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It takes alot to come out with acceptance that one has mental difficulties. My brain is not oriented quite the way a normal man's should. My behavior is erratic and my interest in things tends to be a mix of the obsessive and depressive.
Given all that, it's not as bad as it could be. I try to keep the darkness and obsessiveness under control and given the right situation, I do all right. The thing about mental illness is that the mentally ill don't often fit in to a neat "box." There is a degree of mental illness - significant people like Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill dealt with their share of it.
I got diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, as did Adam Lanza. I am fairly functional though and have only been dysfunctional in situations that were built that way. I am socially awkward but not really that much - when a parent knows their child isn't quite "right," any diagnosis will stick.
Whatever the cause, all of the perpetrators of massacres - Cho, Holmes or this most recent guy - had diagnosis of various mental illnesses. Cho had "selective mutism" (whatever the hell that is). Lanza had Asperger's syndrome. They may not have actually fit in to any of those - their parents just knew something wasn't quite right. As I pointed out before, there is a huge degree of mental illness - the Sinatra variety (his wife had several abortions after saying his behavior was not conducive to a sane living environment) is much less pronounced than the horror you see with these mass shooters.
That this horror keeps happening again and again does pretty obviously show that the way we approach mental illness needs to change. Simply "going back" to the old school of mental institutions isn't really a good idea, in my view. Those places were done away with for a reason - I believe one of Maiello's threads went in to the quality of some being so bad that the public jumped in with the idea of doing away with them. The current pharmacology way may not be quite that good either, as I can attest.
What may be a good idea would be to engage mental illness right out in the open. It is still hush-hush - people talk of schizophrenia or autism the way old folks would talk about someone who is black - as if they can only admit its existence in very hushed tones. (If we could accept blackness enough to elect a black president, we can learn to talk about mental illness overtly. We have certainly already had mentally ill presidents.) With disclosure about mental illness, people would better know what to look for in potentially violent students and how to deal with it.
It wouldn't solve the problem but I think it'd be a good step. I've never seen this much talk about mental illness publicly in my life. It's a really uncomfortable topic but alot in this world is uncomfortable - the discomfort doesn't make it go away.