Nothing is simple.
Another young man goes on a shooting rampage. This country wrings it’s hands. The gun whack jobs will say that if the other students had been armed he could have been stopped. I’m just not sure how they can all be so sure that it would end like that.
When it comes to extreme stress situations and emergencies, you never know how someone is going to react. Unless they have been trained, they don’t know. Who knows how much bravado dies because they froze. Studies have found that some possess an ability to rise to the occasion while others are destine to be victims even if they have the opportunity to save themselves, they won’t. They won’t leave a burning airplane. They say that’s the difference between the ones that survive things like plane crashes and train or bus crashes. If they aren’t killed in the initial incident, they have the ability to get out and many times lead others out. A lot like the World Trade Center. Others freeze. They don’t make it. I find that fascinating. I’m pretty certain I would be the one to survive, if I had a moment to make a split second decision.
I used to live on Sabado Tarde. The Brother lived in Isla Vista at one point too. We both know where all of this took place. Isla Vista is cut off from the rest of the world. It’s a series of mostly 1950 and 1960’s era apartments each jam packed with students trying to stretch their funds. Del Playa is the beach. Back in the 60’s there were plenty of demonstrations there including the famous burning of the Bank of America. We could have used the Class of 1970 in 2008.
I am getting more and more fascinated in what makes people tick. What makes them do what they do. Why they say what they say. Why they can’t just say what they want.
This particular young man was afflicted with Asparger’s Syndrome. Highly functioning until Saturday night. He had been putting up a series of youtube videos that were becoming more and more disturbed. His family was concerned and called the Sheriff who did a welfare check. Here is the thing, you can’t just haul somebody off to a mental hospital any more. This guy was 22. His parents couldn’t do anything more than ask for a welfare check. If the patient doesn’t want help, we are all screwed. He didn’t want help and did not appear to be in a state where the sheriff could haul him off on a 5150 or a 5250.
Now you could get all up in arms about the injustice of that, before you do that let me remind you that in California it was the work of both Jerry Brown and Ronald Reagan that got us to this point. And I don’t know that it is a bad thing. I don’t know what the solution is either.
Whenever I think of this subject, I think of Rosemary Kennedy. At 23 years old her father Joseph Kennedy authorized a lobotomy for her “irritable and difficult” behavior. She spent the next 53 years of her life institutionalized. Rosemary is a perfect example of why the laws had to be changed. In those early IQ tests, Rosemary Kennedy tested very low, in the 60’s and 70’s. As the story goes, when she was born, the nurse would not deliver her until the Doctor arrived. The delay resulted in a lack of oxygen and her intellectual disability. She was functioning until the lobotomy. What’s interesting is that lobotomies were outlawed in the USSR in 1950 but to this day not in the US, although several states have banned them.
The thing is, we cannot apply our morals and our thought processes to the mentally ill, because they are mentally ill. Their head doesn’t work like ours, that’s why they are ill. And there is a plethora of illnesses and afflictions. Manic depression, now called bi-polar, schizophrenia, depression, PTSD, autism spectrum, unless we are in the middle of it, we don’t understand it. Our rules, our morals don’t apply. An autistic child doesn’t function like we do. We have no idea what goes on in there. Until something bad happens. Parents trying to do the right thing struggle mightily.
I’m not a mental health professional. I’m a Realtor. I’m lucky some days to get my pants on before a walk out the front door, but that’s just because I can be a little absent minded. Jenny McCarthy, also not a mental health professional thinks autism is caused by vaccines. I think it makes more sense that it’s caused by the bastardization of our food supply. When we are mutating our vegetables by adding Round-up to the seeds, we are screwing around with something we shouldn’t be. Kind of like lobotomies. But I’m not a scientist either. I never dissected a frog. The idea of taking apart a little animal was never interesting to me. I am still a little damaged by the little lizard that ran under my bike yesterday and I killed. It was about 4 inches long. Frogs have always been off the table. Which is also why veganism is easy for me. I just don’t like killing animals and it has never set well with me. But I digress.
We don’t know what causes any of it. We’d like to think we can fix things with a pill but we can’t. And a lot of pills make a lot of mental patients feel awful and the don’t like that which is why they go off of their meds. Sometimes horrific things happen like last Saturday night in Isla Vista. You can’t take the horror out of that situation. The 10 families that are now going to bury their college students who they sent to idyllic Santa Barbara where nothing should have gone wrong. The 7 injured who will never be the same. The other thousands who are indelibly damaged by what just happened at their school, in their neighborhood.
Bottom line, there is only a couple of ways in and out of Isla Vista. One of the is the ocean. The Alpha Phi sorority had a chance to live or die and they made the right decision and did not open the door or this would have been much worse than it was. And it is awful. And I have know idea what the solution might be.