I do not claim to know how to heal the wounds of the tragedy that occurred in Newtown on December 14th, 2012. Nor do I claim to know how to prevent future tragedies of this sort. The intent of this post is to oppose ineffective and inhumane practices, prompted by reactions to the events in Newtown and other communities, that are falsely thought to be effective.
I had hoped that we in Connecticut were done with thinking of forced drugging as an effective and safe way to enhance the safety of our communities. Last winter when Adam Lanza engaged in unspeakable violence and took the lives of 28 people, Connecticut’s advocacy community – along with non-traditional allies and providers – expressed the belief that forced “treatment” does not belong in our state.
I am concerned about how our state will respond to the report of the State’s Attorney on the investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. The report appropriately attributes accountability for the unconscionable murder to Adam Lanza – not to an “untreated” mental disorder.
“It is important to note that it is unknown what contribution, if any, the shooter’s mental health issues made to his attack on SHES. Those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior” (page 35 of the report).
“In this case the shooter’s mental status is no defense to his conduct as the evidence shows he knew his conduct to be against the law. He had the ability to control his behavior to obtain the results he wanted, including his own death. This evidence includes his possession of materials related to mass murders, his removal of the GPS from his car, his utilization of ear plugs, the damaging of the hard drive and waiting for his mother’s return from New Hampshire . . . The existence of an extreme emotional disturbance for which there is a reasonable explanation or excuse is also not present in this case. It is clear that the shooter planned his crimes in advance and was under no extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse” (page 42).
At the same time, while it does a decent job of viewing Lanza’s behaviors through a contextual lens. and uses terms such as ‘idiosyncrasies’ and ‘reclusive’ – which are more contextual and humanistic than controversial DSM disorders – this report may be open to the interpretation that pre-emptively and forcibly drugging individuals is an acceptable and effective way of preventing acts of violence.
“The shooter refused to take suggested medication and did not engage in suggested behavior therapies” (35).
This sentence gives me pause.
Proponents of forced drugging may gain traction from this report, and our allies in opposition to forced drugging may be turning. I am not naïve, and acknowledge that this report presents convincing evidence that community intervention prior to Adam Lanza’s actions on December 14th 2012 would have been appropriate. But reflecting on how society could have potentially helped Lanza, Lanza’s mother, neighbors, and teachers in supporting him before he got to the point of carrying out such heinous actions, does not require writing into law mechanisms that force people who are speculatively deemed to be potentially violent to take tranquilizing psych drugs.
Legalizing forced drugging in the hope of preventing people from being violent in the future presumes two things: One, that pre-emptive forced drugging is Constitutional, and, two, that “anti-psychotics” do more good than harm as a way to reduce violent acts. Neither of these presumptions are true. Rather, Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (which invariably involves forced drugging) is in direct violation of the 14th amendment to the Constitution in that it deprives life and liberty without due process of law and condones unequal protection of the laws.
I get it, though. Even though – because of unintended future ramifications – the government is supposed to abide by a system of laws and not adhere to or disregard the Constitution based on whether it seems better to adhere to or disregard in certain situations – I understand why legislators are considering violating the Constitution in the name of decreasing violence. I am not being sarcastic. I do not agree with the idea of drafting blatantly unconstitutional legislation – but I understand it.
In my personal life, if I believed that unconstitutionally forcing something on someone would do more good than harm to them — and would simultaneously protect the life of my mother – I’d probably do it. But then I haven’t taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, in the capacity of a public servant.
The United Nations, in connection with the passage of its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has asked the United States to explain how forced drugging does not constitute torture. However, in light of the reality that people might consider a bit of coercion and rights-infringement in exchange for something that they believe decreases the likelihood of mass murder and improves the lives of those it is forced on – we are entertaining the notion that psychiatric drug treatments do more good than harm, and decrease violence. Psychiatric drugs aren’t proven to do more good than harm and decrease violence, though. Psychiatrists, pharma-reps., TAC relatives, and probate judges just say they do.
High-profile individuals and institutions with a range of perspectives are stating just the opposite. Research suggests that individuals accessing public mental health services die on average twenty-five years younger than the general population. Research suggests that individuals taking psychiatric drugs are permanently going on disability at a disproportionately high rate relative to the US population as a whole. Research suggests that akathisia, a common effect of taking “anti-psychotics” often results in its user engaging in violence. The FDA has required black box warnings on “antipsychotics,” “anti-depressants,” and other psych-drugs. These labels outlined in black are the severest warnings drugs can carry while remaining on the market as FDA approved. Black box warnings on psych-drugs include messages about the drugs’ potential to cause increased thoughts of suicide, increased aggression, and sudden death.
It doesn’t seem likely to me that more voluntary, let alone forced consumption of psychiatric drugs will make our communities less violent.
If not in the name of the US Constitution or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I hope that Connecticut will continue to oppose outpatient commitment – because its implementation not only fails to prevent violence or increase the number of upstanding and contributing members of society but also degrades individual human life and the social fabric of our communities. Maybe the violence we are experiencing is a product of the degree to which human life and our social fabric and communities have been degraded.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
I think exposing an angry anti social or victimized traumatized person to the horrors of coercive psychiatry would only further convince them that violent action to ‘fight back’ against the perceived wrongs done to them by the people in world is the correct course of action. What else could this shooting have been but a justified payback in the mind of the shooter ?
I think Adam Lanza was evil to begin with.
Psychiatry seems to think they can diagnose who is sick and who is well but they believe there is no such thing as good and evil, a concept that has been around for centuries.
Look what I found below,
The Recurrence of an Illusion: The Concept of “Evil” in Forensic Psychiatry
“The author notes an increased interest in the concept of “evil” in the fields of psychiatry and psychology. In particular, there is some interest in defining and testifying about evil. It is argued that evil can never be scientifically defined because it is an illusory moral concept, it does not exist in nature, and its origins and connotations are inextricably linked to religion and mythology. Any attempt to study violent or deviant behavior under the rubric of this term will be fraught with bias and moralistic judgments. Embracing the term “evil” into the lexicon and practice of psychiatry will contribute to the stigmatization of mental illness, diminish the credibility of forensic psychiatry, and corrupt forensic treatment efforts.”
“The Illusion of “Evil”
Evil is an entirely subjective concept created by humans, and there is nothing inherently evil in nature or the universe. Primitive cultures believed that natural calamities were manifestations of evil. It was in this way that humanity first began to personify adverse circumstances or tragedy so that they could attempt to master attendant anxiety. Yet in the formal structure of evolutionary theory and natural selection, there is no designation for evil.”
Psychiatrists who claim to be experts in something they do not think exists “psychiatrist” lit. Greek: “doctor of the soul”.
No wonder there is more and more violence in schools as church attendance is down (the place children are taught about right and wrong) wile at the same time psychiatry has moved into the schools with there soulless science and turned them into behavioral health clinics.
The world is just going to see more evil as psychiatry works to invalidate and replace religion, the sad irony is psychiatry also requires belief just like religion does cause there are no medical tests to confirm any of there so called diseases or diagnoses.
Interesting points. Can someone simultaneously be good and to some extent be at fault for their troubling situation/experience of the world? I say yes. I think bio-psychiatry manipulates by saying you are not a bad person or a weak person, it’s not your fault that your life is intolerable, your situation of torment is primarily beyond your control and primarily the result of an erroneous neuro/microbiological imbalance in your brain. I believe that one can simultaneously be at fault for their dissatisfied situation and not be a bad or weak person. Biological reduction of experience seems to see these causes as exclusive. If you are at fault you don’t have a chemical brain disorder. If you are not at fault you have a chemical brain disorder.
Psychiatry kills more children than school shooters but that never makes the news.
Try this, enter (psychiatric drug name) + “child death” into google search.
Lets start with Ritalin.
Ritalin heart attacks warning urged after 51 deaths in US
” FDA officials said that given the seriousness of ADHD and the rarity of sudden death — which strikes fewer than 1 in 10,000 children — the benefits of the drugs outweigh their risks.”
Unless your child dies of course.
ADHD: Strattera Death Count Continued – 137 Reports
Deaths, 57 were Children
Strattera Death Count Continued http://jannel.se/StratteraDeath2010.pdf
Keep doing that with all the psychiatric drug names.
Children are more likely to be killed by psychiatry than a school shooter.
Cold blunt and morbid but true.
Thanks for reading. The drugging of children is one of the most disheartening aspects of our current culture and a practice that should be viewed as criminal.
Russell Blaylock MD retired neurosurgeon talks about a unit of Canadian special forces that was disbanded because so many of them came back home from the Middle East wars and killed members of their families and themselves. Blaylock says the cause is something inserted into the vaccinations they received before going overseas. Are kids getting some of this poison ? How deadly are vaccinations ?? How deadly poisonous are the medications AMA doctors use? Many of us have directly experienced the poisons of the psychiatric death “profession”.What about the toxic metals of the dental profession ? The toxic poisons sprayed on most foods .The toxic unlabeled GMO frankenfoods? Experts all ????? It’s high tech time released Eugenics Genocide camouflaged by doublespeak pseudo science brought to us by the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations and other cooperative billionaire cartels in a concerted push to cull the planets population down to about 500,000,000 people which will include enough slaves to serve the masters and orchestrators who believe they are doing all this for the good of humanity . Question is can they deliver enough chemicals into our bodies and brains without us waking up to realize we must stop them as they prepare to add provisions into the law to further facilitate their agenda . Adam Lanza at some level is one of their creations and the responsibility at some level for the tragic murder of innocent children is theirs as well.
We can’t afford to sleep much longer. We must wake up and engage life and cultivate community.
Clear, simple, powerful argument against forced Psychiatry. I hope you’re submitting this as an op-ed to the Courant and/or local papers! So glad to know that you’re down in Connecticut working hard to prevent the creep of community psychiatric force.
Thanks Laura. Deron and I and our allies in CT and beyond will continue fighting forced drugging.
The father ignored him.
The mother indulged him.
Community health services only offered control methods.
The parents knew form very early, there was a serious problem.
Essentially it was the parents duty to communicate with their son and effect change – they did not or could not however they provided him with everything to develop as a danger to others.
The lesson is transformative personal growth was not tried. If not successful the parents or social institutions still have the power to limit the son’s resources and capability to do harm.
Transformative personal growth is the key and is what is missing and missing from the parents. Some parents do it naturally.
The answer does not come from castigating psychiatry , it comes form recognizing that there is an alternative to the control or “straighten up and fly right” one dimension solution to human problems.
Evil is only relevant to humans and is something created by humans – evil here was created by a failure of all concerned to address accept and love the negative side of humanity expressed in the son.
Evil is not created by humans and is not a “concept”, just like humans did not create God and God is not a “concept”.
When you come into direct personal contact with GENUINE EVIL, you most certainly will know it.
Saying that evil isn’t real or doesn’t exist will NEVER make it so. Ignorance and denial are tactics that humans employ to protect themselves from the Truth.
You sound like you are making an expression of anger. As such that’s a barrier to assisting transformation in others or oneself.
What’s wrong with being angry at injustice?
You are making an argument against something I didn’t posit.
Another point in your sentence – social justice or injustice is not part of this narrative. It’s just an incident , there is no one to punish.
You made an incorrect statement about the reality of evil. This has nothing to do with anger or transformation.
Evil is evil. Evil cannot be transformed. Evil IS. You denied the existence and reality of evil. If that is what *you* (and so very many others) need to believe, then that is exactly what you (and others) will do. But your denial and disbelief of the existence does not make it so.
You can dismiss what I’ve communicated and hail up something else in it’s place. But I’m focusing STRICTLY on the fact of the matter, which is that evil exists and is real.
Sorry I don’t have either beliefs or disbeliefs – if I find I do, I will examine and deconstruct them them with rationality and life experience. I don’t have supernatural beliefs – no use to mention anthropomorphic Gods to me.
Here, I just render unto human psychology to what human psychology is due.
So what you are saying is the 4 year old Adam is condemned by some supernatural thing called “evil” and incapable of emotional change and was ordained to be a mass murderer at age 20?
So that means the 4 year old being just as evil as the 20 year old must be exterminated or incarcerated in maximum security?
Or eternally punished? Whipped daily?
This does sound like the psychology of anger and revenge. If we don’t “believe” this theory of evil we can’t burn the four year old at the stake.
Cheated we are.
One can “believe” in evil or use the word evil in a practical human ways – in other ways it’s a usable word related to human behaviour and human choice.
This is no different that the brain disease theory of mental illnesses, – objectifying human behaviors and consciousness trying to control others through drugs or through punishment – failing to understand human psychology and that all human emotions are fluid an transformative.
Adam killed his mother in rage and killed the children to punish her or as part of his extended rage. Simply no onee ever interacted with Adam since childhood to help transform and handle his angers. They simply indulged or ignored him. They didn’t try – if they failed the parents would have been obligated to control him or incarcerate him not empower him as they did. They had total control over his environment. Children mirror themselves with their parents and in this case mirrored their failure the failure to address his anger.
This event is a reflection of attitudes ni the general society which does not accept nor know how to deal with anger – iognore it or medicate it but never accept it, love it and deal with it. The parents and extended society fialure with Adam reflects the general societal failure with themselves in rejecting grow ht processes dealing with anger. It’s their karma come back to bite them in a practical not supernatural way.