Thursday, April 19, 2007

We have failed as a society

We are failing our mentally ill. The masacre at Virginia Tech and its horrifying aftermath has shown us that, as a society, we are putting the "rights" of people with severe mental illnesses to remain untreated ahead of the safety of our citizenry at large. The pendulum has swung too far and 33 people have paid the ultimate price.

Most people who suffer from mental illnesses are not a danger to themselves or others. Those people have a right to be supported and integrated into society at every level. There are those, however, who shows clear signs of violent tendancies which should never be ignored, especially at the institutional level. There were many incidences where the VA Tech killer showed signs that he was violently unstable and steps should have been taken to keep him away from the college community and to keep weapons out of his hands.


Anonymous said...

I think we need to define mental illness and evil. Are many in our society today to 'clever' to give evil its due. This Korean lad was not mentally ill, he chose to do evil and he did it.

I am dismayed at the level of press he his getting and am sure he will become the 'poster boy' for any other psychopaths out there who CHOOSE to do EVIL.

Do cancer patients grab a gun and murder as many people as they can NO! Ofcourse not! So it is the same with those who suffer from some form of mental illness, as you explained 4HisChurch in your piece.

Until we can even confront the word this horror will shadow us..Lord have Mercy on us all.

I posted a piece on the terrible horror of the Virginia college on our blog. It was written by Charles Colson and he makes some very valid points.

Let us continue to pray for those who are bearing the brunt of this boy's evil...May our Lord comfort them in their grief.


Staying in Balance said...

Well, Marie, you do have a point. I read on a forum that one of those who stepped up and saved lives was a Holocaust survivor--someone who had looked in the face of evil and knew it exists.

What this man did will not bode well for those who do suffer from mental illness (and are not violent), because of society's inability to tell the difference between illness and evil.

Dymphna said...

This boy was desperately insane for a long time. It's not fair but the law suits against Tech are going to make the suits against Duke look like a pittance.

America has failed the mentally ill. Just take a look at the parks in any city. They full of mad people.

Staying in Balance said...

I definitely think mental illness played a part in this. From what I hear, he was deemed a danger to himself and others. So, how in the world was he able to not be treated and how did he get a gun?

Anonymous said...

you cannot compare cancer patients and mentally ill. other than the fact that they are both physiological conditions. Mental illness is an abnormality of the physical brain itself. The mind, which is the non physical layer of the brain, but which is controlled by both the physical brain, and also by environmental stimuli. Cancer can affect the brain - and it can cause certain mental illnesses, or mood conditions to present, but that is not all too often - at least relative to what some of the things in DSM IV have.
(DSM IV - is the diagnostic and statistical manual version 4) it is for mental health workers to have a common argot, or technical language that can be explained. We'll never really be able to tell if he was mentally ill or not, he removed way too much of his brain, and regardless there are very few tests which can show mental illness - and those such a f(mri) [functional MRI) are pretty much just coming on line. And again, saying all that, I still agree with you that there are people in this world that are just plain evil. Always have been,
always will be - and its more than a psychological term, and more than a legal term - it can be a combination of both - I think one will never really know. Calling it something tends to give us some peace. I also agree with the level of press. Though after Columbine the level of copy cats did not increase to the level of what one might have expected. Perhaps that is because more people were aware of how to spot someone who might be off their rocker - evil - or otherswise. I think, as you speak about evil, publishing the tapes and letters he made and wrote - gives him the final word - and in the end, with that being the case -
we all lose. And i think the world is a beautiful and wonderous place full of G-d's gracious and goodness. Why these things are allowed to happen, we wont find out til we get to heaven - and i'm in no hurry to find out.

Staying in Balance said...

That is an excellent point, Anon. The fact that cancer (or any other physical illness) wouldn't cause someone to go out and shoot 32 people doesn't mean that mental illness wouldn't. The argument doesn't follow. Mental illness, by definition, affects the brain, and, therefore, behavior.

If this young man had gotten the help he needed, on many fronts, there is a greatly increased chance that he wouldn't have done what he did.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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