Gov. Christie was absolutely correct in vetoing the Legislature’s magazine-limit bill, despite Sandy Hook-parent Hugo Rojas’ protestations to the contrary. The bill was not only trivial, but it was cynical to boot since it did nothing but regurgitate the long-standing agenda of gun control advocates in New Jersey without addressing what really was at the heart of the Newtown, CT tragedy: defenseless children and teachers left at the mercy of a deranged individual who should have been locked up.
If you want to solve problems, the first key is correctly identifying them, not trotting out tired, politically correct memes that pander to sentimentality. It’s obvious that a big problem at Sandy Hook – a problem lawmakers in New Jersey ignore and perpetuate today – is defenseless schools.
Another problem is the hands-off attitude taken by local and state officials and law enforcement against mentally ill people who, like Adam Lanza, have a long, documented and scary track record of violent behavior yet are allowed to walk the streets.
Ignoring the real problems in favor of political pandering is what the Legislature did with the magazine-limit bill. Gov. Christie was right to veto it, and Mr. Rojas’ is mistaken in his criticism.
Today was the first day of Marlboro’s Cops in Schools program, the community’s first in the nation response to the Newtown Connecticut School massacre that claimed the lives of 20 school children and 6 adult staff on December 14.
Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik told MMM it was just another school day in Marlboro, with the exception of the media presence and attention. “It was a normal a day as the first day back from vacation can be,”said the Mayor, “the police were not a distraction, however there was a significant media presence.”
Hornik said the media attention is a result of the NRA’s call for Cops in Schools nationwide, which happened a day after he announced the township’s decision to protect their school children with armed police.
Sharon Witchel, Director of Community Relations for the Marlboro Board of Education, told Marlboro-Colts Neck Patch that the cost of the 90 day program would be approximately $100,000.
“During the 90-day period, the district will review current safety and security practices and determine future improvements, which will include fiscal considerations,” Witchel said.
Hornik said that township officials and the school board will review the yet to be released incident report from Newtown before making any long term decisions on school security.
According to a 2008 CDC study, 82.8 percent of male prisoners in Minnesota reported having had one or more brain injury over the course of their lifetime. Marlena M. Wald and her colleagues found the causes ranged from assaults (37%), auto crashes (25%), sports-related (11%) to falls (11%). Another study showed that 87 percent of a county jail population had a history of brain injury (Slaughter, Facc & Ehde, 2003). This study also showed that many of these prisoners experience mental health problems such as severe depression and anxiety. Other studies have shown co-occurring problems such as alcohol and substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and attempts as well as significant anger management issues for this population.
In 1986, Dr. Dorothy Lewis and Dr. Jonathan Pincus published a study of 15 death row inmates and found every one of them had suffered severe brain injuries in childhood, about half were caused by assaults and six were chronically psychotic. Another study of 14 juveniles sentenced to death found all of them had suffered from a brain injury, most in auto crashes but assaults as well. Twelve had been brutally physically abused and five were sodomized by relatives.
We know where this tipping point begins. Over 765,000 American youth suffer a new brain injury every year, over 80,000 are hospitalized and over 11,000 die annually. Every 40 seconds another American family enters an Emergency Room with a new brain injury. And these are the ones who are actually identified, when two to three times are not identified. These numbers do not include the tens of thousands of non-traumatic acquired brain injuries such as meningitis which President Obama’s daughter had as an infant to strokes, brain tumors and seizure-disorders.
Let’s just say that I’m not a fan of guns. I don’t like them. I don’t like being around them. I do not like shooting them and I certainly don’t like the risk they create by simply existing. And yet, I’m also not willing to cede more gun control the appropriate response to the Connecticut slayings. Nor am I willing to discount it. Gun control, the debate and legislation offered, needs to happen, not because of the slaying but because it’s correct to debate gun ownership, limitation and use… all the time, not just in times of multiple slayings. And the same goes for those who think that this tragedy was caused by the decaying nature of a“godless” society, or whatever perceived spiritual deficit the spiritual among us choose to highlight. Ultimately, even the most atheistic would not condone such slayings, therefore, blame associated at a spiritual level is misguided at best. We rely on natural law to create a base of acceptable norms, even for those who deny it’s existence.
But no one can discount one over-riding issue that links every like event involving these types of mass murders, mental health. The Aurora, WV Tech and the Newton slayings all involve a significantly mentally ill individual.
We, as a nation, decided three or four decades ago, that we didn’t have the will or resources to create safe, reliable and appropriate facilities for those who suffer with mental illness. One reason we started to lose our appetite to deal with the mentally ill appropriately was the ever expanding definition that was being associated with the diagnoses. Eventually, every drunk and drug user was labeled mentally ill, and resources allocated to the mentally ill were quickly filled and demand for more and more and more resources taxed the mental health support system.
A history of tragic abuse in mental health facilities also came to light as mental institutions became the playground for every kook doctor who espoused a cure for mental health. With little or no oversight mental health institutions became a real life horror stories. One has to look no further than the lobotomy of Rose Marie Kennedy to demonstrate these abuses.