As much as I avoid the news/politics etc...deliberately because I can't take it - some issues compel me to look them straight in the face and stare them down. And in those times I have the grace to do so. As a mother of a 2nd grader, as parent and a teacher, I KNOW the angels and heros that were subjected to hell and rippped from a society that desperately needs angels and heros. But for some reason, I have eyes for both sides. There is a family member of a lost soul who has been slain after who knows how many years of trying to manage this in a daily/hourly vigil of mini-hell? There is a brother and a father who must have known and loved a side of this murderer that no one will ever see again.
The subject of mental illness is a long over due conversation. I have seen people in the throes of mental illness who could not be reasoned with outside of a pharmaceutical intervention. I have seen people whom I love with my whole heart become a completely different person on the wrong dose or drug of a prescribed substance. Then I have seen those same people return to their former selves when the drug was withdrawn. I know for certain these things are dangerous. I know for some these things are vital for their ability to function. The road to "functioning" is bumpy and long. But there is misinformation out there that it is just a simple fix like an anti-biotic. There is this assumption that "crazy" can be contained by good parents, spouses, siblings. There is this assumption that understaffed, underpaid hospitals full of difficult people in crisis will some how HELP these people feel MORE hopeful and connected. There is almost a superstition that if you don't rattle the cage of the crazy, you won't catch it or be harmed by it. Crazy is always "someone else's problem". There is an assumption that only monsters, or evil people commit these desperate unthinkable acts. These assumptions are dead wrong. I held them myself and feel compelled to speak up, since I have been forced to let them go.
It is high time the nation dealt with the issue of mental health and popped the lid off Big Pharma and the ivory tower and often "reformed" crazies who deal with the mentally ill. No one wants to look at "it" or deal with "it" so they just hide "it" away in society until "IT" becomes undeniable, something that will not be ignored, like "it" just did. So while people talk about the mistake of giving the mentally ill too many rights. I shudder. WRONG direction! Treat them MORE like people, not less like people!!!!!!!!! The reasoning is, "well in the past we were horrible to the mentally ill, and caged them all up. But now we have over corrected and we need to deny their rights". NO! We have not gone far enough!! We need to provide humane and inventive ways to support the mentally ill and their families that are EFFECTIVE!
The horror for these little ones and their families and the teachers...breaks my heart to pieces. I can't stop watching it and when I do I cry and I pray. No one wants to sit with this grief. But the pundits with their platforms are scaring me. I'm afraid of knee jerk reactions that will do more harm than good. There is no Frankenstein to rally the villagers with torches and pitchforks to attack. So...they are creating them out of whatever evil contributing factor they can. But I want to ask myself and others to think carefully about what they label "evil" because I have used that label to give myself permission not to care, not to love. I think we are called to do better.