More on AHA Panel, School Violence, and Youth Suicide

Now that I have all my fellow panelists’ papers, I can get a better sense of what I want/need to say. Roger Lane points out that school shootings are very rare events although could take a longer view on this. There are several cases of students murdering teachers from the nineteenth century, including that of Etta K. Barstow, who was stoned to death by several of her male students. Kathleen Jones is looking at Seung-Hui Cho’s erasure from public memorials of Virginia Tech, and his transformation from lone gunman to face of evil to failure of campus and community mental health.

This seems to be an interesting counterpoint to stories about Robert A. Hawkins, aka the Westroads Mall Shooter in Omaha, Nebraska. An article in the Omaha World-Herald from last Friday says that “HHS did its best to treat Hawkins.” Well, what they did was spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for inpatient treatment while he was a ward of the state. Why was he made a ward of the state? Because his father’s military health insurance ran out and making him a ward of the state was the only way he could get mental health care for his son! Similar things happen in CT all the time, according to my friends at DCF and DMHAAS — the state would rather put children in foster care or state-run facilities than pay for them to be cared for at home by their own families. Then, once these children reach 18, they are let out on the streets, or if they’re lucky, get a bed in an adult facility. This is yet another reason why we need universal health care, especially for children and young people!

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