer to advocate for them. Its all money as always.

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3 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:05 am

i absolutely hate that Liza Long blog post. fuck that bitch for comparing her 13 year old son to spree killers.

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4 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:28 am

I think she's trying to say he's a potential "Adam Lanza" and I agree with her, they need to be helped while they're young, y'all probably won't agree with me, but this is why we need the "village" to raise the kid. That, to me, is the only sure thing I've seen work

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5 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:29 am

I say that because maybe other adults will have the tools to break through to her son, that she just doesn't have

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6 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:39 pm

he's 13 years old and he has a mental disorder; that's all he is in this context. that doesn't make him a potential spree killer anymore than it makes him a potential janitor or mechanic or writer or rapist. i work with kids like him everyday. she's a fuck for lining her fear up with a national tragedy.

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7 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:55 pm

It's true, I see your point of view, she's just perpetuating the paranoia by making any teenage boy with problems (most of them) out to be possible serial killers

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8 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:16 am


Runoff World Heavyweight Champion
Runoff World Heavyweight Champion

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9 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:46 am

I'll never fuck with that lawyer intuition again

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10 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:23 am

Hooooooooooooooooooooooly shit

I will admit I went back and read her other blog poasts and she herself seemed nuttier than a shithouse rat

Also I had no idea that the "I am Adam lanzas mother" poast got passed around the way it did... It was just something I randomly saw and thought Harry might find it interesting

Either way I believe in improving both mental health and gun control to a certain extent

Obv these were both factors in his terrible terrible thing that happened that I'm still trying to wrap my brain around. I grew up like 25 min away from this town. I hung out there a lot as a kid. My brother was up there working when the medical examiner gave the report. This whole weekend I've just been like what the fuuuuuuuuck happened. This shit fucked up my head

Anyway it's funny someone called the mom out

I read a lot about how she was raised Mormon and is now an anarchist


The fuck

I just hope I can stop impulsively repoasting stuff I read on Facebook obviously I'm part of the problem

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11 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:43 am

Think i read somewhere that Adam kid's guns belonged to his mother. Is that right?

You gotta be pretty dumb to keep guns in the same place as some emotionally fucked up retard.

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12 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:34 am


Runoff World Heavyweight Champion
Runoff World Heavyweight Champion

I just hope I can stop impulsively repoasting stuff I read on Facebook obviously I'm part of the problem

we are here for you tony.

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13 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:54 pm


Jesus. I wrote that long reply thinking it was actually the kids mother. Not some loony catastrophiser . Damn it

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14 Re: Attn: Tyrone ... This was a good read on Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:04 pm

fart nouveau

its ok tyrone ur post was kewl. ty's break down of the mental health system should be the sort of thing that goes viral instead of some dumb hoe's blog post trying to capitalize on a bunch of little kids getting killed

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