Archive for December, 2012

On killing kids and Newtown…

December 15, 2012

A world gone mad maybe?  Or just some poor desperately confused and poorly wired 20 year old kid having a really bad med day.  Or is this all the natural result of having too many people in too small a space, taking up all the star shaped holes where the star shaped people are supposed to go. Batshit. Always batshit.

So. When they show signs early, should we put them down?  When a dog shows the signs – that’s precisely what we do.  What’s the risk assessment on something like this?  Is this the same as drilling a deep well in the Gulf Coast when you know the cement platform is no good and will fail resulting in a monumental disaster? Or is it equal in risk to allowing banks and securities firms to risk the world economy after the rules and laws precluding the disaster that happened were eliminated – deliberately.  Or, is the risk of allowing a potential psychotic to ferment and blossom into an insane killer of 20 small children and his mom and a few others…even close to the risk we sanction allowing the oil and gas industry giants to frack contaminants into a vast portion of our nations water supply.

Is the potential lethality of the unrestrained crazy guy in Newtown Connecticut a bigger risk, and is he a more heinous player — than the idiot group who allowed the Nuke plant in Japan to be built — with full understanding that the fault was there –and that it was unstable and that it was more than capable of unleashing a sustaining nightmare into the Pacific which will ultimately contaminate the whole damn ocean for gods sake.

What does it take to get our visionless world to shut down inappropriate, untenable and unforgivable risk — of any form and type — from occurring?  We continue to do absolutely nothing when inappropriate risks are taken, and things turn out really bad.  When it’s little little kids…then we feel really bad.  But still not enough to do anything about it.  We got a real problem dealing with inappropriate risk.

Sandy Hook is a subdivision of Newtown CT.  Newtown was known, not too many years ago, mostly for the institution that bore the same name.  Newtown State Mental Hospital.  Newtown (later renamed Fairfield Hills) was one of those massive throwback State and private institutions, that dotted the nation — where people too nuts to allow to keep walking around with the general population, were warehoused…under lock and key.

Newtown became a blot to forget, when the Reagan administration finally closed down these institutions across the country.  And, in doing so,  released the population to the street…which you might have noticed in the mid eighties, as the explosion of homeless people suddenly appeared living in parking ramps and under bridges and in nooks and crannies — that have stayed pretty well full ever since.  The inmates were released from the asylum because the asylums were closed.

And while many of those who had been incarcerated because they were nuts and scary to society — were able to make it out on there own with or without medications — or were placed in another institution because they were too problematic to release  — or who moved into environments that offered housing and food and medical support that had been set up to manage and care for them once they had been released from these ultimate care facilities — made heroic transitions from institutional living into quasi independent living.  Many did not.

And after that – the new folks who would have been institutionalized without question and in a heart beat once identified, just a year or so earlier — were introduced to the early beginnings of the modern health care system where their care was managed and supervised to the degree it could be…and were left to attempt living as crazy people in a normal world…many living with parents who had no options, or in homeless centers, or on the streets.   On Thorazine or whatever other psycho-trophic drug was prescribed that would keep all the springs from busting out.  Sometimes the springs just want to bust out anyway.

I spent some time at Newtown Hospital in the early 60s while I was finishing up an under grad degree in Psychology.  I have very mixed emotions on this whole subject of risk management…and keeping people from acting out and hurting people…and keeping people from offing themselves.

A lot has changed…to an absolutely amazing degree in a very short timeframe.  Mostly in diagnoses, in the development and use of meds that actually work…and in treatment and medical supervision of patients.  They were still doing lobotomies and heavy-duty shock therapy in my day.  And meds were pretty primitive, and not very specific…unless one considers a “buffalo brain shot” specific.

A couple of thoughts are racing though my mind:

One, is it time to reconsider “forever institutionalization” for the very scary few who we are more than pretty sure have a high probability of going completely bat shit at some point along the way?  Should we seriously reconsider screwing down the filters a couple of notches on potentially dangerous people we know about in the “system” and get them off the streets because the risks are completely unacceptable?

Second, is “price of meds” an issue.  Meds that keep someone from going off the rails…and to stay sane…because they insure that an endocrine balance is maintained — and that a brain chemistry imbalance doesn’t produce a psychotic episode.  Question: Would a significant percentage of people who are not taking meds because they can’t afford them…take their medications religiously every single day because they could afford them…or if they were free?

And as sort of a related subject…is there a way to insure that those who absolutely need to be on meds — take them as required.  Could we develop and install an implant that dispenses meds automatically…like devices that are available for diabetes patients and some heart patients.  And can we implant a chip in their body somewhere so we can locate them if their pump is empty and they are lost somewhere – so we can find them.

Third, should we seriously increase supervision of the walking around potentially dangerous with better assessment and diagnostic tools – so we at least are riding better herd on the dangerous population as it progresses from ‘not so good’ to ‘fully engaged bad fucking day’.

Four.  The guns.  Can we figure out a way to keep crazy people from getting guns?

Can we incarcerate, or flat out kill, the son’s of bitches who sell guns to these people without doing the background checks.  And would we ever consider breaching HIPPA regulations where it comes to gun sales…so we can see if there is any remote smidge of potential wacko possibility in the purchaser before a gun sale can be made.  Or, is it possible to set up a state funded (gun industry paid for) screening administration where all gun owners have to be registered – and every person wanting to purchase a new gun, has to be screened and approved before they are allowed to own or buy a gun.  Or can we just stop the sales of guns, period.

So much for thoughts…I’ve pissed off enough people already.

One thing for sure…this latest Newtown event was about a bad as it gets…and without a iota of doubt the young imbalanced ‘killer of children’ will have a history…and that history will show signs that he wasn’t wrapped real tight — and was moving strongly towards a psychotic collision with destiny.  And we got to think about this real seriously.

It’s not the first time dangerous people just like him were in Newtown.  Lot’s of them were…over decades and decades.  Including many potentially way worse than this young man…but they were under lock and key.  Maximum risk management.

Another thing for sure…we need to do something about all this.  Too many people who are having troubles with wiring and/or with coping…or with PTSD kinds of disorders and weird stuff popping up all over the place for unknown reasons like changes in food ingredients — and god only knows what else.

Also, there are just way too many stressors — on too many people — who are feeling more and more desperate and frustrated and fearful about what’s going on in their lives right now…with too little hope that things will ever get OK…or that the future will ever fulfill a dream again.  Things that make desperate and insane acts make sense to young men who are having a very bad day.

Need to work on that too.

Too much to work on. I think that may be part of the problem…

On turning 70. And divine providence…

December 3, 2012

By divine providence – or by some causal accident of star alignment and poor timing…I found myself seated at mass this past Monday morning.  11:30 at St Cornelius Nursing Home in Stamford CT.  Lead there by my 92 year old…83 pound…and for all intents and purposes, deaf and blind…style goddess aunt Jeanne (dressed in red from head to toe this morning because that was the one color she could see) – who thought maybe my attending mass might be good for me now that I had turned 70.  Which I had done two days before.

I’m not at all sure going to mass was a great idea – at least not yet…but the impact of the abject reality of sitting in a room filled with wheelchairs and frail elders who were clearly asking god “to recognize the faces of those who wished to see him soon” – most of whom were in their 80s (and, as Jeanne reminded me, in their 70s as well) did stop me in my tracks.  Think I’m so great indeed.  There I am…in what, 10 years?  5 years?  Tomorrow?  Not such a remote thought when you get up close to the glass…and see yourself in the reflection.

Oh baby.  Wasn’t quite ready for this at all.  Nor was I ready to have the cadences of a bare bones Catholic mass trigger responsorial vibrations from somewhere down in the souls of my feet — making ‘ancient matter’ words form in my mouth like they were part of some DNA strand imprinted a couple of thousand years ago.  Things that never change — even though you may have.

Looking mortality dead in the eye…measuring the space between those in wheel chairs and myself.  Hearing the prayers and readings — and words coming out of my mouth — in this setting, makes it easy to imagine them being spoken in a catacomb some 2000 years ago.  All pushing and pulling me forward towards a realization I have no desire to deal with yet…that I can see the end from here.

Jesus.  Didn’t need this.  Didn’t ever want to see this.  Not this way anyway.  Much better to just have the end stuffed up your ass when it’s time to shut her all down.  Really, really don’t want to walk poorly to the edge for some interminable amount of time…and then crumble like a wicked witch in a slow motion dehydration melt down — and then have someone with a leaf blower, blow my crumbles over the side of the end.

You know…?

Three days ago I was only 69.