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Edit: a post subsequent to the response to this one can be found here.

After this blog post was republished on Huffington Post, I thought it necessary to summarise the main reasons why it’s a terrible springboard for further conversation on the subject.

1)      The suggestion that this woman’s son is of the same type of person who would or will commit a “rage murder”, without any real evidence to back up this suggestion.

2)      The article doesn’t divulge, or even acknowledge, that its subject might have his own perspectives, beliefs and motivations that are worth mentioning. His mother’s perspective, mainly on his ‘evil eyes’ with their ‘calculated pupils’ is the only one given. Thus the child is presented solely as a problem, or at best, as a two-dimensional contradiction of his “behavioural problems” and his “intelligence” and not as a person with any more than shallow emotions. By reducing ‘mental illness’ to ‘outward behaviour’ the article dehumanises the mentally ill and completely glosses over the inner mental life and experiences of those with mental illness.

3)      The article complains about mental illness stigma while reinforcing it by explicitly tying it to violence, and in particular, mass killings. The reality is that there is no such observed link: “after analysing a number of killers, Mullen concludes, ‘they had personality problems and were, to put it mildly, deeply troubled people.’ But he goes on to add: ‘Most perpetrators of autogenic massacres do not, however, appear to have active psychotic symptoms at the time and very few even have histories of prior contact with mental health services.’” And most people with mental illness are not violent, although they are far more likely to be victims of crime (see here, for instance).

4)      The article, with this link established, implies a desire to stop violent crime allegedly perpetrated by those with mental illness should motivate better care and provision for those with mental illness, and not, say, the lower life expectancy, unemployment, isolation, suicidality, homelessness, victimization or in general the suffering endured by those with it. The continual disregard for this reality perpetuates stigma on all levels of society and further exposes those with mental illness to harm.

5)      Antipsychotics and antidepressants are not designed for children and most of them are not indicated for disruptive behaviour in children. Zyprexa, the prescription given to the child in the article, is not indicated for disruptive behaviour or autism in the US.  This sort of willy-nilly prescribing with little real knowledge of or regard for the long-term consequences, particularly for those whose brains are not fully developed yet, is potentially extremely damaging, and it’s not unlikely that a forever-changing cocktail of unwise psychotropic prescriptions contributes to worsening psychological problems. However, there is no criticism of psychiatric or pharmaceutical practice in the article: merely a cry for more of the same.

6)      You are NOT Adam Lanza’s mother. The sort of quasi-solidarity expressed in “We are [oppressed people]” or “I am [dead person]” appropriates the experiences of people who are unheard, in this case the victim of a mass homicide, and uses that to bolster a narrative that doesn’t even attempt to discover or represent the experiences of those they claim to speak for. Don’t do that.


  1. Did we read the same article? Sounds like you read what you wanted to read in order to call somebody out about it and…what? Feel better about yourself? Have you ever had to deal with a situation like the one described in the article? If so, I’d be surprised if you got everything right. Unhelpful judgement like this belongs in the Tumblr activism bin.

    • What sort of situation would qualify as “alike” to this one?

      Regardless of the way which the original writer deals with her son, this was barely touched on in my post, which deals with the way that “mental illness” is portrayed in the article and how it uses the totally unrepresentative and mostly unrelated issue of mass killings to discuss mental illness. Mostly, it concerns the damaging implications of this.

      Her article perpetuates and expresses more “unhelpful judgment” than I consider my post to — I consider my post a necessary response to the misleading distortion of her own.

      • I’m pretty sure she was referring to her son’s violent tendencies and casual threats of murder and revenge, not mental illness as a whole

      • I consider your post to be completely off base and needlessly invalidating the original writer’s feelings about the situation, but to each their own, right?

        • Natalie Buchinsky
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 02:38
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        What I appreciate about this mother’s ‘essay’ is her ability to acknowledge that she needs help. She never claims to have all the answers and, in fact, admits to the complete opposite, she says explicitly ‘I need help.’ Though you make some very reasonable points, I believe your overall attitude is one of someone who thinks he/she ‘knows better’ – and, for me, this is just as damaging to the validity of your voice as you claim her one sidedness is to hers. Who are you? Are you a mental care professional? Have you struggled with mental illness or have you lived the experience this woman is living? At least this mother is very open and honest about who she is, which allows any of us who value or don’t value her input to place her opinions within a specific context. Again, I agree with several of the points you made but I think your incapacity to acknowledge the CONTEXT in which her points were made is very disappointing. The woman is writing a blog post, not an academic article meant to be submitted to a psychology journal. Anyone who reads it should know that, and any intellectual or pseudo-intellectual attempting to re-contextualize it should at least have the maturity to acknowledge that as well.

        • Concerned
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 15:46
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        Thank you for a different viewpoint of this woman’s blog. I’ve posted my thoughts other places in the comments section, but I wanted to make sure that this message was near the top:


        According to her words, it seems clear that NOW there is mental instability, but there might also be quite a few REASONS why the son has these issues or at least why they are so severe. I do have sympathy for the mom, but given what the children have been through, I have more for the young child.

      • Thank you for this. I wrote a response to her article, as well, because I was so upset that she was basically telling the whole world that her son is a future serial killer with absolutely nothing to back that up. Because I know kids like she’s talking about. And I think I know what makes them act that way. And force medicating children and locking them away in mental hospitals is NOT the way to help them. And there is NO reason to believe that they are going to grow up to shoot up a bunch of kindergardeners. I think that she’s done a lot to perpetuate misunderstanding and harm of children with mental illness in this article.

      • You still miss the point. You continue to call this an article but it was a blog post from a pleading mother asking for help. In attempting to recontextualize her lived experience you come off as reductive. In addition to that I find most of your arguments shockingly inaccurate not a “necessary response,” but you are free to believe your own distortions

      • Congrats on entirely missing the point of the mother’s article. That takes skill.

    • “By reducing ‘mental illness’ to ‘outward behavior’ the article dehumanises the mentally ill and completely glosses over the inner mental life and experiences of those with mental illness.”

      1st of all—I’m not interested in Michael’s inner life! It’s something I will never know or understand and I certainly didn’t expect the author to paint it out for me.

      She couldn’t could she?
      Could you?

      She’s not ‘reducing’ it—she’s telling you what happened. Those things happened. Michael did those things.

      Michael is violent.

      I’d rather not worry about whether she ‘glossed’ over this violent children’s ‘inner life’ I’d rather something be done to prevent him from killing other children.

      Let’s concentrate on that shall we?

        • Jimsboy
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 01:22
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        Michael is violent and instead of being ‘torn’ about it because he ‘gets good grades’ she should be a parent. And being a parent means realizing when you’re an enabler. She’s content to ‘talk down’ her son when he ‘threatens her with a knife.’
        My family fosters and had adopted. I know exactly what it’s like to deal with mental illness. Mentally ill people are not ticking time bombs not are they scapegoats for ineffective parenting.

        • Bannef
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 02:05
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        Jimsboy – what on earth is she supposed to do? Punish him? She clearly tries, as it led to the second violent threat. Are you advocating a heavier punishment, or perhaps even a physical response (spanking him for instance)? Because he will be too big to physically punish or control very soon, so I don’t think that would help at all.

        What exactly is a parent supposed to do here, other than send a thirteen year old to jail, which isn’t exactly known for helping in these situations?

        • Inhershoes
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 04:26
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        Jimsboy, what do you mean by “she should be a parent”??? You “know exactly what it’s like to deal with mental illness”??? Oh really? You have some kind of problem on this scale? I doubt it. But guess what? I do. I have something that no doctor can even give a name to. It made me burst out like this kid. I had 7 younger siblings who had to lock their doors at night, who had to tiptoe around me, who never knew when or why I exploded. They were scared at the threats of murder and suicide, and no one knew what to do with me. My parents kept us alive, but I will never know by how much.
        This mother is simply sharing her experience, advocating for more awareness, and braving the storm of judgement scum like you will dump upon her. Far from being an ineffective parent, if she is able to keep her family alive, safe, and together, she is amazing.

      • Sara – Word.

        • Ears and eyes
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 13:55
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        Inhershoes – all of us, meaning the mentally ill, parents of mentally ill, and those that are both, are having a particularly difficult time with this methinks. Its hard to explain to the mundanes what its like without utterly sabotaging everything good that has ever happened for us. We are human beings with consciences. We love, we care, we fear, we don’t wish to be scary things. All we need is accessible, affordable, proper treatment and we are healthy and kind and just people. This sort of tragedy is truly rare, considering the population. It is terrible, and catastrophic, and horrifying, but fortunately truly statistically rare. The dialogue has begun. Regardless of whether this mother was wrong or inappropriate in how she broached the subject, talk. Learn. Change things for the better. Let these children and adults not have died in vain.

        • Miranda
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 16:45
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        Sadly, this glossing over of children’s “inner life”, their very humanity, is common in our country. It’s why it’s so hard for parents to get assistance for troubled kids.We have a long legacy of children as adult property even in our laws. Adam Lanza was never treated because his parents did not want that exposure. Homeschooling, gun carrying, extreme privacy – the Lanza’s did not “expose” the child’s struggle. They thought thaty had the “Right” to deal with ti their own way. They hid him away. “Protected” him and themselves from professionals who may have headed off the tragic direction his illness took. You can be sure a therapist would have dealt with his inner life. Not caring about a child’s inner life when they are troubled is simply cruel and de-humanizing. You don’t think a de-humanized child will strike out? If you want to prevent a child from killing children you better damn well deal with his inner life as your first line of defense because it is, ultimately, the driving force behind that desire to harm. I think parents are too attached to their own feelings about their children to take a long hard look at that disturbed and disturbing inner life.Get your child help and don’t stop fighting tooth and nail until you do – especially if he scares you!

      • No, because she didn’t tell you everything, did she? Whenever we tell a story, even if there is no real way to “get inside” someone else’s mind, we choose which details to include and not to include, don’t we? In her article, she chose the details that would make us afraid of her son, and would make us understand why she is afraid of him.

        And by choosing those details but without providing any context, herself, for them, she is implying that without intervention, her son is a serial killer in the making. As the author of this post says, that is an invalid assumption, #1. And #2) the mother gives no reason for her sons behavior. But I DO have experience with the exact type of behavior she describes. I was that child. I have raised that child. I have known many children like that. And in 100% of those cases, those children survived trauma. Severe trauma. Trauma greater than nearly anyone can imagine. Furthermore, the trauma nearly always involves the primary attachment figure–in this case, the mother of the original article.

        And THAT is why this child’s perspective needs to be considered. You would have us just condemn hurting children without even trying to understand them?

        • michelle
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 19:43
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        To Shane: what about a very troubled 13 year old boy’s feelings? Seriously, is it really ok to compare your son to a mass murderer in a public forum? Ever? I don’t think so. I am a mother of an individual who is very difficult at times for me to deal with, and there are much better ways for her to express her feelings.

        • michelle
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 19:46
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        That Michael’s mother is not ‘interested in his inner life’ is what troubles me most about her comments. That you do not is why I appreciate the article above. Re: ‘Id rather something be done to prevent him from killing other children.’ Which children? Was this woman’s linking her son to a mass murderer that effective for you? How does that help him or anyone struggling with mental illness? Or should we just lock them all up?

        • michelle
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 20:15
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        Sara. re: ‘I’d rather something be done to prevent him from killing other children,’ who has Michael killed exactly? Trying to understand his inner life is exactly what could help him and others with mental illness. I choose to concentrate on dispelling the many myths and stereotypes that prevent mentally ill people from getting the help they need. Michael’s mother has done much by writing her blog to perpetuate ignorant ideas about mental illness and that is why I appreciate the article so much above. I can’t really understand your lack of compassion for a clearly troubled 13 year old boy; you reduced him as well to the violent behavior he has exhibited and have explicitly denied any further interest in him. How will that attitude help anything? If we don’t look at his ‘inner life’ what else can we do but lock him up? Is that what you would have happen to him? Just keep him there because if we can’t look at his inner life we can’t help him.

      • “reducing mental illness to outward behavior glosses over the inner mental life and experience of those with mental illness” … you do realize that the DSM is simply a set of observable behaviors right?

    • “Feel better about yourself” = “mansplain to the stupid dimwit inferior female why she’s wrong, and feel better about yourself in comparison”.

      Reading comprehension = F.
      Creepy mansplaining = A+, head of the class.

      • Charlene. Put your mansplaining bullshit away. I am a man. And despite thinking this article was dead on, I shared it with other people, and despite thinking Kadbury was an asshole, your use of that term to describe a disagreement completely discredits you.

        Just stop. Not everything is about men versus women. Jesus christ.

      • +1 Matt Richmond. This is the new go-to move for anyone who feels that the act of disagreement in intrinsically disrespectful. They say they’ve been ‘derailed.’ Luckily, men are almost always the ‘derailers’–with their “mansplaining.”

        There are certain situations where I think this theory has value.

        Fortunately, Charlene has realized that she can just make this her go-to move as even the suggestion of sexism generally shuts up anyone who would think to disagree with her. And while silencing those speaking to you and invalidating their concerns is one of the key characteristics of derailment, it’s ok as long as she directs it at (even a hypothetical) man.

    • Exactly what I was thinking. How did that article illicit this kind of response? Makes no sense.

    • I like what you said…
      Also, I think the point has been missed- the school to prison pipeline is real… there are few supports for people in the area of mental health. [In my opinion, the existing “help” does very little- perhaps even exacerbating autonomy beyond reach].

    • I am an Abnormal Psychology student and this article sums up my reaction completely. This really shows the level of ignorance amongst popular culture about the stigmatization of mental health. America… the land of the ignorant gun-wielding. If only you knew how the rest of the world truly felt about you. It is not just the “arabs” that look down upon you.. but Canada, Europe and Asia too. It is exactly things like this that perpetuate that… but I guess you don’t really care what anyone else thinks because you are in the land of the free… a place where your child can be shot at school just like anyone else’s.

        • James dean
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 03:58
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        Last time I checked a bigger massacre was in Norway.

        • anonymousposter0000015
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 07:09
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        The only ignorant fool here is you. Massacres happen on a large scale all over the world, not just America. The same day this massacre happened, a knife wielding maniac went into a Chinese school and took down 22 children. If you could get over your hatred of a people streamed from idiotic stereotypes and bad reports on the news, you’d see clearly that this is not just an American problem, but world wide.

        • eed102
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 09:45
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        anonymousposte, not a single person was killed by the knife-wielding guy in China, and you know that.

        • tbirdy
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 15:20
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        If Europeans and Canadians react to these tragedies by looking down on Americans they simply forfeit a chance to be agential and or compassionate by being self-rightous instead. It’s a simple-minded reaction to an extremely sad and complex problem.

      • Um. The children in China may not have been killed, but 23, plus an elderly lady next door to the school, were certainly stabbed by a knife wielding guy.

      • Bryar – i have been a mental health professional for 41 years. my academic degrees include – undergrad degrees in nursing and in psychology; masters degrees in clinical counseling and one in school psychology; and a doctoral degree in child clinical counseling. your comment above is thoughtless, emotionally laden, and disparaging of the other. perhaps, with enough education and experience in psychiatry/psychology you will have processed through those most undesirable traits of yours/

        • DoriDee
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 23:50
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        To: Carolyn VanZorge.
        Thank you! After reading both articles I was waiting for someone to eloquently state what you did. There is ignorance about mental illness, and it usually comes from those who have never experienced it or been around it. People should educate themselves on the subject before hastily judging others on their struggles with mental illness.

        This mother was detailing her OWN experience with her struggles, so why are others so harsh to criticize her for it?

    • The implication that mass killers are actually not among the mentally ill doesn’t make any sense, mental health regards the mind, vastly mysterious and unknowable as well as the brain. “Mentally ill” is not just a term for those with a direct diagnosis of bipolar, ocd, schizophrenia etc. Someone who tends to keep to themselves may be labeled as having schizoid personality disorder, but someone who massacres children does not have a definable mental illness? Please. This woman’s son has no clear diagnosis either. She’s trying to find the humanity in the killer and relate to his parents in a ghandi like way, “i am you” this is a beautiful sentiment, christ-like consciousness, and should not be rationalized away with nit picky semantics. And this is coming from someone who works in a psych hospital, so i agree with not stigmatizing the mentally ill, but i think you just missed the larger point.

        • forusefuldiscussionnotvanity
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 13:02
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        Did Christ jump start a book tour from tragedy? Look deeper into the original author and her recent TV appearences.

    • Yea i dont think it changes anything. I dont think this mom meant for her post to go viral or represent anything. She is just a signle mom struggling with a kid who has mental issues and an ex husband with mental issues. I don’t see the point, esp. for liberals to bash her for partaking in a conversation we think should be had.

    • No real comment on the blog above, but I do agree she did not do her son justice by writing this article. To me, it seems she attributes the cause of his violent behavior to HIS mental illness. Have others read the rest of her blogs?? Do you know what this child has had to deal with in his young life?? The mom notes that her sons problems didn’t start until jr high, which I believe was after her own mental health issues, a messy divorce, and serious family upheaval.

      I feel some sympathy for the mom, and I’m not saying I blame her for everything (other than sharing intimate details about her son, as well as his picture, to the entire world) but my heart breaks for the boy.

      PLEASE READ HER ENTIRE BLOG and then see what you think:

      • Thank you. I knew from her description of his symptoms that he’s gone through trauma and specifically attachment trauma. I too, noticed that it didn’t start until middle school which signaled to me that something happened then, as well, but I didn’t know that there was more that she had written to the story. Please, folks, pay attention to this. Our job as adults is to recognize children in pain and to help them understand what they have been through and help them get through it and grow into healthy, strong adults. Condemning them further or talking about locking them away is only going to make the problem worse. Please.

    • maybe the author hasn’t been in a situation like this, but that’s irrelevant. The author was critiquing the way the “anarchist soccer mom” was presenting mental health, and well as the suggestions she was offering for society at large to deal with individual violence.

      and i have had to deal with many situations like the one described in the article, including from the perspective of the mentally unstable child as well as the person dealing with the one, and although there’s no one right way to deal with someone who is mentally unstable and uncooperative, threatening them, imprisoning them, feeding them powerful psychoactives, and then implicitly calling them a killer to the whole world is certainly not the right way to do it. i understand that this woman is probably overworked, with little to no help or knowledge about how to deal with her poor child, but that’s the point. we need informed, compassionate, and comprehensive discussions, information and infrastructure to handle our broken mental health system, and this woman isn’t particularly providing it, although simply talking about mental health is a good start.

    • I have to strongly agree @Kadbury – girlwhowasthursday fires off responses to various phrases and points as though it were a debate team assignment.

      It seems, girlwhowasthursday, reads with a bit too much literalism and very little empathy. Very left brained and somewhat confrontational… The mother’s blog, is about HER and her struggles raising her family WITH her son, whom she loves and fears and HIS mental illness.

      It’s a discussion point and one that needed to happen decades ago. Picking apart bits and pieces in order to place judgement (Medications? Really? Like that was the mother’s choice?) only serves to detract and avoid many of the issues that need to happen.

    • Let me tell you this Lisa Long verbally, emotionally and yes even mentally ABUSED her son if she truly spoke to her son that way. My parents abused me and that abuse caused me to be mentally ill and afraid of my parents wondering the next time they will strike me, in gesture and actual and at one time my Mom attempted to strike me in front of a police officer and I backed up and he did NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING but stand there to moderate a neighbor who is known to want attention from the police department and use my mental illness against me to have me go away. If mental illness is to be addressed then people need to be compassionate and stop fearing the mentally ill, many of them are isolated because once people know they avoid the mentally ill at all cost – great way to solve the mental health issues. People who suffer from mental illness go through a lot, that which an not be comprehended by sane people. I’m sorry but if people truly want a solution then get serious about it and deal with mentally ill patients case by case not group all in and institutionalize them.

    • just read a few more articles then, by the ‘my son is adam lanza’… maybe your opinion might change of her.

    • Right, exactly. I find it doubtful that a mother, of all people, especially one so eloquent as this one, would be too quick to pull the trigger and call her son out this way. But sure, ideally we should have confirmation from his siblings. If we get that, I think he should be locked up or monitored 24/7, on the public dime.

      I’d be curious to see a photo of the kid in question. I had previously thought myself to be against “judging a book by its cover”, but after seeing the ID photo of Adam Lanza, I was like “holy crap, let’s just lock anyone up who looks like THAT…Jesus”.

  2. not all people with mental illness want to cause other people harm.

    let’s also remember to show the same discretion when speaking about the individuals who lawfully own firearms.

    • My understanding is that a lawfully owned firearm was used by Lanza. It is not about the individuals but whether the potential for harm to society exceeds the pleasure individuals derive from owning a gun

      • Lawfully owned – by his mother. Irresponsible for her to have such weapons in a home with a son suffering from multiple personality disorder.

      • The same pleasure individuals derive from Ryder truck rentals and fertilizer? That’s what was used in 1995 to murder 19 children under the age of 6, along with 149 adults.

        • AdamAdam
        • Posted 16/12/2012 at 21:53
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        Are you referring to the “pleasure” protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution?

      • Could be possible her weapons were for her own safety from her son. We may never know and I’m in favor of extremely rigorous gun control. But if there’s one thing this tragedy spotlights, it’s the need for far more attention to mental healthcare.

        • Melissa
        • Posted 16/12/2012 at 22:52
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        Lawfully owned, however, not lawfully possessed. He was not 21, therefore could not lawfully own any kind of firearm other than a shotgun. The guns he used were essentially stolen from his mother.

      • @Rich– Multiple Personality Disorder, which has been more appropriately named Dissociative Identity Disorder, is caused by repeated and violent childhood trauma and is not the same thing as a Personality Disorder such as Histrionic, Narcissistic, or Sociopathy.

        DID does not predict violence itself, nor does any mental illness.

        There is no reason to assume that he had DID whatsoever, and as the disorder has been a mainstay of Hollywood thrillers for a very long time (Psycho, The Three Faces of Eve, Identity, United States of Tara, etc) without being properly understood by the writers and producers, and inaccurately portrayed, sufferers of it tend to feel extremely marginalized. Please be careful before making these statements.

    • This equivalency is false. Owning a firearm is a matter of choice. Owning an automatic or semi-automatic firearm capable of firing dozens of times in a few minutes is also a matter of choice. Mental illness is not a matter of choice.

      You are not your gun. If I point out that Adam Lanza would have had a harder time killing 26 people if he had had a lower-capacity gun that he had to reload manually, that is not an attack on you or your morals. It is a statement of fact. Pretending that guns don’t make it easier to kill people is asinine.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. As someone who has lived with mental health problems for my entire life, and someone who has a huge number of friends, family members, and acquaintances who have experienced a variety of mental health problems, including some of those that are brought up in cases like this, I find it deeply worrying and threatening to read some of the things said about mental health issues at times like this. It may be dressed up in concern and “a desire to help”, but it’s hugely damaging. It is also deeply offensive – as you rightly point out, the majority of people with mental health problems do not pose a serious threat to others.

    This kind of talk really does a lot to dissuade me from seeking more help or speaking openly about my mental health issues. There is an implication that if I admit to having mental health issues, I will be seen as a potential mass murderer. How many more people will that be true of? How many people will avoid asking for help for fear of being compared to Adam Lanza or other mass murderers? How many of those people will suffer needlessly when they could benefit massively from readily available treatment? How will we ever progress past the hateful stigma of mental illness?

    Thank you for writing this article. It is an excellent and reasoned response.

    • I agree with you whole-heartedly. It’s offensive that the MILLIONS of people diagnosed with a mental illness are now stigmatized and may be reluctant to speak publicly about their illness. Undiagnosed people who are suffering from mental illness (not LIVING with mental illness because they aren’t ‘aware’ of their illness) may never seek or receive mental health treatment.
      There are many personality disorders (antisocial, sociopathy, etc) where people with the illness will never or refuse to get treatment. They don’t believe they have a ‘problem’ (i.e narcissism)

      • Is it more important to fight a stigma or prevent real murder?

        • aravindh
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 07:05
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        @talia It is important to do both, and both are related because stigma is the very reason that mentally ill refuse to seek help.

    • I’m not understanding why people keep bringing up that MOST preople with mental health problems aren’t mass murderers. No kidding. Most people who own guns aren’t either. We aren’t talking about those people. We’re talking about people who are very angry and violent, homicidal, and suicidal. Are we supposed to not talk about them because it might upset people who aren’t? What the hell is that about? How about if you aren’t an angry violent person due to your mental health problems (guess what, I’m not angry and violent due to my mental health issues either!) you sit down and relax because this isn’t about YOU.

      • No one said Adam Lanza attacked people because there were guns in his house. People have said he would have a much harder time committing mass murder with weapons that couldn’t fire multiple rounds, because that is true. But LOTS of people have said he was “mentally ill” and said or implied that people with “mental illness” are dangerous.

        In fact we don’t know he was mentally ill, unless you redefine “mentally ill” as “willing to kill children.”

        • aravindh
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 07:02
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        Because the perception of the mentally ill has mostly been that of a psycopathic and violent person. Considering that most people are stigmatized as such and put into restrictive and environments simply because of our unfounded fears.

        • purplefireweed
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 07:44
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        Yup. I never once got the impression that the mom was implying that because her kid is mentally ill he is a potential mass shooter–it’s because his illness involves extreme violence. We are talking a small intersection of violently ill people who have access to guns. But this is still not necessarily a typical profile of mass shooters over the last couple decades. What a large number of these shooters have in common is the use of legally prescribed psychotropic drugs. Known to conjure self-destructive and homicidal feelings. We just don’t see the mainstream putting the pieces together as noted in the criticism above.

      • the problem, you close-minded fool, is that mental health is actually a horrific indicator of whether you’re likely to commit an act of violence. although, yes having a gun almost certainly means you are (unless they’re purely decorative, gun owner’s at the very least intend to shoot them at living animals), having a mental illness far more frequently means that you’re going to have a life full of sadness, confusion, fatigue, stigma, and other difficulties. but every time anyone reads an article like the one referenced here, they make the association between violence and mental health appear even stronger, which makes it even harder for those with mental illness, and could potentially even create the potential for violence (mentally ill people generally aren’t violent, but desperate, alone. maltreated people without social support or comprehensive care, and a severe stigma hovering over them just might be)

      • And what if you are an angry, violent child who has very good reasons to be an angry violent child. What if you have basically been shat on more than most people ever will be in their entire life and no one has given you any way to deal safely with what has happened to you. And as a result, you become angry and violent. Are we, as citizens, supposed to condemn you and lock you away? Is that justice? I don’t think so. There has to be a better way.

    • To paint mental health with such a large brush is much like calling broken limbs and cancer health issues.

      People generally understand there are various types of mental illness and it would be sad and somewhat self-destructive to use that fear of judgement to avoid seeking treatment for depression or feel stigmatized for having ADD as oppossed to medicating schizophrenia or severe bipolar disorder.

      The anarchistsoccermom’s blog post was merely a starting point – to open up discussions, to let people understand that there needs to be more help available. Not a finger pointing or shaming of the mentally ill.

      I sincerely hope you will continue to seek treatment and that you begin to feel better about you and all the wonderful uniqueness that makes you who you are. I hope the discussions starting because of these articles will help remove shame and foster more love and understanding of everyone so blessed with “abnormal” gifts.

  4. With all due respect, I disagree with your reading of the article. Yes, there are parents who shouldnt’ be parents. But no parent can raise a child like this alone — this mom is a single mom — in a regular home or send him to a regular school. I have a story very similar to Liza Long’s. Mother Blame doesn’t help. I think the woman was speaking to the fear parents of explosive kids feel, when nothing seems to help. She sounded like a mother who loves her son to me.

    • could you point out the mother blaming in this article? I didn’t notice any so it would be interesting to see where it is, as I’ve obviously missed something important you picked up on.

      • Adam lanza’s dead mother does deserve blame for having those weapons in her home.

        • Regular Job
        • Posted 16/12/2012 at 23:03
        • Permalink

        Adam Lanza’s mom is to blame for her own death – having weapons in her home that could be used against her. But how is she to know that her son would go around shooting children?

        Rich your statement is naive.

      • Responsible gun owners with children in the home, or people who are known to be unstable, should have their guns locked up, the ammo locked in a different place & the children or unstable residents should have no idea how to get the guns. It’s elementary gun safety. Rich is right…she failed.

    • Yes, with all due respect, this article spoke to me on many, many levels. I am a single mother of a high-need child with a very large psyche file. I don’t use any of the labels except to provide a ground-work for any discussions I may have. She is a mother who is doing her best and who loves her son. I am the same. I am doing my very best. And the threat of my son on society is very real.

      I want this to open a discussion about the need to help our citizens who struggle with mental illness. That’s it. This tragic event will hopefully provide change for the betterment of our society and moreover our humanity. I need help and quite honestly, I feel alone much of the time. That is not ok.

      Let’s keep the conversation open, kind, accepting of other views and most of all – humane.

    • She may love her son, but I don’t feel she did him justice by writing this article. To me, it seems she attributes the cause of his violent behavior to HIS mental illness. Have you read the rest of her blogs?? Do you know what this child has had to deal with in his young life?? The mom notes that her sons problems didn’t start until jr high, which I believe was after her messy divorce and serious family upheaval. I feel some sympathy for the mom, but my heart breaks for the boy.


  5. Sorry but, while I see your points about stigmatization, I don’t see what was so wrong with the blog post. She’s relating dealing with a violent, unpredictable and manipulative child. There was no attempt to tie violence to mental illness from what I read.

    Hell she even complains passionately of the lack of adequate care her child would get and how he’d be thrown into prison because we’re not equipped to handle his particular problems.

    • Aside from the fact that she is comparing her child to a mass murderer, there’s no attempt to tie mental illness to violence.

      That’s a pretty big aside.

      • So if the child has a mental illness, and is being violent and making threats, when is it okay to voice a concern about his possible actions against other people, without being accused of making the tie between mental illness and violence? We should all understand that the two are not necessarily linked; but that understanding does not help her find him help *before* he acts on those threats.

    • Here’s one issue: by all accounts, the Connecticut shooter was not a violent, unpredictable, manipulative child. Everyone described him as being quiet. There are no reports suggesting that the shooter regularly threatened his mother or acted violently toward anybody until he decided to kill some people.

      Maybe he did, but the woman who wrote the blog post doesn’t know that any more than we do.

  6. I’m writing this passionately because I’ve lived this, not as a parent but as a once-troubled child who has gotten a ton of help, and I totally disagree with this article. It basically amounts to “you mentioned X but didn’t mention Y, Z, A, B, & C so I’m disregarding your statement about X in the first place,” particularly in paragraph #4.

    You’re fundamentally misunderstanding the meaning of the original author saying “I am Adam Lanza’s mother,” which is really about a parent’s feeling of helplessness in trying to cope with a disturbed child, much as other parents of troubled kids feel helpless in the face of handling their kid’s behavior, and as my own mother felt in trying to handle my troubled childhood and adolescence. You’re trying to characterize it as the author “appropriat(ing) the experiences of people who are unheard” (i.e. troubled children themselves) but the people for whom she is speaking is other parents in similar situations. You complain that the author isn’t taking the kid’s perspective into account but the fact is the the mother simply can’t get into the head of the child completely. It’s impossible. The only truly valid perspective she can write from is her own.

    What you’re really wishing for is an article written from the kid’s perspective, which is another different and perfectly valid point of view that could be written by you or me or someone else. Instead you’re taking it out on this mother’s point of view because she’s writing from her perspective.

    • Thank you. You hit the nail on the head.

    • Then the original post author could have said, “I am also a mother who has a child with personality disorder” instead of “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” By all current accounts, Lanza’s mother did not have the same situation with him at all. How much understanding will we lose when people assume that Lanza had the same disorder, same behaviors?

      • No one ever argued that they were suffering from the same disorders. You, also, have missed the entire point that this mother, like Lanza’s, is struggling with helping her child. She is at a loss.

      • I believe the original writer’s reference to herself as Adam Lanza’s mother is a cry for help as she obviously believes that her son could turn on her and harm her and her other children. The only options she was given was to have the child go through the Jail system, which in this country or any country, and to anyone reading this, should be unacceptable. Today’s prison system does little to rehabilitate anyone…much less someone with a mental disabilities.

      • I think it is called effective writing.

    • I agree with you completely, Michael!!
      It is absolutely true that not all people with mental illnesses are violent. Absolutely. But some are, and Liza Long is just sharing her experience with her son who DOES happen to be violent. You cannot disregard that fact- not when she discusses the intimate details that she does in her article. While claiming that Liza Long is disregarding the voice of her child and attempting to speak as if she were Adam Lanza’s mother, I actually think it’s quite presumptuous of you to imply that perhaps if Adam Lanza’s mother were still alive today, she wouldn’t relate completely to what Liza Long is saying. Perhaps if she could have read the article, she might have responded with fervor. We can’t really know, but the point is, is that this article was not written by an outside observer with no relation or experience to a violent child with mental issues, and who is trying to assert her opinion or “appropriate experiences” as you say. She is living in the situation, and her opinion and experiences COUNT. Do not dismiss them. I do understand part of the point you are making; that if an uninformed or narrow-minded person were to read her article, they might make too much of a connection between mental illness and mass murders..i.e. believing that if someone has a mental illness they are automatically capable of murdering someone. But I don’t think there is strong enough evidence in her article for you to support your case on that point. This mother clearly loves her son and is trying the best she can. I respect your academic view on her article and the wish to give a voice to the unheard, but I believe you are pulling unfounded issues from an article that is just about trying to help more people understand.

      • She is an outside observer of Adam Lanza. She *does not* know what Nancy Lanza lived with.

        Children with mental health problems are individuals so I’m not sure what you mean by “the situation”.

    • Perfectly summed up. This article was just hateful.

    • I was gonna say that, but I wouldn’t have said it as well.

    • Thank you, Michael. Well put. I’m so thankful you had good care and think the whole point of the original article is just that. We need to understand and embrace the mental health if our children. This response berating the author/mother of a child in need of help is an example of so much overly activist rhetoric that misrepresents other’s opinions in order to support their own.

    • Michael, you said it. My family has had similar experiences, and you’re right, Liza Long’s post was about her perspective, and no one else’s. And everybody else who is worried that talking about mental health issues in the context of violence will further stigmatize those with mental illness – I think you’re right, but it doesn’t change the fact that my nephew, who suffers from much of the same behavioural disorders as Long’s child, is going to end up dead or in prison, because there is no help available to him. And now imagine how my sister feels raising him. Long’s article shines a spotlight on how inadequate people with children like this feel, and how their fear (for themselves and their children) affects them and you, “Thursday” have just reinforced those feelings. She can’t even name her experience right. Good job.

    • Well put. Thank you.

    • Well said!

    • THANK YOU MICHAEL! For real.

    • Hold on. I’ve also lived this. I started trying to kill myself when I was 8, I started threatening and committing violence against family members shortly thereafter. I screamed for extended periods and broke things and tore my clothes on a regular basis and couldn’t go to school. My family never took me to a mental ward, although they did get me a therapist. I was put on a very very low dose of Prozac and in high school an extremely high dose of Adderall that eventually caused chest pains and multiple ER visits. When Dylan Harris and Eric Klebold killed all of those people, I had to talk through violent fantasies with my shrink. I and my family continue to deal with the legacy of my struggles, but also with the complications that were caused by my interactions with the mental health field. Today I work with people with developmental disabilities, specifically people who have in the past been dangerously violent or are currently dangerously violent. The perspective I have from my childhood helps me understand the frustrations the folks I work with feel and gives me the patience to endure being physically attacked on a weekly basis and responding with love and acceptance. In a very real way I have dedicated my life to dealing with these issues. Despite all of that, I’m not Adam Lanza, my mother isn’t Adam Lanza’s mother. When I read the original blog post I was deeply disturbed and offended and worried. While the mother’s call for greater access to mental health services and family support for children who struggle with violent urges is generally a good thing, she goes about it in a way that completely dehumanizes her son and implies that what we need is more hospitalization, drugs and institutionalization of these people, which sure as hell isn’t how I dealt with my problems. She clearly has difficulty relating to her son, which is understandable, but she makes him sound like that kid from the Omen or something while simultaneously seeming to rob him of his individuality. I don’t think she’s a bad person, but the article is a bad article. It fails to deal with the complexity of these issues.

        • AngelaThorn
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 07:22
        • Permalink

        I agree with you neuroradical. I had some of the same problems as a child. I was violent and unpredictable. But that didnt make me an Adam Lanza or my mother Adam Lanza’s mother. I think one of the reasons I’m a mostly normal well adjusted adult today is because my mother never thought of me as something evil or damaged or someone who deserved to be institutionalized. She never gave up on me or settled for a quick fix. I have sympathy for this woman and the problems wih her son but I think the first thing she needs to do is stop thinking of her child as a future mass murderer. I think that would help her son out quite a bit.

      • Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. It is good to see that you survived your early experiences and are now using them to help people.

    • Yes. That’s how I read it also.

    • I’m sorry Michael, but the mom could have mentioned her divorce. She could have mentioned everything the family was going through. But she didn’t. And she didn’t because it would have been painful for her to do so. Which I think is one of the fundamental problems we have when dealing with kids with such huge issues. Parents can’t admit that there is something real going on. If they can’t admit that there is something real and bad going on at home or in the child’s life, then there is no possibility for the child to get real help.

      Lots of people fail at parenting. In fact, everyone fails at parenting. At least a little. That’s not the issue. If you’re willing to tell the whole world that your child is basically psychotic and poses a risk . . . If you’re willing to say it in order to raise awareness about troubled kids . . . then you need to be willing to examine the real source of your child’s pain. And face it, most people aren’t. Even reasonably good parents aren’t. Because it means examining themselves and their own problems. And it means admitting that they’ve caused harm. And we’ve all caused harm. But most people aren’t willing to look at that. And I think that’s the root of the problem.

      • Well said neuroradical, Angela Thorne, and Pam Watts. Ignoring the context of the child’s pain and internal dialogue is part of the problem. While you can’t *know* what goes on in another’s head, if you’re responsible for protecting and nurturing someone, you better keep trying. I don’t think that point is exclusive of the need for empathy for parents… Or better access to care… Or reasonable gun control laws. And I don’t understand why some people seem to be saying they’re exclusive of one another. It’s possible to feel empathy for Liza long but have misgivings about how she publicly communicated her fears and concerns, copping the specter of a painful mass killing to amplify her message.

    • Very well said @Michael.

  7. Wow, that was one over the top response to her blog post. Wow.

    This woman lives with this everyday and every night, she had to hide all sharp objects in a tupperware container, but she doesn’t know what she is talking about?

    Yeah, she should STFU about her own real and personal experiences.

    • Agreed completely

    • What leads you think that because she’s experienced one child with mental illness, she’s experienced them all?

      She *has not* had Nancy Lanza’s experiences.

  8. I had a very visceral “eep” response to the original article and couldn’t quite pinpoint why.

    I was disturbed by how she spoke about her child, as if he was already a murderer-to-be. And I was saddened that the child, who is victimized by his own mother’s blog posting (hope he never reads THAT on the internet!) is not given a true voice.

    And there is a big part of me that objects wholly to comparing or expecting your child to end up like a person who has just murdered 27 people, most of whom were children. It goes back to my concern above – you have just publicly claimed your own child, who is of age to read the internets, is going to eventually murder you and dozens of other people. That’s pretty awful. I do not mean to dismiss her struggles being a single mother caring for a son she is afraid of, but I have to wonder if this is the best opportunity to discuss it…and I question how she frames it too.

    By all accounts to date, Lanza was nothing like this woman’s child. Maybe we will get a better picture someday of Lanza, but to date, all that those who have known him have said is that he was painfully shy and very intelligent. No one has yet to come forth to observe that Lanza had outward signs of aggression (like what the mother describes).

    At the end of the day, humans are complex, sentient beings. Not everyone receiving mental health services – therapy, drugs, etc – will react the same or cope the same. Yes, improving access to mental health services is important but it isn’t going to prevent these types of tragedies. It just isn’t.

    • YES, thank you.

    • my sentiments exactly. thank you.

    • Liza Long has had to train her two younger children how to hide and lock themselves in a car whenever Michael gets hold of a knife and threatens to kill everyone, and your primary concern is that it might hurt his feelings if he reads what his mother wrote on HP. We can’t have any sort of discussion about how to improve mental health for potentially violent killers. We can’t have any sort of reasonable gun control because the 2nd Amendment guarantees the rights of people with paranoid delusions to own assault weapons. God, what a wretched shit-hole of a nation this is. I wish there really were a Mayan Apocalypse this Friday to wipe us away. At least it would be quicker than a slow death from despair over unremitting horror.

      • Yes, it really does make that whole Mayan Apocalypse thing a lot more appealing…

      • “…and your primary concern is that it might hurt his feelings if he reads what his mother wrote on HP.”

        This is just hateful.

        She puts up her child’s picture and writes an article about him under her real name in which she tells the world he’s scary and dangerous and indistinguishable from young men (not children) who murdered dozens of people, and you think that’s acceptable…as what? Revenge?

        And yet it’s the people defending him who lack compassion. Right.

    • The reality is that living with mental illness can affect those surrounding and caring for the mentally ill. Liza Long could potentially develop PTSD (provided she hasn’t already) from consistent fear and terror and I know from personal experience that this is another ‘swept under the rug’ mental health issue that should be brought out into the open for a healthy public discussion. If her son finds the help he needs, believe me that finding a cure (or a system to maintain stable mental health) is something they will both want to share with others openly.

      • Her son has PTSD already. And he dissociates. And he has trauma in at least one of his primary attachment relationships.

        • pookiesmom
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 23:53
        • Permalink

        @pamwatts: I think what Lina is saying is that the MOTHER may have PTSD, as well as the son.

    • Well said, Marji.

    • I really hope her kid doesnt read her article. That would really mess anyone up to find out your own mother thinks youre a evil pyschopath

  9. I agree with this post. I would in no way condemn the mother as a bad mother and I don’t think Thursday did either. I don’t think she in any way judged this mother’s caretaking of a son prone to unpredictable outbursts of rage and violence.

    I read the article in a very similar way- firstly, I would object to her subsuming Adam Lanza and his mother’s relationship into her son and hers. We know very little about Adam or his mother, and whether he was violent or angry or whether his mother struggled with this. It’s just as likely that he was quiet and showed little to none of these symptoms before, as in the statistics of other mass murderers Thursday quoted.

    She took Adam’s and other unheard voices and assumed she could speak for them. The woman was trying her best to make a point regarding mental healthcare in America but she did so in a way that could be offensive to all of the families she named as similar to hers.

    And yes, as Thursday said, her portrayal of her son was two-dimensional, and she could have maybe made her argument stronger (in my opinion) had she led with a little more information about the times her son was his usual happy self. A few positive anecdotes could have easily made him seem more relatable as a person and as a troubled teenager with undiagnosed issues, but instead I just got an impression of a very angry, scary young man.
    Thank you for point #6 Thursday, that was my biggest objection to the article.

  10. Clap clap clap clap {ovation}… I totally agree with you. It is our social factual law of equating difference to illness that is the problem here, there, and everywhere.

  11. This is fantastic. Thank you.

  12. 1) Unfortunately this logic would indicate that there is no possible way to help people *before* another tragedy happens, as the only evidence would be the act of causing such a tragedy.

    2) The article was about *her* experiences from *her* perspective and she has every right to share her story like anyone else.

    3) The article discusses a complex and overlooked aspect of the problem in that the author states that she loves and cares for her son, but is at a loss for how to deal with the situation. She has faced the very real and genuine threat of lethal violence and is desperately looking for a way to save her loved ones and herself and is not finding much help.

    4) On this point, I’m not sure I understand you. She *IS* advocating for better care and help and she is telling the story of a desperate mother who is trying to find a solution to an incredibly difficult and overwhelming situation. She speaks lovingly of her son and states that she needs help finding a way to keep him and others safe.

    5) Clearly diagnosis and treatment are complex and difficult matters even for people who have dedicated their lives to studying and practicing them. This mother said that she has tried and continues to try every avenue available. If you have a solution to her problem, why haven’t you offered it?

    6) There is nothing wrong with the sentiment of solidarity. If we aren’t allowed to empathize with others then we are worse off as a whole. This person very well *COULD* be the mother of the next mass murder and she is trying to tell people how hard it is to find help before its too late.

    It seems that along with the challenges of raising a family, coping with what must be a very painful and difficult situation, and trying to find a way to protect her son and others she must also endure the scorn and mockery of those who feel she just isn’t getting it right.

    How is this helpful?

    • “Unfortunately this logic would indicate that there is no possible way to help people *before* another tragedy happens, as the only evidence would be the act of causing such a tragedy.”

      Forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz has been studying mass murderers and serial killers for decades now, and he has some pretty interesting findings about mental illness, mental disorder, and murder. One significant one is that, in the case of serial killers and mass murderers who plan their attacks, they ARE in control and they DO know that they’re not supposed to be killing people. They’re not out-of-control, compelled by mental illness and unable to know what they were doing; they’re killing to achieve a desired end result, much like thieves steal because they want money.

      In the case of mass murderers, what they’re often after is infamy. “Glory.” Dietz has been telling the news media for years that sensationalizing coverage of mass murders eggs on future mass murderers. Media emphasizes body counts (to the killer, that = achievement), re-enacts the incident step by step over and over again, pores over every detail of the killer’s life trying to figure out why he did it, puts it on television 24/7. If we want to stop these tragedies, *that* is the first place to focus–taking away the glorification that they seek, that inspires other people to become mass murderers.

      • I think it would be more than tragic enough if the child had managed to stab the mother, his siblings, or follow through on killing himself, don’t you?

        Please don’t get hung up on the very narrow concept of a certain type of mass killing. The mother was making the point that identifying violent traits early is difficult and complex and doing anything about it even more so. This is a valid point.

        You may be right about the profile of may killers and you may be right that the media makes it worse, but there were mass murders long before TV and internet.

        Not covering or discussing these things has a much worse effect of increasing general ignorance and decreasing information. You and I couldn’t be having this discussion without said media coverage.

      • Park Dietz is a liar and a fraud.

    • Totally agreed. This blog post is shameful.

      • I don’t think this post is shameful.

        It has some valid points, but I don’t think its very helpful. And I certainly think it’s less helpful than the original article it criticizes.

    • “Unfortunately this logic would indicate that there is no possible way to help people *before* another tragedy happens, as the only evidence would be the act of causing such a tragedy.”

      Human behavior is so full of nuance that no, there’s really no sure and true way to stop these tragedies. Sometimes the first evidence really is the act. Sometimes there’s other evidence, but nobody knows what to do with it — can’t put the pieces together, not even with professional help. Or they can, but who will believe them? So yes, that is exactly what this logic indicates: sometimes there’s no stopping a killer.

  13. I disagree with your post but I’m not going to tear you down for expressing your own opinion.
    However, the “timing” of it is somewhat insensitive. They haven’t even held funeral services yet and you’re already creating a somewhat combative atmosphere. The community and the country are trying to unify and come together. I don’t think this is the “time” for division. These shootings raise issues that need serious discussion and dialogue but this is not the right moment. Right now we just need time and space for grieving. Having said that, I also think she could have waited a little longer to post her views regarding mental illness. It’s not just what you say, it’s also when and how you say it.

    • There’s already a “combative” atmosphere, from all the nasty bigoted comments being made about mentally ill and autistic people, simply because rumours say the shooter may have been mentally ill and/or autistic. So far I and people like me been called soulless, told that god has damned us, and called a problem. If that’s not combative, I don’t know what is.

  14. 1. Why do we mention the man’s name who did this evil but not his mother’s name? Why do we give glory to him even after death and not to his victim?

    2. I dislike the “here let’s help you with more of the same type of help you’ve been given that hasn’t worked so far” talk either.

    3. I did not read the blog post this was in reference to. I didn’t have to as I have read countless articles of that type, where mom is trying to connect her child to the latest mass shooter in an attempt to gain something: be it sympathy, understanding, help, clicks-for-profit, whatever. I think those that find this response article to have done a disservice to the original may need to reread this response. It seems from the post itself, the comments left here and the one reply by the author so far that I’ve seen… that the writer here is making a “bigger picture” point about the article, not the necessarily details.

    4. Y’all know this guy that well? Wow. The articles I have read have not mentioned ANYTHING about behavior problems. They’ve floated the idea that the kid had Asperger’s–which can’t be confirmed either at this time. And they missed the fact and had to make a push with statements from autism-proud agencies that Asperger’s not does equal mass murderer or violence. They had to point out the freakin’ obvious. All we know is, those interviewed said he was “shy” and “intelligent” and MAY have SELF IDENTIFIED as having Asperger’s. We don’t know that he was even diagnosed with anything last time I got an update on this story.

    So, before we can relate to anything in this tragedy, I think it’s best we wait and find out what we’re supposed to relate to. There’s far too little details to get a picture here. And, not to mention, my first point: glorifying the evil that chose to commit this heinous act just sets it up for the next one to out-do. What’ll be next to make my name bigger? I want to commit suicide but I also want to go out with a bang–to make the news I now have to top THAT GUY.

    It’s all sad and tragic all the way across the board.

    • EXACTLY.

    • I didn’t even need to read past point 1. I think you made an exceptional point that really resonated with me and can’t be understated. Had the original blog author titled her entry, “I Could Be Nancy Lanza,” (or something similar) I think a lot of the feelings of uneasiness people had reading it might have been different.

      I don’t know if that’s where you were going with this, but it really struck me on that level – as well as the “let’s not further immortalize the shooter” as well.

      Thank you for this post, and for demonstrating patience and conscientiousness so lacking in the internet world.

  15. I am not sure why you have had such a knee-jerk reaction. We obviously don’t have all (and may never have) all the details of Adam Lanza’s and his mother’s life, but this woman is CLEARLY afraid her son will grow up to do something similar.

    She’s struggling against tidal forces in a system that is clearly broken and needs to be fixed. No, she might not truly understand the Lanzas’ story, but she is clearly crying out for help and sees herself and her son in the Lanzas. Most people with mental illnesses may never be violent, but it seems really clear to me in this case she’s afraid will be in the future.

    Why didn’t you take it further? Adam Lanza might have had violence inflicted upon him at some point and finally decided to turn that rage outward. In your desire to criticize the original blog piece, it seems you were just as two-dimensional.

    • Why would we speculate about whether violence was done to Adam Lanza? We have no facts. We have no information.

  16. I will say from working with the mentally ill…they are most likely to hurt themselves than others. That said, having any firearms or knives in the house.. is insane if you have a child like this. I also know, from what the mother has written, and talking about this with the person we work with…this boy will end up in prison and he will more than likely hurt himself or someone else. Period. The response when this was brought up at the weekly skype meeting, “oh yeah, he’s someone we have no clue how to treat. Prison is it, and all that is missing is who he hurts or kills to get there.” Not scientific, but for now, psychiatry is very unscientific. (Our group includes a police officer who volunteers, he hates that he has to be the first line defense with teens and young adults like this. He thinks a good group home, that can really treat and work with the children 24 hours a day in an environment that keeps everyone safe is the only thing that he’s seen that works). These kids grow up and kill far more one by one by one, but we forget the “small killings”.

  17. She was giving voice to her experience, a perfectly valid and useful thing to do. I felt sympathy for the child, and for the mother, her frustration with a broken system that is not very effective and basically wants to label all mentally ill people as violent and/or undesirable, lock them away, drug them up, and toss the key. In fact I did not feel the article vilified the child, rather the opposite.

    • Nobody is saying she shouldn’t give voice to her experience. She just shouldn’t appropriate the experiences of other people, whose experiences she can only speculate about, to give voice to her own experience.

  18. I shared the original post because I think she described her personal experience very well and I think it’s an experience that people need to know about, that we all need to know about and think about.
    I respect the points you’re making and I agree that we haven’t been given reasons, at least not yet, to compare this woman’s personal experience to the personal experience of Adam Lanza’s mother. But I understand that she was reaching out about a very real problem, and if tens of thousands of people are reading her “reaching out” piece, then I think something positive has happened. People are talking.

    I agree very much with some of what you’re saying; particularly point 4. But people don’t like to think and/or talk much about this sort of thing, and maybe now that we have their attention, thanks to the original poster, we can get people to listen to the important things you’re saying. Thank you for your post.

  19. Not all mentally ill people commit crimes. Not all people with access to firearms use them to shoot people. However, in order to improve things and prevent further mass killings, perhaps we should acknowledge that the Adam Lanza’s are mentally ill and have access to guns?

    • Except that we don’t know that Adam Lanza is mentally ill. Precedent actually suggests that he isn’t.

  20. How insensitive of that desperate woman for not refusing to give her kid THE ONLY THINGS THE “EXPERTS” OFFER HER AS HELP. You’re really a jackass. I had a friend with three kids like this. One was hospitalized at age 10 for trying to kill her. She was a patient, kind woman who set firm boundaries with her kids, but she lived in a hell not of her own making. I hope for your sake the karma fairies don’t smite you with a similar situation, because no one should suffer like that.

  21. “And most people with mental illness are not violent, although they are far more likely to be victims of crime”

    I don’t really know what this means. You are lumping the entire spectrum of mental illness all together into one thing. Yes, the majority of patients with antisocial personality disorder have a history of violence. Psychosis isn’t even a DSM defined entity. You are propounding things without any thought or knowledge.

    • There’s some debate as to whether disorder equates to illness, but I have to ask: do people with ASPD or similar personality disorder constitute a significant majority of those considered mentally ill? If not, then wouldn’t it be true that most people with mental illness are not violent?

  22. Clearly you have never been a family member watching a loved one out of control due to mental illness, convinced that family member will hurt themselves or another person – but screaming for help results in nothing – you are told the individual has to hurt themselves or someone else before the authorities will intervene. And when they do intervene, prison is the likely outcome, with its tortures.

    In the case of a mother, the message is a. you alone have to fix it and b. if the child hurts someone else, it is all your fault. When you are doing everything you know to help your child (and in many cases, protect other children in your care), the coldness of the community hurts the most.

    I would love to hear more from the perspective of someone with this type of mental illness, but that is not the story being told here. The story here is of a parent of such a child. We don’t know how this relates or not to the murders in Connecticut, but it is still a valid story to hear.

  23. I think this post is wonderful, especially your 3rd and 6th points. It’s amazing how quickly we all want to jump on the bandwagon here and assume we have some sort of insight as to what happened. Truth is, we don’t know what his issues were, what services he was or wasn’t getting, or even what his mental state was at the time. We may never know.

    I found the mother’s experience in the original post to be heartbreaking. I have no doubt in my mind that her daily experience is hellish and that she is having trouble getting help. But what I found insensitive was her presumption that her son and this killer were somehow automatically the same.

    • Exactly. I found her statements of “I am _____’s mother,” completely insensitive. In the majority of cases, there is no record of those boys behaving anything like she says her son Michael behaves. While I sympathize with her situation, I feel like she might be trying to get sympathy from a tragic event that in no way involves her.

  24. As somebody who has siblings that have various degrees of mental health issues, I totally understand what the original post was saying. I don’t think she’s convinced her son is going to murder somebody. I think she’s convinced that he could, far more easily than others. Does it mean everybody with some sort of mental health problem will? Of course not. But the rage she describes is one I’ve seen– a child that can be sweet and kind and loving one moment can be, a literal moment later, the kid that you’re pulling off his brother before he stabs him with his pocket knife that he stole (again) from the supposedly locked drawer where it was supposed to be off-limits to him. And who do you talk to about something like that without people starting to avoid you and your family and your kids? There DOES need to be more support for parents like this and parents of kids dealing with this kind of behavioral problem need to not ignore it or feel like they have no recourse for help.

  25. I agree she is not Adam Lanza’s mother for two reasons.
    1. She does not have an arsonal of guns in the house
    2. She is proactive about with letting people know her son is a threat and on top of that she seems to be really doing something about it.

    • BINGO!

    • 1. She does not have an arsonal of guns in the house

      But…while Nancy Lanza did have an “arsenal”, as you say, we don’t know that her son had ever given any indication that having such weapons in her house could be an issue, much less that he might use them so wrongly and in such a heinous way.

  26. I have an idea. Let’s learn how to be gentler in our analysis. Let’s use language that doesn’t shame a woman who hasn’t had access to the value system you live by.YES, let’s talk about the issues in her essay but let’s also give this mother some room to express herself without being shamed by the radical community. Connection BEFORE ideology,

  27. I’m finding both sides very interesting as well as the comments. But from what I got from the original article is that the woman is relating to Lanza’s mother, dealing with a mentally ill child. I can’t help but wonder, if Adam was anything even close to what “Michael” is, why would Mrs. Lanza have any legally owned guns in her possession?? The woman in the article had to hide her kitchen utensils from her son. Makes me think that Adam might of possibly been the complete opposite of “Michael”? I just feel sad for the mentally ill people that now feel like they are being looked at like possible terrorists. Sure, mental illness is something to be looked at, but I don’t believe they will all eventually become mass murderers. Did they ever confirm the shooter at the Oregon mall to be mentally ill? The woman who raised the shooter in that case said she had no explanation for her “son’s” behavior. It just comes to show, anyone is capable of doing horrible, horrible things.

  28. I think that the mother was expressing her experience of, at times, being genuinely afraid of her own son, which anyone can only imagine would be a devastating thing to have to deal with on a regular basis. I think she was saying that she sometimes could see her son causing harm or danger to others (which he has done to her on many occassions, so its not a completely irrational thought), and that causes her some degree of fear or worry. I think she did a good job of helping us to understand and sympathize with both her and her sons situations. I don’t think she was suggesting everyone with mental health issues is violent or that anyone who would commit such crimes necessarily has a mental illness.

    I think her article was a personal reaction that was sensitive to and aware of the complexities of mental health issues, while still sharing her personal experience of it. In that light, I don’t really think its fair to criticize someone who is drawing from their own life experiences to try to make sense of life or the world or bigger social issues. I feel like you are extrapolating more from her article about the stigma of mental health. I think a lot of what you write is valid and fair and worth our thought/concern/attention, but I think you have unfairly attributed these concerns to the mother who was only trying to express the complexities of raising a child with a mental illness who sometimes expresses violent behaviour.

  29. I’ll be frank. I have quite a number of close family members with moderate to severe mental illnesses, and I really don’t get why people are freaking out so much about your critique of this article, which I find similarly inadequate to you. I don’t consider this to be “unhelpful judgement”, not in the least. Nor do I consider you and the mother having valid points to be mutually exclusive. For instance, I fully agree with her essential point that mental health services provided in the US (and elsewhere) are woefully inadequate. That has, overwhelmingly, been my family’s experience also.

    However, the original article *is* also inadequate, and those of us who have little direct experience with mental illness would do well to remember that. It’s a pattern I observe a lot in the discourse surrounding mental health whenever something like this comes up – the reality is, there is a lot of uncertainty around what exactly was “wrong” with Adam Lanza, and in truth the factors that contributed to his actions were likely far more complicated than any one pathology, at least from what I’m hearing. It sounds like the mother is simply sharing her (debatably) comparable experience of raising a highly volatile child with serious behaviour problems and apparent mental illness. But even the mother admits that her son has had a number of different diagnoses from different professionals, and as such the similarity of her situation to Nancy Lanza’s is questionable.

    Mental illnesses are not interchangeable with one another, and neither are individuals with mental illness, and this is where the discourse surrounding mental health – and how it is conducted – is important. By way of example, I was involved in a very highly-charged discussion earlier with a number of people who were attributing Lanza’s actions to his alleged diagnosis with Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome is NOT an explanation for mass murder, and it is extremely dangerous, in my honest opinion, to suggest as much. There is, in fact, no demonstrable correlation between Asperger’s and criminal violence. What there IS, is considerable stigma and misinformation about the condition, which creates massive problems for those with it. People are needlessly wary enough of people with Asperger’s and other autistic spectrum disorders – and my sweet, gentle, kind-hearted sister has faced discrimination as a direct result of such bullshit-peddling since she was a little girl, and frankly whether motivated by genuine concern or not, I would thank people to think before they speak on such matters.

    The inferences we make in our attempts at “concerned” armchair psychology do matter. They make a real and tangible difference in the way we treat people with mental illnesses. I’m not suggesting that we not discuss the topic at all, but that we are very careful to understand that contrary to what this article (IMO) suggests, the creation of a mass murderer is rarely as straightforward as any one pathology – and very few of us are qualified to speculate on what that pathology might be, in any case. I would have preferred this woman’s article if she had stuck to sharing her own experiences with the world – that would have been valuable enough – without drawing correlations between her child and a murderer that we can’t actually know exist.

  30. I worked with boys like “Michael” and possibly like Adam, for my entire career. Directly, as a part of the system, and half of the time in a therapeutic environment in my own home. I can see everything of value in the original article, especially given the current “public dialogue” regarding these many mass killings, and nothing of value in your response. You apparently feel better, or justified, to have written this? I am at a loss to find how your reaction promotes anything worthy, other than more discussion, which is always good. In my opinion, which is qualified in the subject of the original article, your reaction doesn’t rise far above the level of trolling. So, here I go, about to click on the Post Comment button and feed the trolls.

    • well put.

    • It is clear to me that this diatribe was written at this particular time because the writer knows that it will draw attention to this miserable blog. I won’t be back.

    • If you’ve worked with boys like “Michael,” then you’d probably have seen the reports that Lanza didn’t exhibit the same symptoms, and that no correlation should be drawn between them at this time.

      • A Mother that also has a son like "michael"
      • Posted 17/12/2012 at 01:05
      • Permalink
      • Reply

      perfectly said.

  31. You do realize that the original article was titled: Thinking the Unthinkable. It was when it was republished on other sites that it became: I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.

    Your title alone suggests you basically got your panties in a wad from the first title used by news sites but not by the author herself then went a bit overboard from there.

    The link in case you are curious:

    Way to go.

    BTW – I have family members who have been in the system due to there being no worthwhile programs for the mentally ill. As someone who suffers from PTSD, severe depression, and anxiety attacks that seem to never go away, I’ve personally been in the system as someone who had insurance before being hacked at by a drunk doctor 10 years ago. I’ve been that mom who has had foster children as well as raised siblings who despite all you can do, you wonder if they are going to end up hurting someone.

    • Regardless of the piece being re-titled, the original post does say: “I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother.” So, it’s not that she wasn’t trying to draw that correlation; she was.

      • oh no, I read that part and understood it in the ways I explained above. Having mentally ill children/siblings/family members that I fear yet love fiercely is why I responded to begin with because while I hope they never act out in this way, I have a genuine fear that one will someday and no matter what I do they will act out.

        It just seemed so visceral, her attack on this woman. I don’t applaud every part of the article but I empathize so much.

  32. Do you feel better now that you have attacked a woman for giving her point of view from her experience? Prisons are FILLED with people who are mentally ill. If you don’t believe that then you are really misguided and more than a little stupid.

    • Critique is not attack. Perpetuating stereotypes should be pointed out, especially when so many people are waxing emotional about the original article.

      • The “critiques” of this critique are amazingly demeaning. That’s your moral high ground?

      • My reply seems directed to deliriumbubbles. It was meant more as a response to the comments s/he was responding to… To those who were apparently sent to discredit, in whatever way and with as much vitriol as possible, any critique of the article now known as “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.”

  33. Actually the mom in the original article sounds kind of domineering. Her son wanted to wear blue pants and said the school gave him permission. Why didn’t she just let him wear blue pants? What if he was right? Even if he wasn’t, why not let him learn for himself? Instead she turned it into an authority issue.

    • You can’t judge whether the kid was telling the truth better than she could. If he has a disorder like ASPD, he would tell any lie that he thought might get him his way without batting an eyelash; if caught in a lie, he would show no remorse. If the school gave him permission, why wouldn’t they have informed the mother?

    • What if she allowed him to wear the blue pants based on his word and the school punishes him? What would happen if he flipped out at school and became violent because he was punished? Why should the school have to deal with a ticking time bomb just because she didn’t want to deal with a potential outburst by her son? She has the absolute right to be an authority figure because SHE is the MOTHER. It is her responsibility to prevent her child from breaking the rules and to protect the school from potentially having to have an altercation with her son.

    • seriously. the grown up, sane woman, wants to have an argument about the difference between dark navy blue and black dress pants. and makes sure to tell us how affable and reasonable she was about it. kids don’t grow up in a vacuum. his environment is lacking something, and instead of trying to give him what he needs (intellectual stimulation, a loving mother) they are slowing him down with zyprexa to try and make him approximate everyone else. this is like putting kids with down syndrome in a calculus class and then taking them to the mental hospital when it makes them feel like crap and act out.

      • I disagree. The kid goes to a school with a dress code. Schools can be just that picky. Even if she did get into an unnecessary argument with him about it, that hardly proves she’s a bad mother, just that she made a mistake. I don’t think we have any reason to believe she is the reason her son is troubled.

        People who are pissed off at those of us who would take away their neat and tidy explanation for Adam Lanza have accused us of demonizing Ms. Long and being indifferent to her suffering. Let’s not give them ammunition.

  34. Based on evil eyes? Did you not read the part about threatening his mother with a knife?

  35. This rebuttal is obviously written by someone who has no experience in dealing with mentally disturbed people, but instead wants to either grandstand on the backs of others or show how “smart” they are. I strongly suggest you, author, spend some time researching psychiatry before you pen such drivel.

    • Why? Because if she studies psychiatry for long enough, she’ll realize that people actually CAN claim the identities and experiences of those other than themselves? I think if you’ve studied anything so long that you see no problem with that, the problem is you.

    • If you read other entries on this blog, the author takes/took anti-psychotic medication and obviously deals with her own mental illness. Her viewpoint is just as valid as the original blogger’s.

    • Exactly. That is clear, from the perspective of anyone with any actual experience in that area.

  36. As a teacher, yes, she is Adam Lanza’s mother. I have these students. I’ve seen these students. I’ve seen what they do. The only difference is their parents don’t keep three guns in the house.

    I’ve had to protect other students that the laws force to stay in class with these students from being attacked. (Inclusion laws really only benefit the school so extra money isn’t spent to put students with mental disabilities in a place that can help them.)

    Luckily the only weapon he had was a pencil. Obviously keeping names out of it, but for the story let’s call him “Tommy.”

    Tommy was a paranoid schizophrenic, but sadly paranoid schizophrenia isn’t a diagnosable disorder for eight year olds, so he had a bunch of psychobabble instead, and was treated for everything, as an autistic to ADHD to who knows what. Sometimes with stimulants, which only made things worse.

    But the poor boy was schizophrenic. Textbook, except it was very early onset. The kind that would have called for an exorcist just seventy years ago.

    I personally saw, and had on film just for proof during a meeting, him climb up a sheer wall to the ceiling, nine feet with nothing to hold, then crawl along the drop ceiling. If it hadn’t been on film nobody would believe me to this day.

    He believed the number nine was going to kill him, the “people” said so, and tried to kill the girl sitting in my classroom at desk nine. Like I said before, luckily he only stabbed her with a pencil. It was violent and he could have killed her had I not intervened.

    The boy got no help. After that we, the school, district and everyone involved, tried to get him help but the best we could do was change my classroom so that there would be no items that could harm the other students. And wait.

    In the end enough parents finally had it, and the boy was not allowed to enter the third grade the next year. After all the police involvement, it was discovered he didn’t live in the district so we simply solved the problem by kicking him out.

    This was six years ago. I’m failrly confident he will be in the news someday soon.

    • Strangely enough, all of Lanza’s teachers describe him as being quiet, very bright, anxious, withdrawn, nervous to connect with people… and they said they could never have foreseen this happening. Does that sound like what you are describing?

      • You keep insisting that mass-murderers *must* be the quiet type throughout this thread. Why?

      • Look at what every single neighbor and family friend had to say about him. One neighbor was tweeting “It was Adam, not Ryan” or the like even before Law Enforcement had sorted that out. They were not at all surprised.

        • A Mother that also has a son like "michael"
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 01:13
        • Permalink

        That sounds like my son to a tee, but who also has violent outbursts who has caused physical harm to both myself and his siblings… he’s just never done it at school in front of any teachers, so of course they’d say positive things about him… you never have the full truth about anybody unless you’re a parent.

      • @Brian, she isn’t insisting that mass-murderers *must* be the quiet type. What she is trying to say is that violent tendencies do not necessarily mean that a child, or adult for that matter, will be a mass-murderer or serial killer. Threats of violence, or acts of violence are terrifying and worrisome, of course, but that does not necessarily mean that that person will commit mass-murder. The fact that greengeekgirl keeps stating the fact that Adam Lanza was described as quiet, bright, etc, is in response to those that insist that he was violent and there were definitely warning signs, when none were released thus far. If his teachers have stated that he was quiet, then that’s all we know right now. We shouldn’t assume that Adam had violent tendencies, nor should we assume that those with violent tendencies will end up doing what he did.

    • Very well said. Thank you.

    • Totally believable.

  37. After every tragedy that defies logical reasoning, we begin to talk about how it’s finally time to talk about mental illness. The original blog post is one way in which we can begin to do so, by acknowledging that:
    a) we don’t understand a lot of mental illnesses very well
    b) every mental illness is atypical
    c) diagnosing mental illness is difficult
    d) treating mental illness is difficult
    e) we don’t know what to do with the patients for whom treatment doesn’t work

    You may not agree with everything that boy’s mother says, but at least that blog post is a decent starting point for discussing how quickly a personal problem can become society’s tragedy when society fails the individual.

  38. You make excellent points in a far better way than I am about to.

    However, I cannot emphasize enough that in my experience, a child’s problems NEVER exist in isolation; hence the term “family DYNAMICS”. Not to say this mom is bad or doesn’t love her child; but whatever she has done thus far is NOT WORKING – not for her; not for her child. I would encourage anyone who is offended by the above to show the “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” to experts in children’s mental health, which is what media professionals should have done BEFORE promoting it in an attempt to drive traffic during a tragedy.

    One, of many, red flags:
    Escalating a disagreement w/ a teen known to be violent right before school; then threatening to take him to the mental hospital while driving with him in a moving vehicle. . Mom could have calmly gotten him into his special school and headed straight to the school counselor or principal to let them know about the issues that morning, and she could have discussed her feelings of helplessness and fear. Mom indicated that her son is in a self contained educational setting due to his behavioral problems; and instead of utilizing the resources at the school in front of her, she chose escalation and drama. Not only did she put herself and her son in danger by driving; it’s not a huge leap that an altercation in the car could have led to an accident injuring or killing others.

    Mom needs to get off of the internets and seek out a competent child psychiatrist as well as an “advocate / case manager” to put together a team to provide treatment for the child, mother, and family — frequent, regular in-person work with professionals. The proper medication(s) prescribed by an expert and based on a thorough assessment process — with expert follow up care are a very important tool when combined with other targeted therapies. Pills DON’T teach skills; but properly prescribed medication(s) can enable the patient to best benefit from other therapies. The primary care provider going through a checklist and prescribing meds in a hit or miss fashion is NOT the gold standard — especially not when a child is violent &/or parents are afraid of / hostile toward the child.

    My go-to resource for parents dealing with defiance is – Sharon Weiss, she has a book, but I always recommend face to face consultation if possible; and she can probably refer to local expert resources.

    A great resource for parents who are struggling – though NOT the solution for parents who fear their child – is the “Parent to Parent Training” offered by It’s a program thqt benefits all parents and those that work with kids — even those not dealing with AD/HD.

  39. The author of the original blog post did not call her son’s eyes either evil or calculating – you are putting words in her mouth. I believe that a child pulling a knife on his mother and threatening to kill her with it IS evidence of violent tendencies that could potentially result in a rage murder if left untreated – how can you not? The original title of the article was “Thinking the Unthinkable” – HuffingtonPost reposted it with a title taken from a sentence in the text. She is thinking the unthinkable about her own son – which is what it makes it so painful and poignant.

    • Well said.

    • “his eyes were full of calculated rage.”

  40. You make some valid points, but your arguments would be a lot stronger if you weren’t so outright dismissive of her perspective. You seem intent upon invalidating her article rather than taking the time to develop a well thought out response. You missed the point of her article. I think her blog post is a great springboard for further conversation. Yes, I’m disturbed to hear someone talk about her fears that her son might grow up to be a killer, and it’s pretty awful to imagine any parent threatening to take their child to a mental institution. I’d like to think that I would never threaten my child that way, but I also think it’s difficult for most of us to understand the kind of stress that family is living under.

    It’s important that more parents speak up about what they’re going through. She had courage enough to share her experience and to admit that she needs help dealing with her kid. The consequences that result from NOT having an open dialogue about these issues are evident in the heads shaking in disbelief when someone finally snaps. If more people would share their personal struggles with mental health care in this country, we’d have a better chance at ending the stigma that prevents us from moving forward towards real solutions. Stop shaming and further alienating people when they bravely decide to share their own stories. We’re all heart-broken and emotional over what has happened in Conn., and we’re all trying to understand. It wouldn’t hurt to show a little more kindness and a little less reactiveness towards the people who are willing to speak up about this broken system and admit they need help.

    • She’s welcome to share her story. She’s not welcome to make up a story for Adam Lanza.

        • AutismDogGirl
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 08:05
        • Permalink

        She never said this is the story of Adam Lanza. She spoke metaphorically when she wrote the that sentence saying she was Adam Lanza’smother. She also listed many other killers who past varies from each other. She never claimed to know how Adam Lanza acted as a child at all. She told her story from her perspective.

        The way I understood the the” i a, adam lanza mother sentemce was “my child could one day commit acts like these.”Or I am afraid my child is the next Adam Lanza. Hence her “I am Adam Lanza.s mother,” sentence because she believes one day her son may be capable of such things. Hey I know next time someone call their kid pas ado or says thier the mother of a little Rachel ray lets scorn them and tell them for trying to make a comparison to someone who developed their skill differently. (Forgive me I am not good with example but you get my point)

        I don’t remember her saying she knows what Adam Lanza’s mother went through in raising him, only that she sees her son as potentially being the next Adam Lanza. Was she trying to say she could relate to his mother maybe. But honestly HE CAN!!!!!! YES I know the news says Adam was a quiet shy anxious kid and that is not her son from her description so how can she relate? Well she knows exactly what it is like to have your kid threaten to kill you and to be attacked by her own son. Concidering Adam Lanza’s mother is dead (even if it was his first ever threat and act of violence to her) i would say Adam Lanza’s mother did at one point befor she died know what it was like to be threatened by her son, to fear her son. There they both relate. I don’t see anything wrong with how she wrote her article I’m sorry

      • So you agree she doesn’t actually know anything about Adam Lanza, or have anything illuminating to say about him. She brought up Adam Lanza for the page hits, basically.

        “Hey I know next time someone call their kid pas ado or says thier the mother of a little Rachel ray lets scorn them and tell them for trying to make a comparison to someone who developed their skill differently.”

        Right, because that is totally the same kind of thing as comparing your child to a mass murderer. Are you trolling or just stupid?

    • The person who wrote the response obviously doesn’t value kindness or consideration for the mother who has this mentally ill child.

  41. I am sorry, but side two is bullshit. Period. This person does not know shit. I know that is hateful, but living with someone incendiary is not fun or funny or even supported socially in any way. If you do not call the cops and get a restraining order on your own child, someone dies. The End. I know, endured many suicidal days after I did it, but I know. And this little shit is not going to change my mind about it.

    • Thank you, A Mother. I understand your pain, believe me. I think whoever wrote this is reacting from a very subjective and defensive – and angry – place, and not only missed all of the points of the original article, but has presented a warped and sad argument to justify something that must have to do with her personal life. Don’t even take it to heart. So many people commenting here seem to have no idea about what the writer of the original article is speaking. That should be completely evident from #2 on the above “list”, which grinds at me because it is that kind of ignorant presumption that makes caring for mentally ill children who are also violent almost impossible much of the time. I’m guessing you know that, first hand.

  42. Zypexa as well as a few other anti-psychotics have been ok’d by the FDA for use in children and adolescents since 2009. Telling people it is not is a lie. So much for you having insight on the problem at hand. Armchair psychiatrist are you?

    • Do you really trust the FDA, that much?
      The FDA also allows lots of medications with harmful (often permanent, or “tardive”) side-effects. I can name one, which I personally took which was prescribed to me by a doctor when I was a teenager called Seroquel–which has dozens of class action suits against it/the maker, due to it PERMANENTLY SCREWING UP YOUR SEROTONIN LEVELS, and thus giving you a muscle/movement disorder. I also theorize, it’s the reason my social anxiety went to panic disorder, because I had never had a panic attack before I got sick on that crap (it’s a long story, but just imagine being so sick that doctors think you have cancer or AIDs and then say– “’s just these pills you were prescribed” ).* Funny thing is, the doc prescribed me that stuff all “willy-nilly”, as it were–even quadrupling the dosage after one visit, simply because I was a self-conscious teen…apparently that meant psychosis to her–then again, I can see her getting the wrong idea, since she never really cared about me as a patient or even person, at all.

      I see this incident and others like it as testiment to that: people not caring enough. Whether it be authority figures, or parents, or “experts”–people don’t care much –or even at all about how another’s life really turns out. That is, until people get hurt.

      We’re so busy placing blame on individuals, also, we have realized that these incidents are actually SYMPTOMS of a SICK SOCIETY. These people are indications of sickness–like warts indicating some infectious illness..and we always just ignore it, when the outbreak goes away–pretending as if, just because the physical signs aren’t there, it doesn’t exist.

      Its our folly. An insane society.

      *note, I mention all of that for many reasons, but not to “piggy back” on this article to get sympathy or anything, but to paint pictures and make points with my own story which has taught me some valid lessons on this realm of human living, quite intimately. –which is probably what should’ve been the first paragraph of the original article, actually, ha.

  43. I read Michael’s response and found it to be my own understanding of the original article written. Don’t need to say anything more! Thanks Michael

  44. It seems like I read a totally different blog post than the writer of this piece. First off, the bit about the Zyprexa seems to be making a different point than what she meant. To me, that part was indicative of exactly what this critic is advocating – that she was unable to obtain the help that she needs. It seemed to me that she was saying that she had this extreme episode and the doctors gave her this prescription that may or may not even be appropriate and sent her on her way. I think they are both making the same point, that this was not appropriate care.

    I also don’t think that she was saying that all or most mentally ill people are likely to commit violence. She is merely expressing how in her case, she has a son that is prone to have the violent outbursts and yet the only help she can get is the occasional ER visit or band-aid type treatment that doesn’t address her real needs. She then wonders, if it was this same system that let the perpetrators of these horrific crimes go without the care they needed, which may have helped to prevent these things from happening. I can understand that it might be too far to say that she IS the mother of those, drawing too strong an analogy, but I think that most critical readers will understand that she doesn’t mean it literally, and will recognize that it is a reflection of her honest fears. If it were a third person writing it, they would have to say that she “felt” like she was their mother, but in the first person narrative, I think it’s completely acceptable to write it in the way that she personally feels it.

  45. This blog entry illustrates the difference between lived experience and ideological fixation.

  46. you’re an idiot buddy. Re-read the article

  47. I am so glad you wrote this. I honestly couldn’t get through the article I was practically in tears. I can’t believe the way this mother would treat her son and then blog about it. I have a child who has similar issues, and we treated it MUCH MUCH differently, I am not going into it here. He is doing a lot better in the past year, and I am very worried that I am going to get bugged by the school to “do something” about him yet again just because he is a brilliant loner and needs to somehow be “fixed”.

    • Here’s some things you seem to have missed: Parents are human too. People make mistakes. And children don’t come with an operating manual.

      • That’s your response to a parent whose child has similar issues to Michael and is worried about her child? Because she doesn’t compare her child to a mass murderer?

        So the woman who capitalizes on her kid’s illness and a horrible mass shooting to get herself on TV is “human”, but a parent who doesn’t do that is…not?

  48. Wow. A courageous mother speaks up about her problems with her son, to break the silence and stigma surrounding being the parent of someone who is violent and mentally ill, to acknowledge that even though she loves him, she can’t handle him, and that the system is woefully ill equipped to help her, and to point out that the only way a kid like this can get help is to incarcerate him, and you shit all over her for not doing it to your obviously academic, critical disability studies rhetoric. Slow clap. Well done. Stigma exists because people like you shit all over the people who try to start the conversation.

    • yeah, she didn’t stigmatize her son at all by comparing him to spree killers and putting his picture up on her non-anonymous blog for everyone to see.

      • Because when she’s so worked up and emotional about needing to hide the knives and trying to get help is totally the right time to slam her for not working to remain as inoffensive as possible.

      • “He’s hard to live with so nobody can criticize her for hurting him.”

        Shades of Robert Latimer…

  49. This is awful. You have no idea what you are talking about, right down to not believing that children are given antipsychotics. My son has been on them for YEARS, as have so many others. Your ignorance in the basics just really pokes holes in everything else. You don’t know the experiences of moms like me, so stop trying to tell us what life is like. You are wrong. Dead wrong. You are part of the problem.

    • This is a bunch of pseudo-intellectual academic crap: someone sitting on the sidelines commenting on someone in the trenches. It even ends with the usual cutesy cliche “Don’t do that.” Fuck this writer. Try living with someone who is mentally ill; then come back and sound off.

      • I myself don’t live with someone who is mentally ill; I AM someone who is mentally ill. And I can’t tell you how much fun it is to read post after post about how horrible it is to be around people like me.

  50. I completely agree–I empathize with what the author of the original article is trying to express, but unfortunately, it’s not really based on sound logic. I could definitely see that article, if written only about her experiences with her own son, being a moving piece in its on right.

    But the jump in logic and comparison of herself to Adam Lanza’s mother is frankly kind of shocking and preposterous. The articles I’ve read thus far about Adam Lanza pointed out that he’d never, in fact, shown violent tendencies before toward himself or others. And typically, budding sociopaths show signs of it as children, typically harming animals/threatening to harm others.

    So yes, the author’s son does sound like he has severe sociopathic tendencies, and could in fact be a threat as he grows older. But there’s such minimal information available thus far about Adam Lanza’s case, and the little available points to him NOT being a sociopath.

    Basically, the article has huge gaps in logic, and is potentially quite damaging/stigmatizing to people with mental illnesses. Let’s not make sweeping assumptions until we have evidence.

  51. Thank you for this post! I cannot believe how disrespectful and short sighted the original post is. First, we need to stop broadly linking mental illness to violence. Second, can we feel sorry for the boy, not the mother who has labeled him so terribly and blogged about him to the entire world!

  52. Great response & additionally I want to add the following:

    1) This woman simply doesn’t like the way that services are provided to her son; all of what I’ve gathered from reading this: is that her son continually breaks the law and does not want him to be punished and then treated, ONLY around-the-clock FREE care for her son.

    2) This woman cannot also guarantee the safety of her two other children, and in the ever present 2012 American way, the safety/quality of life issue for her other 2 children is manifesting itself as a custody/excuse to point out the shortcomings of her exhusband. Again ignoring the issue(s) at hand.

    3) There was a point in this nonsensical BS where she disciplined her son & as he calmed down, he asked for the discipline to be reduced, only to re-ignite the outburst. I will wager every dollar that I will ever earn for the rest of my working life, that this situation has taken place before and the mother had previously caved in. Reinforcement of negative behavior is at a premium always during the raising of children, but it is paramount with children that have the factors this young man has.

    4) This is a search for other mothers throughout the world who may or may not have special needs children and the empathy that they would provide from a system that is “singling out” their child(ren

  53. Thanks for this. When reading the original piece my thoughts were, What kind of mother draws a direct and unqualified metaphor, in her title no less, between her disabled son, who has killed no one but desperately needs help, to a hated deranged mass-murderer? What will “Michael” feel, when he inevitably finds the piece (whether today or ten years from now) and realizes it’s his mother, his main source of support and protection, saying he’s basically the same as someone who has slain twenty children?

    • I completely agree. I felt the exact same way.

  54. You’re an attention-seeking dork. And exposed yourself as an idiot simultaneously. A woman gives a very personal, first-hand account about her miserable experiences with a 13 year old kid (well past the point of ability of taking out an attack or what have you) who makes violent, violent, and strange threats. She’s scared by his eyes and his complexion. Her own son. All her motive here is to say “I have a fucked up kid who makes death threats often and I’m scared because I believe them sometimes. Obviously I need help. But I can’t get any because there is a flawed system that told her to imprison her son as the only means to an end.” All she wants to do is raise awareness, and tell people her own account of her crazy kid, who apparently is out of touch with reality and needs help. Is grabbing a knife not violent enough for you? Stop being a scum bag and save your numerical listing system you used to rattle off your idiotic points (or lack thereof) for a corny debate on abortion or gay marriage. You belong on CNN. This blog was a GREAT springboard for further discussion. As a 20 year old I’m appalled that you, as a capable adult, that what you wrote is what you took from that woman’s article. Way to knee jerk and make it political, ya fuckin loser

    • Liza Long made it political when she decided to connect it to the headlines and claim that her son might shoot up a school or a college one day. No one would criticize her if she actually had given a “very personal, first-hand account”.

  55. Most prescription drugs are not approved for use in children because they are a protected society and do not have drug testing routinely performed on them as is required by the FDA to gain the necessary ‘approvals’. Physicians prescribe many medications that work just as well for children as they do for adults. This off-label use is done often for many medications. Don’t use that fact against the need for more mental health services in this country.

    Also, re-read the original blog post. I think you missed some things.

  56. It’s rare to see someone miss the point so completely. Maybe you didn’t even try. But I guess you are getting the attention you wanted

  57. Yes. Thank you.

    I still can’t believe that a mother would post a photo of her unwell son, along with his name, and compare him to the most horrible murderer. It makes it hard not to question how much of his acting out and antisocial behaviour is made worse by poor – and either blind or selfish – parenting.

    How will this bright, troubled & hurting kid feel when he googles his name or his mum’s name – or one of the kids in school mentions this to him. How will his problems be helped as every other teacher and kid eyes him with more suspicion than ever from this day forth? Healthy social interactions are key to recovery from mental health problems.

    She could have published this anonymously, but instead she uses her child’s problems for what is hard not to assume are the worst motivations. There’s no other way to describe this but abusive.

  58. This is a terrible article. 1) The author of the original article is talking explicitly about mentally ill children who have violent tendencies, and she makes this abundantly clear. Not once does she conflate mental illness with violence – you do this in a spectacular act of oxymoronic pedantry. 2) Nowhere does she advocate the use of any kind of pharmaceutical in treating her child – indeed, the emphasis is on finding a sustainable solution for his care, something which is not the prison industrial complex or the psych ward. 3) Did you even READ the article? Such willful blindness is bizarre.

  59. “By reducing ‘mental illness’ to ‘outward behavior’ the article dehumanises the mentally ill and completely glosses over the inner mental life and experiences of those with mental illness.”

    1st of all—I’m not interested in Michael’s inner life! It’s something I will never know or understand and I certainly didn’t expect the author to paint it out for me.

    She couldn’t could she?

    Could you?

    She’s not ‘reducing’ it—she’s telling you what happened. Those things happened. Michael did those things.

    Michael is violent.

    I’d rather not worry about whether she ‘glossed’ over this violent children’s ‘inner life’ I’d rather something be done to prevent him from killing other children.

    Let’s concentrate on that shall we?

  60. Some of you should probably read the blog of “Adam Lanza’s (Pretend) Mother” before you praise her courage and denounce all who question her judgment. In it she openly expresses hatred for all of her children at considerable length, constantly portrays herself as a helpless victim nobly tolerating an onslaught of horrors (because they cry when they drop food, don’t clean their rooms, sing silly songs, etc.) and in particular lambasts the “crazy/violent” son because he is a Democrat, and because he saves the boxes from Apple products because he admires Steve Jobs. She varyingly fantasizes about killing them (drawing a parallel to Abraham and Isaac,) throttling them, having them imprisoned and “giving them up” to the state. My favorite, though, is when she expresses her love for Ronald Reagan — anyone else see the slightest irony, considering all Reagan did for the mentally ill and their families?

    • That’s hilarious. I suggest people actually read this blog instead of taking quotes out of context.

    • Read it again – she has two sons. The Democrat with the shrine to Steve Jobs is the older son. The violent one, “Michael”, is about 3 years younger.

      • Thanks Jesse; that’s my bad but it hardly changes the point.

    • Sarah Kendzior sounds very, very upset that “Liza Long” doesn’t paint parenthood as all sunshine and roses and her children as perfect angels.

      • She didn’t sound particularly upset to me (don’t presume to read the inner emotional state of someone just because they’re critical) but her issue seemed to be not so much the lack of sunshine and angels and more the fact that this woman is literally talking, repeatedly, about how she thinks about killing and otherwise inflicting permanent harm on her children because they’re difficult or annoy her. Is there any happy medium between sunshine-roses and aggressively resenting your kids for existing?

  61. Thank you SO MUCH for writing this! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I’ve been feeling kind of isolated all day, every since I read that “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” article, and it annoyed the hell out of me. I am very, very, very glad to see that there are other people out there who share my feelings. :-) Thanks, again!

  62. I am a father of a child similar in situation to the one mentioned in the original article that this post criticizes. I’ll be more blunt in my response to the author of this rebuttal – fuck you. Fuck you, you ignorant asshole who has never had to deal with this horrible situation in your personal life. Try living with a child who threatens his life, his mothers life, and worst of all his younger brothers life. Then pick up a pen and write something you POS.

    • I share your assessment. It’s crazy, what this person thought they should write. And why in the hell did they feel they needed to? They are actually doing harm with this mindset. This mindset is one of the biggest, most isolating obstacles to parents dealing with just what you state. It’s infuriating. She’s just a troll.

    • exacty

    • You know, there are a lot of people in the comments who *are* or have been in similar horrible situations who were made very uncomfortable by the viral article and who agree with what this article pointed out as being flaws in it. You can disagree all you want, but not everyone who disagrees with you is ignorant or an asshole or anything else.

      Personally, as someone who has battled with mental illness and suicidal tendencies, I would have been horrified to find that my mother was blogging about me in this manner using my real name and photo. How would you feel?

    • Oh so eloquent. Best wishes to you and yours. Sounds like you’ll need it.

  63. I don’t believe her article was hateful or scapegoating at all. Not all people with mental disorders are violent or potentially violent (I myself am bipolar) but there are some people who have violent tendencies, and when they’re young, as in Liza Long’s situation, their parents have a difficult time dealing with that. It is very difficult getting mental health services in this country, for a variety of reasons, and as she says, you often have to wait until a person is either a serious harm to theirself, or others in order for intervention to occur. I had an episode where I was having seizures and went into a fugue state, but because I wasn’t dying or hurting anyone, the doctor sent me home.

    WILL Long’s son commit a violent act? Who knows, but when there’s a house policy for the younger siblings to run and lock themselves in the car when he starts yelling and grabs a knife? That’s a bad sign. When you have to hide all the knives in the house – also a bad sign. When a child is using “I’m going to throw myself in front of the car” as emotional manipulation? Probably a sign that he needs serious help.

    Whether or not he’s going to shoot up a school, these are the kind of ‘warning signs’ we talk about parents ignoring BEFORE bad things happen. Behavioral problems? Great intelligence? I heard the word Aspergers thrown out there. Sounds possible, but I’m not going to claim to know anything. By all accounts, he was a good kid; there was no reason why his mother shouldn’t have had guns in her home. Gun control isn’t the problem – what’s making people use them, is.

  64. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I think the blog was intended to express a mother’s personal fear of what her troubled child could be capable of. She doesn’t pretend to really be the killer’s mother and in fact names other killers. I will not name them. She does proactively try to address her own son’s issues. Some parents do not. I do the same and have the same fears. That is how I read the blog. I have this type of life (not the same life, all lives are different). If you don’t have a child with relevant special needs (and be thankful for this) then it may be difficult for you to relate.

    • Exactly. And you are very kind in your reply.

  65. This mother is absolutely correct! There is a % of the SMI in which no medications or therapies work..ask any intensive act team. The criteria to EOD needs reform! There needs to be long term hospitalization for these few vs risking public safety or the lives of home health social workers. No one is tracking the mounting injuries & death to comm social workers. We must raise public awareness for their safety!

  66. Thank you for this post. This explains exactly the misgivings I felt but couldn’t articulate about the original article.

    I’m kind of shocked at all the commenters saying the original article was from the mother’s perspective. Starting with the title, it was explicitly not from her perspective, and that was the problem in many places in the post. Her story, her experiences, are powerful and meaningful and she can tell that story. But that’s not what she did. She interpreted her experiences to decide they were analogous to a situation that she had little knowledge of, and she interpreted her experiences in a way as if she could foretell the future.

    Also commenters saying the author doesn’t draw conclusions between violence and mental illness: The stigma against mental illness and the erroneous belief that it leads to violence is widespread, so when the original author lists the diagnosis her son might have and focuses on his violence, she is drawing that connection and leading readers toward the conclusion that all mentally ill people are violent. She focuses on mentally ill people being in prison, but does not explore why and so again reinforces that perhaps they were violent and that got them there. She could have narrowed that scope, she could have made a distinction, but she didn’t. And she states herself that she is aware of the stigma against mentally ill people, but does nothing to lessen it.

  67. Reblogged this on The Nonconformist.

  68. The original post recounts a mother’s having to pull a knife out of her son’s hand. That qualifies as the violent behavior of a child with emotional and mental difficulties, and the post asks for help.

    I’m not really sure what the point of your post is, and how it moves anything forward. Is your concern about discrimination? If so, that’s a valid point, but why attack the confession of a deeply pained mother and family? Might there be a more constructive approach?

    Good luck, and hope this feedback is somewhat helpful.

  69. In a case where the mental disease is not yet completely formed and where it is doubtful whether it really results from a bodily affection or if it is not rather the effects of bad education evil habits corrupted morals a neglected mind superstition or ignorance the truth will be readily discovered by acting as follows The patient is to be addressed in a tone of friendly exhortation while motives of consolation serious remonstrances and solid arguments are to be urged on the occasion if the disorder of the mind does not proceed from a bodily disease it will readily yield to such means but if the contrary is the case the malady rapidly grows worse the hypocondriac becomes still more grave downcast and inconsolable the maniac more wicked and outrageous and the idiot more imbecile.*

    But as we have just witnessed there are likewise a few mental diseases that do not owe their origin to a bodily disease and which have been produced solely by moral affections such as continued grief anger injured feelings and fear in particular In the course of time these latter have an influence over the health of the body and often compromise it in a high degree CCXXIII It is merely in mental diseases thus engendered kept up by the disposition itself that moral remedies are to be relied on and that only while they still recent and have not yet made any great inroad upon the physical state of the organism In case it is possible that treating the patient with a of confidence bestowing on him friendly exhortations and sensible advice and sometimes practising him a deception that is disguised with art will soon the health of the mind and then with the aid a suitable regimen the body also may be brought to its normal condition.

    *It seems as though the mind were sensible of the truth of these representations and acted upon the body as if it would restore the lost harmony but that the latter re acts by means of a disease upon the organs of the mind and disposition and augments the derangement which already exists by throwing back on them its own peculiar sufferings.

    -Organon of the Medical Art by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann

  70. Sharing a counterpoint, in the spirit of objectivity–is not a terrible thing in and of itself. But, the article, I am Adam Lanza’s Mother, is NOT a “terrible springboard for further conversation on the subject.” I wonder if the author of this blog really spent time reflecting on the original article’s perspective–the perspective of the mother of a mentally ill child. I have a sibling who suffers from Schizophrenia. This blog post is the type of mentality that in fact perpetuates the stigma against the mentally ill. I hope others will read it with a grain of salt–it’s the type of uninformed ignorance we should not support, from a person who clearly does not have personal experience dealing with a person who has a mental illness.

    • My thoughts exactly. The original blog post by anarchist soccer mom was very helpful to me. I grew up with an older sister – 4 years older and bigger than me until I was 13 or so – who is paranoid/delusional and extremely violent. She was particularly abusive to me including the use of knives. I wish my parents had called the police on her. My whole life the emphasis has been on my sister. Compassion for her. We need to help her. It is rare to hear the truth from the family and victims of violent people with mental illness. The original blog post made me feel like it might be safe to start speaking up about my experience. Then I saw this idiotic blog post and realised that the world is still full of ignorants who are more interested in picking apart something that wasn’t there and completely lacking in compassion.

        • Michelle
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 03:52
        • Permalink

        Compassionate people are out there, my brother is also violently mentally ill. This blogger is a complete moron who doesn’t have an ounce of comprehension about mental illness an how it affects family members. Please share your story and get awareness out there!!

    • I don’t have personal experience dealing with a person who has a mental illness, but I do have personal experience BEING a person who has a mental illness. I have learned on this thread that I am horrible to live with, that people are scared of me, that calling me an Adam Lanza in the making is fine and dandy if it makes neurotypical parents feel better, that someone who defends me and others like me from that slur is terrible and contemptible and an academic asshole who wants to deny children treatment, in fact the only proper response to a defence of people like me is “FUCK YOU”.

      I don’t lash out violently, and most people who know me don’t know I have a mental illness — but then you didn’t narrow your statement to exclude people like me, did you? Neither did most of the people commenting on this post. Nope, it’s all “that POOR MOTHER having to deal with a child with A MENTAL ILLNESS, what a tragedy for HER”.

      I am truly disgusted. Fuck your sloppy thinking. Fuck your bigotry. Fuck you.

      • Thank you for assuming that only someone neurotypical would have posted what I did. My mental illnesses are not what is on the table here. The original post did not say all people with mental illnesses were violent or ragefilled. She said her son’s illness was, and linked it to other people whom we have heard acted in many of the same ways. I was diagnosed as ‘manic depressive’ years before that became ‘bipolar’, I have epilepsy and all the issues that go with that (epileptic commit suicide at a rate of 3x the general public). I was told by my doctor that he was not diagnosing me with Asperger’s because I was borderline, and he could not be sure that it was not coming from my other issues – I would be diagnosed as such by someone just seeing the results (I find it telling that the only medication that actually stops my seizures is topiramate, which is also used for bi-polar and Asperger’s; nothing that *just* works on epilepsy seems to stop them).

        Do I have cred enough yet in your mind to say what I said now? Or do you want to find another way of claiming that my feelings on this reaction to the article are worthless?

      • Well then you shouldn’t have posted this:

        ” I wonder if the author of this blog really spent time reflecting on the original article’s perspective–the perspective of the mother of a mentally ill child.”

        It’s not the perspective of the mother of a “mentally ill child”, it’s the perspective of a mother whose child is hypersensitive to stimulation, cannot tolerate frustration and acts out violently at the slightest provocation. That is ONE KIND of mental illness. Yours is another. Mine is yet another. There are plenty of people eager to tar us all with the same brush and claim that our parents’ perspective on us matters more than ours. You don’t need to help them do it.

      • WFF you are very defensive. All I have seen is people who have directly experienced living with a family member with violent tendencies and mental illness speaking of our personal experience and most of all our history of being silenced by those who don’t understand. I don’t see anyone here projecting their personal experience onto others. We just want open dialogue without being criticised and silenced. I don’t know what kind of mental illness you have however you might be aware that with certain illnesses there are a number of criteria before a diagnosis can be made I.e. schizophrenia. I don’t claim to know what it is like to be a person with paranoia / delusions. So you shouldn’t claim to know what it is like to live with someone like that. Yes living with someone who abused me and threatened me with a knife and years later still emotionally abuses me (because she chooses to stop taking her meds!) is horrible. I’m not going to mince my words about my personal experience just because you chose to project that onto yourself. I was NEVER given protection from my sister because everyone was too busy helping her and not caring at all about the victims. Stop trying to silence people speaking of their own experience.

      • I am not trying to silence you. I am trying to get you to stop throwing around the phrase “mentally ill” and when what you really mean is “violent” or “hostile” or “aggressive”. Your sister presumably has a specific diagnosis. Use it.

      • No I have specifically stated violent and mentally ill every time. I didn’t ever say mental illness = violence. No one here has.

        I already explained the issue with diagnoses.

        Most of all I am sad that the world really is full of compassionless people who have no interest in protecting the innocent. You want people to be understanding but you’re
        approaching everyone here with aggression – do you really think that’s a way to get people to sympathise with your situation?

        I’m not going to comment any further because you’re just commenting on everything without taking into consideration what other people are really saying.

      • I don’t want people to be understanding. I want them to be halfway decent. I want them to stop appropriating the Newtown shooting for the purpose of complaining about their lives. I want them to stop saying “fuck you” and “troll” and “shame on you” when someone has the temerity to say that mentally ill people should be part of the conversation on mental illness. I want them to recognize that a child with a behavioral disorder is still a child and good people don’t humiliate their children to get on TV.

  71. I have a mental health disorder…don’t presume to speak for me or anyone else who does. I did not feel, nor do I now, that Liza Longs article was off point or damaging to people with MH issues. I fully understood her intentions and her feelings. Torn between a mothers love and fear, while trying to make hard choices and do the right thing.

  72. I have another point to add to your discussion. In the original article, the writer mentions that her son has attacked her with a knife. Now, if the writer really “IS” just like Adam Lanza’s mother, why in the heck does she think Adam’s mother had a house full of guns, including semi-automatic rifles??? What the heck does she think she was doing by teaching her son how to use them??? Let’s suppose that the writer and the mother’s situations ARE very similar. Do you honestly think a mother with a child who she claims has attacked her, and who she feels has “evil eyes”, should be trained on how to use a semi-automatic, or any gun for that matter??? This just makes no sense…

  73. I agree with your points. However, I strongly advise that people with immediate family with history of depression should take great caution and strictly avoid having a firearm in their home. All public schools should also be required to have several security officers on duty during school hours and not just receptionists or rotating school district police! Lets be proactive for once instead of being reactive. In addition, we need more classroom camera surveillance and watch dog programs.

  74. Personality Disorders for the most part are not treatable if the primary diagnosis. Hospital staff, jails, outpatient, & families cant deal w the behaviors such as screaming all night, throwing feces on walls, sabatoging stuff….they get discharged back to the public. No firm consequences. So the acts of violence, threats get worse. The rich are eccentric or neurotic, the poor are just crazy…change that mind set!

  75. The point of the original article was to continue to push the mental health discussion forward in a way that most can not only understand but internalize and perhaps even identify with. Sure, you and anyone else can take the time to openly criticize any and all writings. Which is fine. Its in no one’s best interest to judge how you spend your free time.

    However, the author of the original post contributed something to build consciousness within our communities regarding mental health You are contributing nothing to the universe but a poorly written tantrum.

    Kudos to you and other armchair activists who find it more pleasing to shit on life rather than than make things better for the greater good. Your small group of followers and yourself will fade away in time due to the negative futility of your efforts. I only hope you realize, “why.” Its not because we the masses are un-enlightened and unprepared for meaningful change or revolution, it is because you so called revolutionary types wouldn’t know love, kindness or understanding if it kicked you all in the ass.

    • By writing that you explicitly excluded everyone with a mental illness from “our communities”. Because people who have mental illnesses already have “consciousness” about mental illness. People who have mental illnesses already “identify with” the problems of people with mental illnesses.

      But no, people who are actually mentally ill have nothing of value to contribute to this discussion, we don’t “move the discussion forward”, our attempts to defend ourselves are just “poorly written tantrums”, and we should accept being compared to mass murderers because the “sane” will never care about us as people, just as threats.

      I knew I was being stigmatized but this thread has demonstrated to me that the stigma is a lot more powerful than I thought.

  76. I whole heartedeley agree with all of you who bash this idiot blogger’s moronic response to this mother’s article. Especially the guy who said Fuck you. Bottom line she and thousands of parent’s need help, she is begging for it!!

  77. Someone sharing her real life experiences and relating them to what seems like a very similar situation with Adam Lanza’s mother s completely VALID and NEEDED. Such a hateful thing you just wrote. You should be ashamed of yourself. You can disagree, but you don’t have to stoop so low.

    • So all the people telling those critical of Long’s article to fuck off … are well-reasoned and not “low” or intending to silence? Or are you just exempt from rules of decency you seek to apply to those who disagree with you?

  78. I found the author of this “critique” to be shrill and self-righteous, very much operating in the “calling out” mode that is very self-aggrandizing. I identify as a person with mental illness and found nothing whatsoever offensive in the mother’s original post. In fact, I appreciated her candor and “keeping it real” approach to what must be an unbelievably difficult situation. I found the “critique” offensive because s/he did not even spell out her own social location or relationship to this issue. Their tone was patronizing and talking down to the reader, as if we do not not already know this is from the MOTHER’S perspective (made abundantly clear) and that her son’s POV would by definition be a different story. And yes, stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness is hyper-real, but that is not what this original article was about. It is about a real mother struggling to love and do right by her son, and admitting that the extent of his problems are explosive and potentially violent. (I, for instance, could NEVER handle taking care of such a child.) The critique seemed like a snotty hit-piece that was big on opinionated ideology but short on complexity, real life struggle and empathy for ALL involved, including family members and parents.

  79. 1). Liza Long is a teabagger who says on her blog “it’s fun to make fun of liberals”. 2). On Friday, Liza Long tweeted “Forget guns. Let’s talk about mental illness.” Which leads me to 3). She has an agenda, and she cynically USED her kid to carry it out. I just wonder how many assault rifles she owns…

    She also wrote this:

    • Actually, if you read that article instead of skimming it, you would see she mentioned that Andrew Brietbart believes it is fun to make fun of liberals, and then explained carefully why she believes people who do not agree with her may well have thought things through just as thoroughly as she has, and come to a different conclusion, and that’s ok.

      Your attempt to discredit her actually raised my opinion of her. Good on ya.

  80. Reblogged this on Femination and commented:
    Very useful post about the mental health in the US, and how we discuss it.

  81. THANK YOU! I have been ranting about this all day mostly on deaf ears. It is so offensive that people are passing this along as much as they are and that Huffington Post & Gawker changed this article from the original title “Thinking the Unthinkable” to “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother”. It is offensive to the author, who is not at all related to the killer and takes her statement COMPLETELY out of context. It is also offensive to Adam Lanza’s mother who is dead. Shame on them-All in the interest of click through rate. And, without reference and her admission that they do not yet know what is wrong with her son, I believe that an article such as this can cause more harm than good.

    • Def ears…because you don’t know what you’re talking about….

  82. Sorry I can not agree with you. I never felt she said every one with mental illness is violent. I thought she was referring to violent people who suffer from mental illness and how to cure them or take care of them. You are over reacting……

  83. yes! thank you. the blogger’s story is powerful and she makes legitimate points about mental health and our lack of institutional support – but when i read it something was wrong. This woman is NOT Adam Lanza’s mother – a woman who was a serious gun enthusiast and, apparently, raised her emotionally disturbed son to be one as well and then gave him access to a full arsenal. Just a year ago this woman blogged: “In addition to worshiping Steve Jobs, my son is an Obama-loving Democrat. All day long I have to listen to him go on and on about how President Obama and Steve Jobs have made the earth a paradise right here and now, set to a Coldplay soundtrack (okay, at least the kid has decent taste in tuneage). This is, of course, revenge for my own Ronald Reagan-loving years in a Carter-Dukakis-Clinton household. I still love Ronald Reagan. But I have a whole lot more respect for the restraint my parents exercised when the teenage me told them all about how the world really works, and how silly liberals like them just didn’t understand, and how they just needed to read “Atlas Shrugged.” Liberals, by the way, are not silly. At least not the ones I know. In an election season that is already shaping up to be one of the ugliest on record, I think we all need to focus on bringing respect back to the public debate. It’s okay for reasonable people to disagree about politics, and I am grateful for the perspective my liberal friends share with me (but you’re WRONG! Big wasteful disincentivizing government is not the answer! Sorry, couldn’t resist. And yes, for the record, I stuck my tongue out). Teenagers, however, are not reasonable people.” Her son sounds like a very intelligent young adult having to deal with a very confused mother. I might have behaved the same way. I hope they both get the help they need.

  84. wendykh – agree 100%

  85. I think you are foolish, ignorant, lacking in empathy and are tainted by a false sense of intellectual superiority

    • Agreed!

  86. A dipshit could see she isn’t Adam Lanza’s biological mother. Living with mental is a difficult thing, especially for the caregiver who happens to be the mother as well. Walk a mile in their shoes before saying anything. Oh, you couldn’t & wouldn’t. So do us a favor & shut the fuck up. Thank you very much.

  87. Dear thegirlwhowasthursday,

    I would be very interested to read your views on how best to handle the issue of mental illness, especially in those cases that might result in violence and harm to others such as the case described in the blog you are responding to.


  88. Bravo.

  89. This is piece is so nasty and misguided. The title is METAPHORICAL, hello? And not even the author’s doing, apparently. The woman told her own personal story, hello? Her perspective on her son comes across as loving, if afraid for very good reasons. Of course she doesn’t understand his perspective. You want to know what broke my heart? Dylan Klebold’s mom saying that if she could say one thing to her dead son it would be to apologize to him for not knowing a thing about what was going on in his head. Finally, though all mentally ill people are not violent, what on earth could be another explanation for executing 20 kindergarteners? That Adam Lanza is Pure Evil? That he just felt like it and all feelings are OK?

  90. Thank you, that article bothered me so much I even wrote my own blog about it, something I do every year or so, but you said it much more elegantly and concisely than I could have. Cheers.

  91. Thank you for this thoughtful and critical assessment of that thoughtless and uncritical essay. I see most of the responses here completely missed your point, which is why your contribution is even more important.

  92. You missed the original author’s point completely! The blogger is referencing the experience of parenting a child with mental illness and tendancies that after a tragedy like Friday are terrifying. I read this piece and immediately felt this parent’s fear… What if. It may not help the case of those with mental illness, but speaks honestly from a parent’s point of view, which one has to respect!

  93. Frankly, it really doesn’t matter whether the specific story offered by the author of the Huffington Post article is true. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t “divulge or or even acknowledge, that its subject might have his own perspectives, beliefs and motivations that are worth mentioning” (and it certainly doesn’t “dehumanize the mentally ill”). It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t explicate the clinical specifics of his condition to the readers’ liking. It doesn’t matter one iota. First, because it’s not meant to be all-encompassing. It is one anecdote, one perspective, ONE reason why action needs to be taken so that people with mental illness can get help. The fact is that the situation she described- regardless of how she described it- isn’t some completely unrealistic worst-case scenario- it happens ALL THE TIME.

    The HuffPost article doesn’t propagate any sort of pharma-reliant agenda, doesn’t reduce the acts of Sandy Hooks to mere “insanity,” and doesn’t frame the son as “less human.” It’s saying that this problem is real, and needs to be addressed differently. So the majority of people who go on killing sprees of this nature are “not psychotic”- great. But unfortunately, mental illness (especially illness with psychotic features) does often come with a side of violence and lack of control. Is the effective treatment of these individuals less important, are the struggles of their families less legitimate, because their illness contributes to them pulling a carving knife on their family, throwing their siblings into walls, compulsive lying and theft, and intimidating rage, rather than shooting up a room full of kindergarteners?

    Sorry, but having major depressive disorder/anxiety/OCD/ADD, doing lots of research on mental illness, and/or having huge amounts of sympathy for the mentally ill doesn’t give you a SLIVER of a glimpse into mental illness itself. Until you’ve had to secretly call the police while locked in the bathroom for your own safety, cleaned up the shattered remnants of a hallway mirror and patched holes punched in the walls, listened to the police tell you that you don’t have any options, cried as your brilliant baby brother tells you he doesn’t want to ruin his whole life and doesn’t know what’s wrong with him, until you’ve PERSONALLY seen it in its major and minor forms and witnessed the current system fail you and your family time and time again, DON’T talk about what is and isn’t “helping.”


    • “Sorry, but having major depressive disorder/anxiety/OCD/ADD…doesn’t give you a SLIVER of a glimpse into mental illness itself.”

      …HAVING A MENTAL ILLNESS doesn’t give you insight into mental illness?

      oh, fuck off.

      • “…HAVING A MENTAL ILLNESS doesn’t give you insight into mental illness?

        oh, fuck off.”

        Seriously. Apparently only those with her *exact* same experience are qualified to have “insight” into mental illness as an all-encompassing issue.

        Flawless logic there. Really moved this discourse forward.

  94. Superb post. well done. It had to be said, whether people like it or not. Personally I think the whole ‘mental illness’ angle is a cynical attempt to distract from the issue of gun control.

    • Not at all, Mike Chivers. They are both important factors and both need to be addressed. Both need action taken. I think the mental illness angle is valid, but the gun issue is the bigger problem

  95. *slow clap* Bravo. I’ve been struggling with the original article all day (lazy rainy coffee sunday). Mostly at first because of a gut feeling, that something didn’t seem to add up about the “I am….” article, but as I read more and more and comments and dug around, more things further raised my eyebrows.

    Let me say first – no judgment towards any parent raising their kid, period. its hard even when they’re healthy. That said, if you post an article online about your parenting in comparison to a national tragedy, be prepared to have it analyzed (and criticized). so all the commenters replying aghast that anyone would *Dare* criticize a poor single mom, etc, etc – get over it. its the internet, its 2012, the woman offered up her tale for public consumption, its now going to get over-analyzed.

    that out of the way, what first struck me, and always strikes me as suspicious about pieces like this is the self-nominated martyr status it bestows on the author. its a facet of our modern culture sure, but it always always makes me suspect when someone volunteers to write an article the day after a tragedy that somehow gets 1000s of commenters to stop arguing about guns and start awwwing and you poor childing the author. Not to question its authenticity (although fact checking is also an issue) but even if everything is true, its the motivation of someone who feels the need to shift the spotlight from 20 dead children onto them and struggle as single mom with a perfectly alive (albeit maybe very very difficult) child.

    it raises red flags to me.

    so, you may say, well, here’s why someone would do that – they want to talk about mental health, and they think its important to shine a light on this Lanza kid’s possible (we dont know much yet) struggles. But here’s where that gets murky for me – if you take everything in her article as true, it still really only serves the purpose of maybe easing some of the perceived criticism/judgment/hatred towards Adam Lanza’s mother. It is about a mom saying, let me show you how hard it might have been for his mom, here’s a glimpse at what she may have been struggling with, its really awful, and really hard, and we need help.

    That’s moving for sure, and im not unmoved by it, by again, im unclear as to why, at this point in time we need to worry about how difficult it mustve been for Adam Lanza’s mother? whats the relevance of that right now?

    especially when as THIS great response underscores, the danger of the original article is that conflates all mental health into one story, “michael”, and presents a handful of false equivalencies (that the author here pointed out very clearly and without snark), all while drumming up the melodrama that usually gets reserved for chain emails or Reddit “feels” type posts. (i can already see the poorly phopped images saying “I am adam lanza’s mom” being forcibly shared across facebook the coming week)

    bottom line for me: mental health does need to be discussed, but its already saddled with generations of stigma and bad misinformation.

    i dont think the appropriate “lead” into a real discussion about mental health as it relates to this tragedy is one non-medical lay-person making an armchair quarterback assessment that “oh my kid has outbursts, and hey im a blogger, so ill equate my experience to this national tragedy with some really careless connections and conclusions about mental health as it relates to violence”. theres no stats, no sources, no nothing, its basically just a mom equating her (arguably hellish) experience with what the country is talking about, and oh, just so happens im a freelance writer and blogger, so now isnt that just perfect timing.

    maybe the last bit is me being extra cynical but if you scan the rest of her blog, theres tons of TMI rants over the prior years about her divorce, and not a single prior mention of any struggle whatsoever with violence or anything approaching this sort grave intensity we read in her story.

    there is also another post on her blog bragging about how she can create original content on any topic in a few days, on demand, so she needs to start asking for higher rates for that talent. which normally wouldnt sound too odd, but like i said, given the absence of any tone or hints of any mental health concern/discussion throughout 2 years on the blog, then to have a complete shift in tone and produce this somber piece that predictably goes viral riding the wave of this tragedy….just leaves more of a foul taste.

    this says nothing of all the other “iffy” stuff if you merely skim through her blog (love for che guevera mixed with tea bagger stuff, mormon stuff, all not really relevant to this but FWIW). i woulndt be surprised if her blog disappears in the next day or two as her exposure increases.

    but mostly kudos to this article here for being the first well-written piece ive seen that tackled JUST the factual reasons why the mental health aspect of the original article is irresponsible. bravo

    • You’re an idiot too. It doesn’t matter if the article is true or not. But I can tell you thousands of families are coping with situations like the one described, that’s why it’s being identified with you nimwit. Get a clue and research mental illness.

    • I posted below, but I wanted to include my response here in support of some of your points.
      The article brings up some interesting points, but unfortunately it misses noting what I feel might be a major factor in the boy’s current mental state: environmental factors. I’m not blaming her (and no parent is perfect, but I do think she made some poor decisions), but look at what this boy has been through [i]that we know about[/i]: messy divorce, step-mom, step- and half-siblings, custody battles, mother who admittedly has her own mental health issues and thinks the ex might have made an attempt on her life, father who was accused of physical abuse by his older (then 13yo) brother, experiences in mental health facilities, and the list goes on.

      In her own words, the mother is an “attractive, accomplished, talented, successful, almost 40 year-old woman. [She’s] raising four children, earning a doctorate, working 8 to 7, and even pursuing [her] own passions–writing and music–in [her] spare time (midnight to 2 a.m. on Wednesdays)” who also indicates she has taken many plane trips away from home. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be a single mom of 4 kids, but it’s hard to deny the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much time for the kids (again, not blaming, just noting). She may not ever say it or show it to her children (though she did post it on a blog for the world – and her children – to see), but she seems to harbor some regret or resentment over having them, and she recommends that childless adults stick to puppies and snarks about karmic payback if her children are ever “dumb enough to reproduce.”

      Honestly, I be surprised if the child(ren) [i]didn’t[/i] have some anger issues and violent tendencies! Who knows, her son’s behavior may have started out a cry for attention or help (I believe his problems began after the divorce) that went unheard for too long. :( I feel more sympathy for the boy than for the mom, and I am sad that she, as a paid writer, used such detail in describing her son’s difficulties because those words (along with his picture) will follow him around for the rest of his life.

  96. Your analysis makes sense and sounds very logical, but if you actually knew a child like this woman describes, you’d understand why her article actually touches on an aspect of American family life that is rarely out in the open. Her description of what it is to live with or teach a mental ill child is chillingly accurate. Its so easy to judge, but if you haven’t tried to take care of a kid like this, just don’t. You can’t. You just can’t know what it’s like.There are so many troubled kids in this country. At least we’re finally talking about it.

    • I was a “mental ill child”. I suppose I can’t know what it’s like to parent someone as horrible as I am, but I like to think I have some knowledge of the issue.

      I am not Adam Lanza. I am not Seung-Hui Cho. I am not Dylan Klebold.

  97. I came here to lay into you about your taking exception to her saying “evil eyes” because you obviously have never stared into the eyes of a mentally ill person off their meds and have no right to make an argument on that point, but plenty of people laid into you already. You seem to miss the point when you talk about we don’t get anything from his point of view. Guess what? When a violent mentally ill person goes to the crazy place? They are no longer themselves and any point of view they have is totally skewed. THAT IS WHAT MENTAL ILLNESS MEANS. If you have never seen a loved one turn into a completely different person, please step down off your high horse, talking about stigmas and other pc crap and PAY ATTENTION to those of us who KNOW. No, not every person with a mental illness is violent, but every violent mentally ill person is a potential danger to themselves and everyone else. You cannot reason with them, you cannot make chemical imbalance go away with talk therapy. Medications, and perhaps some more controversial forms of treatment like mild electroshock, are the ONLY treatments for violent types of mental illness. Aside from that, hospitalization is the only solution to protect their families and society.


      NO IT IS NOT.

      If you want to talk about psychosis, talk about psychosis. If you want to talk about aggression, talk about aggression.

      If you talk about “mental illness”, you’re talking about people with bulimia and dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder. If you want to claim you know so much, learn the right words.

      • First of all, my qualifier to that statement was “Violent mentally ill” people, specifically. And if you think that diagnosis is so precise that “aggression” covers a whole disorder, you’ve never lived with a father who has been diagnosed with one incorrect disease after another and watched him go from sweet loving father to crazy eyed lunatic wanting to kill you for no reason that a 6 yr old or any sane adult could comprehend. I have so don’t presume to tell me I need to use the right words to describe it or it doesn’t count. And just as a ps, if you think people with bulimia and GAD and ADHD don’t also have skewed points of view because of their illnesses then you have no understanding of what the definition of “illness” is.

      • You didn’t say “violent mentally ill” consistently. You said this:

        “I came here to lay into you about your taking exception to her saying “evil eyes” because you obviously have never stared into the eyes of a mentally ill person off their meds”

        No qualifiers there. Mentally ill people who go off their meds have evil eyes. All of us.

        “And just as a ps, if you think people with bulimia and GAD and ADHD don’t also have skewed points of view because of their illnesses then you have no understanding of what the definition of “illness” is.”

        Moving the goalposts doesn’t actually make you look smart.

  98. Reblogged this on Restless Hands and commented:
    A better come-back than I could have come up with.

    • Yeah, it didn’t require any “come-back” but some of you just have to be difficult.

  99. Well, your article is both insensitive and poorly researched, not to mention you missed the entire point of the original article.

    Let me address your argument that Zyprexa isn’t used to treat violent behaviors. You have to understand that violent behavior isn’t a diagnosis in any medical journal but a symptom of a legitimate disorder. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have certainly been related to violent outbursts, and Zyprexa is used to treat both. Additionally, almost every antipsychotic on the market targets different symptoms or neurological impairments. You should really do some homework.

    Second, your article is latching onto the coattails of what was a completely insightful piece from a mother who is asking for help. While a lot of narrow minds are jumping at the title, most of the readers understand that the comparison is that like Lanza’s mother she is at a loss as to how to help her child. She’s made a number of decisions that took courage and must have been heartbreaking to stick to.

  100. “very few even have histories of prior contact with mental health services.” I think this is the underlying problem. How can we really know they weren’t psychotic when committing these crimes anyways? What proof does Mullen have to back this evidence up? Ehh, I’m just as skeptical about this unfounded article as I am the original.

  101. author, you seem to have confused “not psychotic” and “no contact with mental health centers” with “not mentally ill”

    anyone shooting up a room full of strangers is, clearly, mentally ill. Not being psychotic, and never having had treatment, doesnt change that.

    • This is precisely the problem.

      People can do terrible, horrible things with being mentally ill, and suggesting otherwise is unfair. Look at the Nazis – were they all mentally ill? Were their mass murders caused by a mental illness?

    • No, anyone shooting up a room full of strangers clearly has some kind of problem. That problem could be a brain tumour, it could be a personality disorder, it could be contextual (the Einsatzgruppen “shot up rooms full of strangers”, should we diagnose them?), it could be a mental illness.

      When you redefine “mental illness” as “whatever causes school shootings” you do a disservice to people with real mental illnesses, not to mention the English language.

      • Let’s not forget that kids with a mental health problems are targets for bullies.Great comebacks.

  102. Though I agree with many of your sentiments about the details of the article, the way I interpreted its general message contrasts the sentiments in your blog post.

    For me, it seemed the main point of the article was to expose the inadequacies of the American health care system especially with regards to mental and emotional health issues. She seemed frustrated that seeking out professional help is not only stigmatized, but also unaffordable for many families and individuals trying to deal with these types of issues.

    It did not seem to me that she was making a generalized claim about proneness to violence for those with mental health problems, but it’s not implausible to interpret in that way.

    More or less I gathered that this mother was frustrated and confused with respect to ways to help her son. I feel she wanted to voice the sentiment that focusing on guns is only a temporary/menial fix to the problem. If I were in her situation I would hope that better and more effective methods of helping those with mental, social, and emotional problems are developed and made more easily accessible/efficient/affordable in the near future.

    I hope that you don’t take this in the wrong way b/c I think your blog post was well written and makes many strong and valid points, but I felt it might be valuable to share my perspective.

  103. Never end a sentence with a preposition, sir (see the last line of your ‘analysis’). At least the woman knows her grammar. Stop shitting on people for being able to express their feelings clearly. She knew what she was doing and you obviously have never been in her situation, so don’t get on your high horse. You have a point, but you’re a bad writer, and bad writers who get too much attention are at the heart of this problem. Think before you write. Don’t just argue to hear yourself talk.

  104. I wish there were like buttons for some of these responses, as this author completely misses the point of the first article. To those saying the title is misleading, in this media driven world which article are you more likely to open up “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” or “I am also a mother who has a child with personality disorder”? Yeah thought so. I’m sure the mother used the title to bring attention to a significant problem in mental health services across the country, especially for children and doubly for teens. Did you know that most privacy covers anyone over 13, this includes assisting in their treatment, even as a parent or legal guardian? Now tell me how teens are supposed to manage their mental health treatment plans, when most adults in the same or similar situations cant? I agree with the first article and its about time we stop blaming inanimate objects for our failure as a society to help people who most acknowledge need it. Additionally to say anything of what Adam’s mother was thinking is mute, as none of us know what she may have hidden from the world wondering where she herself went wrong, and now never will know.

  105. You have added nothing to the situation, aside from agitating some people over your faulty assessment of the article. If you care to draw a line between those with mental illnesses and those who are criminals, you ought to do your research first.
    First work for a few years in the justice system, and see those people who committed violent crimes. Some were intoxicated on psychotropic substances. Some had terrible childhoods. Some lived blessed lives and lost their cool for a moment. Some lived in the best of conditions and still were psychotic.
    Then go work for a few years state institutions on a ward for people deemed criminally insane for committing violent crimes. You will see the same range of people.

    The goal is first to protect people. Then the goal can be to understand and help the violent committers of crime. The original article reflected this sentiment. Yours only seeks to cloud the issue to no worthwhile end.

    • To add to this person’s comment, research the percentages of the mentally ill in prison – the numbers I’m sure will astound you – prison is not the same as treatment, and a majority are probably not serving life sentences so will eventually be out with the public again. In order to protect society we must address the mental health system on all levels.

      • No one is denying that mental health treatment needs to be better.

        What we ARE denying is that mental health treatment needs to be better “to protect society”, as if people with mental health problems were not part of “society”, as if people with mental health problems were not disproportionately victims, not perpetrators of crime.

        People with mental health issues are all around you. We ARE society. Your attempts to exclude are hurtful and counterproductive.

        • Aislynn
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 12:47
        • Permalink

        I wish I could reply to wff but I can’t so I will put it here. I have been reading the comments here and you come across as hypersensitive and very defensive. Let me ask you this: If someone with a mental illness gets help so that they do not kill themselves or are able to prevent being victimized, are they not being protected? Is that not part of “protecting society” (which they are part of)? Yes, right now the focus is largely on those people who have violent tendencies. That’s not uncommon after something like this. But that does not mean that everyone who is talking about people with violent tendencies think that everyone with a mental illness/disorder is violent or that those without those tendencies are unimportant, not part of society, don’t deserve help, or have no valid opinions. My daughter has depression and PTSD. She is never violent toward others and has given no indication of being a danger to others, but she is sometimes a danger to herself. I know that there is a stigma attached to people who deal with mental issues as well as their parents. We have experienced it. Part of addressing that is being willing to speak up. Not aggressively, not combatively. That does not help. My daughter (who is 17 and has read plenty on the internet about “mental health issues” after the shooting) does not feel personally victimized by every person who says that we need to improve treatment for those who need it nor by the discussion overall. She does not believe that every person who knows about her issues is suddenly looking at her as if she might suddenly snap and pull out an AK-47. SHE would tell you that treatment for mental health issues (as well as proper diagnosis) sucks in this country. I know because she has discussed her views on it with me at length. It is not a personal attack on you to say that there was something wrong with Lanza (whether a mental illness, physical illness w/ psychotic symptoms, family environment, etc) and, gee, it would have been nice if he could have gotten the help he obviously (in retrospect for most people) needed before he gunned down a bunch of little kids and then turned the gun on himself. It is not an attack on you, or other nonviolent people with mental issues, to say that we need to focus on protecting society (including YOU and every other person) from scenarios like the events that occurred Friday. As for people saying that it is difficult living with someone who has a mental illness/issue, it is. It is also difficult living with an emotional teenager. Most people can’t relate unless they have been there. It is difficult dealing with a loved one having cancer. Same thing as above: if you haven’t lived it, it’s hard to relate. The reality is that when something affects one member of a family (or even someone they are close to), it affects everyone. If I was in a car accident tomorrow, it would affect everyone in my immediate family (and ripple further outwards even). We don’t live in a vacuum. Do you think it is not difficult to worry that something I say, that seems innocent to me, may cause my daughter to go cut herself? Of course it is. Its also not easy for her (and others) to know that I have to drive in bad weather and may get in an accident. When we care about others, their issues become our issues, in one way or another. I hope for your sake that you can stop attacking people who seem to have good intents and try to be part of the solution rather than seeing yourself as a victim.

      • Aislynn, I would be quite willing to have a civil discussion with people who wrote the way you do. If you haven’t noticed, most people on this thread do not write the way you do.

        I have seen numerous people on this comment thread claim that the writer of the OP, who pointed out that mental illness per se is NOT associated with violence and that people with mental illnesses have our own perspectives, is an idiot, insensitive, foolish, ignorant, contrarian for the sake of being contrarian, a troll, a bad writer, is just trying to get attention, has no idea what she’s talking about, that she has no idea the hell they go through as parents, that she has no right to say anything in Michael’s defense, or her own defense, unless she’s parented a child with a behavioral disorder; that it doesn’t matter whether Liza Long’s post is accurate, or harmful, because she’s speaking “honestly” from “a parent’s perspective” and “starting a discussion” (just because you haven’t been paying attention to the discussion doesn’t mean there was no discussion); that they “don’t give a fuck” about Michael’s inner life or his feelings; that allowing Michael to express his subjectivity would just give him more space to vent his murderous urges; that he will kill other children; that people with actual mental illnesses have nothing to contribute to this discussion; that any mentally ill person off their meds has “evil eyes” and is scary and dangerous; I could go on.

        And when I object to these statements, I’m not “being part of the solution”, I’m “seeing myself as a victim”, I should assume that people don’t mean what they say when they say hurtful or stupid or nasty things.

        ” It is not a personal attack on you to say that there was something wrong with Lanza (whether a mental illness, physical illness w/ psychotic symptoms, family environment, etc) and, gee, it would have been nice if he could have gotten the help he obviously (in retrospect for most people) needed before he gunned down a bunch of little kids and then turned the gun on himself.”

        No. But that’s not what people are saying here.

        “It is not an attack on you, or other nonviolent people with mental issues, to say that we need to focus on protecting society (including YOU and every other person) from scenarios like the events that occurred Friday.”

        Which again is not what people are saying here.

        “Do you think it is not difficult to worry that something I say, that seems innocent to me, may cause my daughter to go cut herself? Of course it is.”

        Do you think it’s OK for people here to tell her that she had no right to contradict you or talk about her own experiences because of the hell she puts you through? Because that’s what people are saying to other folks with mental illness on this thread.

        • Aislynn
        • Posted 19/12/2012 at 05:46
        • Permalink

        Again, I wish I could reply directly to wff but these websites don’t always allow for that. I am grateful for your civil reply. It shows that there is a lot more to you than I (and probably others) than I might have originally perceived. I do agree with some of your points, but, in fairness to others, I do not always write the way I did to you. I specifically wrote that way to make sure that I was clear. After an event like this (or a suicide or similar tragedy) I might write things like “We need to fix the mental health care system in this country.” but not qualify that not all people with metal illness/issues are dangers to others or themselves. I know that and I know that I would never mean that, but I also don’t expect others to perceive it as a statement against all people with mental issues. I might write,” We need to put a priority on protecting society.” but I expect others to count all members of our society because I do. I don’t usually state something like, “including those with mental illness, because it is automatic to me. They are not separate from society, so I don’t think that I need to specify that they deserve protection, too. I think that is why this post finally got me to respond. My perception of this commentor was that he/she was saying that many mentally ill people who break the law (whether violently or not) end up thrown in jail where they don’t get real help and then will be released to recommit offenses against others. To protect society as a whole, we need to address the system that refuses to help at every stage. I know she didn’t say it outright, but to me it seemed that she wasn’t meaning to exclude people with metal illness from those needing protection. When we put people in jails when what they really need is help, we create better criminals and tell them that we have no interest in helping them. We are harming them and every other person, mentally ill or not, that may fall victim to them later. That’s what I got. There were a few other comments that I read differently as well. For example, I (or others) could say that it is very difficult living with/trying to parent a mentally ill child. I would not be likely to say that every illness is different, every case of an illness has differences, or every family situation is different because we are all individuals and I expect people to know that. Maybe that is naive, but most people I know think that way automatically so we don’t have to qualify that if we say something like “I know what it can be like living with someone who has depression.” (or just “living with depression” in my daughter’s case) that we don’t mean to say that our experience is exactly the same as everyone elses’ I do have to agree with you that not caring about “Michael’s” perspective is not only an awful thing to say, but completely counterproductive. First, he is a human and deserves respect and human dignity. Second, understanding his perspective and why he lashes out is the key to helping him stop/control his behavior. Yes, he’s crossed some lines, but throwing out anything that he may have to contribute is cutting of the nose to spite the face. People who really want to fix the broken system will want to listen to those who are constantly being failed by it. To be fair, I think most of the people who said things like that are still thinking only of violent mentally ill individuals, but learning how they think and feel needs to be a priority. i do have to say that i think that those who say that the author is insensitive or can’t really understand what living with a mentally ill person (especially a violent one) is like without having done it do have a point. Without direct experience, it really is hard to truly understand. I often tell people that I can’t even imagine their struggles because I have no frame of reference. I cannot truly grasp the challenges my step-sister or her son face every day dealing with his autism because I don’t have that experience. In this case, I really do think the original author was crying out for help and trying to tell (all) people that parents trying to deal with violent children (or with children they suspect may ultimately do serious harm to others) need to speak out and they need to not simply be blamed or ostracized when they do speak out. The author here took an unnecessarily harsh view and picked apart the blog for things that she didn’t say (so it could be complained about) and somewhat twist some of the things said, largely so they could berate her “appropriating” someone else’s experience. That was my take, anyway. Either way, I think you sometimes read too much into how people phrase their comments, but I will acknowledge that perhaps I sometimes give them too much credit as to what they are trying to express.

        Not that anyone can comment to me directly, but for clarification, I do want people to know that I did not use my daughter’s name, my real name, and that, everything I posted about her, I discussed with her first.

  106. Chemtrails. . . Google YouTube “What in the World Are They Spraying” and “Why in the World Are They Spraying”. . .research what the aluminum and barium do to the brain. They spray day in and day out. Research what is in the meds, and the water, the food *GMO*, the vaccines. This activity is going to increase as more and more children and adults are poisioned with the toxic chemicals :/

  107. I just have a quick comment and question to pose.

    A lot of energy in this thread is being put into pointing out that the majority of such gunmen are not psychotic, although that is a separate question from whether or not they are mentally ill. This is appropriate as far as it goes.

    And I certainly DO NOT think that all mental illness equals propensity to violence — that is absurd and ridiculous, and also not how I think the question is being framed or what the mother’s original post was implying, although obviously I disagree then with many people on this point.

    But, if people who commit these kind of crimes are NOT mentally ill in *some* respect, then what are they? It seems to me we can only then conclude that they are “evil” or “just bad people” or something to that degree — this is not a good direction to go in, obviously, and your critique would be greatly strengthened if you offered your own way of viewing behavior such as this.

    The other way to look at it is that this results from very fragile people who have not endured life’s harshness very well (thinking about bullying, etc) — but isn’t that also something to be addressed with psychological help, and thus still falls into this circle of psychological issues? Shouldn’t we be trying to get these people more help, more empathy, more social support? And was that not the point of the mother’s post?

    That being said, I think a huge — perhaps the majority — of the problem lies in social causes, ie sociological; we live in a society which so alienates people that any propensity towards this kind of thing is given so much fuel to flame out of control. BUT, I just want to point out here that in a rush to dissociate mental illness from acts of violence, you’re pushing aside the question of what DOES cause someone to act out in this way; and some people will fill that blank in for you with categories and assumptions far worse and more simplifying than an awareness that mental illness is not only a question of personal health, but of societal health as well.

  108. The truth can be hard and unpopular. Thank you for writing this.

  109. This article blew the other WAY out of proportion. Have you ever heard the term, ” I am Bradley Manning” or “I am Khaled Said” (who actually died)??. Way to be egotistical and not both critique and work from what was actually constructive in the article say, not using jails for people who are mentally ill. . Numbering points as if this is some kind of competition, pales in comparison to writing a sincere letter about a very personal experience. I don’t see how her expressing her personal experience perpetrates the stigma. Wow, just wow.

  110. Please feel free to tell us if you have any experience with mental illness either through personal experience or by working with or around others who have mental illnesses.

    I feel you are way off base in your post and it’s basically nothing a kneejerk reaction in the hopes of attention and well hey, congratulations you got it. You’re now famous. I hope you got what you wanted.

  111. That Liza Long number is highly unethical and attention seeking.
    – without hesitation, LL decides gun control is not important right after another school massacre caused by a gunman armed with firearms. In a country where all civilians can get hold of firearms so easily,
    – without hesitation, LL hops on the recent massacre from the news to link her own misery which has nothing to do with the mass murder. Let’s get everybody’s attention by yelling out Lanza to further her non-related agenda… utterly disgusting and disrespecting the victims. What a fine example for her misbehaving kids. What compassion and empathy.
    – without hesitation, she calls herself the mother of all infamous school shooters – lumping them together with her sons misbehaviour and stubborness. The actual mother Lanza is dead and cannot explain the tragedy. But here comes Lisa Long, offending all victims as well as her own son, who sofar has killed no-one.
    – without hesitation, lady writes about her kids online, so strangers from all over the world can sympathise with her and judge her children as malicious creatures who torture poor mother. No loyalty with own kids, no forgiving for own kids. What will those children think when they find her rage online someday?
    For all we know, she might be the disturbed one, maybe a control freak who falls apart when kids won’t clean their rooms. If she wants to vent about her terrible kids, she should consider a PRIVATE diary and a professional therapist to help HER.
    – IF her son displays some treats of Asperger’s Syndrome (such as violent response to sensoric overload, violent response to small details, misunderstanding of rules, shock at surprises) then disciplining him “the hard way” will not help at all, just make things worse, escalating the conflict between him and this odd mother. AS-kids NEVER understand punishment NOR rules set by others – they have difficulties understanding and connecting with others in the first place, let alone analyzing complicated social rules. AS-kids see punishment as completely unrelated to anything they say or do. AS-kids see punishment as a completely unfair surprise hurting them out of nowhere, and they do NOT like surprises (surprises and any breach of routine scares them and makes them panic, and they can be violent when panicking).

    • You’re a complete idiot.

      • Awesome example of an idiotic reply to someone trying to engage in meaningful dialogue.

    • Completely untrue that kids with Aspergers never understand punishment or rules set by others. My son has Aspergers and has certainly been able to see punishment as absolutely related to his own action, and has done so since he was little. Punishment does not come as a surprise to him, and he has always understood what he did to cause it and what to do to avoid it. I have been a member of the Aspergers Association of New England for many years, met regularly with other parents of kids with Aspergers. If anything, kids with Aspergers need very clear rules, and very clear consequences if they break them, and my son tested the limits to the extreme, believe me – but he got it, and it helped him tremendously.

  112. Well, actually if she didn’t keep a bunch of guns around the house,, and teach her disturbed son to shoot, then she is not exactly like Adam Lanza’s mother. And that’s a good thing.

  113. As can be seen by your response and the comments here, I think you could be wrong in your presumption that the original post is a terrible springboard for further conversation. Also when the topic of discussion is as nebulous as that of mental health, there are many perspectives on the issue and most of them are valid, including the perspective of one mother sharing her own, personal experience.

  114. I appreciate you for shedding light on a topic that most Americans don’t know much about. However, I fear that the argumentative nature of your post is going to silence a lot of people who are well intentioned but not well informed, and suppress the chance for us to come together and really discuss and advocate for people with special needs. This is a discussion that needs to happen with everyone, not just the people who know a lot about mental illness.

    I think Liza Long’s post was a wonderful springboard for discussion, and the fact that you wrote this response kind of proves that. I don’t think she ever tried to imply that she knew everything there is to know about mental illness, or that her and her son’s experiences represent the experiences of all people with a mental illness. She was just trying to shed light on the fact that there ARE other people like that out there, and that until this horrific event, this has been an invisible problem.

    In this difficult time, where people are still trying to process what happened and there is a real push for positive action, let’s try and stay supportive and educate each other in a respectful manner.

  115. YOU SAY “the article dehumanizes the mentally ill and completely glosses over the inner mental life and experiences of those with mental illness.” NO IT DOES NOT. You totally misunderstand or are in denial, or ignorant of what we go through as parents. Until you live in our shoes, you will never know.

    I know her fear, I too live with a 26 year old who has the same mental health issues of anger management and have throughout his life sought help to now avail. I fear for my life as the well of others he is in contact with. He has physically attacked me twice and his father once. He can’t hold a job. He is now in college and is very smart intellectually, but has no wisdom, common sense. He cannot deal with conflict, correction, or authority. I want to call the police, but I fear it will only enrage him more, and being in jail with the worse people will not help him. I pray constantly for God’s help, and am waiting.

  116. Awesome, yet another “anti-ableism” blogger who doesn’t seem to give a crap about how people with certain psych or neuro conditions harm the people around them. Certainly not about their caretakers, who are almost always female. Intersectionality? What’s that?

    And mark me down as another who doesn’t give a fuck about Michael’s “inner life.”

    • How does demonizing one set of marginalized people help another set of marginalized people? Was that in Intersectionality 101 or is it a more advanced course?

    • In Search of my Spirit's Falsetto.
    • Posted 17/12/2012 at 02:43
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    I have not finished reading the comments. So few parents take even a few psychology courses before raising a kid — whether mentally ill or not. But hey, is that accessible without planned parenthood? Are there states that offer services for parents – that have different suggestions for handling these types of situations? Some of my relatives speak about other relatives’ mental health situations without their permission. Liza’s article is another version of that and I think your response is necessary, especially in defense of his privacy. I know this may not be the point of your writing, but what I want to read more about is whether you agree with anything she did in response to her son’s behavior or address why some parents react this way.

    I certainly do not think your response was a perverse confidence booster (as some other responders are accusing you of).

  117. don’t be too hard, she is probably trying to do what she thinks is best. it is always hardest to recognize our own shortcomings… what she has written is a cry for help. in some ways this should be lauded as well as her efforts to draw attention away from guns and onto the mental state of those who use them violently. no-one is perfect, and most are far from it. I do think you have made a great contribution to the conversation and I am happy to have found your blog. just saying…

    • Why is drawing attention away from guns laudable?

      People in countries with gun control find it very perplexing that Americans are so fond of their assault weapons.

  118. While I agree that equating the two kids is a really stupid thing to do, as well as making the problems mental health poses look far different than they are, I disagree on the point about antipsychotics. In the case of this child, the prescription of antipsychotics makes sense, only because of the degree of behaviour (I need to find a good place to upload academic papers I’ve written without risking academic offence). Based on the paper I wrote and its sources, the prescription of antipsychotics for behaviour such as his is largely for the purpose of bringing the child to the point that the child can be treated for the underlying problem, as let’s face it, someone in a fit of bloody rage isn’t exactly in a frame of mind for therapy. However, the failure in her son’s case with treatment comes in as a result of the absence of ongoing therapy to deal with the root cause. Antipsychotics are prescribed in these cases as a very temporary bandaid solution, and not meant to be the entire solution. This mother’s problem child is problematic due to failure of the system and failure as a parent. The mother of Adam Lanza was in a different scenario, having wealth to afford treatment for one. Throw in that those who knew Adam say things about him which are very different than what this mother is saying about her son. Adam was a well to do kid who was seen as brilliant and not problematic, in sharp contrast to the problems this woman’s son exhibits on a regular basis.

  119. Sorry, I didn’t read all the comments, so I hope I’m not repeating what someone else said. What struck me about the original blog was the mother’s reaction to her child. If the child is mentally ill, you should treat his episodes like a medical issue. Instead, she responded to his episodes with guilt-trips and a ‘how dare you say that to me’ attitude. My own child, who has special needs and can get angry, though not to the extent as her son, would not do well with her kind of responses because whatever his behavior, he still has the capacity to feel hurt when he’s attacked. I think drawing a line and sticking to it with firm consequences is good. But lashing out at him (or even acting offended) for something he can’t control at the time is not good. My own son is pretty well adjusted and has learned over time behaviors that are more conducive than others. But the teachable moment is NOT when he’s angry. Very few people, including mild-mannered people, can be truly open to hearing constructive criticism in a state of crisis. I do not mean to suggest that people born with genetic pre-dispositions towards violence can be cured through good parenting. I understand that there is a huge range of disorders. But the original blog does not do enough to bring out the complexities in these cases. By the way, I am a single parent too.

  120. It feels like people are equating the mentally ill with disenfranchised groups like gay or trans people, who were and are so often cast as “ill” or “sick” and “in need of help.” The difference is, kids like Michael ARE sick and DO need help, and that’s where the biggest problem is: the system. Saying Michael is being unfairly silenced is just as ridiculously ignorant as the mother would be if she actually believed she was Adam’s mother. Grow up. You KNOW she doesn’t. A more literal interpretation of the article would be her saying “I COULD be Adam’s Mother One Day, If Nothing Is Done to Help My Son.” I’ve read multiple rants from people tonight claiming that his “perspective” is being “ignored.” What does that actually, ontologically mean? What would not ignoring his perspective look like? Tell me. What kind of rational perspective could he have when he’s practically foaming at the mouth? While people can sit here all day and judge a mother in whose shoes they haven’t had to walk in, I’d love to hear someone actually suggest to her a course of action that they know she hasn’t yet taken.

    • “It feels like people are equating the mentally ill with disenfranchised groups like gay or trans people, who were and are so often cast as “ill” or “sick” and “in need of help.” The difference is, kids like Michael ARE sick and DO need help, and that’s where the biggest problem is: the system.”

      Stop conflating “the mentally ill” with “kids like Michael.”

      Gay or trans people are cast as if they are mentally ill so they can be treated as if they are mentally ill. Which is very disenfranchising, by the way.

      We see the way people with mental illnesses are disenfranchised on this very thread. People who have to live with us are pitied. Demonizing us as potential killers is OK. Violating our privacy is OK, even when we are children. If we protest this, then we are called hateful and ignorant and contrarian.

      More here:

      • That checklist relates mostly to ASD, but a lot of the items are equally applicable to mental illness.

  121. I may have not agreed with everything expressed in the original “I am Ryan Lanza’s mother” article, but this commentary comes across to me strictly as an attempt to oppose a popular, viral blog post just for the sake of being contrarian. I’m not saying that was necessarily the intent, but that’s the impression it gives.

  122. What stuck in my mind after reading the original article is that the child described does not fit the profile of a mass killer. People like that tend to have significant violence in their lives, and may well kill someone some time in their lives — but they are NOT likely to rack up a huge body count in a single incident. They’re just too violent — people are watching them.

  123. This is told from the mother’s point of view,
    analyzing it to the point you did is almost silly. She’s telling you her experience. She is not a therapist or psychiatrist or a pharmacist. She does mention feelings for her child but if you have ever lived with someone with mental illness like I have, you know exactly what she is talking about when she states that his eyes are cold and calcated. And it’s not just children who have this problem. And anytime a child is threatening to hurt themselves or someone else, they are in fact dangerous. This is a great article to spark the discussions that you mentioned in your analysis.

  124. I would really like to know if one, just one, behavioral specialist or medical professional, or social assistance personnel or youth officer or doctor has contacted this woman with an offer of real assistance that will alleviate her and her children’s (all of them) situation. Just one. Anyone out there that has something concrete to offer other than “he has to commit a crime or be charged first before he gets in the system which wont cure him but will incarcerate him.” Absolutely everything else that is said here is BS!

  125. Your post has gotten far more traction than it deserves. Bluntly speaking, you have no idea what you are talking about. Liza does not mention her son’s diagnosis (and it is probable that he has had several), but I would imagine that conduct disorder — which indeed is associated with violence — is among them. As for your commentary on appropriate medications, I’d love to know which medical school you attended and where you did your residency in psychiatry. Please enlighten us!

  126. 1) The woman was empathizing with the other woman. That is a good thing– a human thing. To seek to rip it apart and contradict is not a good thing– and not very human– but ever so smug.

    2) I had a family member who was mentally ill and violent– not mentally challenged, never a victim– so the stats do not come to meaning in the specific– do they? (rhetorical).

    3) Parents having no help will try just about anything that MIGHT help. Good parents who have tried everything else, are not interested in warnings of “*potentially* extremely damaging” for a loved one who has attacked them with a knife. This is not rocket science. This is coping.

  127. I’d like to know what your expertise is in Reactive Attachment Disorder? You speak with authority fon psychiatric treatments, where did you study? If you are such an expert, you’d know that NO medications are indicated for treatment in youngsters, by nature of the clinical testing guidelines for pharmaceuticals. Futher, if you’d bothered to read the countless comments on the original blog, you’d see how many parents are dealing are living with the same situations and receiving ZERO assistance in dealing with it. NOWHERE does she say that children with mental illnesses are more likely to commit crimes. She speaks from her personal experience, which is the experience of many other parents. The fact is, that these kinds of disorders are not, as you suggest, ‘behavioural’, they are far more complex than that. Take a few minutes to do some research into these types of conditions (which actually are NOT on the autism spectrum) before casting such an uneducated judgement.

    • In Search of my Spirit's Falsetto.
    • Posted 17/12/2012 at 03:28
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Dear A Parent: You write, “Your post has gotten far more traction than it deserves”.

    ‘…therefore, I am going to add a comment’.

    Reread #3 of the blog post.

  128. Thank you for writing this.

    At the risk of opening myself up to being demonized, I was not entirely unlike “Michael” as a child. However, I would never even dream of doing what Lanza did–I wouldn’t ever even touch a gun of my own free will. Long makes the rather critical mistake of confusing planned, pre-meditated violence with aggressive behaviors that are the result of mood/anxiety issues. When really, having a proclivity towards the latter doesn’t mean that a given person is likely to shoot twenty-plus people. To dump all “violence” together without any regard for the distinctions in motivations or a person’s state of mind does no good whatsoever.

    Commentators who deride the girl who was thursday for speaking out against Long’s dehumanizing article because she “lacks personal experience” in this matter don’t seem to get that she deals with mental illness herself (or so I infer from the blog). She is speaking from a place of experience–and has a perspective that is too often ignored by those who think that we crazy folks have nothing useful to say about our own experiences, or the wider social context in which they occur. Witness the many commentators who say they don’t care at all what Michael thinks. Well, screw that. We have the right to speak up on that issue, and sorry if that offends some people. You don’t get a free pass from being offended–goodness knows that we don’t.

  129. “…uses that to bolster a narrative that doesn’t even attempt to discover or represent the experiences of those they claim to speak for. ”

    Well stated.

    The only thing everyone is agreeing on is that some kind of change is desired, so the tragic event is being used to push personal agendas instead of waiting until the whole story is known and understood.

  130. I have vision problems. When I blow your page up to read it your “FollowThursday” box gets in the way. Please remove it. Let me know when but I don’t want to be on your mail list. I’ll come back and read your article. See if I like it.

    • not sure if anyone cares if you come back to read the post.

  131. And all of this is why nothing will be done either about mental illness or gun control in this country. All sides will blather on about their side of the argument, undermining points made, etc. This is not a debate class. This is a time for action. Mental health treatments need funding in this country. Automatic assault weapons need to be banned. Those are the two things that need to be accomplished to prevent further tragedies.

  132. As someone with BPD, who found the original blog and comments (and, now, many of the comments here!) deeply hurtful and enraging, just thought you could do with another voice of support. So here it is – I couldn’t possibly agree more with your analysis.

    The one thing I’d add is how dismayed I was that the author didn’t make an attempt to keep her son anonymous. She may have changed his name, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot when she posted a photo of him. Seriously hope he never, ever finds that post.

  133. I think that unless you are a mother dealing within the same situation as this woman you cannot hold judgment…. there is a point of realization that you reach as a parent after YEARS of repeated behavior despite the many forms of help that have been enlisted. As a parent, you try anything and anything to help your child, you advocate, enlist outside professional help, research behavior and investigate their every environment to figure out where they could possibly be getting it from. I think that this woman in her desperation after continuous effort to get her son help is extremely brave to voice precautions to society, not only to advocate for help for her son but also to protect the innocents in our society who could possibly be in the wrong place at the wrong time in the event of this young man’s unpredictable aggressive meltdowns… in which seems to be a typical behavioral issue with him. A mother knows what is typical of her child’s behavior… It would be wise to listen to the concerns of this woman concerning her son and other parents like her…. our ignorance is what costs us the lives of innocents such as the children massacred in Connecticut.

  134. I am disconsolate and devastated by the murders in Danbury, which I once visited and a friend was from, by connecting to the grief of the luckless parents to the feelings that I once had on a holiday outing when my younger daughter was nearly swept away by particularly strong undertow. She wasn’t, thank God, but I spent quite some time with this thought in my mind: How could I POSSIBLY return home without her. It was IMPOSSIBLE! That was a looong time ago; my baby is nearing 40, but the intense grief that currently engulfs me connects me to those wretched parents and would have been my own fate back then, had that happy day turned out otherwise. I am so sorry for them…words can’t express it or how they must feel. The horror, sorrow, and pain of the nation and the world join theirs. Please, God, can we now, at last, do something about guns in this trigger-happy nation!? And about lowering the STRESS in the everyday life of all of us!?

    Think of the many people who uncaringly inflict stress upon others on a daily basis; they probably have unfathomable stress in their lives too! Think of the mindlessness of incorrect and/or contradictory information given out carelessly that causes people to tear their hair out in attempting to achieve a simple transaction that should take minutes but takes hours in many different lines, and the phone calls that produce nothing but frustration, different numbers and people to call, and still no answer for a simple question. Think of stressed-out parents and that which is passed off onto their children, who they love and would die for, but are so overwhelmed that they are unable to protect them from their own stress. And think of those children becoming parents before they have even a glimer of understanding of their own lives–and passing that horrible stress along.

    Age is not a definition of adulthood. Adulthood is not a definition of maturity. Maturity is getting on the path to understanding that life is about unravelling and recovering from childhood and making sense of oneself so that one can BE! Life is about Joy! It’s about sorrow, too. They go together. They inform us. They refine us. God always says yes. So if one concentrates on the grief and bitterness, that’s what one’s life becomes. And both joy and sorrow spill over on others; neither is a self-contained emotion. Spill joy!

  135. She is attempting to open a dialogue about the lack of treatment for the mentally ill in North America by sharing something painful and personal, the way SHE experiences it. Why persecute her for sharing her perspective, she is closer to the situation than the bulk of us (the readers).
    Sarah Zdybel

  136. Thank you for posting this! I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone reading some of the comments of support for this woman. She just blatantly compares her son to the most evil mass murderers she can think of, and people support her?! No, he is not the next Adam Lanza, he’s just another troubled teen with bad parents. And she goes on a media tour…

    • I think her point is that Adam Lanza was mentally ill and that the system that we have to treat and manage mentally ill people is broken. Adam needed help.

      • We don’t know that he was mentally ill. It’s safe to say he had problems, but we do not know what those problems were.

        I suspect, as others on this thread suspect, that if he had been pulling knives on his mother and threatening to kill her or himself she would not have made her guns so easily accessible to him. But that is just speculation. You know, like EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT ADAM LANZA’S MENTAL HEALTH.

  137. Liza wasn’t trying to speak for her son, but for herself. Someone who lives with her son and daily tries to learn how to manage his illness and care for him like he deserves. She also has other children she must keep safe.

  138. What an incredibly flippant response to someone who is drowning and needs help. Clearly she isn’t asking correctly. Maybe you could give her a hint.

  139. Just heard she is using her real name and real name of her children? I sure hope that isn’t true for the boy’s sake. No parent who truly wants to help their children would drag their deepest, darkest issues into the public eye this way.

  140. it was retitled for Huffington Post, but she originally posted it on her personal blog, as

    I think it’s really fussy and cruel to pick apart a woman’s article based on the sensationalist headline HuffPo gave it.

    • Bzzt. The statement “I am Adam Lanza’s mother” is in the article itself. And yes, we are aware she didn’t mean it literally.

  141. The victim of a mass homicide is heard? Re: “appropriates the experiences of people who are unheard, in this case the victim of a mass homicide, and uses that to bolster a narrative that doesn’t even attempt to discover or represent the experiences of those they claim to speak for. Don’t do that.” Wow – gutsy rebuttal. Who are you speaking for? Maybe don’t do that.

  142. I would ask the writer of this post…Do you have children with mental illness? Because if you don’t, then your argument is completely invalid.
    You utterly discredit this woman’s experience as if you are actually the one in her shoes and she is simply telling your story…”no, this is how it happened…”
    I have three kids with mental illness. You can talk about all of the “statistics” you want, but they are only that. Statistics. Numbers on paper. They are not real, they are abstract.

    My youngest son has moderate to sever autism. A month ago something set him off and he had a meltdown in which he tried to bite off his own fingers. But there is no way he will be capable of violence down the road, right?

    Also, the second amendment has stipulations covering gun control as it pertains to the mental health of an individual, right?

    Adam Lanza’s mom, Miss Lanza, probably knew her son could get violent. He was diagnosed with Aspberger’s and in the tenth grade, she withdrew him from school to homeschool him.

    Do all Aspberger’s patients go on killing sprees? No. Nor do all guns harm or kill. In fact, MOST guns sold in the US to citizens are never fired at another human being. But, Adam Lanza’s gun was. Statistically speaking, this incident was in the “rare” column, to say the least. Statistically.

    If I read your article correctly as well, then I do agree that it wasn’t necessarily Adam Lanza’s Aspbergers that was the root cause here. But certainly, it did not help the situation.

    In conclusion, Please don’t pretend to know better than someone who lives the situation you are judging. The only thing worse than watching your child get hurt is watching your child hurt others.

    • There are people with mental illness commenting on this post. As I understand it, the author of the post also has a mental illness. Please stop claiming that our perspective means nothing and only our parents’ perspective counts.

      “Also, the second amendment has stipulations covering gun control as it pertains to the mental health of an individual, right?”

      I have no idea what you mean by this. Personally I am not American and think that “the framers wanted it to be this way so we can’t change it at any time for any reason” is a stupid argument (also puzzling when the Constitution HAS been amended numerous times, and not that long ago). However, it’s persuasive to a lot of Americans, so *shrug*

  143. Your ignorance on the subject of mental illness disqualifies you from comenting

  144. This disgusts me on so many levels. This author clearly didn’t understand the original piece. For example, on point 3: The mother isn’t talking about mental illness in general. She’s talking about her violent son! On point 4: This IS good reason to fund better mental health care. It’s not the only reason, but it’s a damn good one. On point 5: The mother agrees that the drug isn’t helping her son. I can’t believe this author would write something so insensitive when the whole country is in pain, this mother is in pain, and this is an opportunity to make real change.

    • I’m disgusted by the original blog writer. She already sees her son as a potential murderer. Maybe his behavioural problems stem from the fact she is failing to be a truly supportive parent. Just a suggestion ;)

      • I am disgusted by the ignorance and insensitivity expressed in this post. Michael’s violent mental illness has absolutely nothing to do with her and any poor parenting on her part. If anything, she has ameliorated the effect of his obviously congenital malady with her heroic patience and love expressed in the face of his terrifying displays of violence. She is literally begging her government for help in dealing with this impossible situation, and it has come up grievously short.

  145. Brilliant! Thanks for this parrhesiastic blogpost. You must be onto something when the majority are loathing you for it. Probably because you are taking away the nail to hang the reasons for this recent shooting on. We love to have a simple reason for something that then allows us to abrogate our own complicity, and in this case, the ongoing violence against women and children. Whether that is attempting to deny women access to safe abortion or the state providing substandard education for impoverished children. Violence occurs on many levels. This latest shooting is a continuation of that.

  146. While I understand and to some point agree with your points, I think the purpose of the blog was to give our society an internal look at what it is like to live with a child (he’s only 13) with a mental-illness that includes violent outbursts. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and researchers are NOT perfect in their diagnosis (yes, I have personal experience with this), neither are parents. Parents under stress day-by-day get worn down when they have more than one child with heavy needs it adds more stress. Parents can’t just choose to not have the difficult child, they do the best they can with who they are. I don’t think she was stigmatizing, anymore than your article is trying to demonize her or sweep her experience under the rug. What she was trying to do was give a CASE STUDY of what it may have been like and what her (and many other parents of children with mental illness and violent tendencies) greatest fear is. I’ve lived in both Canada and the US for over 20 years in each. The US has many roadblocks that prevent parents of children under 18 to access residential mental health services when the parents are to their own breaking point. I won’t comment on the judgement of the gunman’s mother’s parenting – we weren’t there and we don’t know what it was like in her family. What we do know, however, is more services need to available for children, parents, families, and adults with mental illness. (I have both grown up with mental-illnesses and work in the field)

  147. To whomever opined that the author of the original piece is an enabler, please note that the LAST thing a parent who is an enabler does is turn the child in to the police. An enabler would have denied that there was a real threat so that life could go on “as normal.”

    • I called the police on my son, they told me to pick him up in 24 hr.s, I didn’t enable anything! I’m guessing u don’t have children or ur so blind u really think the laws r gonna save us. Get a clue! If u r ever in this situation, let me know how the law works out for ya! lol

        • PrepToris
        • Posted 17/12/2012 at 10:24
        • Permalink

        ‘Mom’. be careful with the vinegar of your responses. ‘Insightrak’ is making a comment that is clearly in support of the original ‘Lanza’s’ mother’ article and author. Based on the narrative you (and others) have shared, the burden and strain experienced by the parent’s of mentally disturbed/ill clearly immense. I am not currently a parent, but I am someone who has survived and overcome the intense internal and outwardly focused rage resulting from sexual and physical abuse as a child. Through the course of my teens, I had reached a point of sociopathy where my emotions were only used to manipulate others instead of impacting conscience. The wounds to my family rsulting from this time are still healing today. Overshadowing my own historic issues, is the siege my family endures from impacts of a military sibling who suffers from tremendous PTSD issues after 2 tours in tthe middle east. The point of all I have said, is not to compare my own pain and struggles as greater or less than yours, but simply to remind you that I know for a fact such duress can make you feel that no one is listening to you or on your side, or that everyone is attacking you. But, take a breath, read ‘insightrak’ again, and see that she is simply saying that the ‘Lanza’s mother’ author *IS NOT* an enabler, and that fact is demonstrated becuase the ‘Lanza’s Mother’ author did everything she could including even calling the police and trying to have her son commited. Likewise, ‘insightrak’ states that enablers are ‘deniers’. It is clear that neither you nore ‘Lanza’s mother’ have denied anything. Be careful not to see an enemy where there is a friend.

  148. If you’ve never been in this situation u have no right to comment. Some of u get upset, saying she’s putting those with mental illness in a box. Your not getting it because u don’t know what this is like. I will share. I have a son, now 17. He was sexually abused by his father. He was 6 when this came to light. My son has been in therapy for 8 years, refusing to tell everything he went through. Anyway, he was a difficult child from the beginning, now I know why. He started having emotional tantrums, accusing teachers of taking & breaking his things, he would hide my car keys so I couldn’t leave him. This went on til he was 10 or so. I pulled him out of school & home-schooled due to his emotional fits. I didn’t want anyone making fun of him. All the while , he’s in therapy. So, now he’s 10 & his anger is increasing. His little brother who is 7 is now the receiver off his brothers anger. He has punched his little brother in the head, kicked him, and has tried to choke him. His brother is afraid to sleep alone cause he thinks his older brother is gonna come in & kill him. He told him he would. So, lets move to age 14. He’s now violent. He has come at me with fist in the air, thank God I am still stronger than he. He threatens to kill us, tells us of the countless times he’s come in our room with a knife & could’ve killed us @ any time. We get a lock on our bedroom door, my 5 other children sleep in our room when he’s had a bad day. He has broke down doors, tore up walls, & now has destroyed the only vehicle we had. We call the law, they come out, take him to jail. The DA calls me & says u need to pick him up by 10 o’clock. I was shocked. They have no reason to keep him cause he can’t destroy his own property. What! They tell me to take him to a mental hospital. I do. They keep him, of course, he acts the same on the phone with me as usual. He’s gonna get his revenge, he’s gonna teach me a lesson for what I did to him, I will pay. Thre dr.s said he was bi-polar, his therapist said, no, but she’s not runnin the show. She, as well as his previous therapist suggest Asperger, autism, & personality disorder, but we have to live with the diag. as bi-polar, I’m sorry, I have 3 relatives who are bi-polar & they never acted like this. So, they could only keep him for 2 1/2 months & we had to pick him up. Everything goes good for a few weeks, u hear the same story of how sorry he is and how he’s gonna change. Then he has a never violent rage, he got my gun, pulled it on me & his brother & starts cussing us. My other children are below us downstairs. He points the gun to the floor & shoots. Oh, God, I can’t tell u the feeling of death that came over me not knowing if he shot one of my babies. I run for him & we struggle in the sheets for the gun. My 2nd eldest son jumps on his back & tries to choke him out while the gun is pointed at me. At that point I wasn’t afraid to die, I just knew I had to save my children. The gun gets turned on him & he starts screaming for his life & for me to let go. I tell him I can’t. Fear for his life he let’s go. I run downstairs to check on my other children. Everyone is safe. He had a kill list for people, I gave that to them. It didn’t mean anything. They said he has to answer for what he does. I’m sorry, but my son needs mental help, not prison that’s gonna make him worse. He doesn’t belong in jail, a mental hospital til we figure what’s really going on. I’d like everyone to know, they never did anything to his biological father for abusing him, the DHS caseworkers and the police detectives told my son to his face he was lying. His little brother was also sexually abused by their dad, but these two boys were lying because a good ole’ boy wouldn’t do that. That’s what they said. Their sexual abuse counslers came to court & testified the boys were telling the truth & something had to be done, the judge throw them out because they hadn’t called their dad so he could tell his side. So, I have a son who never got help, was missed diag., was made to have supervised visits with the person who abused him, was told he was a liar. That’s the wonderful system we have. My son went off to school for awhile by his choice, of course as soon as he was unhappy he called cussed me out, threatened me, and then dropped out. I have another challenge to get him some where. I hav protected,fought the DHS system, the police ,the abuser,the judge, and my own son.I’m still fighting the court for my childrens safety, it’s going on 13 yr.s in court to save my children against the person who, by all counts destroyed the mental health of my child. He is living it up free as a bird. He owes 150,000 in back childsupport, which I agreed not to pursue, if he didn’t pursue my boys. I traded my childrens well being so he could keep his wallet . And u people wanna talk about what this mother shared as wrong. I know how she feels, I’m still there, where’s my son’s help? If I do what the so called health professionals want me to do, he’ll be in jail learning new tricks. There is no help, we as dedicated mother’s do what The so called LAW let’s us do. U do have to kill or almost kill someone to get help for kids in this society. It’s a fact! I have several family members who have mental illness, they have helped me, but they agree, his diag. is dead wrong, so my family & I pray. That’s the only thing we can do. We pray my son will get help & heal. For the mother who shared, ” I understand ur struggle, ur pain, fear, & ur love for a child u still love even though u can’t do anything for him. May God bless u & give u strength to keep ur family safe & together. God bless!

    • To be fair, you haven’t been in her situation either. So you too have no right to comment. By your logic.

      • Good point Camgould. At this rate, we should just lay down the rule that none of us can speak because none of us have identical experiences.

      • It we could all just be a little bit more intelligent. But that’s difficult for some ;)

      • Sorry, that was a bit harsh. I took your comment as an unhelpful snide remark. We should all just do our best to be as compassionate as possible.

  149. Reblogged this on InTrinzic Value.

  150. Being a person with mental illness, I found the rebuttal to anarchist soccer mom to be triggering and uneccesarily insulting. I was left with the impression that people with mental illness will be further stigmatized because of the authors experienced belief that autism is somehow above mental illness. Is it not true that some autistic people experience mental illness too? The reactionary idea that autistic people will now be persecuted with restraints and such is so over top!! Hate to break it to you, but people with mental illness are regularly mistreated by those in the mental health community in that way and I would have a lot more solidarity with you if you demonstrated a more tangible degree of respect toward mentally ill folk.
    So you dont wanta cruel fate to fall upon your son, who has been described as having the disposition of a buddhist monk, well join the club- mentally ill folk are equally as virtuous and yet we are misunderstood to the point where autistic folks dont want to even be associated with us. I realize that Autism is not a mental illness and you have made it clear that autistic people dont want to be mistaken as having a mental illness.

    Does that actually demonstrate compassion and solidarity with the mentally ill with regard to stigma? Not really. I am not impressed and I think that while everyone deserves their time on the soapbox (including myself) that this rebuttal reads more like a rabid pro gun control and autism awareness rant than serving the purpose of contributing to the public discourse on stigma.

    Furthermore, the venomous way in which you have criticized and written about a deceased killers mother is stigmatizing in and of itself. Ive interpreted that you believe that you are also a far more superior parent based on premature information leaked before a formal criminal investigation has been completed. We dont have access to Adam Lanza’s treatment records to know exactly what he had and hiw that was being managed. So what we know from what little has been gleaned from his closest family members is that he may be autistic and have a personality disorder. Anarchist soccer mom admitted that there were a variety of diagnoses that were brought to the table as possibilities.

    Lastly, even though members and co-survivors of the autistic community find solace in your words, please know that you have sincerely offended a member of the mentally ill community

    • ah yes, because how DARE anyone else have an opinion on it? Giving birth automatically grants you the gift of knowing more than another person.

  151. Its obvious you are not a parent and you don’t have hands on experience!

  152. I haven’t slept much in the three preceeding nights, so I’m a bit incoherent maybe to post here. I’ll just address the military-like order at the end, of “don’t do that” which seems like the icing on the cake, after the author’s curve ball remarks about “quasi-solidarity”, and the “we are, I am” tacky comments. Pray tell me what grammatical construction are we to employ, which will please this author’s whims and wishes, when we show solidarity for someone we know was brutally murdered, and was later blamed for his own murder by another tacky pseudo-journalist, who claims to speak for society. What I describe is not theory but fact. First, I’m not saying this for protagonism, but my last three almost sleepless nights, have been spent burning the midnight oil, scrambling all over different social media, ever since over a week ago, I coincidentally found out that in my native Puerto Rico, a family man was savagely beaten, and set on fire before he died. Afterwards, Puerto Rico’s incredibly number one Nielsen-rated TV show, a media abomination that has been running for far too long now, consisting of a puppet operated by an arrogant pupeteer who has already lost civil suits for libelous slander, and who over a week ago, seemed to fumble the ball for the last time in his career, by appropriating to himself the role that perhaps belongs only to the Universal Creator and Judge. To wit, the pupeteer by the name of “Kobo Santarrosa”, had the gall to blame the victim of this heinous murder, simply because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and not even giving this victim any benefit of the doubt, and making these insensitiva comments live on TV as a matter of fact, at the very moment the victim’s wife was identifying her husband’s remains at the morgue. Maybe I’m off the subject, but if I’ve had the inconvenience of some lost sleep lately, and if the over 72,000 supporters that the #boicotalacomay has on its facebook with the goal of getting this tacky pseudo-journalist pupeteer off the air, if we are all part of this “quasi-solidarity” that this arbitrary author is pompously ruling on, then apparently we are all nut cases and hot human enough, to show empathy, caring, and solidarity love, and we must be putting salt on the wound, of this pop psychology expert author, who seemed to hitch his/her wagon to the star, of all those RTs that are trending on the #adamlanza stream, of the article “I am Adam Lanza’s mom”.

  153. I’m really not down with this article. I think it panders to impulses towards elitism and takes a lot of space to say nothing more than that other people shouldn’t voice their experiences unless they mesh perfectly with whatever the modern yuppie liberal pseudo-intellectual paradigm concerning legitimate and illegitimate speech is. Yeah, I find it weird to say “I am…” too. But this article has nothing to do with what that original article about, for one, and simply reeks of self-righteous useless condescension, directed at a person expressing a pretty fucking terrible situation that they’re facing.

  154. Hi there. I’m a child and adolescent mental health nurse from the UK.

    Although I can understand some of the objections raised by people commenting in this thread, ultimately I find myself broadly agreeing with the author of this post.

    I can sympathise with Mum’s frustrations in parenting someone who is clearly a very challenging child, and who may or may not have a condition like autism (without more info, it’s impossible to say). Even so, I hardly think that kid is going to be overjoyed when he grows up and discovers that back when he was 13 his mother had told the entire internet that he’s going to be the next Columbine killer.

    It also concerns me that he seems to have gone through a shopping list of antipsychotics by the time he’s 13, and I’m wondering if that would have been the case if he’d grown up anywhere outside the US. In the UK, we’re very sparing in prescribing antipsychotics to kids.

    • Agreed. I was both a lot like the kid described in the original article as a kid, and I’ve worked direct care and case management in a psychiatric setting. Part of what drove the destructive dynamic between my mother and I was her using terms like “evil.” If I found out she’d verbally abused me in public too, I’d have been furious.

      I’m also disturbed by her own problems with de-escalating. Using a stay in a medical facility as a “consequence” for a non-credible death threat is not appropriate. You MUST start each day fresh as a caregiver. Holding grudges, making threats (“Next time you make a non-credible suicide threat, you’re going to the hospital!”, and not assessing each situation for its own merits is a problem.

      Also agree on the anti-psychotics thing. They’re dangerous as hell. Her son won’t be thanking her if his liver fails at 45. And they’re not working in any case.

  155. Whilst appreciating your argument I’d go easy on her. This is a woman terrified of her own – as yet undiagnosed – son, in a systematically failing system.

  156. James dean and wendykh, did you notice your avatars are swastikas?

  157. I know it’s important not to paint all mentally ill people as violent, but come on. I think it goes without saying that anyone who decides to kill a bunch of innocent people must be mentally ill. Just because these people weren’t “exhibiting psychotic symptoms” at the time of their attacks does not mean they didn’t have a mental illness. All that means is that there were no outward signs of their mental illness, or perhaps the only people they came into contact with before their attacks were not looking for any signs or symptoms or could not recognize them. And again, just because someone wasn’t being treated for a mental illness doesn’t mean they didn’t have one. As you pointed out yourself, many people in America don’t seek help for their mental problems because it is so stigmatized, they aren’t even aware that anything is wrong or because they believe that they are actually “enlightened” and don’t want to seek treatment. You have no idea what these people could have been experiencing in their minds, which were all, clearly, very disturbed.

  158. Thank you for posting this. I hope you all understand that this author’s experience with her son, while common with young children growing through puberty with a Mental Illness or Brain Disorder, DOES NOT signify that children and young adults with these illnesses become killers.

    I have for the most part kept quiet on my opinions of the tragic events that unfolded on Friday. I have brought education and information about the historical facts regarding Violence in the Media. But I’m at a point where I need to have my voice heard.

    I am a sibling of someone who has high functioning autism brought on by years of brain injury from severe epilepsy. I myself have a Non-verbal Learning Disability as well as previously diagnosed Bipolar Disorder Type II. NVLD, while not severe does fall under the high end of the spectrum for Pervasive Development Disorders.

    After all these tragic shootings, there is always a talk about this person’s mental health and previous diagnosis. I am always on edge and have great concern for my brother’s well being – will this make him a target? Will others ostracize him or even me?

    My family and I went through hell for a few years with my brother. To this day, we have a love hate relationship – but overall, things tend to be okay. He has good days and bad days. We all do. In our darkest days, he’s pulled screw drivers on us, used anything he can reach against us… we’ve had to take him to the hospital for emergency sedatives.. he’s been out of control. But that is not him, that is his frustration leading to rage. Imagine you’re trying to communicate and no one understands you. Imagine you cannot relate to other people and how lonely that world is. Imagine you’re desperately trying to get someone to get you… you’re overstimulated, overwhelmed, and as hard as you try to say how you feel, it’s like you speak another language. That is what it’s like. Now imagine being the person who’s trying to help but can’t understand what your child, sibling, friend needs. It’s very overwhelming as well.

    That article, the author, is misinformed about the options available to her and she’s got her hands full. Here in California, we have the Regional Center that helps coordinate and inform care takers of resources available for individuals with disabilities. In Idaho, where the author is from, they have Arc. The information given to her by the Social Worker, if that was actually the information given was completely inaccurate. The fact that they simply gave her son a script for Zyprexa and sent them on their way is unlikely. I really don’t feel that it’s the whole story – no psychiatrist would simply prescribe medication without setting up additional services such as Therapy (CBT for example). They also provide Respite care – which it sounds like she needs desperately.

    There are plenty of resources out there, the problem is no one talks about the resources that are available. No one says, here – this is something you should look into to. And additionally, it’s not a one time thing. The biggest problem with most of these situations is the lack of consistency. It’s not something that goes away with a pill, it’s something you just have to learn to cope with. Being consistent on the treatment as well as educating your friends and family members is key.

    These children don’t grow up to be killers because they have a mental illness. They grow up to be killers because we fail as a society to attempt to listen to them. To accept that they are different and have patience to understand them. Mental Illness is not a cause of the recent events. It’s the hush hush, we can’t talk about it mentality. It’s the fear of different and the fear of brain illnesses. It’s the stigmatization of those with disabilities. It’s the turning a blind eye when someone is in distress, the dismissive notion that someone needs to just have more self discipline. It’s the lack of support for those of us who have the invisible illness or disability.

    I’ve said this multiple times today to various people… My brother is not Adam Lanza no more than I am not Adam Lanza. We have gone through tough times, did the research necessary to find help. My brother and I, we have brain disorders and that does not make us or anyone else with brain disorders dangerous or time bombs waiting for the right time to blow. We’re people who just want to be understood and have the same thing that everyone else wants.

  159. Little perspective to killings of innocent children…

  160. Reblogged this on ratfinkblog.

  161. That article is timely in that not much mention of which psychiatric drugs this kid was on has been yet, although probably a lot. It’s designed to confuse the public since some may have missed the fact that she is actually dead, being overshadowed by the children who were killed. The article goes on to say that she refused meds and diagnoses for her son, thus incorrectly implying that meds would have averted this tragedy. Major news networks will never report the truth about these meds, especially MSN b/c on of their top contributors is the Mayo Clinic which does a lot of farming on MSN to get people to diagnose themselves and recommends drugs.

  162. This article is one of the worst examples I’ve read in recent times of the left wing hating its allies more than its enemies.

    • Intelligent people don’t think in terms of “allies” as such. We have our own opinions. You’re thinking of right wing people, or ‘idiots’ as they often known as.

    • The author of the original blog isn’t left-wing, so I’m not sure what your point here is.

  163. 100% agree.

  164. Reblogged this on The not so quiet feminist. and commented:
    A must read blog post!

  165. This blog post reads like another I just read by Liza Long, written with the same arguments and style. Could you be the same person? Anyway, I am puzzled by your objections, as this was written by a mother “in the trenches” raising a mentally ill child. It is a challenge and can be scary and exasperating as I know all too well. At least she is dealing with the situation and not giving her child guns to play with.

    • The “she lived it” aspect of the story doesn’t mean the mother is the best person to be writing about it. Especially if she is also mentally ill. Neither is “you don’t have children so you can’t have an opinion”.

  166. I having great difficulty sussing out the raison dete of this blog entry, and I found little in it with which I agree. I think that the blog’s author is using the article in question to springboard into a completely different agenda of her own, and it discredits her argument by trying to contextualize it in response to the original article.

    I respond here directly point for point to the author of this blog, using her numerical assignation.

    1) She has plenty of evidence–the child has tried to kill her and he is 13. He has put himself and the rest of his family, who clearly walks on eggshells while Michael is at home, in grave danger. It is not an unreasonable expectation that his scope will grow larger as he grows older.

    2) This article did not portend to be from Michael’s perspective; the title verily announces that she is coming from her perspective of being a mother with a violently mentally ill child.

    3) I am mentally ill, (though nonviolent) and I am very interested in destigmatizing the conditions. She claims only to write from *her own* perspective–that of the mother of a *violently* mentally ill child. Just because she describes her reality doesn’t mean she has forever comingled the attributes of violence with mental illness.

    4) The great list of tragedies that commonly befall the mentally ill were not within the scope of her article, nor did she claim that they were.

    5) I didn’t get the sense that Michael’s med regime was being prescribed will nilly and in fact, it has been determined that zyprexa *is* in fact safe for children and teens, according to the FDA and outside experts.

    6) The author uses the titile: “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother”, as a rhetorical device to succinctly ally her experience with that of a woman who also had a violently mentally ill child. The device, of course, is not a literal one, and if it is incorrect, it is good company. For example, John F Kennedy said “I am ein Berliner (yes, I know it’s bad German) and the folks who propagate the attempt to destigmatize HIV by saying, “I have HIV”, whether they do or not.

    • “It is not an unreasonable expectation that his scope will grow larger as he grows older.”

      Larger, maybe. Will he perpetuate one of the largest mass shootings in American history? Highly unlikely.

      • And a tragic outcome has to be a murdered 28 people for it to merit prevention? How ridiculous. Of course, one person hurt or murdered is a disaster and is the way most gun incidents play out. 34 people die of gun murders every day in America. These tragedies don’t cause alarm the same way mass murders do, but a murder is a murder, all tolled.

  167. Whoops, big goof. I meant to say “Your article reads like the one I read on”.
    And I really do wonder if you are the same author.

  168. I’d like to know in what universe is it okay for a mother to say that her child is a mass murderer in the making. In a public domain where the child will likely find it some day. If he hasn’t already, and if she’s not telling this to him on a daily basis already. What. The. Fuck.

    What do you think is going to happen when one of his curious schoolmates finds this article wherein his own mother is calling him a mass murderer?

    And how the fuck is demonizing your child like this not emotional abuse?

    How is this okay? How is it that people are celebrating her for calling her kid a mass murderer? What the fuck?!

    When I was a kid, I lived with a kid who was scarier than the kid in her post for a few years. This kid tortured animals for fun and would sneak into my room as I was sleeping to try to kill me. We had the “sharp objects locked up” thing going on, and we had the “people trained for flip-outs” thing going on, too. I know the situation she’s coming from.

    And yet.

    I would never, under any circumstances, ever consider it okay to refer to that kid as a little Jennifer San Marco. Never, ever, ever, ever. Why? Treat a kid like a monster and you shouldn’t be surprised if they grow into one.

  169. Consider this. Has anyone read the rest of Lisa Long’s blog?

  170. I think you take on this is completely wrong. If anything, her blog made it glaring clear just how complicated issues of mental health truly are. Clearly we can not box in or categorize ALL individuals suffering with mental health issues in that of those who have committed heinous crimes. HOWEVER, our society does a truly LOUSY job at supporting the parents, families and friends of those who are suffering from mental illness AS WELL as those dealing with a mental illness. We invest and do too little for this often isolated population. We can and must do better!!

  171. I appreciate this so much. I read that article on Huff Post and felt a tremendous amount of empathy for that mother but I felt like it was off the point of this horrific event. I don’t appreciate linking mentally ill people with the idea that mentally ill people with violent tendencies will become mass murderers. Most actually mentally ill people, people with chemical imbalances are more likely to be victims of crime then commit them. People with personality disorders-on the DSM but not a mental illness like bipolar and schizophrenia (that drugs will help symptoms…) are likely to commit violent crimes. Most serial killers and mass murderers have not had psychotic breaks , are lucid and know exactly what they are doing. How do you treat that? I don’t think personality disorders are really treatable unless the person wants treatment.

  172. Well said. You have succinctly stated the facts about someone dealing with mental illness. And yes – how dare someone make the egregious statement that they are Adam Lanza’s mother?

  173. I think you are mistaking this woman’s personal blog post for a doctoral thesis – she was clearly writing from personal experience and NOT attempting to make the gross generalizations that you claim. Please think about context before you troll…

  174. I feel the original blog writer is not only not referring to mental illness a whole but is trying to express her own fears and doubts and, most of all, her feeling of helplessness due to not being able to know her son in the same way the parent of a mentally “healthy” child can due to her son not being able to express himself in the same way that you, I, her or her other children do.

  175. So many comments on Huff. already along the lines of “Why did Mrs Lanza have guns in the house with a child like that?”

    Unfortunately this article hits the nail on the head.

  176. Being a mother of a 6 yr old with some of the mental issues wrote in this blog I completely understand her point for writing it. How do you know what it feels like to be a parent of a child with issues. When your told you have a child that has traits of all these different disorders. A child who doesn’t under stand they are in trouble. A child that has a full blown melt down where you have to physically restrain him to keep him from hurting himself or others. Does it happen on a daily basis no but when it does there’s nothing you can do to change it. And knowing its your child that you gave birth to. That you love with all of your heart makes it extremely hard. Put yourself in our shoes. Get the looks that we get when our child acts out in public.

    • Sorry, Special Snowflake.

      As horrible as you think it is for you, it’s even more horrible for your kid! Try putting yourself in YOUR CHILDS shoes and maybe you’ll have more empathy for the author who wrote this response.

  177. Oh, I see what the problem is. The author wrote a piece from her perspective and foolishly thought people would be smart enough to realize that she’s speaking from her own perspective and sharing her feelings after a tragic event, and not attempting to define mental illness or the cause of violence on a societal level. Think about doing something useful instead of attempting to school a readership who, in fact, doesn’t actually need your input to be able to understand a simple article without making grand generalizations about every mentally ill person who has or will ever exist.

    Also, you do realize that citing “very few even have histories of prior contact with mental health services” in reference to “perpetrators of autogenic massacres” only means just that–few have histories of contact with mental health services. This COULD support your ideas but it could also mean any number of other things, like perhaps these individuals didn’t have access to mental to health services, or seek them out.

  178. So what you’re saying is, as long as the boy only TALKS about killing his mother and killing himself, and only bites and punches and spews obscenity, and as long as he’s only a still (barely) restrainable 13-year-old, why, it’s utterly RIDICULOUS to suggest that this kind of acting-out could lead to anything worse. The only time you should conclude that this is an indication of something serious is when the “subject” walks into an elementary school and murders 20 children and 6 adults. Very interesting, “Thursday”, and SO helpful….. In the meantime, do drop that distressed mother a line and let her know how indignant you were at her professing “solidarity” with other mothers raising similar children. Apparently, you consider yourself the gatekeeper of a holy confraternity and are royally p.o.’d at someone’s daring to try and get in around you. And, clearly, that WAS the MAJOR issue the whole world needed to worry about this week, for your sake. Well, aren’t we all glad you feel better now…..

    • Maybe a bit less bullying in the world could benefit people as well. Your tone is disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself.

      • I think his response is apt. This blog entry has a very bullying, arrogant and superior tone and he was just calling her on her imperiousness.

    • No one said it was ridiculous to suggest that he might do ANYTHING worse than what he’s already done. It is, however, ridiculous to suggest that his acting out could lead to the rage-murder of two dozen people, because only a tiny percentage of people commit mass murders like that.

  179. In response to the issue of severe mental illness- the type that can drive someone to end life- their own or others. I believe we are experiencing spiritual warfare. In the bible, Jesus cast demons out of troubled people and asked his disciples to do the same. Our world is full of satanic influence and Satan or pure evil will have its way unless the demons are cast out in the name of Jesus. No human has the in-born ability to kill like we’ve seen in this world- we are made in the image of God- only Satan can drive someone to act like that. Our mentally ill patients are being cast aside with pills and useless therapy when they need the spiritual healing of the precious blood of Jesus Christ. They need DELIVERANCE from evil.

    “Deliver us from evil” We truly need God to deliver us. Lord, help us over come Satan’s desire to rule our world. Amen

    • you are insane. why are you praying to god on a blog?? does he read blogs?

  180. The author of this article makes several rather specious claims, including the claim that ‘most’ (quantify ‘most)’ mass murderers have had no experience with prior mental health services. That claim in particular seems to infer that since there was no prior mental health assessment or services–that these assailants were not mentally ill. That is a false supposition. It is just as possible that these assailants NEEDED mental illness services and could not obtain any referrals or assessment. I have worked with many autistic and Asperger’s individuals and I had the bruises to prove that some of these patients DO indeed become dangerously violent. I am NOT saying that mentally ill persons and those along the autism spectrum will all be violent–I am saying that the advocacy community needs to deal with these issues in a truthful manner and dump the politically correct propaganda. In the case of Adam Lanza, I suspect that in addition to the social pragmatic issues of Aspergers–he also had severe to PROFOUND Sensory Integration Dysfunction (which would explain his inability to feel pain). I also suspect that district officials (like far too many educational administrations) refused to provide certain expensive services such as Sensory Integration Therapy by a license Occupational Therapist specializing in this treatment. Though the security guards and a psychologist tried to assist–persons with Aspergers do NOT usually have the social language skills to benefit from talk therapy unless it is accompanied by pragmatics therapy conducted by a Speech/Language Pathologist and Sensory Integration Therapy by an OT. The school and the children suffered probably due to the district’s refusal to provide these services since Adam was academically capable. These procedures are set by the US Dept. of Education and they reflect legal issues as opposed to treatment issues.

    • Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but nor is it evidence of presence. We don’t know if those murderers were mentally ill. Assuming they were because “anyone who does really bad things must be mentally ill” is stupid.

  181. Reblogged this on willworkforfoodformycats and commented:
    I would like to use this article to make my own clarifications about my blog post yesterday. In no way was my blog intended to induce “quasi-solidarity” with the victims, the shooter or the shooter’s mother. Rather, I was intending to explicitly HUMANIZE mental illness by saying three things:
    a. Just because someone is mentally ill does NOT mean that they are characterized by violence.
    b. It is not just people with Axis I disorders that become violent; thus to blame Adam Lanzs’s actions solely on his mental illness is to generalize all people with mental illnesses as not blameworthy for their actions.
    c. And lastly, I intended to imply that I do on some level identify with Adam Lanza because I have known since I was a child what it is like to have intense, intense emotions, not be able to express them and to feel misunderstood because of them. But I also encourage conversations around mental illness so that the people around me can feel educated about what I am going through and feel adequate to help if need be. But I know that many places do not encourage this sort of openness, and in these cases mental illness is something to be feared, conquered and imprisoned.
    We should all be a little afraid of our minds because they are the greatest thing that we have to offer the world, and when it goes off kilter, we lose that offering. This is humanity, not mental illness. So, let’s talk about it.

  182. The response brings up some interesting points, but unfortunately it misses noting what I feel might be a major factor in the boy’s current mental state: environmental factors. I’m not blaming her (and no parent is perfect, but I do think she made some poor decisions), but look at what this boy has been through [i]that we know about[/i]: messy divorce, step-mom, step- and half-siblings, custody battles, mother who admittedly has her own mental health issues and thinks the ex might have made an attempt on her life, father who was accused of physical abuse by his older (then 13yo) brother, experiences in mental health facilities, and the list goes on.

    In her own words, the mother is an “attractive, accomplished, talented, successful, almost 40 year-old woman. [She’s] raising four children, earning a doctorate, working 8 to 7, and even pursuing [her] own passions–writing and music–in [her] spare time (midnight to 2 a.m. on Wednesdays)” who also indicates she has taken many plane trips away from home. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be a single mom of 4 kids, but it’s hard to deny the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much time for the children (again, not blaming, just noting). She may not ever say it or show it to her kids (though she did post it on a blog for the world – and her children – to see), but she seems to harbor some regret or resentment over having them, and she recommends that childless adults stick to puppies and snarks about karmic payback if her children are ever “dumb enough to reproduce.”

    Honestly, I be surprised if the child(ren) [i]didn’t[/i] have some anger issues and violent tendencies! Who knows, her son’s behavior may have started out a cry for attention or help (I believe his problems began after the divorce) that went unheard for too long. :( I feel more sympathy for the boy than for the mom, and I am sad that she, as a paid writer, used such detail in describing her son’s difficulties because those words (along with his picture) will follow him around for the rest of his life.

    • I agree. Her descriptions of her ex’s behaviour with the kids are really sad. They’ve been through a lot, and throwing violent tantrums isn’t a surprising reaction for a kid that age. I don’t doubt “Michael” is scarier than most, but it’s not time for despair. Not yet.

  183. Great post. I would add only that I think her son deserves some privacy, and to not be a vehicle for his mother’s frustrated journalistic ambitions.

    • I agree with you. If anyone finds out who the mother is, then her son’s shot at a decent future is going down the toilet. She is talking about her son like he is going to murder people, while she is showing critical thinkers that her parenting skills are below par. She would be better off whooping her son, than by complaining to the world wide web about her son is. If I never talked to my mother that way when I was 13, I would have visible scars on my butt from getting spanked with belt at the age of 35.
      People say it’s wrong to spank your kids, but when I was growing up getting butts whooped, we didn’t have young men and women shooting up schools, ,movie theaters, temples, and etc.

  184. Here we go again with trying to criminalize the mentally ill. I agree with the “You’re not Adam Lanza’s Mother'” blog.
    Treating the mentally ill like criminals would cause people not to want to get help for depressed moods, anxiety, hyperactivity, and etc. Why? No one would want to be labeled or have their family members get labeled as a criminal.

    I wear Americans act dumb as hell after there is a mass shooting.

    Having ad campaigns that encourages people to get help when they feel sad for long periods of times, anxious, hyper, suspicious, or etc would be a great idea. Reminding people that seeking the help of a mental health professional remains private is also a great idea.

    I also notice that the mentally ill and people with autism are the primary ones who get bullied, teased, abused, and etc. Who speaks up for them? Barely anyone. However, when a person who happens to be mentally ill or suffers from a form of autism shoots up a school, a theater, or etc society wants to start talking criminalizing the mentally ill.

    Why doesn’t society talk about criminalizing bullies?


  185. Reblogged this on foolishbeing and commented:
    I was impressed with the original post as well. Parents do feel abandoned and alone.

    • VERY well said, kosherpicture. The woman who wrote the article about her life and trials with her son made herself vulnerable, with her honesty, candor and pain, to exactly the sort of mean-spirited, self-righteous and puerile tirade posted by “Thursday” here. Thursday had nothing to lose with this post and was, apparently, in need of an ego boost via gratuitous trashing of others.

  186. Wow. I hope you are a better person than this post makes you out to be. From this isolated read you appear to be an insensitive and incredibly ignorant individual who clearly has so idea what it is like to face every day with a loved one who suffers from an unpredictable and undefined mental illness that is at times devastating and at times terrifying. To attack Lisa Long from your soapbox to get your own agenda out there is beyond horrible.


  188. So, just because this woman’s experience and viewpoint don’t fit your precise criteria, she is unfit to start a much-needed discussion on the need for better mental health care? I never got the ii.dea that she was saying that the mentally ill are inherently dangerous–that was your take. Your post is just more noise in a situation that demands clarity.

    • Pretty easy to advocate for better mental health care without trolling/stigmatizing an extremely diverse group of people, but taking that route wouldn’t feed her apparent narcissism.

  189. THANK YOU. I’m yet another person who, as a kid, was not entirely unlike the child talked about in the article. My mom talked about me similarly to strangers too. She’d conveniently leave out that she’d been a prescription pill abuser for 8 years, left me to fend for myself from 4 on, and then came back into my life as a parent at 12. After packing my own lunches, getting myself to school, and signing my own report card for all of my life, I absolutely did not accept her as a parent.

    I was also on a cocktail of antipsychotics (ineffective at curbing real anger, by the way!), which later gave me neurological problems. Which nobody believed me reporting, because my mom was going around saying I had “evil eyes,” and presenting two way screaming matches as if I was the only problem in them.

    I grew up normal. I got therapy. I do have a mental illness (bipolar II, PTSD), but the antipsychotics we had back then were NOT indicated for those illnesses. Essentially, all the effort to medicate my mother’s complaints meant I had an untreated disorder I couldn’t trust my doctor to talk about. After 18 years of my mother using therapy as a tool to try to make my anger go away (instead of APOLOGIZING!), using therapy to actually address the problems I needed was difficult.

    Yet I AM NOT that lady’s kid. However, whether he is in the right or wrong, there is sure as hell another side we are not hearing. If that lady needed help, she probably needed to get it on an anonymous basis, because comparing him to a spree killer on a national stage is selfish as hell. We do need better psychological supports, but it starts from a place of compassion rather than a place of portraying your kid as a potential spree killer on a national stage.

    So here’s my advice to that lady: if her kid is not in therapy, get him in. It’s probably more useful than drugs. Second, SHE needs to be in individual therapy. It’s probably a fair guess that neither of them are good at deescalating. For instance, do not take a kid to a mental ward as a “consequence” for a non-credible suicide threat. He is correct, that’s out of proportion. I’ve worked in an intermediate care facility for people with mild mental retardation. Even WE distinguish between credible and non-credible death threats.

    It needs to be similar to modern marriage therapy, and emphasize repair attempts. They also need to concede: maybe the kid has something real to be angry ABOUT, and few ways to appropriately be angry. Maybe, like me, he was from a household where everyone freaked out if anyone had an emotion. Maybe, like me, he’s the family scapegoat (the reason mommy gets high, in my case). Maybe he was abused or abandoned. Maybe he has a mental illness, and it’s being exacerbated by the wrong meds. There’s never at any point acknowledgment that this kid might have a reason for how he behaves, or that she’s part of the problem in that family dynamic.

    • Thank you

    • Excellent response, and thank you for your input. I don’t want to get into too much detail, but I can identify with certain elements of your story, and I think it’s at least as important to get the perspectives of the “children” (analogous for Michael, I guess) as it is their parents’ here. While *of course* there is a definite need for compassion in dealing with the parents of, shall we say, non-neurotypical children, there’s a strong tendency to almost automatically put them on a pedestal when at the end of the day – they’re like any other parents. Some do a great job, some do appallingly, and most fall somewhere in between. Some greatly exacerbate or could even be argued to have *caused* their children’s mental health issues. I have no idea what kind of parent Liza Long is on a day-to-day basis, none of us really do. Sure, you can read her blog, I guess, but you that’s hardly objective. I think it’s pretty impossible to have an honest discussion about mental illness without acknowledging that they do not exist in a vacuum, and in families where more than one individual at a time suffers from mental illness, they can sometimes have a symbiotic, mutually-reinforcing relationship.

      I don’t know, really… but as a lot of people have mentioned, her use of her son’s real image and the potential ramifications he could face as a result for the rest of his life, in the publication of the original article, *really* bothered me. As does the reflexive cry of “how *dare* you question/critique her??”. Compassion and honest, critical thought are not mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, I’d argue that one is pretty useless without the other.

    • one of the best replies here, that dovetails with the same gentle criticism of the response piece. im still baffled scanning all these raging angry responses who see this response to long as so evil and mean spirited…i think its written in a restrained tone, when there could be a lot more criticism laid on Long for the strange self-nominated martyrdom that rubs a lot of us the wrong way.

      but i really liked Kate A.’s perspective of showing exactly how dangerous it is to swallow the story with no fact checking from a random mom-blog and spread round the world, when the poor kid has no say, and theres a slew of anecdotal evidence on the rest of the moms blog that she may not be the most balanced of individuals herself. what a tragedy for the kid already that he will now be forever google-able as “the kid equated with a mass murderer by his own mom for blog fame”…but to add insult to injury, what if its not even the whole story, like in the story Kate A tells. yeeesh. thats enough to make even a well balanced kid suicidal, shit.

    • Thank you for this comment.

  190. So that mother is being criticised for her ignorance of the complexities of mental illness? Is she expected to know all that someone who’s been to medical school and studied psychiatry knows? Or is she expected to know her own personal experiences w/ her son? Are not his expressions of violence enough of “his perspective” to conclude he might be dangerous? Oh right, she should know what’s going on in his head because she’s should be a student of psychiatry in her spare time – which I’m sure she has so much of. There is NOTING illuminating or edifying about this “rebuttal”.

    • The kid’s made some very credible threats of harm, and I’m sure some credible suicide threats.

      Psychiatrists aren’t magic. They use the same ears and eyes everyone else has. The way you tell a sucicide threat is credible (or the way we did when I was in direct care and social work) were the following, adapted person to person:

      Does the person have a history of non-credible threats?

      Is the person attempting to use suicide to obtain a wanted object?

      Is the person attempting to use suicide as an escape from an unwanted task or activity?

      If the first, and either of the second two are “yes,” it’s not credible. It becomes credible if the person expresses a plan, or attempts to obtain an instrument to harm themselves.

      I hope she has the resources to know stuff like that. It’s very difficult to influence behavior if you aren’t aware of obtain/escape/stimulate motivations.

      And yes, if you speak on a national stage about your kid, especially in a way that could hurt his future, I expect a little more from her than I would if I were counseling her in private. A LOT more, in fact.

  191. It is my belief that Liza Long may suffer from some form of factitious disorder by proxy – a relatively uncommon form of child abuse in which a parent or caregiver falsifies or creates illness (often mental illness) in their children. It is typified by repeated and unnecesary trips to the medical authorities – in this case visits to psychiatrists and institutions – the falsification and creation of illnesses and a need for public acknowledgment of their abilities, the stress they’re under and the hardships they have to face as the parent of a quote-unquote ‘sick’ child.

    • That her son is so heavily medicated, and with such a broad variety of drugs, is potentially indicative of multiple stories told to multiple doctors; this would also explain why he is being prescribed drugs that do not seem to fit the symptoms he is alleged to be showing.

    • That she has now published photos of her son and made no real effort to uphold his anonymity or dignity surely indicates that her desire to be recognised as a good parent comes above her desire to actually be a good parent and protect her child from media interest/humiliation.

    • To make the strange and unstubstantiated claim that he will one day carry out an act of great violence is typical of FDbP sufferers who are drawn to dramatic, negative events.

    Either way – FDbP or no – her treatment of her son is certainly causing more problems than it is fixing. Perhaps, after all this, she will no longer need to fake or encourage the deterioration of his mental health: his own mother writing an essay in the national media predicting he will grow up to be a spree-killer should be quite enough to ensure he suffers enormously for a long, long time.

    • you seriously think that MORE armchiar-diagnosing is a good thing here?

        • feathered_head
        • Posted 18/12/2012 at 09:53
        • Permalink

        Thanks Tom for your observations — the same occurred to me.

  192. The article in question was obviously subjectively written (the article above doesn’t attempt any different actually). It’s obvious that she is expressing what this incident is bringing up within herself and in her own situation, she has a right to that. Your article, from the same token as your criticism, doesn’t attempt to understand or even acknowledge the position of the parent in this scenario. I don’t believe the article this woman posted was a journalistic analysis of the Sandy Hook massacre, and I don’t know why any person would think it is. What is the point of your criticism?

    • This is hogwash. She’s published photos of her child, her name is out there. She has all but outed him and called him a potential future spree killer. We have no inkling of his side of the story. There’s been no respect for his privacy or how this might effect his future.

      And, honestly, if I “expressed my feeling” that you were a potential spree murderer with vil eyes, I think you’d have every right to be offended and angry. And so does her kid WHEN he finds out his mother wrote this. I don’t give a damn what he did.

      When you put yourself out there, you are not immune to critique. When you insert yourself into a national dialogue, your contribution gets analyzed with everyone else’s.

  193. SO agree with Kate A. With every word, and the selfishness of that article really gets me. Can her son NOT READ? Or how is she going to prevent that he is now aware that her mum has labelled him a future mass murderer? Oh, wait, she takes away all the electronic devices as an IMMEDIATE punishment for him stating his rights. Sounds like great mothering of a child with mental illness (or in fact ANY child)……

  194. Reblogged this on The Later Parade.

  195. Your response is utter rot. The mother was talking about the stigma of mental health issues and how it is criminalized in America, and your reply makes no sense in context of the original article. I’ll certainly not be checking your blog again.

  196. The boy is 13 years old. He is a child. Under the supervision of his mother. To say he may have his own “perspectives, beliefs, and motivations” is likely an accurate statement, but until he turns 18, his perspectives take the back burner to what is good for him according to his mother. I applauded this mother’s actions in dealing with her son. She is consistent, follows through, and doesn’t pity him or submit to him. She is a mother, and he is her child. Once he turns 18, then the subject of his own motivations can come into play. But not until then.

    • According to her blog, the mom does not agree with you. Apparently she thinks the onus is on her son to make right choices so that he doesn’t affect others in his life – and even when he was 11. This is from her Sept 2010 blog after he made the first mention of wanting to end his life.

      “I have never recovered from the loss of my father. I do not even want to contemplate how the loss of my child would affect me. But I realize that I have no control over his choices, that I can only hope to help him comprehend the potential devastating consequences to me, to his father and step-mother, to his brothers and sister, to his grandparents, to all the friends and teachers who admire his quicksilver mind, his impish wit, his skill on the piano or the chess board.”

      Nothing about how he is being affected…

    • This is a really twisted definition of childhood. He’s not an automaton or a slave until he turns 18.

      A 13-year-old doesn’t get the final say in all the decisions that affect him, but only the most grotesquely overcontrolling parent would deny a child the right to opinions.

    • That’s patently insane and accidentally insightful. It’s exactly your attitude that may inspire a youngster to speak with a gun… Because that’s the only way to be heard.

  197. I also have issue with the fact she specifically stated that the majority of mass murderers are white men, then went on to address mental health as if this possibility can’t be extended to non-white men. we address other mass murderers as savage or terrorists, but for white men, they must have some mental illness. stop the discrimination.

  198. I really appreciate this response. I have had quite a bit of personal experience with mental illness in my short 26 years that I will not detail here. But I will say that it has taught me a lot of things, and a lot of those things were present in this blog response. My immediate emotional response to that mother was repulsion at what I perceived to be exploitation of her son to illicit validation and approval from the Internet. I sympathize with her situation in that I know full well how difficult it can be to know what to do, what something may mean, and it can be difficult to remain strong through all of the ups and the downs. But the fact of the matter is that there are resources EVERYWHERE. Read, listen to talks/medical conferences on the subject, look up supposed or potential diagnoses in a mental health/psychiatry dictionary, online resources, medical journals, etc. and also know your child well enough to know if those behaviors are an accurate fit to said supposed diagnoses. There are so many steps one can take, and yes it is difficult, but so many people do it. You feel alone and like you are giving up huge bits of yourself with no guarantee of any improvement, but it doesn’t matter because you created a person–a person that thinks differently than you, most definitely–but a person nonetheless. And on behalf of every child and teenager that is suffering from similar problems, how dare she implicate so many innocent for the sins of a few. This does not negate a horrible tragedy, but perpetuating a stigmatization of mental illness is the platform that will ensure that nothing but tragedy comes out of this. It is exhausting and gut wrenching.

  199. I do see the point, and this blog writer makes sense. From my somewhat limited experience, with acute (sic.) inpatient care exclusively, the mom’s perspective is felt by a lot of family members who are loving and overwhelmed and desperate and would do just about a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g to help their children (or other persons legally in their care) to be well and to keep everyone safe. Lots of stories and pain everywhere… from the post she wrote at least, the mom’s article reminds me of the best caregivers of those whom I got to know. A lot end up giving up, not for lack of trying, and my time was spent giving care to the patient only…

    Ah, these are complicated situations, and what do I know. I just wanted to say that the first article retold a familiar story to me and others whose work is inpatient. Let there be peace on earth!

  200. Whatsamatta? Couldn’t find any one else to hate on today?

  201. THANK YOU so much for speaking out on this! Amusing to see so many commenters jump on the ‘how dare you criticize a mom?!’ bandwagon with no concern for how the misrepresentation in the original post effects the lives of those with mental illness or autism – some of whom are ALSO MOMS and raising kids themselves.

    Probably the same types who thought is was ok to label all gay people as child molesters a few years ago. #bigotry

  202. I completely disagree, I believe the mother did a great job of showing that her child is a great kid except that he suffers from this illness (not that is is enough but the original article has a pic of her kid playing with a butterfly) …second while he may not be the prototype of those who commit mass murder, it shows that she honestly lives with the fear that he could be driven to violence, and this fact is very overwhelming for a single mother with a crappy system for dealing with those with mental health. She emphasizes the bad life conditions of those with mental health in order to say that there should be better care, and if your read the article I think there is no way you could argue that she is in any way saying that the system works. She is saying that we should really change the system. And in terms of the perscription, this article is somehow insuing that she is a bad mother for giving her child this prescription when the mention of that fact in the original article was exactly meant to highlight the problems with dealing with patients with mental health. Her doctor dismissed her insecurities with an unhelpful medication. And finally, her use of a title was extremely appropriate. Rarely do we hear the voice of those living with fear that their family member may cause violence to themselves, their family, or the public, because we aren’t suppose to talk about it… no one ever wants to align themselves with someone who is viewed as a problem is society, which is how society views her child.

  203. I think you missed the point severely on this one. This is a mother who fears for her child and for her whole family on a day to day basis; a personal accounting of her personal struggle and her emotional response to the Newtown tragedy. If you have all the answers, I’m sure this woman would love for you to lend a helping hand … she said it herself: “I need help.” Maybe instead of criticism, you should offer comfort and support.

    • I think YOU missed the point.

      You want to talk about fear on a daily basis? 25% of the people in this country living with mental illness can expect to be VICTIMS of violent crime, in contrast with 3% of the general population.

      A personal accounting of her personal struggle would have been great, but instead this ‘mother’ decided to latch onto another family’s tragedy via search engine optimized terms and drag a whole spectrum of people into a narrative she manipulated to suit her personal purposes.

      Those who are mentally ill are more likely to *need* protection from the “sane” population, not the other way around. Still, her blog post went out of its way to perpetuate misconceptions and generalizations that put the lives of millions of mentally ill people in danger every. single. day. People who often aren’t in a position to properly protect and advocate for themselves.

      So, no. She absolutely doesn’t get (nor does she deserve) my support.

  204. You make some important points, but your criticisms don’t stick. Point-by-point response:

    1. Given her personal experience, she seems to have good reason to think that her son poses a danger to himself and others — and apparently, mental health specialists agree.

    2. This is a good point: she does seem to dehumanize the “subject” a bit, which is obviously a bad thing. But given the context, it’s understandable: this was not an appropriate context to validate his homicidal motivations.

    3. One can talk about the dangers of certain mental illnesses without stigmatizing mental illness in general, and that’s what she does here. And the research cited shows a clear link between violent behavior and certain mental illnesses – should we ignore that link in policy debates because talking about it might stigmatize some people? Clearly not – not when lives are at stake.

    4. Oh, please. The fact that the author focuses on one problem hardly implies that she denies the existence of other problems. She’s highlighting an issue which doesn’t get enough attention – it’s no fault of hers if she doesn’t address every single causal factor behind violent crime.

    5. This is another good point – claiming another’s experience is always problematic – but Liza Long does actually “attempt to discover or represent the experiences of those they claim to speak for”.

    I think all parties would agree that wider access to quality mental health services could and would help prevent violent crime. Since this is Long’s main point, the criticisms above are peripheral.

  205. articles like these create the people who explode at a certain moment.
    Ignorence and people who think that they now what is wrong and calling people sick are the ones who make it possible to grow up as a kid who feel angry at society.
    They need somebody who listens and understands there frustrations with experience in being left out, not the so called doctors with skills…

    • No, apparently staying with a physically abusive husband and forcing your son to visit him despite years of horrible abuse creates angry, violent children. Quelle surprise.

      • To be fair, she probably doesn’t have a choice about forcing the visits with the father. Those visits are usually court-ordered.

  206. I read this as well as the original piece and I’m torn. If we don’t listen to the mothers of troubled children who need help, then we’re leaving them with nowhere to turn. Her experience rang true for me. I believe her. She’s not denying her son’s reality or perspective, not at all. But she has a violent and dangerous son and she needs help. Her social worker told her the only thing that could be done was file criminal charges! Imagine that you are his mother. She loves him. She sees the good and the terrible in him. She wants other choices and help. She cannot help her son unless we help her. Her point is that this country has abandoned mental health and chosen jails as the place to warehouse those who are ill. We need to listen to her, not attack her.

    • She needs to fire the social worker.

      Reading her blog, the son has an extensive abuse history, he was physically abused, and the mom encouraged visitation. The kid’s MAD. The kid is VERY mad. And he’s a child. He’s got literally no way to get someone who stayed with an abuser to take him seriously except what he’s learned works.

      Putting him on antipsychotics because he is furious with his abuser and his abuser’s enabler is not appropriate. Conveniently leaving out participating in your own child’s abuse when calling him mentally ill and dangerous is not OK. They’re both ill and they both need therapy.

      • It pains me to say this, but I’ve seen women with abusive exes get attacked by their kids because the kids were so, so angry that they were forced to visit with the abuser.

        The problem is that the mother usually goes into court, lays out the abuse, explains that the kids don’t want to see the father…and then she gets a lecture from the judge about how all kids need their father, and an order to send them for weekend access with a big smile on her face, or else. And then she has a huge struggle every weekend forcing the kids to visit Dad, and they blame and resent her for it, and they take out their anger at Dad on her because it isn’t safe to express it with Dad. Not to mention that if Dad is abusive they’re getting some awesome lessons in how to handle conflict in general and conflict with Mom in particular.

        Not saying this is what’s happening to Liza Long, and it doesn’t make her Adam Lanza’s mother. But if that is her situation, I wouldn’t call her the father’s “enabler.”

      • Yeah, I can’t reply directly to wff, but that’s been my experience as well, and it’s heartbreaking to watch. If the parents were married, in particular, it’s very difficult to prove the existence of physical abuse (much less emotional abuse) to the extent that a judge will support your keeping the children away from your partner. I watched it happen with my best friend. She has no choice in the matter – all she can do is actively try to teach her daughter to recognise and circumvent it as best she can. She’s not an “enabler”, quite the opposite.

        Now, that may or may not be the case for Liza Long, but just my two cents. The non-abusive parent often has no choice.

  207. A good rebuttal. In the end, all this mother wants is for people to understand mental illnesses. She wasn’t trying to make perfect parallels with her son and Adam Lanza, but only providing her own story as it loosely related to the incident. The author of the rebuttal looses sight,or maybe didn’t even see, what this woman’s ultimate purpose of her article was. Again, her goal was to bring people to seek a better understanding of mental illnesses.

  208. I feel sorry for this mother and hope sincerely that she gets some help and support.

    Some comments in connection with the fact that the child started acting up after the parents divorced: In order to raise a child properly you need 2 parents who reinforce the same values and rules. I know a few single mothers who have very big problems raising their children alone. The single mothers that have it particularly difficult are the ones that have boys. When their sons grow up they refuse to listen to their mothers. The mothers just do not have the authority that a father has and there is noone else at home to reinforce the rules, advice, etc. I feel sorry for this mother and hope that more men will realise that they just can not abandon their children after a divorce and need to be there for them as much as they can.

    And just a small piece of advice: The mother could try to avoid some conflict situations. As they say – choose your battles. You can not let simple disagreements about bringing books back to the library and wearing the wrong colour of clothes explode into huge arguments. So what if the boy wears the wrong kind of colour at school or brings the books back a few days later. The parent should choose what is important to inforce and what not. The parent could decide for example that the child should not disobey on issues concerning the child’s security, health, showing respect for others, caring for others, getting enough sleep, helping at home, etc. The parent could inform the child about the things for which no discussions are allowed and give the child some more space to make its own decisions in the other areas.

  209. I came across your blog precisely why everyone else has recently. I think your perspective is one that must be articulated if the “conversation” is to be a conversation at all. So thank you. I have also read through your other entries and by the time I was finished wanted more. A thoughtful person with many important things to say. Again, thank you.

  210. im very dissappointed with this article. i think you are wrong on all accounts and that you have never been afraid for your life or the life of someone you love living with mental illness. I think you are insensitive and you are the one making assumptions and unfounded extrapolations.

    • You have no clue what the author has or has not experienced. The only one making assumptions here is you. There’s a reason why the mom who wrote the original post is being criticized by other moms who also have mentally ill children,

  211. This is an excellent, valuable post. Not only does Long miss the point of these discussions about how mental illness can lead to violence (by saying her son needs to be “contained” because of how annoying his “problem” is to her and her family, and how threatening he might eventually be to others, rather than emphasizing that HE needs help and treatment so he can enjoy a higher quality of life), but she also walks all over his agency as a young adult (in her article and, apparently, in her life) and violates his privacy to a disgusting extent. Her writing drips with selfishness and privilege.

    Of course, as other people have pointed out, the sentence, “Most perpetrators of autogenic massacres do not, however, appear to have active psychotic symptoms at the time and very few even have histories of prior contact with mental health services” doesn’t tell us squat–both because psychosis is only a tiny subset of mental illness, and because never being able to access mental health services is VERY different from never needing mental health services, as we’ve all (finally) been discussing.

    But this is still a relevant, well-written post, with probably one of the healthiest, most productive perspectives I’ve seen yet on this issue. Well done! I’m sharing this widely.

  212. How many of you replying are mothers? How many of you have truly been in a parenting situation where you felt helpless? Why are we so judgemental of eachother, so angry…isn’t that what is really at the root of our problem here? Judging what someone else thinks? Judging a person with mental health issues? Judging, judging judging…why don’t we all acknowledge that NONE of us has all of the answers. None of us are perfect. No one can rightfully say what you would do in a situation you have never been in. You can guess…you can assume, you can HOPE, but you can never KNOW. Please, let’s be more accepting of one another, be more understanding and forgiving and maybe we can help and support one another to do everything in our power to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again. Love, not hate, is what is going to get us through.

  213. Reading this has resulted in a waste of 5 minutes of life I will never get back. Get a hobby and write about something you actually know anything about (if that is even possible).

  214. Many thanks for this post. Good to hear someone talking sense on mental health issues despite the innevitable onslaught from those who believe the APAs unsubstantiated labels.

  215. Really dude? I thought it was great that she came out of the closet as someone desperate for help for her child and unable to find it. It’s her experience, and it appears to have been a pretty painful one. Why would you want to invalidate it? Because it became popular? The conversation has to start somewhere, and I have met many parents who are absolutely desperate to help their children with mental illness. I appreciated her sharing her perspective.

    • She didn’t come out of the closet. She pushed her child out of the closet. She outed her child to the entire readership of the Huffington Post. That’s not a loving thing to do.

      And the “conversation” on mental health has been going on for years and years. It did not require Liza Long to start it.

  216. Visit my blog you will like it even though you are not a swimmer you will get some knowledge

  217. Your blog sucks.

  218. I cannot thank you enough for writing this response!

  219. Great blog post! I read the blog post that initiated this one last night and it did piss me off. You are 100% on base with what you are communicating and those that think you are off base are off base themselves. I respect the initial blog post as what a mother had to go through with a violent child but their was no caveat as to the extreme depiction she made as being very, very, very rare and not a true representation of the majority of those with mental illness. She had an extreme situation but, at the same time, was projecting that her story mirrored that of the killer’s mother and there is no complete story that what she is saying about her child and experience is anywhere similar and makes vast assumptions of such in the title alone. Those that don’t get your response are those that don’t really understand mental illness and that there are millions of people with varying diseases and vastly different symptoms with a very low likelihood of them wanting to hurt others and more of a likelihood that they would hurt themselves. We will never 100% know why he did what he did, his true home life or what was going through his head to make him do this but as you said, most murderers and violent offenders never exhibited his behavior until one day they just snapped and had absolutely nothing to do with their access to mental health care. I respect the initial post for what it was trying to be but the mother left out so much and did paint a very stigmatizing picture of mental illness that just isn’t true for the vast majority and her son is a very rare exception and without really knowing Adam’s life or that f his mother, everything is up for speculation…which is insulting and inappropriate, focus on facts and not assumptions.

  220. I am with most people in this forum in my sense of shame for the person who wrote this article. They are clearly jumping at the opportunity to say something that sounds smart, on a complex and thorny subject that they do not seem to have any experience of, and in doing so they harm the quality of any mature communal response to these issues and risk also discouraging people who have something to say on the subject from opening up.

    Two things, in response to what seems to be the main sticking-point of people against the “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” article:

    1. A lot of people seem to have a problem with the comparison of her son with Adam Lanza, insisting that for her to be saying she is “Adam Lanza’s Mother”, this means that Adam and her son Michael are necessarily equal in every possible way. You have to be literal to the point of complete narrow-mindedness to believe so. And, most bizarrely, people seem to be saying that the reason they are not alike is because Adam, unlike her son, never exhibited violent tendencies. What? Whether or not Adam’s violent tendencies were more latent or less openly expressed, or not exactly manifested the way her son’s might be, is this at all relevant or important in the comparison? The article is not intended to equate two people, but to draw a connection, and to say that these tendencies are much more wide-spread in our community than we acknowledge, and the State does not help families to deal with them and even encourage them to express the problem in the first place (your article does the same, by the way).

    2. A lot of people are complaining that this article is going to forever equate the “mentally ill” with “potential mass-murderer”. Really? Are we not all aware that the term “mentally ill” encompasses many different psychological problems (of which all of us in some form or other share), and that therefore the article was never stupid enough to imply such an equation of different things? People saying that they have different mental illnesses and dislike the idea that they are being compared with a mass murderer, are completely off point. Only if you have fantasies of killing and wiping out large groups of people should you think that you are being compared with Adam Lanza. And I thought the mother’s article was a good way to encourage not just understanding of families of people like Adam Lanza, but also people like Adam Lanza. They are not themselves forces of evil. They have complicated issues that we are not adequately stepping up to and dealing with.

    • elx3 Well said. I didn’t have the patience!

    • “Are we not all aware that the term “mentally ill” encompasses many different psychological problems (of which all of us in some form or other share), and that therefore the article was never stupid enough to imply such an equation of different things?”

      No, we are not all aware of that. Many people are unaware of that. That’s why people say “he must have been mentally ill” as if it means something. When someone dies we don’t say “he must have been physically ill, we need to do more for people with physical illness” as if that were insightful.

      “And, most bizarrely, people seem to be saying that the reason they are not alike is because Adam, unlike her son, never exhibited violent tendencies. What? Whether or not Adam’s violent tendencies were more latent or less openly expressed, or not exactly manifested the way her son’s might be, is this at all relevant or important in the comparison?”

      Yes, it is. Lots of people are violent. All violent acts are not the same, or even “connected.” Violence is a very common, almost universal, human drive, and people act it out to different degrees, in different ways, for different reasons. Liza Long could have compared her kid to literally millions of other people who have acted violently. She didn’t. She chose some of the most prolific mass murderers in U.S. history, including Adam Lanza, about whom very little is known, because that’s what would get her the page hits and the TV interviews.

      She doesn’t get to say any fool thing she wants to “raise awareness.”

  221. I think it was courageous of the mother to speak out, especially after reading all these comments. Wow. As a parent of a child with a severe mental illness, it’s all too easy for me to identify the comments coming from people who have not done this 24/7 year after year.

  222. You’re an idiot and a terrible writer. Obviously most people with mental illnesses are not violent, everybody knows that, and the woman who wrote that article wasn’t saying that. How dare you try to call someone out who is trying to help people that might have thoughts of committing a crime in the future.

  223. I want to add one more comment:

    A lot of people seem to be appalled by the fact that she would equate her son with a “mass-murderer”. While I too was skeptical about her willingness to publicize all this under her real name (which will be tough on her child no doubt in years to come), I think it is strange that people in this forum are so capable of identifying with and understanding the position of people with violent fantasies (of hurting and killing people) and yet continue to maintain the position that an actual mass-murderer is something entirely different, some sort of monster from hell that we would never want to identify with or understand or equate anybody with. Isn’t there a bit of a contradiction there? I know that evil put into practice is much more horrifying, but if we want to prevent mass-murder from happening then we have to grow to be more understanding of actual mass-murderers-to-be, not just “people with violent tendencies”.

  224. Michelle, and Miranda– you are saying what i was searching for to say. Peopld should read and consider your comments!! Because, whatever we think about first or second ‘articles’ , ignoring or blatantly stating that one ‘does not need to hear about’ or does not care about, their ‘inner lives’ inner workings, etc….That is the complete opposite of what we need to do in moving forward here, that is the attitude that WILL lead tomore children ending up in a place like. Adam Lanza, or dangerously close. Rediculous. But maybe they aren’t expected to understand if never been, or been close to, a mentally ill child. ….Missinformed, ignorant…apathetic, naiive, …whatever the reason, for such statements or opinions, how can we be moving forward and KNOWING that MANY things need to change in this country, society…..That mental health care, understanding, funding, solutions, NEED TO be our PRIORITY, I don’t see how anyone would even suggest that the ‘inner lives’ of troubled, ill, or abused children need to be ignored, and are worthless, but just stop them from hurting or killing??!?!? (Sorry I am getting redundant here I need some sleep.) Understanding, observing, being aware of, their inner working is EXACTLY what could PREVENT them form getting to that point! Please understand this!

  225. Thank you for writing this.

    I am also a survivor of mental illness, as a child and young adult I was prone to irrational fits of anger and violence. I was fortunate to have parents who did not give up on me like the Liza Long did to her kid.

    Often times, I see and hear things like “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” and all I hear is, “OH GOD IT’S SO HARD BEING THE PARENT/SIBLING/FRIEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS CRAZY. THEY ARE SO DRAINING.” and then everyone goes on at great length discussing us, how to handle us, how they are so brave for even being in the same room as us without 5 layers of padding and a tranq gun. No one ever talks about how hard it is for us. Just to be around us.

    It’s very tiring being talked about like you’re an object that needs to be dealt with.

    Like a piece of furniture that doesn’t fit right in the room, but they can’t just throw it out, you see. It’s part of a set.

  226. Not normally one to comment on anything, but I need to concur with the few people who thanked you for writing this. I smarted while reading “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother”…your piece addressed a lot of what was problematic about it. THANKS

  227. Hey, why don’t we all have philosophical debates about guns and mental illness, going ’round and ’round in circles until we tire of discussing the subjects. Then, we can do nothing; neglecting to take any meaningful action and asking ourselves why this situation keeps repeating itself.

  228. Wow, this blog post certainly evoked a WHOLE lot of responses. I read a bunch & then thought I’d put my 2 cents in as well. I was a Social Worker in the Bronx for 5 years up until recently when I suffered my own clinical PTSD. I was a really great therapeutic SW and many of my clients were situations similar to the mother who feels she is Nancy Lanza. Some of you who agree with this trite blog post that completely does not comprehend one iota the situation the Mother is dealing with and have NO idea, but are certainly permitted to your opinions. Some of you seem to have some 1st hand experience, but, it seems very biased.
    I will say just this…
    neurological and mental illnesses in children is extremely complex and undoubtedly exhausting and takes a team of people to help. The Mother was JUST saying, she did not feel safe and she needed help. She specifically said one of her biggest challenges was Health Care! Hellooooo….it would have served her to give him more of her time, but she needed health care so she went back to work full time to get health care coverage.
    A full time job and raising ONE child alone is pretty hard… let’s see how well all of YOU fair? But raising THREE children and the oldest threatens the comfort of safety for all?
    It’s actually kind of infuriating that anyone would write such a hostile and provocative piece like this one and then for others to support it…it’s stupid and insults the people who were killed and the mission we have moving forward to work on improving the Health care system and programs that serve people in need.

    • Excellent, Dragonborn of the Ages. You stated it perfectly. Thank you.

  229. I have to disagree with numbers four and five.

    4) I agree that the potential for crime shouldn’t be the only reason for improving mental health care. However, I don’t think Long’s article implies that this is the only reason we should improve mental healthcare.

    I think her story illustrates how bad the problem is and how few resources she has. I also think she speaks out of her own fear. And if anything will reduce the stigma, it’s talking about it.

    5) Long speaks about medications in broad terms. It’s unfair to accuse the doctors of prescribing medications “willy-nilly” based on her article. And she never asks for more medication. I’m sure she wants to cure or at least control her son’s mental illness, but I think she would be relieved just to have more support when her son is having a crisis.

    It’s not unusual for doctors to prescribe medications for things that are officially off label. Often medications that were created for one problem are found to work for multiple problems. Doctors will prescribe a medication for off label reasons for a long time before it ends up on the label.

    It also sounds like they haven’t nailed down the boy’s specific illness. It’s pretty common to have psychological symptoms that don’t fit a specific diagnosis.

    As for side effects and black box warnings, official labels will list just about any side effect ever recorded. My doctor once told me that if it was documented that someone had a car accident while on a medication, they would almost have to list car accidents as a side effect. Really your doctor should know what are truly common side effects.

    In the past few years I think “black box” suicide warnings for antidepressants taken by children have been over reported in the media. This unlikely side effect usually isn’t weighed against the possibility of suicide without help.

    This is a truly severe case of mental illness in a child. I would think it is worth the risk of side effects if it would keep the child out of the hospital or jail. It could save his life. (Although this is ultimately the psychiatrist’s call.)

  230. Regardless of how or why Michael and his mother came to find themselves in this situation, they need and deserve help. When society turns the other cheek and elects to not see or take part in relieving the despair of others, the situation becomes worse. Parents cannot always make a positive difference on their own. No one likes feeling like they are all alone on an island. We can do better at extending ourselves to help others. You never know when your act of kindness may change someone’s course and even save a life. That may be extreme, but we all could benefit regardless. Please put the criticism aside and expend your energy by making a positive difference in this world.

  231. There is already a movie out about Adam Lanza. It’s called WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN starring Tilda Swinton. Very similar issues and circumstances. The mother knows her son is dangerous, everyone else tries to look the other way and pretend everything is ok, and in some cases they even blame her. She has tried everything but nothing really changes, except the child becomes older and more of a threat. End of the movie VERY SIMILAR to Newtown. SYNOPSIS: “Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.” I just did a review and gave the movie 10 Stars. It nailed the problem and the predictable, almost certain outcome.

    • I thought the same thing JeannieP, I had JUST seen that film and the other one about the son who shoots-up a college he’s attending and then kills himself (I can’t recall the name of the film).

  232. I laugh when people without children comment on parenting. I kind of feel the same when “professionals” do, too.

  233. HI. I’d just like to say there is another issue in regards to the so-called “mentally-ill”. It’s called the political use of psychiatry to silence, discredit, destroy dissidents, political opponents or, well, anyone who you may happen not to like for whatever reason, or you know, for no reason at all. This practice has a rich rich rich history in fact. The most well known examples took place in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Oh, but that couldn’t be happening here, could it? Of course not! that’s just crazy talk!

    fact is it is happening here and becoming increasingly widespread. there are tens of thousands of people who have been misdiagnosed as “mentally-ill” and then forced onto some psychiatric drug against their will for the purpose of discrediting them (they know or saw too much of something somewhere) and/or providing for what amounts to a chemical lobotomy (everyone loves zombies right! yay!). of course, this all works to line the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies as well you understand ( a win win!!!!!).

    what a perfect way to dispose of your enemies, political opponents, anyone who you hate! what a perfect loophole in the law to use to circumvent those darn constitutional and human rights!

    “the worst thing you can do is call someone crazy” —Dave Chapelle

  234. Thanks for bringing this story to my attention, It’s always fascinating the levels of controversy which come out of a high profile news story (whether its scandal or tragic) and it’s a shame that this is just one of many such branches from the original story (The attack on Mass effect and bioware to name another).

    One thing I can’t find a lot of however is how the arms industry markets its products and how the appeal through their messages may be enough of a trigger (pardon the awful pun) in making people move from fantasy to action. I’ve written a blog post on this but I won’t hyperlink to it etc as that’s probably a bit disrespectful to the original topic I’m commenting on (but feel free to click through and read all the same!)

  235. Decking the halls with blood and guts, Santa went crazy, he was ‘effing nuts.
    I thought I escaped. I hid in my locker.
    But he followed me onto the bus like some dreanged stalker.

    He looked at my bus driver and shot the old hag.
    Then stuffed her dead body right into his bag.

    That night Santa’s face was all over the news.
    The cops were dead – ended and begging for clues.

    Some blamed the NRA or how rifle shops were run.
    Only and idiot would sell Santa a gun.
    But others argued that the students and driver would not have harmed
    if they, too, had been allowed to be armed.

    Rudolph had to tell what he knew, he had to come clean.
    Santa was on drugs and getting way too mean.
    Ever since Santa had entered “treatment” he hadn’t been himself.
    He’d strangled Ms. Claus and beat up and elf.

    Rudolph showed Reindeer Services where Santa had touched him.
    Bruises and slap prints and teeth that were busted.
    But that wasn’t even the worst part in a way.
    Santa had gambled Rudolph’s trust fund away.
    Poor Rudolph cried and he sobbed as told all the copss about how he’d been robbed.

    It all started when Santa was drunk and disorderly in Macy’s one day.
    The cops came and roughed him up and cuffed him up and impounded his sleigh.
    “I’m sorry, Santa,” said the judge at the bench,
    “I have to do something – this is your fourteenth offense.”
    The judge didn’t ponder, and quick as a wink, he sentenced poor Santa to go see a shrink.
    “For counseling and drug testing you’ll have to pay.
    Take court – ordered meds and go to AA.”

    “Oh thank you! Thank you!” Santa shouted with glee,
    “Mental health treatment, how bad can that be?”

    The cops finally caught up with Santa re-filing his scripts.
    They put cuffs on his hands and his feet and chained them to his hips.
    Santa was being treated for depression it seemed,
    But his doctor had no idea what had Santa so steamed.
    He was taking his meds, they were safe and effective and approved by the feds.

    On anti-depressants! On mood stabilizers!
    On minor and major and medium tranquilizers!
    On sleep meds, on heart meds, on meds for his schlong!
    On ADHD meds and even a bong!
    Santa’s medication list was six pages long!

    Santa’s attorneys argued that meds drove him crazy that day.
    But victims and families thought Santa should pay.
    “He did it on purpose!” exclaimed the DA, “He’s just a big jerk.”
    So they called in the experts and lawyers and doctors
    from Glaxo and Forest and Phizer and Merck.

    The case was complex and the jury, being none too bright,
    was vexed and confused and perplexed.
    Some thought he was guilty, some thought it wasn’t fair.
    But in the end, they gave Santa the chair.

    Now Sants’s in prison and on death row.
    How long he’ll be there we really don’t know.
    Do if you’re depressed that Christmas is bust,
    See your doctor for treatment you can trust.

    And you too, can be
    On anti-depressants! On mood stabilizers!
    On minor and major and medium tranquilizers!
    On sleep meds, on heart meds, on meds for your schlong!
    On ADHD meds and even a bong!

    That should do the trick. Just try not to end up like poor old St. Nick.

    • Can you think of a simpler, less conspiratorial way that correlation might occur between psychiatric medication and unstable behavior? I can.

  236. I read the mom’s story as well as what you say, and I have to agree with you. In my opinion, that mom is looking for her 15 minutes of fame by capitalizing on the tragedy. The boys father was correct when he said yes their son has problems but not all mentally ill will commit violent acts. The mom should never have published such hateful things about her own son even if she honestly feels that way. She should deal with her child by taking him to all necessary doctor’s appointments to find out what is wrong. It can be frustrating trying to find a cause for unwanted behaviors, but calling a child a potential murderer is just not right. She doesn’t deserve to keep her child.

  237. Wow. People sure like to hang on to their beliefs about certain things, don’t they? Just the reaction you’re getting and the anger folks are showing really shows how invested they feel in the other writers’ article.

    The points you made make absolute sense. I didn’t feel you were devaluing the mother’s experience with regard to her child’s violent episodes. You did make us all think about the child however, and forced us to think of him as a human being… which apparently made a lot of folks uncomfortable. It was easier to just let him be a 2-dimentional pseudo-monster.

  238. This is the video that make things clear.

  239. I think this post is well-meaning but gets it totally wrong. I understand the concern about not wanting to stigmatize people in a way that takes away their right to self-determination. But as someone who used to work in an educational setting with adolescents with serious behavioral issues, I totally sympathize with Liza Long, the writer of the original article. There really is very little professional help for kids who need it in order to NOT be institutionalized (i.e. totally deprived of any self-determination) later in life outside of the criminal justice system. Think about that for a minute. We send kids to JAIL–the absolute worst possible place for them–to get “treatment” because there are no other options. The treatment centers that do exist often aren’t able to help people until they are already in the criminal justice system and possibly have hurt someone.

    Perpetuating “stigma” is much less of a concern to me than calling for an overhaul of the system so that it is focused on real, humane, nurturing treatment while treatment, rather than warehousing dangers to society, is still an option. The stress of living in a cold, heartless, dog-eat-dog economy takes its toll, and the least our government should be doing to try and address the symptoms is to adequately fund high-quality, free services not tied to prisons for those who need it.

  240. I’m glad I don’t know your name so that it can not run thru my mind, ever. I’m massively disappointed in your “rebuttle” to Liza Long. You venomized on the absence of things you think SHOULD have been mentioned and completely FAILED to ingest the true meaning of the article: that the nation as a whole needs to look at funding and providing greater MENTAL HEALTH CARE TO ALL. Never did Liza exclude the victims of crimes – and yet you force fed those words into her mouth. Shame on you. Shame on you for attempting to derail attention from an issue that is in DESPERATE need of attention. Shame on you for picking apart the personal character of the person who never wrote TRUER WORDS about the NEED in this nation!

    I APPLAUD Liza’s article and ALWAYS WILL because she brought a face – bravely, HERS – to the NEED FOR MENTAL HEALTH CARE REFORM! She did what many of us others thought we could NOT do, or were too ashamed to do, or feared doing for backlash to our children and families!

    I would suggest that YOU seek help for your shortcomings, your inability to want to move progress along, but rather styme it by attacking ones character. Sadly, please understand that help you need will come at a great financial cost to you, your therapist may not have enough appts available for you for any consistent therapy to have value, you may have to miss work repeatedly, you may just end up at a physician who readily prescribes meds that you then trust will work but don’t, your private insurance won’t cover it, if you are lucky enough to have medicaid it will limit what you are allowed and attempt to cut you off assistance at every turn, I pray you never have homicidal or suicidal thoughts (and DETAILED PLANS) and have to PROVE that to admitting staff at an acute center only to be turned out 4 days later as “ok” because your insurance doesn’t cover it….you may end up spinning your wheels wondering for years why there never seem to be any answers, and praying day to day that no harm comes to yourself or others in the meantime.

    But God forbid you put a face, or find a platform to voice those frustrations and concerns, lest your personal character come under scrutinization….

    Lastly, if the MENTAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM diagnositcs, treatment and services was STRONG ENOUGH we wouldn’t need YOU to assign yourself judge and jury on whether Liza Long is a fit parent or not, now would we?

    • None of what you wrote made sense except to demonstrate why Liza Long’s slanderous public demonization of her son through the weaponry of psychiatric labeling is so pernicious

      “I would suggest that YOU seek help for your shortcomings, your inability to want to move progress along, but rather styme it by attacking ones character.”

      Put the “mental illness” label on someone and it invalidates anything which is convenient to invalidate (for a person in a position of power), & turn it into something for which he or she is to be blamed and shamed. A well reasoned argument that incorporates sociology and science into a defence of a boy’s privacy and good name can become a symptom of insanity. A boy’s alleged bad behavior, no proof required, no consideration of the abusive home in which it arrived can be turned into a mentally ill person, and therefore apparently without right to privacy or dignity.

  241. THE ORIGINAL TITLE OF THE BLOG POST WAS **NOT** “I AM ADAM LANZA’S MOTHER”. Sorry for the all caps, but you are all reading into something HuffPo added, not the mother. The original title of the post was “Thinking the Unthinkable.” Gee, changes all your insulting, huffy diatribes, doesn’t it?

    And my 2 cents: she’s saying that her son is mentally ill AND violent, not that mentally ill people are by definition violent. If your reading comprehension is too poor to understand that, you shouldn’t be commenting. It’s this excessive deconstruction of every word out of a suffering person’s heart that’s the most insulting to people with mental illness and their families. No one has ANY right to judge unless they’ve been through it.

  242. And that’s not to mention, this was a personal blog post meant to be a place for a struggling mother to vent. It went viral by CHANCE. She was not intending to spread this to a wide audience. And if anyone would care to fact check (I know it’s much easier to shriek histrionically instead), you’ll see that she has openly stated that she told her son about the article, and she’s very well in tune with his internal dialogue. He has talked with her about how he’s scared of his own behavior. Show some goddamn compassion, okay? This is a mother living out a nightmare where she can’t get her son the help he needs, AND she’s afraid he’ll hurt not just himself but others.

    • Can you give a link to where she says that? I roundly disagree with you that this is a personal blog solely for venting purposes. She is a paid writer who has posted at least one of her work pieces, that I recall, in this blog. And really, do you know any mommy blogs where people write polished essays, quote scientific articles, and give link references??

      I do not disagree that she needs help, her son needs help, and our shameful mental health system woefully needs an overhaul, BUT I am not one to take everything I read on the internet at face value – especially if you read the rest of her blogs.

      My take away emotion from reading through her writings was to feel crushed for this boy and his siblings more than I feel sympathy for the mom. His life seems to have been hell – mother with her own mental health issues, divorce, large step-family, custody battles, potentially abusive father, and more. According to his mother, who (and take note, not blaming a single of mother of 4 for this) seems to be away or busy working a lot, he began exhibiting difficulties after the divorce and upon entering junior high (another big change). I would love to know what behaviors he displayed, what actions were taken, and how long it was before putting him in a “babysitting” (her words) school for disruptive/lost cause children. I assume she would have no problem sharing these details as openly as she has shared so many other intricate and painful details of her childrens’ lives.

      The reason why I am playing armchair psychologist when wondering if the boy’s behaviors actually started out as “normal” cries for help and attention is that I think it is VITAL to ALSO have a discussion about early indicators, prevention and help methods, and resources available to parents and children alike – before the situation escalates to this point. I AM NOT saying his condition was preventable, but given my own experiences both personal and through helping others, academic study, and general observations as someone who works with children, I have a feeling her son was not pre-destined to act as he currently does. (And once again, I am not placing all the blame on her if environmental factors did contribute.)

      Does any of what I’ve written diminish her call for better mental health education and care? Not at all; I think it highlights the desperate need for reform. The essay by “The Anarchist Soccer Mom” (interesting choice of names there), no matter how true or embellished it may be, is a powerful one, and it has helped fuel the discussion. That is a good thing. BUT, I find it abhorrent that she did so at the expense of her son’s privacy and possible future well-being, even if – at 13 years old – he is “okay” with it now, though I don’t recall you mentioning if he was. No amount of discussion is worth this boy’s current infamy, and that is for what I condemn the mother, even while have the utmost sympathy for her family’s situation.

    • Thank you for the additional clarification and call to reason.

      • Sorry–my comment above was meant for the post just above it. :-(

  243. Is this the crazy lady who thinks she is Adam Lanza’s mom? I think Adam Lanza’s mom was killed in a false flag attack organized by Autism $peaks.

    • Were the CIA flying recon in UFOs at the time?

  244. I really appreciate the points you made, and agree wholeheartedly with you on most of them.
    However, I do feel that you may have missed some of what the author was attempting to express. What I got from her writing was her frustration, fear and desperation at the lack of understanding, support and care she, her child and her family need to deal with behavior that at times was/is incredibly terrifying and violent. While one may disagree with the way she chose to express it, I think it speaks volumes of the state of our communities and our society as a whole that a mother feels (and has been told by others) her only recourse is to involve law enforcement in order to receive help for her and her son.
    I think it was a cry for help for the many children and adults in our society dealing with mental illness, and a cry for us to take responsibility for how we work on this issue for the health and benefit of all without dehumanizing anyone.

  245. I’d have preferred this piece without the anti-prescription paranoia. Your speculation about medication – knowing no more than the rest of us about Lanza’s actual diagnosis and treatment plan – serves absolutely no purpose here except perhaps to perpetuate the stigma of those who must hide psychiatric medication use from peers and coworkers.

  246. I guess “reasons” mean we can basically ignore a mother’s knowledge of her dangerous son. So we then can, following that reasoning, ignore what Adam did because his Mom wasn’t “the best” (or so some saybut not proven) and ignore the whole outcome.

    Are you people who think this post is not from la la land frickin nuts?

    • Your post is a demonstration of how hysteria and hate produces bigotry and witch hunts.: Something terrible happens. That terrible happening is blamed on the culture or behavior of a subgroup. Then all members of that subgroup become guilty of that terrible thing.

      Our failing to accept unverified accusations made against and the demonetization of a voiceless 13 year old seemingly trapped in an abusive home, and clearly reacting to his mother’s goading style, does not equate to us “ignoring” 20 murdered kids.

      By the way, Liza long’s son is also a kid–Why are you suggesting Adam Lanza’s child victims makes it ok for US and Liza Long to produce our own child victim?

  247. Let’s also add to the conversation, the issues parents of highly “gifted” children face- often earlier and more intensely than most would presume or suspect. (Let’s add these extremely bright children as well because they do in fact, understand on many levels.) Celebrated early achievements like reading before 4 and eyebrow-raising math ability suddenly give way to a child completely out-of-synch with their same-aged peers. In our current public educational system, there is little identification, support and help for these families when education becomes an issue (usually before or during Kindergarten). The highly (profoundly) gifted child suffers as parents scramble to figure out a solution. They have to advocate and sometimes battle with the school. They face many who question, misunderstand and even criticize their motives for acceleration, differentiation, and sometimes homeschooling. In the mix is a little child (maybe 5-7) who feels intense feelings of boredom, anger at those who just “don’t understand” and while they can intellectually seek out solutions in their mind to escape an educational system that does not fit their needs, they have to wait “patiently” for the adults to help. I can only imagine that it is easy to boil over waiting- when you lack the power to do it yourself.

  248. What the hell is going on with us? We are too judgmental of ourselves (in each other) to even ACKNOWLEDGE our own anguish and rage but instead blame a child who is acting it out for us, or blame a mom who knows only what she knows. When will we find compassion for ourselves? NONE of us got off easy growing up in this world. Some of us experienced more pain, rejection and disconnection than others. Pointing the finger just allows us to continue to project and not feel…for ourselves and each other. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no better, I do it everyday. But I want to do something else. I want to connect…I want us to connect.

    • neutralbutnotneurotypical
    • Posted 19/12/2012 at 03:53
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    As someone who struggles with mental illness myself, I’m sort of conflicted about this, because the subject at hand isn’t really cut and dry for me. I know it’s not fair to stigmatize people with these illness(hell, I’ve suffered this injustice myself), but I am not ignorant to the fact that we all have to be responsible for ourselves and our families. There are certain bad situations that some of us can get into if we do not manage our illnesses responsibly or if our current care plan is not effective for what ever reason. There are certain disorders where certain symptoms might make a person do something they may regret later and they may not care at that time because they are delusional or manic, etc. This is NOT because they are evil or violent people. HOWEVER, such disorders can be managed with proper psychiatric therapy and medications and it is the individual’s and/or caregiver’s responsibility to ensure to the best of their ability and resources that they are taking care of their mental health.
    Do I think this boy was evil because he had Asperger’s? Absolutely not. Was this boy just a plain evil kid? Hey, we may never know. But, maybe this boy didn’t have a handle on his illness, nor the capability. Maybe, his Mom couldn’t face that she had a mentally ill child (I know my Mom couldn’t) and just turned a blind eye and he struggled.
    I guess what I’m trying to say, is I don’t think we should stigmatize mentally ill people anymore then we currently are, especially when emotions are running so high…but I do think each mentally ill person and those who care for them on a daily basis have a responsibilty, myself included.
    To Liza, I’m sure you did what you felt was right in your heart as a mother, but I think it’s wrong for you to lump your child in with all of the troubled youth that have committed some of the most heinous crimes the U.S. has ever seen. That shows that you have no faith in your child even after you had the courage to get him help. That cancels out said courage.
    To the author of the reply article above, I don’t condone dehumanizing anyone who struggles with mental illness (which we all do from time to time, myself included) but I do think we should be held accountable for our actions and that we must be responsible for our mental health…

  249. Thank you for this well-reasoned re-framing of Liza Long’s blog post.
    ‘My Mother was Liza Long,’ so I could see right through her lines. My mother ruined every outing for me with either the “black pants/navy blue pants” nonsense, or alternately, she’d do it by insisting on her own rule-breaking; for instance, she sent me to First Holy Communion in brown shoes, because she was ‘practical,’ and ‘what’s the diff’ and ‘it’s only one day.’ All that mattered was, if it was my choice, it was wrong, if it was hers, it was right.
    If she was bent on escalating a conflict, it wouldn’t matter to her if I said something was allowed. A woman with no sense of proportion, she could righteously report such a thing as the blue pants incident, with no thought to what measures, say, the school would go to if the institution was left to enforce its own rules without her help.
    Okay, my mother didn’t say arbitrary things in a “reasonable” tone of voice …
    Complain about having to give up a free-spirit’s career path ‘because-a-you-kids,’ check.
    But she didn’t have the wherewithall to escalate to putting on a public forum, “I think my child is the next mass-murderer, and here’s a picture.”
    I pray that woman keeps her job and health insurance, learns about conflict de-escalation, and gets some insight into her own mental disorder, and soon. That boy is fighting disintegration, aggravated by that woman’s behavior.

  250. Just because Ms. Long’s child does not exhibit the same mental health manifestation that Ms. Lanza’s child exhibited in no way means that Long’s son is not capable of hurting others or even committing mass murder. That’s the problem with mental illness: It manifests itself in myriad ways that CAN (but not necessarily will) result in violence toward others. Ms. Long was in no way obligated to cite scientific studies showing a correlation between her son’t mental profile and Adam Lanza’s mental profile. There is no denying that Benjamin Long is capable of reacting violently in certain situations, and his threats must be taken seriously.

    • What about Liza Long’s violence? She writes how she kinda attempted to murder her son. She’s describing scaling a cliff with her son here:

      “But my confidence factor was a mere 25%–in other words, I was only 25% sure that I could cross the space beneath me and cling to the other side.

      Nate started playing with his rope, putting a few “Man vs. Wild” moves into practice as he swung the teal nylon cord across the abyss, catching it on the opposite side.

      I had already made my decision when I said to him, with utter calmness, “Crossing that crevasse is a selfish act. If you want to do it, I will stand here and take your picture when or if you reach the summit. But it’s selfish. And I will not follow you.”

      I was speaking to myself. But Nate heard me. For several minutes. he thought about what I said, and in the end, he too decided not to cross. I knew exactly how courageous that decision was.”

      There’s no such thing as mental illness except as a social construct

      “mental illness” is not like real illness, with objectively verifiable anatomical deviations causing a disease pathway.

      No science, and the way you and Liza Long employ it is only as stigma, and its reprehensible

  251. I think these blogs are kind of sad. Where are the dads in these equations? If we’re going to look at mental health and the well being of these young men with disabilities, then I wonder why it is the mothers alone who are raked over the coals. Nancy Lanza went through a nasty divorce and the father hadn’t seen Adam in half a year. His son had a disability and the mom was left to deal with that when Adam wasn’t a girl. He was a boy. He needed a strong male role model moreso than his mom in navigating the difficulties of life and coming of age. Same with this Liza Long blogger. Her ex-husband called the cops two years ago for this son ‘Michael’ not cleaning up his room. How insane is that? But the dad’s a brilliant guy, a lawyer in fact, and chances are a narcassist if he’s that out of touch with reality to call the cops on a special needs kid over something so trivial. Is the father’s mental health analyzed in either of these scenarios of Nancy and Liza? No. Not really. Adam’s dad was a V.P. at Ernst & Young…more than enough financial resources to take care of his son but not enough time or energy to put into understanding what makes these kids tick. They are different and as such, they simply need MORE. I know. I’m a mom of two special needs sons. I’m fortunate to have a husband whose supported me in these efforts to get our sons healthy. But I recognize that is not always the case.

  252. The mother who wrote that letter, and Adam Lanzas mothers were/are probably raging control freaks who drive their children insane. Make them feel so mentally caged that they are in a permanent primal survival mode where it becomes easy to kill. Where they feel they have to commit violence or murder to recapture the most basic psychological freedom.

    • Are you kidding me? Adam Lanza’s mother was a gun freak who took her sons to the local rifle range! And you’re saying that Lanza needed to kill 20 6 yo’s to survive (and when he finished doing that, he killed himself?) This is the worst two-bit, misogynistic theory I’ve heard yet. Take Psych 101 and try again.

      • “And you’re saying that Lanza needed to kill 20 6 yo’s to survive”
        No, you just said that. I was referring to his mind state.

        What’s misogynistic about pointing out violent killers usually have overly controlling mothers? That’s common knowledge. There’s a reason Adam Lanza felt he needed to kill his mother. Sounds like you just like to hurl belligerent accusations of sexism at people to shield any and all women from reasonable criticism. As much as you like to pretend your gender is never wrong, there are many terrible mothers out there who treat their kids like dogs.

        The woman who wrote this letter for instance clearly does not regard her kid as a human being. She thinks nothing of publicly humiliating him. Most likely he learned violence from her. Probably the sort of woman prone to fits of rage who thought nothing of physically assaulting her kid to relieve even the most minor stresses in her life. Now her kid is getting bigger and stronger than her and justifiably hates her for treating him like a dog. In her mind she’s realizing if anyone treated her the way she treated her son, she’d want to kill them. Thus she decides he must want to kill her. Then the cops get called, and she makes up stories about the kid pulling out knives and threatening her life.

  253. Absolutely true.

  254. What the author of this missive fails to grasp (apparently not having dealt with this type of situation), is that the brain of the individual in question does not function in a logical manner. One or more components of logic (like respect for life, basic morality, or just plain old common sense) are missing. Hence, their thought process doesn’t follow any pattern that we might consider “normal”. Resulting behavior can be completely illogical, unpredictable and dangerous! The “Mom” in the original article recognized this and seeing herself up against her limits to capably deal with the situation, rightly began a search for help.

    If you haven’t been there, you’ve got no basis for criticism.

  255. It’s apparent, to me at least, from MANY of the responses to this board – beyond the expected trolls – that there are a LOT of people who would benefit greatly from some mental health counseling, therapy or even medication. Many of them don’t seem to even be aware of being damaged in any way.

    There’s a lot of anger and judgement being bandied around with the sweeping generalizations and unfounded conclusions about both bloggers and the Lanza family.

    Just STOP. Stop judging. Stop accusing. Stop spreading anger and hate.
    FOCUS People. Open your minds. Open your hearts. Try to see others perspective. Try to empathize.

    Just be kind.

  256. I’m sorry you got so many ridiculous comments in response to this post.
    I guess it’s not terribly useful to say to those commenters that charge you with not reading the original article/post that they clearly didn’t read yours…
    Good synopsis of what I would have thought were the least contentious points to be drawn from the original.

  257. That post was disturbing. But in a way I agree–Adam Lanza’s mother was abusive, and so is this woman. Violence comes from violence, it doesn’t randomly sprout from a “mental illness” (which also doesn’t appear out of the blue) clearly her emotionally and possibly physically abusive behavior caused this situation in the first place, and she continues to make it worse with her hateful behavior.

    • I must disagree: Mental illness (I’m not sure why you put quotation marks around it, it’s existence is certainly verified) has been proven to be hereditary and congenital. In other words, it does sometimes appear out of the blue.

    • I am sorry my reply was not clear. I do not think the Mother is nuts, she is to be held close and helped by the authorities so she can get a handle on this child. And my heart goes out to her. It is to the people who call her violent and anti pills and the kid is fine and etc that are friggin NUTS!

      What a bunch of ” I can’t wait to hear myself spout my dogmatic BS” Thank you to those
      who supported her.

  258. Thank you for this post, I found it incredibly apt.

  259. I know this is very strange for people to understand, particularly normal mothers. But women do lie about things like this. Probably because they themselves have undiagnosed mental conditions.

    When I was 14 my mother sounded just like this woman. She’d call up the police and say I pulled a knife and threatened to kill her. She’d constantly threaten to have me put in a mental hospital. She eventually petitioned the family court to try and have me put in one, but she was unsuccessful.

    Here’s the thing though. I never pulled a knife on her or threatened to kill her. I did eventually curse at her mostly telling her to leave me alone, but long after she had been terrorizing me with those sorts of threats.

    She just made those things up. Probably because her marriage was clearly dead, and my father paid her no attention and was out cheating on her all the time. A woman like my mother, and probably the woman who wrote this letter, do not care about their children. They care about telling stories about how hard their situation is, to try and get attention from anyone who’ll listen. I think on some level they think it will inspire a man to come save them, and they won’t have to feel alone anymore.

    They sacrifice their child’s happiness and health. There is no regard for how they humiliate or terrorize their children. Because from a defenseless child’s perspective you are being threatened with false imprisonment in prison or a mental health facility. Unnecessary mind altering drugs. Forced Invasive often dehumanizing psychotherapy. You are literally being threatened with having your mind taken from you chemically. You will feel like your survival is being threatened. And when you react in justified anger by yelling and cursing, it will be dismissed as symptoms of a disorder and used as further justification for drugging. Being a child accused of having a disorder, is akin to being accused of being a witch. There is no way for you to disprove the accusations. You don’t have money to hire your own doctors and get other opinions. Your parent on the other hand can take you to a dozen doctors until one says whatever she wants them to.

    Just like the woman in this letter is looking for attention. My mother would call up EVERYONE with her story. All of my teachers, friend’s parents, police, judges, counselors, doctors. She made a big production of it at my expense. These are people who truly do not care about their children, only their own need for attention.

    I managed to make it to 18 without being drugged, imprisoned, and minimal psychotherapy. I’m in my 30s now. Have a stable relationship and stable job. Have never been in trouble for any sort of violent crime. In fact unfortunately I think my experiences have made me too passive and slow to defend myself. It’s sort of crushed my competitive nature and made me overly anxious and caused me to slink away from any type of confrontation. Which has made it harder for me in work environments. Being so thoroughly conspired against as a child in a seemingly impossible situation takes a piece of your soul away.

    It’s so sad reading letters like this. I feel sorry for that child. And it’s difficult to read people agreeing with the mother and claiming they are going through similar experiences with their kids. Because they aren’t. And they will never ever take an honest look at themselves and how they treat their kids. Perhaps they are incapable of doing so. And for society at large it’s very convenient to blame kids, and “mental illness”. And ignore the child’s side of the story.

  260. The owner of this blog is a stupid bitch, and yes, I would be more than happy to say that to her face, followed by a good hard slap across it. Ed: speaking of violent tendencies… You have no idea what that mother goes through, and to claim that mentally ill people with violent tenancies don’t exist is basically saying violent people don’t exist. Ed: I never claimed mentally ill people with ‘violent tendencies’ don’t exist. But this implies that all violent people are mentally ill–they’re not. As you admit in your next sentence: Most mentally ill people aren’t violent, just like most healthy people. But to deny that her son isn’t [Ed: offensive language, knock it off plz.] after he threatens suicide because of pants then you probably don’t need to breed. God forbid you have a child just like him, they would probably murder you or one of their siblings, and all because you denied their violent tenancies even exist and refused to do anything about them. Ed: what should I do about your violent tendencies?

    • You know who’s a stupid bitch?

      Anyone who tries to speak on behalf of all families with mental illnesses, as well as making half-arsed, clumsy predictions about what someone who’s “kookoo in the coconut” (impressive diagnosis there, by the way. You clearly have a firm grasp on the situation at hand) would “probably” do. Seriously. The only thing “seriously” clear here is that your understanding of mental illness is about as nuanced as your understanding of proportionate response to disagreements.

      I have no idea where the fuck you got the impression that anyone was claiming that mentally ill people who are violent don’t exist. But based on the hysterical, misguided moral hand-wringing so far, I’d hazard a guess that you “read” that because you wanted to.

  261. I believe you are being terribly unfair by parsing this woman’s heartfelt essay and judging her for exposing her fears. As a mother with a special needs kid, I could relate to much of what this woman was saying on an emotional level. She’s scared. She’s worried. She wants the best for her child and when she reads that a young man opens fire on a room full of 6 year olds, she worries that the worst case scenario could happen. She’s frustrated. She’s not talking about every kid who might have a mental illness. She’s talking about her son. I don’t know this woman but I applaud her for her willingness to expose her fear. Give her a break!

  262. Have you ever lived with a child who is showing signs of anti-social personality disorder? A child who is targeting and traumatizing his siblings? Have you ever lived in a house where you can not have pets because your child may hurt them? Have you lived with a child with whom the police are familiar due to concerning issues in the neighborhood? Have you lived with a child who can disrupt a household in a matter of minutes and destroys only belongings that belong to others? Monsters do not spring out when they are 18 or 21. The signs are there and can be traced back to actions when they are young. Babies who could never be soothed. Children who could throw tantrums and sustain them for hours. Having to restrain a child so they do not hurt themselves only to be injured yourself as they head butt you. Is everyone human…yes. However, please do not crucify a woman for being afraid of her child. To push her back into the woodwork would be a crime and will increase the possibility of her son not getting the help he needs and becoming more dangerous as he gets older. Do you want him dating your sister or daughter without help or intervention. As I have told my sons and daughter, the way a boy treats his mother, he will treat his wife/girlfriend.

    • Shes not pushing her “into the woodwork”, but rather calling her on her bs.

  263. Thank you for this, you’re lovely.

  264. you have no idea what you are talking about, and you completely missed the point of the article

  265. Kadbury,
    You seem to be guilty of what you accuse the OP of. There was no real valuable criticism provided by you and, your preps sigh for name calling makes you sound like white trash… YOu may have really
    Bought into the “I am…” thing but unless you buy your mentally disabled and anti social son a gun and train him on it, let him play psycho violent video games all day and night and conspire to have him committed behind his back despite promising to always be there to care for him, guess what ? You’re not Adam Lanzas mother.
    I don’t understand why people other than the stupid and the selfish feel any sympathy for that stupid selfish woman. You can squeal all you like but the OP has it correct.

  266. I am deeply saddened by your judgement, when I read I am Adam Lanzas Mother I cried I too could be Adam Lanzas Mother i wake up every morning and go to sleep every night with a deep pain in my heart I did not ask for my son to be born this way nor will I ever not love him. I have asked for help the first response is medicate NO WAY NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS will I do that they have no ot available I have pulled him from school due to being bullied by school staff and the school cop. He was fine until he was two which isnt uncommon but very strange, he started by first violently assaulting the baby after she was born, it went to hearing voices, lighting fires, near stabbings, and even knocked out teeth, he has broke his bones in rages and even tried to blow us up. But this I will tell you now @ 13 he comes to me before he assaults his siblings and expresses his frustrations and anger to me ( it goes something like this) You better get that F-ing B away from me or im going to hurt her. I myself have worked with him to help him . he had therapy which recently came to a conclusion why you ask because they say hes doing just great i have called abc news affiliates local news stations good morning america everyone I DO NOT WANT my son to be THIS poor kid where he thinks the only way out is a travesty like this one~!
    CHECK OUT THIS video

  267. People, please forget about Adam Lanza! Remember the good Lanzas: Mario Lanza and Walter Lantz (his real family name was Lanza, the Woody Woodpecker guy!)

  268. Thank you so much for writing this insightful, boldly truthful, and comprehensive analysis of the original article (“I Am Adam Lanzas’s Mother.”) I too found it lacked research (i.e., basic matters, like what Zyrexa is commonly used for), and in its place was a lot of guesswork and assumption. I was surprised to see such low-grade work published by the Huffington Post, largely because I am skeptical there aren’t MANY articles that are MUCH MORE USEFUL in myriad, extremely significant ways. I would definitely consider submitting this directly to the Huffington Post, as your perspective would be a welcome addition to a very faulty article on a complex subject that NEEDS demystifying in serious ways. Take care and be well!

    Alex : Essays & Observations On Behavioral Health (& More)

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  272. Good article. Adam Lanza’s mom caused this issue. Period. She taught a mentally ill person how to use guns. What kind of idiot would do that? There should be a new law which requires the registration of mental patients in a gun database. Then in order to buy a gun you need to be checked against the database.

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38 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] “You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother”: […]

  2. […] I am Adam Lanza’s mother. And counterpoint: You are not Adam Lanza’s mother. […]

  3. […] best response I’ve seen so far to this piece is by The Girl who was Thursday in a blog called ‘You are NOT Adam Lanza’s Mom’ […]

  4. […] with the mothers of gunmen across history, and I feel my rage bubbling up.  Partly, it’s for these reasons. Partly, it’s because I see the struggle my mother has gone through with my sister in the […]

  5. […] This issue as well as five other reasons that this post is problematic are addressed here: “You are NOT Adam Lanza’s Mother.” […]

  6. […] a blog post Huffington Post re-published (with a thought-provoking response), the mother of a mentally ill child […]

  7. […] the blog Anarchist Soccer Mom? I did and retweeted it. And then I read another post “You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother,” picking apart the first post for its perceived stereotyping of those suffering from mental […]

  8. By Head Tale - I Am (Not) Adam Lanza’s Mother on 17 Dec 2012 at 4:40 am

    […] This blog post by the mother of a mentally-ill son, posted in the wake of the Connecticut shootings, was making the viral rounds.  Although I found it an interesting piece of writing with potentially some good points being made about the stigma of mental illness and the struggles of families trying to deal with it, there was something about the article that also really bugged me.  This response from another blogger captured many of the misgivings I had about the original piece. […]

  9. […] Then, tweeted by Vaughan Bell, I saw something I liked much better; as Bell wrote: “A much needed reply appears” […]

  10. […] You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother. […]

  11. […] A response to Lisa Long’s anguished post has also gone viral making that very point. In You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother, Thursday writes […]

  12. By Monday Medley « No Pun Intended on 17 Dec 2012 at 12:03 pm

    […] that something must change. There will be renewed calls for gun control, and debates about how to treat the mentally ill. But what can anyone really […]

  13. […] This lady has more time than me right now and is much more eloquent in describing what’s wrong with that article. […]

  14. By No one else’s mother « unchained faith on 17 Dec 2012 at 4:29 pm

    […] For another great post on this, read You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother. […]

  15. […] of course, there was the inevitable backlash — predictably, in the form of posts like “You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother” — which accused the original poster of, among other things, dangerously linking mental […]

  16. […] Mother.”  There has been a lot of talk around the internet about whether this mother is unfairly demonizing and pathologizing her son, about whether the somewhat macabre humor on her blog is a sign of her own mental instability and […]

  17. […] in the discussion thread to The Girl Who Was Thursday’s blog post, Kate A replied to a comment by me, saying, “I was both a lot like the kid described in the original article as a kid, and […]

  18. […] stigma associated with MI by implying that people with MI are inherently dangerous. (Read “You are not Adam Lanza’s mother” for an interesting response to that […]

  19. […] You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother […]

  20. […] Within days of the Newtown shooting, Liza Long’s essay I am Adam Lanza’s Mother began making the rounds of the Internet. Fortunately others in the media have begun to rebut some of the points in that piece. This blog post offers a particularly strident rebuttal. […]

  21. […] Adam Lanza’s mother” piece, in which a woman compares her son to a cold-blooded murderer in a horrifically objectifying and deeply disturbing piece dangerously conflating mental illness and violence? This is not, as some people are trying to […]

  22. […] then I saw this article.  And then this one. And, now I’m not so sure about the first one. I guess I’m glad […]

  23. […] point, we have the article by “Anarchist Soccer Mom” and the various responses to it: here and […]

  24. […] are not in fact indicated for his age group or his behaviour as described) is being placed under significant physical and psychological stress. That cocktail alone could explain some of the behaviours she describes. It’s equally unclear […]

  25. By Safe from Harm - on 19 Dec 2012 at 4:53 pm

    […] “You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother” […]

  26. […] Then there’s the fact that the linked article above isn’t as germaine to the actual Connecticut shootings as it might originally seem. Sure, what the lady is complaining about is relevant to our culture, and she does have a point. But most g0-mad-with-an-ak47 shootings are NOT performed by people who are trackable, with warning signs that are easy to see. This blog post details it nicely […]

  27. […] have a hell of a lot to comment on this that hasn’t been said better by Sady Doyle  and Thursday, so go read those posts […]

  28. […] other blog posts on her parenting troubles — and the more structural critique “You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother” which argues “why [Liza Long's article is] a terrible springboard for further […]

  29. […] “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” for all the reasons articulated here and here, but most of all, […]

  30. […] You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother (A balance and response for the last article, this one seems more rational, points out the assumptions and deficits in the original post, and made a strong case for exploring the child’s point of view.) […]

  31. […] Huffington Post, garnering millions of pageviews and inciting bloggers everywhere to weigh in (some more successfully than others). But what do we really know about the developmental disorder, which was hastily conflated with […]

  32. […] Lanza’s mother” piece, in which a woman com­pares her son to a cold-blooded mur­derer in a hor­rif­i­cally objec­ti­fy­ing and deeply dis­turb­ing piece dan­ger­ously con­flat­ing men­tal ill­ness and vio­lence? This is not, as some peo­ple are […]

  33. […] am Adam Lanza’s mother”, and an interesting and reasoned response to that […]

  34. […] most prominent was the I am Adam Lanza’s Mother essay. (a great response to this was posted here) What should be noted is that there was no evidence that he had any mental illness at this point of […]

  35. […] shooter, Adam Lanza, claiming, “I am Adam Lanza’s mother.” Almost immediately, there was a backlash against such a stark comparison, with bloggers claiming that this issue is not as straightforward […]

  36. […] she has with a volatile and potentially violent son. Critics of the mother and her post came out swinging, with one of them delving into the author’s past posts where she expressed a desire to physically […]

  37. […] • You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother – thursday on 16 December 2012 […]

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