The shooter at Northern Illinois University...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Feb 15, 2008.

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  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I knew it would be something like this.
    He was a psychiatric patient who had recently gone off his medications and had started acting "erratic." I don't know any more than that, but it made me sad. I wonder if his parents tried to get him help. There IS no can't force somebody to take medications and you can't lock somebody up, even if he's psychotic, unless he is currently a threat to others or himself, and he didn't show it until he started shooting the kids. He'd been a good student and graduate at that school, well-liked. He was going to another college, but came back to Northern Illinois..nobody knows why.
    This stuff is so SCARY. There has to be more options for treating adults who are mentally unstable. I feel sick, both for the kids at the college who are dead or, at best, emotionally devastated, but I also feel for the parents of this young man. Their hands were tied. Hey, they tie our hands by age fourteen when kids don't have to take medications or get treatment if they don't want to. I don't agree with it. I'm all for Civil Rights, but in my opinion we've given the mentally ill nowhere to go for help...
    Just a vent.
    I used to live 45 minutes from DeKalb, Illinois and my son went to college there for a while.
  2. ML

    ML Guest

    I agree with you MWM. We just have to create a better system if our kids and their kids are going to have any chance at all. Truly heartbreaking stuff.
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Hi MWM,

    I edited the titile of this thread to correct the university name.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, thanks. I always called it U of I, De Kalb :)
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    For some reason I can't think of the young mans name right now BUT I
    have retained a vivid memory of his parents. The young man who shot
    the President. His parents were wealthy people who loved their son and
    had sought help for him year after year after year. Their top quality Psychiatrist told them "detach and give him a chance to live on his own without feeling like his parents are trying to control his life". These well educated, loving, rich parents took that advice. Their son tried to kill the
    President and spent years locked up in a psychiatric Hospital. Had he been the child of middle class or below parents he probably would not have had that option. I remember the anquish on their faces. Somehow I felt
    their fear even though I was not on that road.

    The parents of this "nice" "bright" "polite" "educated" young man are in
    such pain. They did all they could do. I hope the world allows them to
    mourn. DDD
  6. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    I can't believe with all the shootings going on across our country that some action hasn't been taken to help our kids - obviously the system is not working! They really need to tear the whole thing down and build it from scratch with mothers like us on the board that make the decisions.
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm not denying that there's a problem in our country with mental health care for children, but I'm wondering what information is leading to the jump that these parents did all they could do? I've seen almost nothing released on them in the news reports I've read. For all I know they didn't even know about his problems--plenty of college kids hide mental health treatment they seek out from their parents.
  8. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I think the issue is that as parents of adults, "all that we can do" isn't too doggone much.

    Britney Spears' difficulties have really hit home for me. Who the heck knows what's really going on there, but realistically how many of us could go to court, get conservatorship of our adult children, hire bodyguards to protect them (and I would guess to assist in coralling them)? Sure, I could get guardianship of thank you with no problem when he hits 18, but to what end? I cannot force treatment or medication, I cannot force hygiene and safe choices, and I cannot protect him from his poor choices. I sure as heck cannot afford to hire security staff to keep him from bolting.

    I'm at odds with myself (nothing new, LOL). I believe in the right to self-determination and inclusion for the disabled, which is something that while essentially mandated by court decisions is not something that is put into practice for those with severe developmental disabilities (in IL anyway). on the other hand, I feel like a disability-rights traitor because I absolutely do *not* believe in the right to self-determination for those who are severely mentally ill. To me, that's an oxymoron. How can a person who has scrambled thought processes self-determine? But back on the other hand, defining who is too mentally ill to self-determine would be a legal and logistical nightmare - thank you can, when he so chooses, come across as a very rational and reasonable human being. And how do you police medication compliance, and what do you do for noncompliance? I just don't know what the answer is.

    I think the scariest thing about this is I simply do not see how it could have been prevented. He was what we all hope our children will be, up until Thursday. Good student, personable, independent, law-abiding.

    It's a terrible terrible tragedy.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Obviously, this young man had problems before Thursday. He was probably good at hiding them, like some of our difficult children. In fact, people had noticed that he was acting weird.
    I hate the system the way it is now. How can they make decisions for themselves if they are severely mentally ill or developmentally challenged? This de-institutionalization of the mentally ill has made homelessness skyrocket. Most are mentally ill.
    I don't know much about the young man who shot at Reagan except that he had schizophrenia. But this newest shooter was 27, too old for his parents to do squat. Maybe he's bipolar and became manicky. Often bipolars dump their medications if they become manicky both because they forget to take them and because they feel BETTER than all right, they feel GREAT. I think I heard something about antidepressants, but not sure. If so, they can cause problems and just going off of them cold turkey can cause bigger problems. Who knows? I just wish there was better, safer help for the mentally ill. Most of us know that mental illness can sometimes cause violence (although that's not a easy child thing to say). To me this isn't a civil rights issue--it's a health issue.
  10. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    John Hinckley Jr who shot President Reagan? I don't think you are remembering it quite right. The Hinkleys were advised to practice Tough Love and not allow their son to return to their home as he wanted to, something father regretted 'til the day he died. The psychiatrist who gave them that advice was their family psychiatrist. I think the only other therapist Hinckley had seen was the psychologist on retainer with the family's oil company. He had been taking antidepressants and tranquilizers for about a year before he saw the psychiatrist.
  11. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    The reality is that most of the school and workplace shooters were medicated for something or the other. Most were medication compliant, some had recently stopped taking medication. The chances are any dramatic changes in personality that occur when a person abruptly discontinues a psychotropic drug are related to the drug at least as much as the disorder for which the drug was prescribed, probably more so. And those changes can last of weeks after discontinuing.

    Forcing people to take medications that they don't like taking isn't necessarily the answer. How many of us here have quit a drug because we didn't like the way it made us feel, either physically or mentally? And surely all one has to do is read these threads to discover that taking medications isn't the hands down answer to behavioral problems. In fact, it can make things worse.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    But, Sara, it can also make things better! And apparently this young man was better on his medications. I don't think people should be coerced into taking medications, but I think it's smart to stick with them if they help you. As for parents keeping kids at home, that's very easy to do if you have a child like your son or my autistic son. They aren't violent or swearing at us or running around with knives. If kids are violent due to their drug use, mentally ill too or not, they are dangerous to their parents and other siblings. There is no other logical choice but to find alternative living arrangements for them and, if they blow it, hope they decide to get help and comply with treatment. HInckley Jr. had schizophrenia. He had been hospitalized. Obviously he was violent. We DON'T know the whole story. Of course his father is sorry now, since things turned out badly, but we don't know what lead to that decision. In spite of what we read, we'll never know the real story--we weren't there.
    Lastly, we can't live forever. If our kids who are a mess never learn to exist without us, it's all going to pot (no pun intended) anyways once we're gone. I did the right thing for MY daughter by making her leave. There was no other choice. She was killing herself and traumatizing her two younger siblings (you have no other kids). She waved knives around more than once. She broke things. She left drug paraphernalia blatantly laying around in our car, our house--WE could have been charged with drug use. Even if not, my younger kids were terrified every time the cops showed up at the door or when their sister was carted off in handcuffs. We never called the cops on her, but they came calling. I'm not so sure you would have done anything differently, although, again, you had no younger kids. THAT is a big difference itself. But I also felt that enabling my daughter was making her worse. Trust me, on her own, she stopped the fast track very quickly. She had no choice.
    My son Lucas will never be told to leave, but at around 21 we will transition him to living arrangements. I'm 54 and hub is 52. He needs a place he can get used to and is comfortable with when we're no longer there.
    Tough Loves works far better than enabling when you are talking about drug use. My daughter QUIT using drugs. She is glad we got tough on her. Every time life gets rough for her and I'm afraid she'll go back to drugs, it never happens.
    This shooter was a twenty-seven year old man. I don't know if he lived with his parents or not, but he was mentally ill and, obviously, at some point, dangerous. I think it's unfair for you to apply your situation to everyone else's. Things turned out well for you, and I'm glad, but it turned out well for us too. One size doesn't fit all.
  13. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Sara & MWM,

    You both have excellent, if diametrically opposite, views on this. I respect that. It is possible for a medication reaction to result in a psychotic break and violence such as this. It is also possible that uncontrolled mental illness can result in such violent actions. We don't know (& may never know) what the cause was here so I'm going to ask you both to agree to disagree.
  14. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    The reports I read said the shooters mom died 4 years ago. CNN tried to interview his dad and he told them to go away. The naked grief on his face broke my heart.
  15. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Hinckley was not diagnosed with schizophrenia and had never been hospitalized before shooting President Reagan. The parents were pretty forthcoming about what happened in the years following. I think it's disengenuous to suggest that the father lied for the rest of his life about what he did and how he felt. I made no value judgements about what Hinckley's parents chose to do. I simply corrected misinformation. There is no reason for anyone to take my comments personally.

    The NIU shooter, like most school or workplace shooters, had no history of being violent prior to the shooting. A report this morning said he was a cutter. Many kids become self mutalators on antidepressants. I am making a lot of assumptions but no more than anyone who thinks he should have been compelled to stay on medication: This boyman might have recognized that he, like many others, was not better on medication than he was not taking any. He may have decided to stop taking them because he was worse. He may not have known how very dangerous the withdrawal process can be for some people. And even if he did know, he could have been aware the homicidal ideation was rare and not statistically likely to happen in him.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I thought I heard on cnn (I was only half listening) that he had a short stint in a psychiatric hospital a few years ago when he'd quit taking medications- I thought they said he had been tdo'd with the help of his parents, and of course, only held a few days. Also, they said he'd been in the military about 6 mos but was released on a psychological. Since there had been no previous violent incidents, the military situation could have been that they got more records in and found out more about his mental health history, it could have been that they changed his medications on him, or maybe they found him hallucinating, etc. Also, I think they said he'd tried going into something else for a while but that didn't work either due to mental health. Apparently there was plenty of evidence of mental health problems, but no violence before now. Another concern I have- if the military didn't think he should be in there, he should never have been able to buy weapons- they said all his weapons were bought legally.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sara, we were told to agree to disagree.
    I do, however, don't want others to think that medications caused all this. We have no idea what caused it. Antidepressants are not BAD across the board. I would be dead without them. Again, you are making blanket statements.
    I am saying Hinckley's family, in retrospect, are, of course, sorry things turned out the way they did. You tend to blame everything on taking medications, not thinking that many of us would probably be non-functional without them. Ok, I'm finished with that particular point. I think I made it.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    klmo, it's scary that the Military took him. Perhaps this triggered something in him. I wonder if he saw any action in Iraq, an violence. That could unbalance an unstable person who had never been violent before.
  19. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Correcting misinformation is not "making blanket statements" any your information was wrong. And I no more tend to blame everything on taking medications than others are to blame everything on not taking medications. And at some point, I hope you learn to read what I post, and not read your misconceptions into my words. I highly resent the comment about me "not thinking" about those who function well with medication. I have never ever posted anything suggesting anything of the sort. If you think you saw it, you put it there.
  20. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Sara & MWM- I'm locking the thread. Take it to PM if you must.
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