NO ONE Really Knew the Killer......
We are not dealing with mental health issues in children and young adults effectively, or there would not be mass shootings. The system to deal with disturbed children and young people is sadly inadequate.
Mental illness is still a stigma and a subject most care not to think about, talk about, or discuss in conversation. It is a very uncomfortable subject. The ones who suffer mental illness are uncomfortable to be around. It is easier to avoid them and look the other way. The system hands out pills that often make the patient worse; the insurance companies won't pay for proper therapy; and parents without insurance have no options to get real help for their disturbed children. So what it the talk in Washington....ban guns. That will not solve the problem.
What is the comment most stated about the killer?
It seems 'no one really knew him' in that small community. No one could tell the police much other than he was withdrawn , quiet, didn't relate to people or life well, remote, unreachable, and a social outcast. His brother was off on his own working and living his own life. He reports little contact in the past two years. His father sounds like a busy man as well. His mother loved guns it seems. He certainly knew how to use them. She did not even know her son or not well enough. Why would a mom keep guns in her house with an unstable teen there as well. That says to me, that there was a problem with her handling of the situation and of her real evaluation of his problems. She missed the severity of his mental state.
Sometimes, as parents, we are too close to our children to see the negative changes taking place in them. Somewhere along the way, she missed the clues that he was sinking deeper in his personality problems. It seems he had been going to a child psychologist all his life. Perhaps she should have changed therapists by that time. He had always been remote so people stopped trying to relate to him. He was that 'troubled child' in the neighborhood. We have no idea what influences he was getting from the internet. There are some real sick people out there, who can turn a weak mind, to destruction. He was mentally broken, probably some of it genetic.
They say he didn't seem to feel pain. He withdrew into himself often. He was home schooled because he couldn't cope with school. Perhaps it was not that he felt no pain, but felt it so intensely he could not function. Any child who hugs his books tight in his arms, and hugs the walls trying to avoid interaction is in pain. I am sure he was teased for all children who are different suffer in school. By all accounts, he was a broken child. Then something snapped inside him. He probably hated being different, having all those feelings seething inside of him for years. He probably blamed his mom for his existence and problems, including the divorce of his parents. His brother was too busy. Perhaps his brother's moving away caused him to feel that now, he had no one to relate to. He blamed children because they had tormented him in school. It was all their fault and he was seething inside. In his broken, twisted mind all the world, but especially children made him feel like a freak. He was intent on making them pay...all of them.
You will find no logical sane answers in patients with illogical, twisted thinking combined with raging anger.
What if someone one had tried harder to reach him in the community?
What if someone had taken the time to get him to talk?
What if someone had noticed that he seemed to be worse...to be more angry...and said something?
Perhaps someone might have realized he was ready to snap. Perhaps they could have warned his mom or others that this young man was dangerous.
After years of having a sick child, she may have stopped trying to reach him. It is very difficult to deal with kids who are remote and troubled. They often will not tell their parents anything.
Years ago, I ran a paper in El Centro. as well as health counseling several days a week. One of my jobs was cleaning out the money from the newspaper machines. The homeless and mentally ill were frequently found in those areas. El Centro, because of its mild climate, was a beacon for people who lived on the street. I grew to know many of them. I took them food at times and asked them to tell me their story. Most people avoided them, walked around them so that they would not have to deal with them. I wanted to know why. Many were mentally ill, some were vets. The health dept felt they were not a danger to anyone, so they were not in treatment. Funds were short in that area.
I remember one young woman who I saw one day eating dirt in the street. She was about 20, dirty, and covered with sores. The local restaurants would give her food but not let her inside because of the sores. She cowered like a frightened animal and did not talk. This day, people were laughing at her while she ate dirt. I went and got her some food. I gave her a clean shirt I had in the car. She was in her cycle and had bloodied jeans so I gave her a pair of clean jeans in the car as well. I told her that God wanted to help her. She said nothing, just looked at me in frightened pain. She disappeared after that so I don't know what happened to her.
The point is here is that people were laughing at her and pointing at her. No one did anything to her to help that day. I befriended many of the lost there. I gave them kindness if nothing else. I treated them as people not freaks.
Most of the mentally ill are not violent. They do not go out and butcher children. But they are broken people, who are not right. Sometimes the mentally ill do snap, as this young man did. They sometimes snap with violence against themselves or to others. Many of them are given up on and ignored. Ignored till the unthinkable happens.Our treatment of the mentally ill as a society is still often in the dark ages.
Perhaps no one could have prevented his angry rampage?
But did anyone really try?
No one really knew him. He was just a 'deeply troubled kid' in this small town.
This young man who went on the rampage was not evil, although what he did was evil. He was a angry, broken, mentally ill, lost soul.
It is such a tragedy, no one knew him enough to prevent his angry rampage.
It is sad that he did not get treatment, the right treatment, to stop him from this killing spree. If it wasn't guns, he might have taken the car and run the kids down on the street or taken in a home made bomb.
He needed intervention that did not happen.
Who missed this young man's spiral down into destruction? Who.........
Answer those questions, then set in place the preventive steps that are needed. One of them being, to make insurance companies pay for therapy not just drugs. There needs to be more institutions to house violent children with therapy given not just drugs. There needs to be more support for parents with disturbed children. Schools and communities need to identify these kids and get them help before they kill someone.
All for now,
Kate Freer, The Herbladyisin