Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Real Tragedy Behind The Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy


It was expected.  President Obama will seek tougher gun laws because a gun was used to kill people.  Of course, knives, forks, and spoons kill people, too.  Sure, that's a little sardonic.  But the reality is that the misuse of knives, forks and spoon account for ten times the annual deaths in the U.S. than the misuse of guns.

  • Estimated annual deaths from obesity - 112,000.
  • Annual homicide deaths by guns - 9,146 or 11,493 depending on source.
Naturally, Michelle Obama is spearheading the restrictions on knives, forks, and spoons.

Regardless, the President and legions of his liberal friends are simply overlooking the obvious.  Murders, especially mass murders, are the work of those who are pathologically incapable or unwilling to control their murderous instincts.

This is the contents of a Facebook exchange between me and my niece on Sunday night.  Keep reading until you get to the end of the post where you will be quite surprised.
MY NIECE:  A short personal essay on what it's like to be a mother of a mentally unstable child who also has violent episodes. i've heard stories from my mom too about dealing with her students who exhibit similar behavior...and how sometimes there is little that can be done until they have really hurt someone or themselves.
When this woman drops her child off at school, he spends the day with a teacher like my mom. That is why I am proud of her and all her hard work with her students, but often worry for her as well.
I am xxxxxxxxxx's Mother - The Blue Review
ME:  Site doesn't respond [may now that the initial number of site hits has subsided], but just a few observations. 60 years ago, a person with demonstrated mental problems would be put in an institution and given some variety of "treatment." The purpose was to remove the person from society where he/she could a potential threat to themselves or others.
This didn't sit well with those who felt "mental illness" [vaguely defined] was a disease [non-communicable, but dangerous] and should be treated as a disease... primarily by allowing the mentally ill to live "normal" lives while receiving "assistance" from ... somewhere? The reality is that most of these people either ended up on the streets or living with parents who were ill-equipped to manage them. But it made a lot of professionals feel better about themselves even though the "patients" were potentially far worse off and a real danger to those around them. 
What had been a "throw them all in the institution" policy became a "let them all fend for themselves" reality. So, people like your mother have to deal with such children who are a threat to themselves and others, simply because it is good progressive policy despite being intentionally blind to the consequences. 
Some people cannot be helped in a "normal" environment. That's not to say that is the case for all. But those with violent tendencies should be removed from society... even if they have not acted in a mass-murderer fashion... yet. There needs to be something other than an "all or nothing" policy about institutionalizing people. Here in Michigan, we closed down a large hospital sized facility for the mentally ill and they went... who knows?
After closing psychiatric hospitals, Michigan incarcerates mentally ill.
MY NIECE:  Uncle Bruce - that's definitely been a major problem resulting from the "de-institutionalization" of people suffering mental illness. The county needs to find some way to work with patients so that they get just the right help they need. It's not an uncomplicated problem and will take lots of work by many many people to solve this problem.
ME:  As I said, the "enlightened" principle of "mainstreaming" those with mental issues has probably done more harm than good. That same principle has been extended into education so that your poor mother not only has to deal with children who are physically and mentally impaired, but also children who have severe emotional issues as well. They don't belong in the classroom and, as they get older, they will probably require some sort of institutional restriction... though it shouldn't be jail just to protect the "success" of mainstreaming.
When it became "enlightened" to handle people with severe mental problems as "special needs who should be mainstreamed," and the psychiatric hospitals/mental wards were closed down with reckless abandon by those who really wanted to be "enlightened," the doors were literally opened to those who should have been humanely separated from the rest of society... for their good and ours.  The Connecticut mass murderer of children was one such individual whose mother was forced to try to handle him and who ultimately became another victim of "enlightenment."
Due to deinstitutionalization in the 1960s and 1970s, there was less of a need for hospitals like Fairfield Hills [in Newtown, Connecticut]. With the high cost of running underused hospitals, state hospitals around the country shut their doors. In 1995, Gov. John Rowland closed Fairfield Hills and its sister hospital, Norwich State Hospital. All patients that remained were moved to Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown.[3] 
The Town of Newtown rented out the first floor of Canaan House [a psychiatric facility] from the mid-1990s up until 2005; it was home to the town's Board of Education, Planning & Zoning, and Fire Marshall. The Reed Intermediate School is also located on the property. [source]
The irony is just tragic.

Of course, it is much easier to blame guns... which is why I'm blaming knives, forks, and spoons.


ACLU helped block bill that could have stopped shooter


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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
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SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)