Today I participated on a segment with CNN's Pam Brown. The subject was over the mother of the Oregon shooter and if she should be held responsible for the actions of her son with Asperger's. I don't think I gave a great answer to that. So I will do so here. Whether people read it and acknowledge it and respond, it's totally up to the reader but, this is solely my own opinion and I speak on my own behalf not of others.
First of all, I don't know the full story. Usually we don't ever know the full story but, what I do know is that life with someone that has a mental health diagnosis can really suck. It doesn't matter if they are young or old. IT SUCKS!
As far as I know, Asperger's is not considered a mental health disorder, it is a Pervasive Development Disorder. Anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and OCD are SYMPTOMS and are at RISK for developing Schizophrenia, ADHD. There are no medications for Asperger's but, there are medications to treat the symptoms.
Second, I will not judge another parent. I will not say they are not a good parent and I most definitely will not blame them. Reality is this, our MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM SUCKS. I blame the government for failing to fix this broken system. Instead of focusing on fixing the problem, they focus on gun issues and the bad parenting of someone that also just lost her child. The first question I was asked today was if I was shocked to hear that the mother of the shooter took him shooting and gave him access to guns knowing he had mental health issues...and my answer should have been NO! I didn't give a straight answer but, it should have been NO!! I wasn't shocked at all. In fact, I bet she tried to bond with her son in a way a father would. I've taken my son fishing and shooting. In fact, he learned how to handle a gun and he is a great shot but, once he tried to take his own life, that was all taken from him. As a former single mother, I know what it's like to try to fill the void of my boys not having a father around them. I was the only mom out near the river fishing with her boys and getting her hands dirty; touching worms and handling the fish. I was with him and Jose when we learned how to shoot and were taught how to appropriately clear our gun and put it safely away. Does that make us negligent parents? We knew he has a mental health disorder. Did we expect him to try to take his own life so young? NOOO!!! Just because he lives with us doesn't mean we know everything that is going through his head. Would I have reported him if he made mentioned to me that he wanted to kill people at school??? Hell yeah but, I know what I would have received as an answer if I called a hospital for admission. They would have asked for a plan and if he didn't have one, they would have told me to keep an eye on him. They would have explained to me that unless he had already hurt himself or others, there would not be a reason to admit him. How do I know this????? I know this because I've gone through it. I've been told that many times on different occasions when I had tried to get my son admitted for suicidal or homicidal ideations. The criteria for admission is ridiculous but, yet they want to blame the guns or the parents for our children's behavior. The government has been given multiple wake up calls and yet, they can't seem to get their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that they are the problem. I pray that everyone that lost their loved one that day in Oregon, including the mother of the shooter finds peace and comfort soon.
Well I'm off to teach my NAMI class tonight. Until next time....