Tag Archives: Parkland shooting

‘I’m constantly asking: Why?’ When mass shootings end, the painful wait for answers begins. – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/im-constantly-asking-why-when-mass-shootings-end-the-painful-wait-for-answers-begins/2018/03/15/6fb0347e-1d8a-11e8-b2d9-08e748f892c0_story.html?utm_term=.febc803e891c

Toward the end of their interviews, Reid asked Holmes what he believed caused him to kill others. Holmes boiled it down to hard numbers: 45 percent was caused by his belief in the point system, another 45 by the feeling it would prevent his suicide, and 10 percent by his broccoli-like hatred.

Reid, however, said he found those answers lacking.

“You could call them excuses in a way, because they don’t make sense,” he said. “People break up with their girlfriends every day; that doesn’t mean they become killers. They struggle with depression and impulses; that doesn’t mean they become killers. These things are associated with the action, but they are not predictive.”

Reid is a forensic psychiatrist who clearly has no clue how mental illness works.

This sounds exactly like OCD to me, except instead of checking the locks 3 times or washing hands for exactly 45 seconds to prevent bad things from happening, Holmes was certain that killing people would save his life because he knew the alternative was him committing suicide, something he knew he didn’t want to do.

While this seems like an unsatisfactory answer, it is one that shows that there is a way to prevent future attacks of this type. OCD can be treated.

Now, I’m sure that some people are thinking, “well, such bad thoughts can be shut down; they’re a choice.” Uh no. They’re not a choice. People don’t get to choose what their obsessions are or what works or doesn’t work (for them).

I have a problem with songs (and thoughts) getting stuck in my head for hours on end. Hours. But I randomly found a trick that works to stop the repetition: I’m a Little Teapot. Yep, somehow this nursery rhyme a) doesn’t get stuck in my head and b) is capable of shutting off whatever has been on repeat when nothing else has.

You may be thinking, “well, I get songs stuck in my head all the time!”

For days on end? 

With no relief?

Where you happen to stumble upon one thing that brings you quiet for a little while?

This forensic psychiatrist has unintentionally shown exactly what’s wrong with the current system: we don’t recognize universal symptoms as universal when it’s easier to assume that there must be a deeper problem.
 I get why this happens. We don’t want t stigmatize all OCD as the same. We don’t want to stigmatize the issue. And that’s fine! That’s great! There are many many different flavors (from mild annoyances to severe “I can’t live like this”)!

But ultimately, it is all the same. And it needs to be treated as such if we want to move forward as a society. Not because a handwasher and door-lock-checker can suddenly become a serial killer (actually, since these are coping mechanisms they’d be less likely to “snap”), but because everyone deserves to live in peace and while we may think of handwashers and door-lock-checkers as quirky and harmless when compared to people whose coping mechanism is murder, neither group gets to live in peace. Both are slaves to their obsessions. That’s not fair to them.

What makes the Parkland shooter different is that everyone in his life knew he was troubled and wanted to gwet him the help he needed.

But their efforts were stymied by red tape. The type of red tape that seems to stem from a lack of money invested in mental health care.

Calls for putting more police officers in schools, arming teachers, and installing bullet proof glass and metal detectors all strike me as reactionary. They are all things that will respond to the next shooting, but will do absolutely nothing to prevent it. 

I think such money would be better served by creating an in-school suspension system that focuses on mental healthcare rather than just shuffling troubled kids along. And there should be a seemless transition between graduation and adult mental health care. Cost should be no object because anyone asking for help for themselves or a loved one should receive it. Period.