Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chris McDaniel: The Psychopathology of a Racist

Chris McDaniel Refuses to Concede Loss to Cochran
As many of you know, Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel lost the Republican primary to Thad Cochran after a run-off in which Cochran campaigned among Black Democratic voters.  Since then McDaniel has given the nation the most theatrical sore-loser melt-down that I've ever had the misfortune to  witness. He refused to concede the election even though he lost by over 7,000 votes.  Instead he cried "voter fraud," and has gone around the state drumming up support among the kind of Mississippians who agree with his Stalinesque decree, that the state's GOP should be purged after the election.  

What stuck in his craw and that of his supporters was the fact that his GOP opponent appealed to black Democratic voters.  McDaniel labeled this outreach,  race-baiting, claiming that it had thrown back race relations in Mississippi by 50 years.  Well, that's when I got to thinking about McDaniel's mental state and that of his supporters.  

In the midst of  a tightly-contested political contest, what does a politician do when his opponent puts up ads or makes speeches among targeted groups spewing lies about his opponent?  What normal politicians do is put up ads and make speeches to said groups refuting the accusations and (possibly even spewing even more dastardly lies about the opponent).  The public weighs and sifts the evidence and votes for the candidate that best reflects its interests.  

But what did McDaniel do when Thad Cochran began drumming up support among Blacks.  Nothing.  What did he do when he was accused of being a racist.  Nothing.  What response did he make to specific accusations that he publicly blamed gun violence on hip hop, pondered when it was appropriate to call a woman "mamacita" and had a habit of associating with white supremacists and Neo-Confederates.   Not a word.

I'm grateful that the Mississippi Supreme Court refused to allow McDaniel to get his hands on the personal information of those Democratic voters, who clearly didn't vote for him in the GOP primary.  A man  travelling around the country rabble-rousing about voter fraud to potential lynch mobs, is a man who'd rather see Mississippi burned to the ground  than admit he lost an election.  That is the psychopathology of a racist.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lives of Black Voters in Mississippi Could Be in Danger (for Helping Thad Cochran Win over Chris McDaniel)

 Chris McDaniel Demands Personal Info on Black Voters
I've watched developments in Mississippi with growing horror.  No, I'm not using hyperbole. Sore loser Chris McDaniel seems to have snapped. The Neo-Confederate cannot handle the fact that he lost to his Republican opponent by a large margin of Black Democratic votes.  Yes, he was outmaneuvred with a tactic that the Ku klux Klan would have hung people from trees to ward off in previous times.  But this is no longer that America. Or that is my sincerest hope. Only now McDaniel has petitioned the courts for the personal information, including the birthdates of the Democratic (Black) voters who were legally eligible to vote in the Republican primary, because they hadn't voted in their own, since there was no real contest.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood had already explained that each voter has a unique voter identification number that can be used to differentiate between people with similar names or family members, who share the same name. So why exactly must McDaniel have these voters' identifying information?   Remember that supporters of McDaniel broke into a nursing home to photograph his opponent's mentally disabled wife. One of the men involved subsequently committed suicide.  I do not believe that Chris McDaniel had anything to do with this tragic business. But this man appears to attract people with poor judgment or worse. Given Mississippi's sordid racial history, what might a few rogue actors among his already hyped up followers do with the personal information of these Black voters?

Some goons could threaten their livelihoods.  Or for that matter, they might threaten these peoples'  lives if they refused to perjure themselves in court by not going along with some tale concocted by the McDaniel campaign of phony irregularities.

The Voting Rights Act might be all that stands between Mississippi sliding into the Stalingrad River.

UPDATE: July 20, 2014

I am gratified to say that the Mississippi Supreme Court had the decency and good sense to deny the McDaniel request to provide voters' personal identification information to his staff.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

As for Immigration, Let's Get One Thing Clear - America Is Not a Humanitarian Nation!

Iraqi Orphans Should Be Given Priority
The parents, whose children now sit in make-shift centers on our southern border, have gotten America all wrong. They've entrusted their kids to us apparently believing in all the propaganda.  But it's amazing how simple life is when you sweep away the lies. It's true that many of us are warm hearted towards our fellow humans and would do what we could to alleviate suffering to the best of our abilities and up to a point.  But America is a superpower. It invades countries under false pretenses, creates chaos and in Iraq alone is responsible for more than 200,000 deaths of women and children, let alone the 2,000+ casualties of our own sons and daughters.  And that was for lies anyone with good sense knew at the time were lies.  After all, the country was in a state of bloodlust after 9/11 and both parties in Congress with the exception of former Congressman Dennis Kucinich and then Senator Barack Obama, were too fearful of the Israeli lobby to vote otherwise. [The euphemism for such cowardice under foreign influence is the newfangled term "neo-conservatism."].

I haven't a clue as to why anyone would get paid working in a State Department office with a sign on the door called "Human Rights."    I can think of several former White House officials who would be convicted of bonafided war crimes were it not for the fact that the U.S. is not a signatory to the World Court (no doubt for that reason). 

And this brings me to the distressing case of immigrant children lined up on the Mexican border.  As much of a hot button as the GOP and Dems try to make it, immigration is not a moral issue.  At any particular point in our history, we have the power to decide whether we need and wish to have more immigrants or we don't.  America's problem is that it lies to itself. The GOP says that it doesn't, while it does. The wealth of agro-business is built on cheap immigrant labor.  But then again, so for that matter are the careers of many Democratic professional women who as mothers hire cheap nannies and domestics to care for their children. But for Democrats just now to appeal to America's compassion strikes me as nonsensical.  

If we're all that emotionally worked up by the suffering of children, our first priority should be opening our borders to all the Iraqi and Afghani children both parties turned into orphans.  These other kids will just have to wait their turn.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Iggy Azalea: Please Pack Up Your Degrading Minstrel Show and Take it Back to Australia Where Folks Might Think You're Onto Something New

It's been a rough few months for sisters' struggling to hold onto to some shred of dignity.  First, Cliven Bundy announced that we'd be happier back on  slave plantations.   Then former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made a slew of racist comments in public.

Driving down the highway this afternoon with my son, Iggy came on the radio. I loved the beat and said something about the sistah's gravely voice.  "Sorry," he informed me.  "Iggy Azalea is a white woman from Australia."  O-k-a-y.   My family is multi-racial and I don't peg women by the shade of make-up they wear.

But this Iggy business stuck in my craw.  I just couldn't at the time articulate why it had really upset me. Yes, musicians borrow one another's style, sing one another's songs, imitation being the highest form of flattery and all.  But this was something different. And it took a few hours before my jaded neurons made the connection. This wasn't Elvis Presley embracing Chuck Berry, and re-expressing him from the depths of the rock n' roller's soul.  No, this was Al Jolson, a black face minstrel show, cartoonish, caricaturing black vocal tones, music and intonation and doing it for precisely the same reasons.   Audiences ate it up then and eat it up now.    It's a form of racial cross-dressing that jolts audiences because of the sexual dichotomy between how white and black entertainers are seen. I have come across several insightful articles on the subject (here) and (here) One commenter on the Gawker site made the following comment:
(ModMudd):   You see an artful play performance. I see a white girl putting on a fake African American female sexuality and indentity and selling it for consumption. And she's handsomely rewarded for being able to project this identiy from the safety and acceptabilty of a white body. Because black feminine identity and sexuality is very profitable and attractive when disassociated with blackness.
There will be those youngsters who don't know what blackface is, who even insist that Iggy Azalea is doing black women a favor by caricaturing our style of expressiveness or maybe even helping to build a post-racial America.  Well, all I can say to them is that Cliven Bundy believes his goals are at least as noble.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bobby Jindal & Nikki Haley - Is Renouncing Hinduism a Requirement for Indian-American Politicians in the GOP?

Indian-American Governors Jindal and Haley
The question I pose is a rhetorical one, since the answer is obviously "yes."  Both Louisiana Governor Piyush Jindal (Bobby to his constituents) and  South Carolina Governor Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley,  (Nikki to her supporters) renounced their birth religions and converted to Christianity.  But I wonder how that works.  How far must they run from their "demonic" pasts to suit their fundamentalist Christian audiences?  Do they have to denounce their Hindu parents and relatives?  Do they ever get nervous about slip ups? What happens when a Hindu relative or old family friend comes to visit. Are they shunted off to a private wing of the Governor's Mansion?  Or do these Governors have house rules posted inside the front door of their residences:  no guests allowed wearing saris, smelling of curry, or carrying elephant, monkey, many-armed divinity icons, and jewelry suggesting Hindu idolatry.  

As an African-American, it reminds me of a period in history that I would just as well forget, when some of my light-skinned relatives  "passed for white."  Of course it's not exactly the same thing.  Our Indian-American governors aren't exactly pretending that they're of European ancestry.   But let's be frank.  They are pretending. They are acting as though the ugly-spirited  bigotry of their supporters is not meant to push their buttons, to test their fortitude or ambitions or self-loathing.  How exhausting it must be to listen to their constituents spew hatred at  "those people" day in and day out.

Governor Bobby Jindal has even ratcheted up the vitriol and in a recent speech called for insurrection in Washington, D.C.  This is shameful. But maybe it's the reason why the majority of Indian-Americans prefer to hold onto their self-respect and thus vote Democrat.

Friday, June 20, 2014

President Obama Please Send Unaccompanied Immigrant Kids Home Immediately

Sorry, folks. It is precisely because I do love kids that I have no sympathy whatsoever for this wave of unaccompanied minors being allowed to cross the border into the U.S.  I don't care what their immigration status is.  These kids need to be sent back to wherever they came from and immediately!  If they're American citizens, and their parents can't be bothered to bring them here, then they really don't belong in this country.
Immigrant Kids Must Be Sent Back Home

I'm a generous hearted person. But quite frankly I'm incensed.  My own country has become so unsafe that I cannot as a mother allow my child to walk three blocks to school without the real threat of being murdered  or snatched and imprisoned in someone's basement as a sex slave.  And yet people from El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua or wherever live in such an entitled fantasy world that they send their toddlers in pampers across the border unaccompanied.  This has really got to stop.

President Obama needs to work hard to pass a fair immigration bill for workers.  But he needs to nip this business of minors crossing the border in the bud immediately.  The American public should have no sympathy for this insanity.  America can't take care of the parentless kids it already has. We have too many in abusive foster homes, homeless or being pimped on street corners.    America is a remarkable country in many ways, with economic opportunities available to those who work hard. But it is not a safe, child friendly place even when kids have the protection of their parents  And the American public should not be held hostage to ensuring the safety of kids flooding across the border when we can't even ensure the safety of our own. 

RELATED POST: America's Addiction to Cheap Labor

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Which Militia did Parents of Oregon AR-15 Shooter Belong to?

Oregon Shooter Jared Padgett
We'll probably have to wait for the London newspapers to find out the answer to that question. The American media would rather not know. Reporting those kinds of details lose them audience segments. But one thing I do know is that 15 year old Jared Padgett lived in a household run by psychopaths.   What kind of emotionally healthy parents would have an AR-15 rifle lying around for their teenage son to pick up and murder a classmate with?  I don't want to hear excuses about the kid getting around security procedures.  The kind of people with those kinds of arsenals are paranoid survivalists, like the mother of Adam Lanza (the Newtown killer), awaiting the world economic collapse or the Apocalypse.  And they need to have their AR-15s loaded and ready for the rabble hordes who might try to break in and steal their carefully stored canned goods.    

Sporadic news reports suggests that this kid lived with his dad, after the parents' divorce.  Whoever was his legal guardian needs to be arrested for 2nd degree homicide or manslaughter at the very least.   I hope the trial will be carried out in an open court with plenty of news cameras so that all the other psychos with military weapons can see the consequences of paranoia and psychopathology played out in public. Yes the Padgett's son is also dead. May he rest in peace. But this couple or whichever one was amassing a military arsenal must be held responsibility for this avoidable tragedy.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Secret Strategy Behind the Las Vegas Shooters' 10 Minute Revolution

I was puzzled at first.  What kind of revolution begins with two cops getting shot point blank while they're eating lunch and ends ten minutes later with the shooters engaging in a suicide pact?

However drugged out the shooters might have been, they did have a relatively coherent strategy.  But Obama is outsmarting these idiots.  He refuses to be goaded.  This whole Bundy ranch business, the militias, the white supremacists, are doing everything they can to provoke the federal government into a violent response.  This is why the two shooters shouted that they were begetting the revolution started and killed the two cops in such a brutal, senseless manner. They believe that the Las Vegas police department will lash out and over-react just as Bundy's militia hoped and prayed for the same outcome with the feds.  If only they can get both federal and local law enforcement to respond like jack-boots, then this would spark the revolution by rallying their well-armed supporters.  In fact FOX News is now criticizing the President for not putting a stop to the anti-government fanaticism they in fact fanned by framing  Cliven Bundy as a great hero and patriot in the first place. 

Admittedly, it's a rather mangy bunch consisting of NRA-types, Tea Partyers, Posse Comitatus, Aryan Nation, Neo-Nazis, lunatics with gun permits, who've decided that anarchy is far better than having that black man in the White House.  And maybe their strategy could have worked.  But these erstwhile revolutionaries have suddenly forgotten the very thing they reminded the rest of us about on an hourly basis during the election campaigns.   Before going into national politics, Barack Obama was a community organizer.  He understands that consciousness raising works both ways.

President Obama is giving the American public a powerful consciousness-raising moment.    It is the public, not the Black president, who will have to rise up against this vermin.  And they will.

RELATED POST:  White Supremacists & Neo-Nazis Behind "Open Carry" Movement

White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis Behind Open Carry Laws

Let's be clear about the matter.   Anyone, politician or otherwise, who supports "Open Carry Laws" is a member of the White Supremacist/Neo-Nazi Movement.  But. .. but. . . but. . .  No ifs, ands or buts. It really is that simple.

Two "Open Carry" members walked into a  Cici's pizzeria, ambled over to the two cops having lunch, raised their pistols and fired at them point blank.  The "Open Carry" advocates then marched into Walmarts, killed a shopper then committed ritual suicide.  

But how can I be so sure about the affiliation of these people and their supporters?  Even before I learned that the couple did in fact belong to a white supremacist group and had swastikas painted on their walls, there was something else I knew.  The freedom to "open carry" is not extended to blacks.   

The Trayvon Martin case was not a tragic fluke. It was a set-up for this whole filthy mess.  An unarmed black, walking home from a convenience store was shot and killed with impunity.  There were no blacks on the jury (the one dark-complexioned juror was a Hispanic maid fearful of losing her job). Yes, the Trayvon Martin was a warning to any and all African-Americans.  "You don't even need to have a weapon for us to kill you in cold blood."  So if the mere fact of being black is provocation enough, what message does that give any naive black soul who might think that the "open carry" laws are meant for everyone?

RELATED POST:  Secret Strategy Behind Las Vegas Shooters' 10 Minute Revolution

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Taliban and the NRA

Bowe Bergdahl - Ballet Dancer
For five years the Taliban kept their American prisoner alive.  However petulantly conservatives call for the man's head as a traitor, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl couldn't have been of much help to the Afghans, given the fact that he was a lowly private in the Army at the time of his capture and a ballet dancer in real life.  During the period of his captivity, casualties mounted on both sides.  One of his captor's sons was killed by a CIA missile drone strike. That man and those around him couldn't have felt kindly towards the American prisoner. On two occasions when the prisoner tried to escape, he was tortured and locked in a cage.  And yet, at least by their standards, the Taliban believed they were taking adequate care of their prisoner, following the dictates of the Geneva Convention, finding fresh fruit for the American when all they had to eat was dried goat's meat.

Now let's turn to the National Rifle Association.  That organization has seen to it that assault rifles, other lethal weapons and limitless ammunition would be sold to every raving lunatic, who entered an American gun store.   The NRA has also made sure that Congress would not fund any research on gun violence.  After the shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, columnist Mike Lupica wrote:

 We see once again with more dead students, this time at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that gun violence in America is an epidemic. This is a fact of life seen everywhere except the National Rifle Association, the most dangerous lobby in this country or any country, and by the elected officials who regularly pimp themselves out to it.
We are talking here about all those in the Senate and in the Congress who represent gun companies even more fiercely than they do their states or their districts, those who hide behind the Second Amendment, something conceived and written for a world of muskets, the way cockroaches hide in similar dark places.

These are people who do not only fight what they call “gun grabbers.” They also fight any legitimate research into the whole complicated subject of gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is only allowed to spend around $100,000 a year because the NRA and its tame politicians act as if education is some kind of threat to our basic freedoms, instead of a way to understand the connection between the insane number of guns in this country and the people who keep dying as a result of them.

The United States government has spent trillions of dollars to get rid of the Taliban.  In the past five years we can attribute 0 attacks to the Taliban on American soil.   But at least 200  mass killings -- defined by the FBI as four or more victims, not including the killer -- have occurred across the U.S. at the rate of about one every two weeks since 2006.

Who knows? Maybe the Afghans are secretly funding the NRA to make sure that we Americans kill our own selves off.   


Monday, June 2, 2014

GOP Lynch Mob Stoking Public Hysteria over Prisoner Exchange

Bowe Bergahl Held by Taliban 5 Years
Would the GOP have felt better had the Taliban sent Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's head to us in a cardboard box, or just left his body dangling from a tree somewhere in Afghanistan?  No.  They would have blamed President Obama in even more strident tones than what they're using now for having allowed such an atrocity to happen to a soldier who gave his life for his country blah...blah...blah.  They've already blamed the President for fanning racism because if he were white, the subject wouldn't come up so much. 

The President of the United States, as our Commander-in-Chief , has the constitutional authority to make prisoner exchanges. The last I heard, Israel exchanged 1,000 Palestinian militants for 1 Israeli private.  But, I guess for the GOP, poisoning the homecoming and wrecking the life of a young soldier who's been held prisoner by the Taliban for 5 years is a minimal price to pay if it might contribute to sullying the President's standing. Why not welcome the young man home. There will be plenty of time to find out whether he defected or was kidnapped or was wandering around with PTSD.  He's American. He broke down and cried when he learned he had been rescued by Special Forces. And he is back home in the bosom of his family possibly with valuable information about the workings of the Taliban.

The real problem is that the GOP is imploding before our very eyes, becoming uglier, more grotesque by the day.  But that's no cause for Republicans and  FOX News to begin sounding as unhinged as the  late Mr. Retribution from Santa Barbara, California.  At first I was puzzled as to why so bizarre an analogy would even come to mind. And then the connection struck me.  It's about entitlement.  If I can't have it no one can.  If I can't have power, I'll shut the government down. I'll shred the nation's credit rating. I'll see to it that none of the uninsured has medical insurance.  I'll get that black bastard out of the White House if it's the last thing I do.

But be forewarned. Narratives woven around a grandiose sense of entitlement always end tragically.  

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Society Cannot Create Misogynists Without the Help of Abusive Mothers

Elliot Rodger and Family
Some of life's problems are not about to be solved. It is not because they are not being talked about.  It is rather because all the discussion takes place in a fairytale universe as real as the one Superman and Lois Lane inhabit.  Yes I'm talking about "misogyny" and what at first appeared to be an opportunity for a genuine  national conversation  after the Elliot Rodger mass murder.   But that moment has been lost amidst feminist handwringing and proclamations that we women must unite to excise this cancer from the American soul.   I also see myself as a feminist. But I say none of this talk makes sense.

Misogyny is certainly a reflection of societal values.  But the kind that sits in a BMW vowing to kill every blond female in sight is the kind of narcissistic implosion that can only come from one place -- home.    Elliot Rodger's parents created a monster.  They didn't do it on purpose. They obviously had their own unresolved emotional issues.  But the more I think about it the angrier I get.  It should have been obvious to the public that something was haywire when we learned how the mother interacted with her son.  When she was worried about threatening videos, she didn't make the hour's drive to Isla Vista to check on her son herself.  Instead she called a therapist, who called the police to make a health check.  This was apparently the woman's modus operandi in raising the kid.  She and her husband spent Elliot's childhood "psychiatrist shopping."  They were looking for someone who would give them a diagnosis that did not make them culpable for his bizarre behavior.  This kid was as autistic as Oprah.  He suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which unlike disorders on the autism spectrum like Aspergers is not something a child is born with.  Undoubtedly the mother was dealing as well with an ass of a husband, who ran off when the psychopath they were creating became too much, found himself another wife and truly believed he had wiped his hands of the whole traumatic mess.  Well Elliot saw that such would not be the case.

But let's get back to my original point.  Whatever sexist, misogynistic nonsense goes on in society, a loving and emotionally healthy home life is what insulates children from those raw, outside messages.  If as mothers we wish to instill sensitive, feminist-affirming values in our sons, then we need to spend at least as much time nurturing our children as we do shouting anti-misogynist slogans in public. We don't even need to sit kids down and give them lessons in how to treat women. This they will absorb in a million unspoken ways through how we treat them as powerless, emotionally dependent little boys.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mothers: Why Aren't Your Daughters Enrolled in Self-Defense Classes?

This Elliot Rodger mass murder with the Retribution message of hatred to women has really shaken me to my core.  Had someone answered the door to the sorority house in Isla Vista, he would have murdered every girl in the building as well as those he gunned down on the street.. In any case, I was reading the comments section of one article, where a mother proclaimed that she "was thinking of putting her daughter in a self-defense class." Wait a minute. . . thinking. . . why thinking?  And that's when a roiling in the pit of my stomach gripped me Suddenly I remembered the three women in Ariel Castro's basement and Elizabeth Smart and the two teens in the house chained to the walls.

I feel heartbreaking compassion for all of the victims of sexual slavery, abuse and violence.  But ladies, it really is time for us to de-victimize ourselves. I'm not an aggressive person.  But rather than sit around bemoaning all the misogynists in the world, women really do need to learn self-protection and it needs to start in kindergarten, in age appropriate ways. But please let me clarify. There's nothing anyone could have done against a gun-crazed lunatic. But there are so many other situations where women feel defeated because they do not realize that an attacker who is bigger and stronger can be overcome.   I'm not talking about becoming hardened or cynical  or cold.  The world is not evil.  It just is.  If we want to engage with life we must get out in it. Yes, there's misogyny. Maybe we can raise our sons with a greater sensitivity to gender equality or maybe the patriarchal culture will undo our best efforts.  Whatever the case, if we desire to function in the world, we really can't spend too much time whining about the way it is.  We simply need to see that our daughters are prepared for the real thing rather than some feminist fantasy, which may or may not ever come to pass.

We shouldn't be thinking about signing our daughters up for self-defense classes, we should be signing up with them.  (And just in case you're interested, I know a superb kenpo karate instructor in Denton, TX who also heads the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame - click here).  .

Parents of Elliot Rodger Created Monster- Then Blamed it on Autism/Aspergers Syndrome

Elliot Rodger and Parents
I could have understood it if the mother were vacationing in Switzerland, when she turned on the Internet and learned that her son might be contemplating mass murder. But she was actually just a short drive from Isla Vista. Yet, rather than visit the son herself whom she claimed to be worried about, she contacted his therapist, who then called the police, requesting a welfare or health check.  The police were too lazy to bother to watch the video.  So what did Madame Rodger do next -- apparently nothing. She knew her son better than any stranger might. But she didn't bother to follow up with the police.

But that is merely the introduction to the main point of this post.  I've reconsidered earlier thoughts and comments.  I no longer believe that Elliot Rodger had Aspergers Syndrome or any autistic symptoms at all. But why would the family have lied?  They may have been doing so for years to cover up a problem. Mr. and Mrs. Rodger were in the process of creating a monster.  I don't know how they did it. I'm certain it wasn't purposeful. But throughout his childhood, they were able to blame his not quite normalness on neurological factors.   I'd have to go to the library and find a few books on the etiology of Narcissistic Personality Disorder to get the details clear in my own head. But whatever this kid's problem, he wasn't born with it.  These are a few interesting points from Wikipedia:
Pathological narcissism can develop from an impairment in the quality of the person's relationship with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, in that the parents could not form a healthy and empathic attachment to them. This results in the child's perception of himself/herself as unimportant and unconnected to others. The child typically comes to believe they have some personality defect that makes them unvalued and unwanted.

The dad appeared unengaged in his son's life and reminds me in that regard with Peter Lanza's father.  There should be a federal law against men divorcing their wives, in an attempt to escape from their psychopathic kids.  Invariably society pays when the kid commits mass murder.

So much has been written about this kid, but Enrico Gnaulati of The Atlantic nailed it in an article entitled: "The Isla Vista Shooter: This is Not the Autism Spectrum (The mass murderer displayed malignant narcissism, envy, and entitlement that are not typical with his reported autism spectrum diagnosis. Misunderstanding mental illness introduces potential for misplaced fear.)  Gnaulati wrote:
His obvious pathological narcissism seems to have been overlooked by the various counselors and mental health specialists who were enlisted by his parents to intervene. Rodger makes a reference to Regional Center in his manifesto, which is the state institution in California set up to provide services to individuals with autism.
The counselors assigned to help him “build social skills,” by his account, are all young and inexperienced. The professionalism of the interventions Rodger received will likely come under scrutiny in the coming weeks. Rodger perceived one 25-year-old counselor as acting “more like a friend” who took him to restaurants and went on hikes with him. Another counselor, in response to Rodger probing about his sex life, apparently disclosed that he had slept with four girls in Isla Vista, which simply galvanized Rodger’s envy.
Rodger remembers his psychiatrist acting dismissively “in his struggle against such a cruel and unjust world” by pushing to put him on Risperidone, an anti-psychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and people with extreme agitation. His last counselor appears to have been a 23-year-old UCSB student who accompanied him to coffee shops and volunteer jobs. Rodgers says of this: “Nothing conducive to attaining the life I desire came out of these meetings, but the social interaction he provided was pleasant, and it gave me an outlet to express myself.”
As mental health, public policy, and law enforcement experts flock to authenticate and analyze Rodger’s videos and extensive personal narrative, My Twisted World, consideration should be given to the accuracy of the diagnosis of high-functioning autism he was ascribed. On the one hand, this is important to stem the tide of any unobjective linkages the general public makes with this diagnosis and violent tendencies.
On the other hand, it is important because a false autism diagnosis may have funneled Rodger into an ineffective and unproductive course of “social skills”—interventions by paraprofessionals undereducated and undertrained to detect, let alone provide, the intensive psychotherapy necessary to treat something of the order of pathological narcissism.
As a society, if we have any chance at preventing the abhorrent mass shootings that are an all-too-frequent occurrence, we have to look not only at the availability of mental health services to at-risk people, but at the quality and sophistication of the services we provide. And, if there is to be anything learned from the Isla Vista tragedy it is that giving someone prone to malignant envy and narcissistic rage relatively free access to guns can be a deadly combination.

My Maya Angelou Did Not Go to Heaven

Maya Angelou
The religion of my West African ancestors had never been one of heaven and hell.  This much I understood.  The other tidbits about ancestor veneration I'd learned from books, could recite or regurgitate back if asked. However, those facts held as much meaning in my life as laundry detergent.  When I received word of Maya Angelou's passing, I was heart-broken. I loved her spirit, her poetry, her books, her inspiration that had kept me going on many a rainy day.  She had lived a full life, and yet grief kept tugging at me like an undertow. But it was what pulled me back that suddenly opened my heart to the spirituality of my ancestors.  For Maya had come to dwell within me.
When someone you love, whose presence has been foundational to your sense of peace, security and joy, dies, that person's spirit does not fly away to heaven or (if they were a bit too fun-loving) to that other place.  Rather it spiritually clones itself and makes a home in the soul of each and every person who continues to love and need her.  It takes the merest of whispers to call on her, to feel her loving embrace, to dance with her in joy.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Might Elliott Rodger Have Been Trying to Hide that he was Closeted, Self-Loathing Gay?

Just as Elliot Rodger hoodwinked the police into believing that he was perfectly sane, his final act of hubris might have been in having the world believe that he was so desperate for sex with a woman that he would even commit mass murder.

Well guess what folks?  You were just punked.  Given the extent of this kid's mental illness who knows what he understood about himself and his own inner drives.  But take another look at that video with the sound turned off. Is it hard to figure out why women were not attracted to this guy?  Whether he saw himself that way or not, he came across to women as being gay.

Gay people have enough problems in life without someone coming along to say that some crazed lunatic may have belonged to their community. But as a black woman, I can tell you that all minority groups who've faced discrimination, also live with the I-hope-the-creep-in-the-headlines-is-not-one-of us anxiety syndrome when we read the details of the latest criminal atrocity. However, we dehumanize our own group when we pretend (even though it may be for purposes of self-defense) that it does not include the full range and spectrum of human behaviors, both beautiful and ugly.

I've also just learned that the kid's dad was not only a director on the wildly successful "Hunger Games," but also a well-known photographer, whose photos of nude women sell in British galleries for $1250 a pop.  This new information gives me a greater sense of who might have been the true audience for Elliot Rodger's murderous charade about hating women for being unable to lose his virginity. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Shooter Begged to be Stopped, But Nobody -- Parents, Therapists, Youtube Buddies, Police -- Gave a Damned

Elliot Rodger
This is not a case where I'm fishing for someone or something to blame for Elliot Rodger's rampage, apart from the lunatic fringe NRA.  No, I'm merely standing back and looking at a kind of psychical footprint the kid left as he stumbled through life begging for attention, long before this ghastly event happened.

Child Protective Services should have wrenched this kid away from his robotic parents years ago. But that's not how the system works. The kids who get taken are the ones with bruises.  The ones who commit mass murder are the ones who've never been touched.  Admittedly Elliot Rodger suffered from a high functioning form of autism, Asperger's Syndrome.  But damned it.  He was asking for help and look at what the grown ups gave him.  Dad left and got remarried.  As a consolation prize, Mom gave him a new BMW. When she realized he had become a danger to society, she couldn't be bothered to do anything about it. So, she called the paid help, i.e. the therapist.  Being the paid help, the therapist had no intention of getting too deeply wrapped up in the affairs of this psycho, so he/she called the police asking for a routine welfare check on the kid.  The Santa Barbara police knew nothing about the kid threatening mass murder. Neither the mother nor therapist had bothered to forward that information to them.  Elliot Rodger wasn't important enough to command that much time and attention on their part.  The Christian Science Monitor has a thought provoking article on the subject entitled:  Why Did No One Notice All the Clues?

Well I guess they have now. 

Further Reflections

Maybe there's a universal message lurking in the shadow that none of us wish to open, because we don't have a glib answer.  Perhaps it's just human nature to avoid distasteful people, as friends, as relatives and even, I suspect, as our own children if we're so unlucky as to be saddled with them.   It is fairly easy for me to whine about this kid being neglected. But admittedly I didn't have to live with him, or put up with his narcissism. In short, what are we supposed to do with the unlovable among us?

Yes, rich people pay therapists to handle as much of the unpleasantness as possible. But they're in hiding when a crisis situation arises and they're needed the most.  So what are decent people, parents who've tried their best, supposed to do when they, the caretakers have reached their limit, and are themselves on the verge of ending up in a mental institution from emotional exhaustion?  I suppose the only answer is what they all end up doing -- opening the back door, to allow their little monsters to crawl out and commit mass murder.  

Forget Manifesto - Elliot Rodger's Killing Spree Driven by Revenge on Father for Deserting Family

Now that we've all had time to pore over Elliot Rodger's Crazed Manifesto,  as chilling as it and the video may be, they tell us nothing about what we really want to know.  This kid  divulged some dark stuff but not his real reasons for committing mass murder. How do I know?  He was far too narcissistic to understand what drove him or other people.  That's why he couldn't get a date. His Asperger's Syndrome created an impenetrable plexiglass wall between inner knowledge of  himself and the capacity to understand the world around him.  But if you're really curious about what drove Elliot Rodger, all you have to do is take a look at Adam Lanza, the lunatic who killed two dozen elementary school children in addition to his mother.

Admittedly Rodger was a tad more functional than Lanza although they both suffered from the same high functioning autism disorder. But what resonates are their family relationships.  Their fathers left, got remarried, created new lives for themselves as far away as they could from mentally disordered children who felt slighted and abandoned.  Rampaging mass murder were the twisted vehicles both sons used to show their fathers who wielded the true, god-like power of conferring life and death.

My last two thoughts on the matter are as follows. Without serious gun control it will not be possible to keep weapons out of the hands of homicidal maniacs and psychopaths. And it might finally be time to build a few new insane asylums. We've been deluding ourselves for far too long about the lack of need. Health and Human Services could conduct a contest in order to come up with a more modern-sounding name.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

How Racial Profiling Helped Elliot Rodger Murder 7 People in Isla Vista

Racial Profiling
Everyone involved in this tragedy was white. So, why do I bring up racial profiling?  Please hear me out.  The parents of Elliot Rodger contacted the police and informed them that they were concerned about their son. We don't know the exact conversation.  But we do know the gist of the police report that was sent back to the parents. They concluded that he was "perfectly polite and courteous" but appeared to have problems finding a girlfriend.

Now what if the parents and Elliot Rodger had been black?  What is the probability that the police going to his apartment checking for "irregularities" would not have been vigilant, search warrant in hand, ready to rip that kid's apartment to pieces?   The reason for the stark difference in approach is one of mentality.  Law enforcement officers believe at the core of their being that their salaries are paid by wealthy and middle class Americans who need to be protected from the inner city poor.  This is why police brutality and profiling have been such permanent fixtures in black neighborhoods.

So mass murderer Elliot Rodger admits in his 137 page manifesto how nervous he was when the police came to make the welfare check, "saying his whole plan would have been foiled had the officer found his guns and writing, which were in his room."  But he needn't have been.

Now do you see my point?   I guess you could call what happened in the case of Elliot Rodger  "reverse police un-brutality non-profiling."  And  look at the results.  The Santa Barbara police department was  incapable of doing a simple, straight forward job of checking out a kid who had mental problems and was threatening mass murder.  

Will the Santa Barbara police have learned any lessons? Will America have learned any lessons?

Can We Have an Honest Conversation about Aspergers Syndrome?

A Child with Aspergers Syndrome
I do not call attention to the mental diagnosis of Elliot Rodger who murdered six people, then himself and Adam Lanza, the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooter, to stigmatize people with Aspergers Syndrome. They already have more than their fair share of challenges in life.  But I do  believe the time has come for the public to recognize a complex public safety issue, which mental health professionals have no intention of bringing into the open.

After researching the issue surrounding Aspergers Syndrome, I came across an amazingly informative website where parents remarked candidly about their experiences raising kids with Aspergers:

  • Anonymous said… A few weeks ago, my son Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan -- they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

  • Anonymous said… The media is saying there is “no connection” between high-functioning autism (aspergers) and violent crime. Bullshit! Open your eyes people. Of course, most of these children never get violent, and I’m not about to vilify these kids – but to say there is NO connection (if face of the recent incidents involving kids on the spectrum) is just plain stupid! I’m sure the truth will come to light soon ;

  • Anonymous said… Mark, this is excellent.  You are amazing..I agree with every word.  I wish they would interview YOU on TV, because most of the so-called 'experts' are dancing around the mulberry bush being politically correct.  We need to hear the truth about this disorder!   Again, thank you..I will post this on my FB page and tell everybody I know to read your piece. God Bless You! 
    • Anonymous said… my 14 yr old seems to be this definition. Has over the top reactions to things that are not that big of a deal and holds on to anger/grudges for far longer than anyone I have ever known! Also his rigid thought process often makes him appear as the bully or classroom cop! UGH His perceived injustices often make it impossible for him to "let go" or walk away from a situation!
    The parents of these children are clueless as to how to handle them.  Mental health professionals have nothing therapeutic to offer the children. Meanwhile society does not even know that families live under such overwhelming stress until something horrible happens and a child goes on a murderous rampage.

     And then there was  Kent State professor Trudy Steuernagel whose fierce protection of her autistic son cost her her life.  This letter was found after her death.
    "To Whom it May Concern: If this letter has been opened and is being read, it is because I have been seriously injured or killed by my son, Sky Walker."
    According to the article:
    "She read it to her ex-husband, Scott Walker, in the spring of 2008, when their autistic son, Sky, had grown so violent she sometimes had to barricade herself in a closet.  By then, Trudy's life had begun to feel a lot like that closet. Small. Dark. Isolated. Her ex-husband was gone, living in Wisconsin with his new wife and stepson. Many of her friends were gone, too, lost to the demands she faced caring for Sky."
    Given the astronomical murder rate in America, the victims killed by young people on the autism spectrum are infinitesimal. But however small the numbers, they were all preventable. The reason is that the symptoms of this mental illness are such that the escalating violence was signaled. The killers conveyed their rage and murderous desires to family members, mental health professionals, support groups, Facebook and other websites.  In fact in the latest case, the mother of the Santa Barbara killer even had the police interview the young man. They decided that he was harmless.  But what if these people had known what to look  for, especially since the parents had failed to mention that their son was threatening to go on a murdering rampage?  What if they had realized that apart from the daily craziness one is subjected to from even normal teenagers, juveniles on the autism spectrum represent issues of mental illness and public safety that are easily identified but not currently being addressed.  

    We cannot wait for the experts to address these problems because the truth of the matter is that they don't know how.  As a society, we will have to acknowledge the existence of these problems and  figure out how to safeguard the civil rights of our children with mental health issues at the same time as we  protect the safety of the public from preventable harm. Is institutionalization a curse word in cases where families cannot cope and the alternative might be mass murder?

    I also came across this informative site on the subject of Asperger's and violence.