Tag Archives: violence

Breaking the Link of Violence and Mental Illness – NYTimes.com

People with serious mental disorders, while more likely to commit aggressive acts than the average person, account for only about 4 percent of violent crimes over all.

The rate is higher when it comes to rampage or serial killings, closer to 20 percent, according to Dr. Michael Stone, a New York forensic psychiatrist who has a database of about 200 mass and serial killers. He has concluded from the records that about 40 were likely to have had paranoid schizophrenia or severe depression or were psychopathic, meaning they were impulsive and remorseless.

“But most mass murders are done by working-class men who’ve been jilted, fired, or otherwise humiliated — and who then undergo a crisis of rage and get out one of the 300 million guns in our country and do their thing,” Dr. Stone said.

The sort of young, troubled males who seem to psychiatrists most likely to commit school shootings — identified because they have made credible threats — often do not qualify for any diagnosis, experts said. They might have elements of paranoia, of deep resentment, or of narcissism, a grandiose self-regard, that are noticeable but do not add up to any specific “disorder” according to strict criteria.

via Breaking Link of Violence and Mental Illness – NYTimes.com.

This is a quote that is now four years old, and mental illness has come up in mass shootings more frequently during that time. However, that probably has more to do with the violence ingested by all of us on TV and media. It represents a permission of sorts to act out–everybody is doing it–and people with mental illness have less of a boundary between fantasy and reality.

Mental illness constitutes a terror for people to live with inside their heads, but mostly it stays contained there. They need our compassion and understanding and research more than any disease–this being one of the hardest to live with. You don’t know you are disordered.

To discontinue blaming them for violence is a good thing. To stop being afraid of them is a good thing. To feel compassion and help them is a good thing. To enable their addictions is not.

Twenty years ago, an estimated 30% of homeless were Vietnam veterans–many of them with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They have greatly helped our understanding of PTSD. Services for that disorder are increasing, but we still have a long way to go. Awareness is helpful.

I think one of the things we need to come to terms with in this country is our love of violence, our use of it as entertainment and the effect it has on us–get our heads out of the sand on that one. Our parenting has less boundaries and our leisure time has more violence. That is a set up for a crazy, lawless society!


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Obama Trumped?

~Soft? Too easy on atrocities? A police state would be an atrocity, where fear dictates that government knows every move we make and every motive we have. Was Obama Trumped? I don’t think so.

People want strong leadership, but Obama’s “Don’t let this affect the way you look at and treat others, especially Muslims; we must treat everyone as God’s” (not an exact quote, but what I remember) is actually stronger than, “We should stop every Muslim from entering the U.S.” (again not exact) because it appeals to reason and not fear. Freedom is not easy to preside over.

God could easily have a police state, but He doesn’t, and He could. He has the power. He knows every move and motive, and yet what does He do? He gives us freedom to develop, to choose good or evil, to decide to live or die forever. So I’m guessing it takes a lot more strength to govern freedom than to dictate.

Freedom requires risk and personal responsibility. And sometimes it gets painful and messy. When we are in pain because of someone else’s choices, we want justice, somebody stronger to do something. Nobody wants to be a victim. But everyone of us is a victim of evil–inside and outside.

What concerns me is the choices we make. Choices are critical. When violence becomes entertainment, it’s easy for victimized people to take that path. And I don’t know about your house, but there is an awfully lot of violence on the screens in this country. We become what we watch, but especially if we enjoy it.

And yes, I think it’s crazy that anybody can buy an assault weapon. But I think it’s crazier that nobody lobbies against violence. That no one seems to get energized over how much violence our kids watch. Many of them exposed to it in their homes, and not on a screen! Many of them are recipients of violence. But nobody is campaigning against child abuse. Whose platform includes teaching how to make good choices?

If you enjoy violence, will you choose good forever?

In my devotional this morning was this, “Only what is done in Love lasts, for God is love, and only the work of God remains.” (God calling, 11-22)

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Downton Abbey, Really?

I spent way too much time being angry at the writers of Downton Abbey this week. Julian, you there? I was so angry that Matthew dies in the season finale, I said I was done. And even though it’s our favorite show, I skipped the replay.

My husband commented that we didn’t really know–the last scene was Matthew bleeding from the ears, the car on him.

I replied, “That was pretty intense, and misleading foreshadowing, if not.”

It made me mad that writers can’t let anything be happy and good. Yes, life has death, but we had barely gotten over Sybil’s! That was certainly enough to keep it real.

So do we really stay hooked by drama? They had to concoct something horrendous so we’d come back? Really? If it gets too happy we get bored?

What does that say about our society?

I also recoiled at hearing Downton Abbey called a British soap opera. I thought it was much more character driven and real than the high drama of soaps, and I was offended, even though angry myself.

I find that the most emotion-grabbing movies are the ones where unexpected good things happen–Mr. Holland’s Opus. And some of the best “good” movies are true stories: Chariots of Fire, The Blind Side, Invictus. What story is more powerful than Nelson Mandella’s?

Are we really more taken with fear and drama than issues resolved in happy endings? It was enough to go through all the turns and disappointments of Mary and Matthew, Anna and Bates; can’t we have some good things for awhile?

It makes me wonder if we are becoming addicted to violence and the macabre. Have we become so dark and cynical that we can’t relate to happiness?

I wonder too, if this comes from not being able to get our picture of God straightened out to one of an all-Loving Being. I don’t mean so loving anything goes. Obviously, real love has boundaries. But I am finding more and more beliefs we have misunderstood from Scripture.

For instance, blaming God for killing the first-born in Egypt, when I am convinced it was Satan, the Destroyer. The Destroyer isn’t God. But people will argue over it. Do they want a vengeful God?

God doesn’t have to kill anyone, if he came here, not human, we would combust immediately in his energy. He has to stay away physically so we aren’t killed by His presence. Ergo the Holy Spirit.

Is our need for revenge seeking expression? We want God to kill those who hurt us, rather than wanting God to eradicate evil and those who get off on it.

What does it say about us? It’s scary. I’m concerned about our appetite for violence. We need violence control more than gun control.

And since violence control just focuses us on violence, making it worse, we need people making better choices about the movies they watch and those they produce. Choosing what our kids watch and “play” if you can call video games playing! Setting “good” boundaries.

Make joy real and attractive. Get to know the God of happiness and peace–the One who turns everything into good if we trust. Take children’s lives–put some work in; they need challenges they can work through and succeed at so they get good at choices.

We are changed by watching. We are. Research and Newtown underscore it.

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Gun Control? Really? First of a Three-part Series on the Real Issues. How Did This Happen?




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 Most of us are affected by the horrible manifestations of violence in our society whether touched personally or not.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long enough for change to happen. Or we go down a rabbit trail like gun control instead of addressing the real problems:

Ignorance, Inattention, Brokenness.

But unless we listen to the wise words of George Bernard Shaw who said,
“We have some problems that are going to be around a long time unless someone sits down and thinks about them for fifteen minutes,” we aren’t likely to get any real change.


We don’t know what causes it and we just want to control the behavior or the weapons, because that’s what fear does—raises the need for control. We don’t have time to investigate, to address underlying causes.


Or we just don’t want to because it’s messy, expensive, and not politically correct. We would get into other issues we don’t want to deal with like visual violence, or child abuse—Pandora’s Box. Who wants to be the whistle blower on unpopular, ugly, scary covens that make tons of money and have huge lobbies? It’s hard!

Then there is just plain ignorance that comes from happiness.

I’m not sure we are all that happy, but we want to be, and we have raised the collective consciousness enough to know that focusing on ugly doesn’t make it.

But do we know what does?

And are we willing to suit up to protect the innocents? Even for fifteen minutes?

Do parents know that children need boundaries in order to be secure? Do they know that “No” is a more important part of love than saying “Yes”? Or are we so caught up in making them happy that we allow them to make their own entertainment choices and way too much of it?

Do parents know how much children need to be outside playing, using their imaginations and their muscles? Do we know how much they need age-appropriate responsibilities? And that too much power creates stress that is extremely damaging to developing brains? (Saying no is stressful for you but not for them even though it looks and sounds like it).

Do they know how important nutrition is, and even what it is, or how it affects well-being? The First Lady has been trying to make a dent here.

But why do people like Jamie Oliver meet such opposition in trying to educate us nutritionally? Do people love ignorance? Do they think it’s going to cost too much?

I was blessed to grow up with information and an inquisitive mind, but I am amazed in my conversations and observations how many people truly didn’t learn this from their parents and consequently can’t pass it on. It’s not their fault they’re ignorant, but it is their responsibility. So is it the responsibility of those of us who know these things to get the word out.


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