« | Home | Categories | »

Thinking the Unthinkable

Posted on December 17th, 2012 at 14:29 by John Sinteur in category: News


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. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population. (http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/05/us-number-mentally-ill-prisons-quadrupled)

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail, and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011 (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140167676/nations-jails-struggle-with-mentally-ill-prisoners)

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

Write a comment


  1. Bingo.

  2. speaking personally, my son who was a premie had a number of neurological issues which we treated like Aspergers. It didn’t help that my immediate family referred to this as a**hole syndrome because a lot of these people are incredibly socially inept. We spent a lot of time going through training until he was about 14, and then he somewhat caught up with his peers. I remember constantly complaining to the sociologist about the amount of time I spent taking him back and forth to different behavior modification appointments, and she kept saying that if I invested the time when he was younger it would pay off when he hit his teen years. It paid off, but it was a great, great sacrifice. My son is doing well, but when I hear stories like this I have to wonder how well he would be doing if we hadn’t taken the time and patience to work with him. I also wonder if I was (and will hopefully continue to be) just lucky – my son responded to therapy. Some just don’t.

HSBC, Too Big to Indict?

Posted on December 17th, 2012 at 14:21 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


It is a dark day for the rule of law. Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system. They also have not charged any top HSBC banker in the case, though it boggles the mind that a bank could launder money as HSBC did without anyone in a position of authority making culpable decisions.

Write a comment

ISP Walks Out of Piracy Talks: “We’re Not The Internet Police”

Posted on December 17th, 2012 at 14:06 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


A leading Australian Internet service provider has pulled out of negotiations to create a warning notice scheme aimed at reducing online piracy. iiNet, the ISP that was sued by Hollywood after refusing to help chase down alleged infringers, said that it can’t make any progress with righthsolders if they don’t make their content freely available at a reasonable price. The ISP adds that holding extra data on customers’ habits is inappropriate and not their responsibility.

Write a comment

Nancy Lanza ‘may have triggered son Adam Lanza’s gun rampage’

Posted on December 17th, 2012 at 13:47 by John Sinteur in category: News


THE mother of the loner who massacred 26 pupils and staff at a US primary school may have played a major part in his catastrophic mental breakdown, it emerged last night.

Friends and family portrayed Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy as a paranoid “survivalist” who believed the world was on the verge of violent, economic collapse.

She had been stockpiling food, water and guns in the large home she shared with her 20-year-old son in Connecticut.

Mrs Lanza, 52, was a “prepper” – so called because they are preparing for a breakdown in civilised society who apparently became obsessed with guns and taught Adam and his older brother, Ryan, how to shoot, even taking them to local ranges.

That backfired horrifically on Friday when Adam Lanza began his killing spree by shooting his mother dead in bed.


But these reports that she often took Adam to a firing range…like, what the f—. I guess no mother is capable of looking at her son and seeing a future mass murderer, but for God’s sakes, he met the classic definition of a future shootist to a tee. A loner full of resentments. And she reportedly spoke regularly to friends of her concern for and about him. Teaching a young man like that to be a marksman, of all things–a fly fisherman, a numismatist, anything, sure–but teaching a young man like that to be a marksman strikes me as pretty questionable parenting, I am sorry to say it.

List of Mass Shootings Involving High Capacity Magazines, Including Glock Pistols

Write a comment


  1. It’s not just about guns, it’s about an epidemic of mental illness.

  2. While I agree with the article (Thinking the Unthinkable) and think a discussion on mental health is absolutely necessary – the results will not be quick. And what about the culture of guns and various reinforcements of fear that drive people to stockpile weapons and ammunition that have no ‘sportsmen/woman’ value? That will not be easy to change with all right-wing demagogues promulgating the airwaves. I see the only quick solution is strict gun control laws, and creative ones at that. Things like taxing ammo and holding gun manufacturers civilly and criminally liable for starters. Look, Sandy Hook is a huge tragedy, but Sandy Hook happens every hour and every single day in the nation’s inner cities. Inner city crime is not, arguably, a mental health issue, but effect is the same: pain, broken lives, reinforcement of the climate of fear, degradation of the quality of life and so on.

  3. Interestingly, there are around about as many gun deaths as traffic accident deaths in the USA each year. No-one is seriously proposing taking away all the cars. The difference is that other countries do not allow guns to be available so easily, and certainly not so many “assault weapons”.

Anonymous Hacks The Westboro Baptist Church: Posts All Their Personal Information

Posted on December 17th, 2012 at 12:24 by John Sinteur in category: News


The hacking collective known as Anonymous renewed their war on the Westboro Baptist Church today. After the haters from the infamous church posted their intentions to picket the funerals of the twenty children killed in the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Anonymous responded by re-posting the personal and professional information for members of the church on the Internet. Now the general public can contact the church members directly and tell them what they think about people who would desecrate the funerals of murdered children.

Write a comment