Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Newflash: Don't Give Guns to an Aspergers Kid!
As a cub scout in 1954 Milwaukee - it helped to reduce my Aspergers' tendencies.
Back in 1954, there was no such thing as "Aspergers syndrome" and indeed most of the conditions that now appear in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (the 'bible' of the psychiatric profession) didn't exist back then. Nevertheless, it was pretty evident that looking back now using the Aspergers' diagnostic I at least displayed plenty of tendencies.
One could say I was "wrapped up in my own world" literally. By age 7 I had created an entire imaginary planet and - after plumbing through maps in 'The Book of Knowledge'- mapped out this planet, continent by imaginary continent, from the north pole to the south. Not content with mere maps, I then began using wooden blocks to replicate the cities on the maps including using small toy soldiers and other plastic creatures to populate them. Finally, by age 8 I'd created a 24- page illustrated book detailing the creatures there - mostly brutal predators and aliens that had no use for humans. Some of the gorier drawings I'd produced appalled my mother - who if she were driven by today's memes - would likely think a serial killer was being raised.
I was also fascinated by guns, and began depicting them in the book. I also began collecting them: Colt .45s, derringers, you name it. No, not literal real guns, but rather ordered from the back of Kellogg's cereal boxes:
Enter my Aunt Lil to whom Mom showed my book and assorted 'guns'. Lil informed her: "that boy needs to get out of that shell and the sooner the better". To that end, and bear in mind this was the 1950s so there was no coddling of kids or giving them any final says - she enrolled me in Pack 124 of the Cub Scouts under Mrs. Sage, the Den Mother. Within a week I was out of the house going to "den meetings" with 15 or so of my peers from St. Sebastian School. She then went further, asking my 3rd grade teacher to please put me in the school play, 'King Arthur's Court'.
Oh yeah, I pitched a fit all right! Cub Scouts was one thing but to have to be on public display in a play, that was a whole other scene. Literally! (Fortunately, the only part left was a minor one, a page - so I had some relative degree of obscurity.)
I recall all this especially after the report issued yesterday concerning Adam Lanza, the Newtown mass killer. According to an article appearing in today's Denver Post (p. 13A) Lanza "wrote a book in fifth grade that included tales of children being slaughtered and a son shooting his mother in the head". Of course, in view of last year's massacre we now know Lanza (an Aspergers sufferer) carried it out.
The Post report goes on to observe that in the years following his book, Lanza - as opposed to being forced out of his solipsistic world- was allowed to wallow in it: given dozens of violent video games, while also allowed to collect articles, photos, books, footage from previous school massacres especially Columbine. The mistake made by his mother - a serious one- was further feeding this obsession by actually giving him real weapons.
Look, if a kid (especially with the self- absorbed tendencies of Aspergers), is already locked in a world of violent massacres, the last freakin' thing you do is give him real guns to translate his phantasmagorias into reality. You do not give guns to a kid obsessed with Columbine, Paducah, Ky, Jonesboro, AK or any other school killings. And btw, you shouldn't be letting him post hundreds of clippings about them all over his black-draped walls.
What Lanza's mother ought to have been working on is getting the kid out of his room (all cloaked with black drapes) and out into the real world. Get him signed up into something constructive - like I was- so he couldn't wallow in his mini-cosmos of violent massacres..
According to my sister-in-law, Krimhlde, an Eckist, see e.g.
whatever is one's focus becomes one's reality. If a person focuses on hate and violence, these are what his life will reflect. If he instead seeks enlightenment, or at least aspires to hold and focus on enlightened thoughts - as opposed to debased ones- then these will be embodied in his or her outer life.
Severe mental disability or adverse conditions can, of course, impair one's ability to see beyond his self-absorption to make choices. This is why an external helping hand is essential to bring the afflicted person to the stage he can see choices and, if necessary, make those choices for him. Lanza's mother ought to have made those choices for him early - like my aunt did for me. She didn't, and 26 people paid the price.
Lanza's world, unstable as it was, needed only the tinder of his violent imaginings to be ignited by the availability of real weapons - and his mother provided them. What he ought to have received instead is her interest, affection and care to steer him towards the potential of emerging from his self-confected hell.
Had he so emerged, those Sandy Hook 20 kids and five teachers might be alive today, along with Lanza's mother.