Sunday, December 23, 2012

Newtown, Aspergers and the Mentally Ill

I am breaking my silence about autism and the Newtown shooting.

I want to go on record to declare my support for advocates of those with autism and Aspergers Syndrome.

There has been so much misinformation in the media about autism and Aspergers. 

This is a spectrum disorder. Let's talk about Bil for a minute.  Bil, my brother in law with autism, is not Adam Lanza.  He never could be Adam Lanza.  He never would have been Adam Lanza.  Period.

Being socially awkward is not the same as the type of mental illness that apparently Adam Lanza suffered from.

And, I want to go on record to declare that the way we treat mental illness in our country is an absolute disgrace.

It doesn't help anyone.  It doesn't help the sufferer, it doesn't help the families, and it doesn't help society.

It avoids an issue that must be discussed, and discussed NOW.

I have personal experience with someone with mental illness. I've seen first hand that supports were little more than lip service.  Even today, I know someone whose brother is mentally ill.  I know someone else whose spouse is mentally ill.  Both times, families have been left with no support, and few options.

That has to stop.

Guns aren't the issue.  Mental illness is.  And I say that as someone who supports bans on the types of assault weapons that have no purpose other than mass carnage.  But I also know we had a mass shooting near where I live several years ago, and the shooter used a weapon legally purchased in a sporting goods store. Almost all of us who bought guns in that store would have used them responsibly.  Mental illness pulled that trigger, orphaned two children, and killed 13 people.

 Mental illness was the problem.  Experts say we are going to see more carnage if we don't change the mental health system.  And now we in the United States are in the most vicious of circles, where we buy even more guns out of total fear.  How many guns does it now take to defend our families from the improperly treated mentally ill?

Calling for armed guards in schools will not help the mentally ill.   Columbine had an armed guard.

We must change the mental health system.

When I was growing up, we said "Support Mental Health or I'll Kill You."  It is no longer funny.

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