A Couple of Thoughts on the Newtown Tragedy

I have a couple of thoughts, by no means exclusive or comprehensive.

1. We definitely need a dialogue on how best to handle mental illness. There is such a societal stigma attached to it, and then we seem to only want to touch it with kid gloves, by making light of it, or joking (have you ever called a psychiatrist a “shrink”?). We are far more educated about the workings of the human brain than we were even 50 years ago, but we are light years away from understanding it completely. We have no problem running off to a doctor for the slightest physical ailment, yet despite the fact that the brain is far more complicated than all the other organs in the body combined, we hesitate to do something when things “aren’t right”. Often mental illness is left to the parents, or families, and society simply ignores it. We need to change our attitudes about it. In the process, we’ll not only have a better understanding of what makes the Adam Lanza’s of the world tick, but we’ll make great strides in dealing with other societal ills, such as homelessness, suicide, drug addiction, etc.

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Book Review: Drift by Rachel Maddow

This recent book by one of my favorite news commentators is subtitled The Unmooring of American Military Power. With the title and subtitle, you can get a good idea of what the thesis of the book is. Think of the Constitution as the dock, with the US Ship of State tied up securely to it. The lines tying the ship to the dock are the laws of the United States, the executive, legislative and judicial branches that create, administer and enforce those laws, and the people that work in those branches of government. Now, consider that two, sometimes all three, branches, or lines, have become frayed and worn, even purposely cut, to the point that they stretch and occasionally snap, leaving the ship to drift away from the dock, completely unmoored to land, subject to the vagaries of currents. And we have forgotten why we tied the ship to the dock in the first place.

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