“skyrocketing incidents of Aspergers syndrome and other mental illnesses”
Aspergers is not a mental illness. It is a lower level form of autism and cannnot be attributed in any way to violent behavior. Mental illness is a very REAL issue that is deserving of just as much attention as cancer. It isn’t anything new. Some of the greatest minds in history had documented mental illness; Howard Hughes and Abraham Lincoln-just to name a few. The difference is that it is just now getting some of the attention it deserves; and some attention it does not deserve. Back even a generation ago, it was considered a ‘private matter’ and a matter of character weakness or even spiritual illness. Considering that it was either a matter of poor character or ‘demon possession’, it didn’t receive much attention from the medical community and the attention it did receive was just plain wacko (labotomizing, for example). We just locked these individuals up, brushed them under the rug, and didn’t talk about it. What’s happened in the past 30 years since Regan shut down the mental hospitals and forced integration is nothing short of remarkable. On a side note, one should understand that despite what the media focuses in on, mentally ill individuals are NOT inherrently violent. To the contrary, statistics substantiate that mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrator. Since shutting the hospitals down in the 1980’s, the mentally ill have integrated themselves among the general populace which has forced the medical community to treat mental illness differently. We cannot simply ‘lock them up’ anymore. We, evidently, have a lot still to learn about treating what is a very real illness; not just a symptom of ‘Generation Whine’. The mentally ill are also up against integrating into a very dangerous environment for them. The challenge is not just treating the mentally ill, but treating social ills that plague the environment we live in. Life is difficult for those of us with sound minds. The reality is, that people with otherwise sound minds do occasionally ‘crack’ and resort to irrational behavior. Not all crimes such as Sandy Hook are committed by mentally ill individuals. The media needs to make that more abundantly clear. Sound minded people can do horrible things when left in a situation of desperation. If that’s the world you and I live in, imagine what the world must look like, smell like, and sound like to someone struggling with mental illness. And with all of that said, we hear of maybe a couple of instances a year of tragedies where the perpetrator may (or maybe just ASSUMED) have a mental illness. There are millions of people in our nation battling with mental illness. Many of them, to a degree, integrated among us without serious incident. The media needs to tell the truth. And we all need to concede that truth, rather than demonizing this illness.