Former Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge weighed in on this issue of mounting importance, saying that it’s very important that the discussion on what to do focuses not just on the Second Amendment, but on the profile of the individuals who have carried out the major mass shootings of recent memory, such as Jared Loughner, Seung-Hui Cho, James Holmes, and now, Adam Lanza. All of the men were under 25 years of age, all had previously had interventions from school psychologists and had taken medication intermittently.
Ridge continued, adding that many of them had talked about suicide or about killing people, in general.
One mother and blogger’s desperate plea for help has gone viral on the internet with the headline “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” … and its raw honesty has struck a chord with so many. She penned it directly following the Newtown shooting. In it, she describes the struggle she and other parents of children with mental illness face … and the lack of resources available to help them. She writes of a son whose mood and temper turn on a dime, saying that she has shown up at the hospital after her son has threatened to kill her and her other children, while then the next day the same son is docile, loving, and promising to be different:
“No one wants to send a 13-year-old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken health care system, does not provide us with other options. Then, another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, ‘Something must be done.’Ridge called her a hero. “She’s a heroine in my mind because she’s raised in a very public way a situation that frankly for a lot of parents would be very difficult for them to raise … which is that her son has a mental health challenge.” Ridge says that as a society, we stigmatize instead of reaching out and trying to help.
I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.
God help me. God help Michael. God help us all. “
Something needs to be done, and be done soon, Ridge said.