Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mental Health and Moral Issues Raised by the Jared Loughner Murders; Are You Your Neighbor's Keeper?

your brother's keeper?
What would you do if a person acted "crazy" around you? Do privacy rights supersede "preemptive community safety" rights? that is, when are we to--when would YOU-- step in and act--even against another's will--when behavior seems too far outside the norm or frightening?
How seriously would You push the authorities to act?

On the one hand,
 Thomas Szasz felt folks should live and let live---and that there was really no such thing as Mental Illness : [from Wiki--"Mental illness" is an expression, a metaphor that describes an offending, disturbing, shocking, or vexing conduct, action, or pattern of behavior, such as schizophrenia, as an "illness" or "disease". Szasz wrote: "If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; If you talk to the dead, you are a schizophrenic."[8] While people behave and think in ways that are very disturbing, and that may resemble a disease process (pain, deterioration, response to various interventions), this does not mean they actually have a disease. To Szasz, disease can only mean something people "have," while behavior is what people "do"... Psychiatry actively obscures the difference between (mis)behavior and disease, in its quest to help or harm parties to conflicts. By calling certain people "diseased", psychiatry attempts to deny them responsibility as moral agents, in order to better control them."]
On the other hand, "It takes a whole village to raise a child..."
Are you your brother's keeper?
 and who is your brother or neighbor?
van gogh the good samaritan

Post 1 on this issue
(crime summary and mental health issues) HERE
Post 2 on this
  issue (blame) HERE

The news cycle conversation regarding
The murderous behavior of Jared Lee Loughner has moved
to a discussion of mental illness.
 (Having mightily embarrassed themselves, journalists are pretending they were not just involved in the most self-serving, illogical focus on a news story of the new millennium. By the way, are pornographers who push it on us 24-7 responsible for all the sexual assault? Are violent rap songs responsible for girl-friend beating? just asking...)

Consider the development of unstable or troubling behavior in those around us.
Ask yourself, truthfully,
would you do anything, step outside your comfort zone to practically FORCE a person to get psychological help?
We assume "someone else" will do something--but the nature, particularly of thought problems or schizotypal disorders, often means
 there is no "someone else."

The friend of Jared Lee Loughner, who spoke to Mother Jones's Nick Baumann, gives us some information about the timeline of psychological (if not biological) troubles for JLL.
dealing with a friend:.
"Tierney, who first met Loughner in middle school, recalls that Loughner started to act strange around his junior or senior year of high school. Before that, Loughner was just a "normal kid," says Tierney. When the two friends started hanging out in sophomore year of high school, "there was nothing really dark about Jared," Tierney says. "He was playing drums, doing band things, playing sax. He was raised on writing and reading music." Loughner also did a lot of creative writing in his high school days, Tierney says, and he used to carry around a copy of a short story he wrote involving a character named Angel; he'd ask people if they would like to read it. "It had a lot of hidden metaphors in it," Tierney says.
As Loughner and Tierney grew closer, Tierney got used to spending the first ten minutes or so of every day together arguing with Loughner's "nihilist" view of the world. "By the time he was 19 or 20, he was really fascinated with semantics and how the world is really nothing—illusion," Tierney says.  More HERE

Back in a bit.



  1. As in our own lives, I hope this horrible event will be used to find ways for good. Just as we get wiser from our own tragedies, perhaps the country can get moved as a group. Maybe it is too late for many,

  2. Too much sadness. Incomprehensible.

  3. Sometimes i think only music, or art, can allow us to either express or manage a catharis when pain is unbearable. Yet--again and again, we go through these mass events with great outcry and even plan for the future, then what happens? How many remember their September 11 feelings, how many are permanently changes? Is our momentum so strong we do not change much?

  4. This is such a sad story for everyone involved! While many people often feel a friend or neighbor is acting strangely it is so difficult to make the judegment about how serious the issue is or what to do about it -- 20/20 vision after the fact is easy - hard to know what to do when its happening - and are you helping or interferring - is what many people wonder.

  5. Feeling brave: i totally agree. our privacy is so important. it is a weird line, ti "interfere" which may save a life, or leaqve us feeling like a afool.
    i do not think there is an easy answer.
    I think the separation in our culture is increasing as friends and family live apart. it is hard to "know" how to intereact with folks we've only known for a month or a year...

  6. I posted a post today which starts to bring this more into focus for me. when we don't intervene on individual levels, due to privacy and walls, the same is manifested when as groups we allow a madman to mow down a bunch of humans becasue they are HIS people in HIS country- YiKes! His?