The Charleston Massacre -- How We Can Speak Up If We Suspect Violence To Self Or Others

I am stunned by yet another mass shooting by the young man who carried out the South Carolina church massacre. For months he had confided in friends of his intent to perform some heinous act; he not only mentioned killing individuals in a church, but in other locations such as a school.
The question again is “Could this have been prevented?”

As has been reiterated again and again, the majority of individuals with ANY mental illness are more likely to be victims of crime not perpetrators of violence. Situations such as these fall into a very specific category with their own unique characteristics; there are clear warning signs.

Dylann Roof, in my opinion, is yet another example (such as Lanza, Roger, Holmes, and others) who were clearly “disturbed” individuals -- I am not clear on how they would be diagnosed, but they were clearly not thinking logically.
This does not excuse these heinous acts and these individuals should all be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for murder.

I am very concerned Roof’s friends did not report his constant hateful rants and his statements indicating plans for a spree of this type. We all should be encouraged to do so.

Per an article in the Washington Post:

Justin and Jacob Meek, as well as Christon Scriven, 22, a neighbor who is African American, said Roof never struck them as racist but sometimes talked about violence. “I don’t think he hated blacks,” Scriven said. “I think he hated humans.”

When they were drinking one night recently, Scriven said,
Roof talked about shooting up a school. Another time, he spoke of going on a shooting spree at the College of Charleston.
“My reaction at the time was, ‘You’re just talking crazy,’ ” Scriven said. “I don’t think he’s always there.” [End statement]

When a young male, a loner of a young age (Roof is 21), whose life path went off-track in 9th grade, who was unemployed, who was obsessed with racism (the theme of his rage), who had no close friends or any constructive relationship with his family, expresses himself this way WE NEED TO TAKE NOTICE AND WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION. We need to take these threats seriously. Since human behavior is so difficult to predict there is no way to know if this violence could have been averted, but maybe, had his friends spoken up, maybe this horror could have been prevented. This is certainly not their fault, however, we need to spread awareness on the topic.

Here is a very touching article by the mother of one of the children murdered in the Sandy Hook massacre. She also notes … Read The Full Article Here

By Nicole Hockley June 23 at 7:04 AM
Nicole Hockley is the Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise.

“While the motives for this hate crime may be very different from the crime that took my son from me, there are similarities. Access to firearms. Mental health issues. Ignored signs that violence was imminent. And the destruction of yet another seemingly safe place.
In 70 percent of all gun violence acts (including suicides), at least one other person was told an act of violence would be committed. We need to educate ourselves, and our children about the warning signs. And we need to train ourselves to reach out to trusted adults when we hear or see threats.
We are failing to deal with the toxic combination that we see in acts of violence. Sometimes it’s irrational fear, hatred and racism. But for many Americans who lack the skills to cope with stress and anger, or for the very few with severe mental illness, easy access to a firearm leads to tragic loss.”
… [End statement]
May all the victims of such violence Rest In Peace. We have many issues to address including virulent racism in this country, but this story is unique and multifaceted.

The Violent Child - Peter Rodger's Blog

“About 1 in 4 Americans suffer from mental illness in any given year. It's time we remove the stigma of asking for help. To start, we are providing resources and asking you to share your story so that we may help one another.”
Peter Rodger, father of Elliot Rodger -- spree killer, murderer, mentally ill

Peter Rodger has created a blog asking other parents to share their stories of dealing with children with serious mental illness who commit heinous crimes. Sometimes these events can be stopped; as we know many others cannot, and a good bit of this has to do with a broken mental health system.

Here is a stunning contribution to Peter Roger’s Blog, Ask For Help Now
This could be very disturbing for some to read. Be forewarned.

I also have a killer son
submitted by Joyce Alexander

I am a retired mental health professional, but I understand the grief that is caused when one of our children becomes a killer. In my case, my son William Patrick Alexander,  in prison in Texas for the January 2oth, 1992 murder of Jessica Witt, his 17 year old Girlfriend,  is a psychopath (anti-social personality disorder) who has no conscience though he was raised in a family of Christian believers who tried to model and teach good behavior, kindness and love. My son is extremely smart, scoring “gifted” in the 99th percentile since first grade…yet the dropped out of high school to become a thief.

My son was raised in a middle class environment that valued education and hard work to go along with the brains God gave us. We didn’t coddle our children, but expected them to work part time even in High School, to save some of the money, and to do family chores. In short we tried to model and teach responsibility and good behavior.

When he first “rebelled” against authority we took him to a counselor, did our best to “reach” him…but he robbed our friend’s business, and when we realized what he had done, we turned him in to the police. He was arrested and let out on probation. Still more therapy and interventions, but he continued his life of crime, and by age 18 was in “big boy” prison for a home invasion. Read More...

Jared Loughner And The Price We Pay for Stigma and Ignorance

This article is not an apology for Jared Loughner’s actions in Arizona. He deserves to be in prison for heinous crimes. But here is a story of a man in a similar situation who received treatment that changed the course of his life. Stigma and ignorance about mental illness only lead to devastated of lives -- individuals who suffer, their families who suffer, and those who may become the victims of violence as demonstrated in the Loughner case. The media as usual has it all wrong; let’s not discuss gun control in this context, let’s talk about treatment for the mentally ill. An ounce of prevention, a pound of cure …
As the author of this article notes:
“So, some may choose to focus on the debate regarding our nation's political rhetoric. But whether we're talking about John Hinckley, Mark Chapman or the more recent example of Jared Loughner, one thing we should all be able to recognize is that mental illness can be a fatal illness – and if left untreated, its costs are overwhelming.”

See the full article at this LINK:

Maine Voices: Where was mental health crisis care before Tucson tragedy happened?
Someone who found help in that city says it was available, but apparently Jared Loughner missed his chance at it.
The Portland Press Herald
(Randy Seaver of Biddeford is married and the stepfather of two boys. He works as a communications consultant.)

BIDDEFORD — The horrific event that transpired in Tucson on Saturday has inspired more than ample discussion regarding the tone and spirit of our nation's political discourse.

Despite all the fervent commentary, there is one piece of this puzzle that remains largely glossed over, however.
And this is where it gets a bit personal. When I was 22, I was living in Tucson and attending college part-time. Just like Jared Loughner, I was removed from school for many of the same reasons.

But I got lucky. I ended up at the Southern Arizona Mental Health Center (SAMHC) and spent the next several weeks there as an inpatient client.

I did not have insurance. I did not have any assets or even a job. My family was in Maine, thousands of miles away.
So, my ability to receive life-saving treatment and long-term support services was funded primarily on the back of the Arizona taxpayer.


Nearly a quarter century later, I like to think that investment has, so far, paid significant dividends. But I can assure you, it was a long-term and risky investment.”