Showing posts with label Mental Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mental Health. Show all posts

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Thoughts on Vegas, and Why Men Keep Doing This

I recently came across this extraordinary piece by Charlie Hoehn, an author, marketing strategist, speaker, and play enthusiast. Hoehn posits that the core reason why mass shootings happen is the mental health of men. In short, it really, really sucks.

Men are chronically lonely, they don't have enough play time, they aren't allowed to express their fears and sadness because of societal stigma, and they are ashamed of having these feelings in the first place. He wonders...

But do you have confidants? Do you have male friends who you can actually be vulnerable with? Do you have friends whom you can confide in, be 100% yourself around, that you can hug without saying “No homo,” without feeling tense or uncomfortable while you’re doing it?

I've been thinking a lot lately about a theory that my ol' buddy and commenter here at Zombie Politics Last in Line/Cornbread has regarding men. If they don't have any friends, there's something fucked up about you and it needs to be fixed. He goes as far to say that men who are isolated like this shouldn't be trusted.

I agree and it goes along with what Hoehn is saying above. If we leave older white men isolated, they can behave in very unhealthy ways. This would included becoming immersed in gun rights culture, especially online.

I think Hoehn's piece needs to be read by every single US citizen and we should use it as a foundation to end mass shootings forever. Following his prescription has the added perk of never having to deal with the gun lobby and their cult followers. In fact, it might peel more of them away because we're talking about things that are largely non gun related. They may come to realize that there emotional and sometimes sexual feelings towards their weapons are masking a deeper issue.

Heal that issue and they have a much healthier view of their guns, even possibly getting to the point where they wonder why they have them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What American Sniper Really Tells Us (Best Picture Nominee #1)

As is usually the case at this time of year, I catch all of the Best Picture nominations before the ceremony on the last Sunday in February. Last weekend, I took both of my kids (now age 15 and 13) to see American Sniper, the bio pic of the late Chris Kyle and that's the first of eight films I will comment on in the run up to the Academy Awards.

All three of us thought it was good film but didn't live up to the hype surrounding it. I didn't agree with Michael Moore's assessment before the film and I still don't after the film. Snipers aren't cowards. They are very effective strategic tools, many of whom are heroes. My problem with it centers around the mental health issue.

Clint Eastwood had a real opportunity to showcase how horrible PTSD is and the effect its had on an entire generation of young men who have been at war. Instead, he turned the plot line into a "manhunt" format with Kyle returning again and again to Iraq to kill "Mustafa," a Syrian sniper who has continually taken out US Armed Forces personnel. Kyle's obsession with stopping him is really the focal point of the film.

Worse, however, is the glossing over and soft pedaling of how Chris Kyle died. Kyle, along with a friend named Chad Littlefield, were killed by a fellow veteran named Eddie Ray Routh at a shooting range. The film does show that Kyle was helping other vets with PTSD by taking them out to shoot. What the film doesn't show was how incredibly myopic this was.

Because the real story of this film is its irony. How is it that a guy who survives four fucking tours of duty (1000 days)  in one of the most dangerous places in the world (with a bounty on his head) end up being a victim of gun violence in his own home state?

The horribly misguided ideology of the Gun Cult.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

The Columbine Effect

My home state is reeling this week over the revelations that John David LaDue was planning a Columbine-like school attack. LaDue is yet another teenage male with mental health issues that turned to plans of violence. Today's Strib had this as the front page story. 

'Columbine effect': Alarm is rising over copycats

It's a very disturbing yet accurate piece over a phenomenon that has evolved in culture since the Columbine shooting. The piece echoes many of the things I have written about on here about young men in culture. As more is revealed about LaDue, I'm sure we will see that he had most if not all of what I have been calling the magic cocktail (mental health issues, feelings of persecution and lack of attention, taking SSRIs, easy access to weapons, played violent video games, poor parental involvement, lack of community support and/or involvement).

What is very clear from this piece is that the Columbine Effect is part of our culture now and it won't be going away anytime soon. So, what should do about it? The piece has some very general suggestions but this has become a very complex problem. It's no longer as simple as "gun problem" or a "mental health problem." It's an American Culture problem that has to be addressed in a very complex way because it evolved in a complex way.

In many ways, it's become like a puzzle with some easy answers and some difficult ones which contain solutions that will be a big lift. Getting people to stop being lazy and engage young men takes a lot of energy. I know I sound cynical but I don't think most Americans have it in them. I base this on my own experience with parents so I do admit to bias. Changing our antiquated gun laws would help but, honestly, that's a small piece of the puzzle.

This has to be a cultural shift and it will obviously take a lot of time. So, where do we start?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Yet Another Troubled Young Man

Alex Hribal went on a stabbing rampage yesterday at his high school in Murrsyville, Pennsylvania and sadly illustrated, once again, that we are failing the mental health of our nation's young men once again. I'm fairly certain that was more information comes to light we will discover that he had mental and emotional disabilities, was taking an SSRI, had divorced parents or a troubled home life, played violent video games, and had access to weapons.

Speaking of which, does anyone know if this school had a zero tolerance policy or not? I thought knives were just fine to carry around school, according to the Gun Cult. Well, at least this incident finally torpedoes the "good guy with a gun" lie as well as the "gun free zone" lie. 

Assistant Principal Sam King finally tackled the boy and disarmed him, and a Murrysville police officer who is regularly assigned to the school handcuffed him, police said. In addition to the 22 stabbed or slashed, two people suffered other injuries, authorities said. The security guard, who was wounded after intervening early in the melee, was not seriously hurt.

So, there was a good guy with a gun, it was not a gun free zone, and someone with a "lesser" weapon did all that damage. Perhaps this problem of school violence is a lot more complicated than an 8 year old boy solution...

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Second Fort Hood Shooting

The silence from the Gun Cult after the SECOND Fort Hood shooting has been deafening and it's now clear why.

Military personnel who are not police officers are not allowed to carry privately owned weapons on Army bases. Soldiers on post must register their firearms, which Army officials said Specialist Lopez failed to do with the handgun he used in the attack. Fort Hood’s rules rely in large part on the honor system, and require all personnel bringing a privately owned firearm onto the base in a vehicle to declare that they are doing so and state why.

So, the idea of less regulation doesn't seem to be working well at all. In addition, this is yet another example of how the gun free zone lie is completely FUBAR. Obviously, there are plenty of guns on the base and no one is really checking for weapons. It is Texas, after all, so one would think this would deter psychos, right?

But it didn't and Specialist Ivan Antonio Lopez, 34, killed three people and wounded 16 others at Fort Hood before taking his own life on Wednesday. Lopez was being treated for mental health issues and was on SSRI medications. Ironically, he bought the gun that he used at the same gun store where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan bought his weapon. He passed the background check just fine.

Once again, we are left with a clear illustration of how just how poorly our nation is dealing with the issue of mental health. Politico has an interesting piece about how the conversation about these incidents should shift from gun control to threat detection. I completely agree. If someone voluntarily submits themselves for psychiatric treatment, especially if they are suffering from PTSD and in the military, they should lose their ability to obtain a firearm.

Consider this horrible statistic: 22 veterans kill themselves every day. That's right around one death an hour. Clearly, we are not doing enough to help the mental health of our veterans. This is indeed a difficult task considering we have been at war for the last 13 years.

Mental health in our nation as a whole needs to be vastly improved. We have to begin by removing the stigma associated with it and encourage everyone to see a therapist on a regular basis. I have no doubt that if gains were made in this area, we would see less gun violence, especially in the arena of spree shootings.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Responsible Gun Owner

Check out this story.

Three neighbors said a neighborhood meeting was held last Sunday so that Bauerle could talk about his fears about surveillance around his home, but they described his fears about the surveillance as “quirky” and “made you scratch your head.” Bauerle’s fears and suspicions about surveillance occur at a time when he has been on the air, criticizing the governor for sponsoring the new gun control laws in New York State and accusing Cuomo of seeking retribution.

At least he voluntarily submitted himself for a psych evaluation.

And people wonder why there is so much gun violence in this country...

Friday, January 10, 2014


Stunning piece in the Times about the human brain and an NIH study that will help to answer the following questions: How do differences between you and me, and how our brains are wired up, relate to differences in our behaviors, our thoughts, our emotions, our feelings, our experiences? Does that help us understand how disorders of connectivity, or disorders of wiring, contribute to or cause neurological problems and psychiatric problems?

With the exponential growth of technology, I say that within the next two decades we are going to know far more about the human brain than has been thought possible up to this point in human history. Honestly, I think what we discover is going to be very frightening some people as I think we will discover how we were made.

And why.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Great Deal of Hope

I think I have overreacted a tad to the somewhat glacial pace of guns and mental health legislation. Take a look at this.

The simple fact there are many deep red states answering the president's call gives me a great deal of hope. States are doing their own thing and that's just fine with me. Considering the Gun Cult is also a big supporter of states' rights, it seems to me they can't do anything about it. That really gives me a great deal of hope:)

What if there is a way to fix all this stuff and not change the lives of the Gun Cult? I think it may already be happening and it's just a little under the radar.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Crystal Clear

The release of the report on Adam Lanza inexplicably finds that there is no answer to the question of why he committed mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The media has jumped on board with this line of thought, scratching their heads like the fucking apes they are in wonder at just where things went wrong when it is so completely obvious.

Adam Lanza is a textbook example of what happens when the adolescent power fantasy perpetuated by the Gun Cult and conservatives in general goes very, very dark.

We start with his mother, a "live free or die type" who sought no mental health help for her son. She brought him up in an environment that encouraged anti-government and anti-social behavior, allowing him to stay locked in his room with black garbage bags on the windows and communicated to him only via email. She allowed him access to guns despite the fact that he wrote a book in 5th grade about children being slaughtered and a son shooting his mother in the head. In fact, she was planning on buying him a gun for Christmas last year! Add in the obsession with violent video games and the fact that he was bullied and one can see the perfect cocktail for spree shooting mixed all too well.

There may not have been a criminal motive in the strictest of terms found in this case but it's very clear why it happened. Nancy Lanza was a horrible parent who bought into the myths of the Gun Cult and modern day conservatism. Guns are our God given right and mental health problems should just be ignored and repressed as all that business is just a bunch of liberal, touchy feely nonsense. Young men should be allowed to stomp down the hallway, lock themselves in their room and be rebellious towards all authority!!

It completely astounds me just how fucking stupid Nancy Lanza was in all of this. How many more parents are there like her out there? What kind of a parent doesn't notice the red flag of her son keeping a ledger on all the mass shootings in America? And worshiping Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? Well, as long as her 2nd amendment rights were protected and our country was saved from the gun grabbers. At least she understood what "infringed" meant!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shades of Gray Willfully Ignored

It always stuns me when conservatives and, in particular, the gun community, make truly thoughtless statements. One such statement popped in comments a while back which can be essentially summed up as this: if someone is too mentally ill to handle a gun, they are too mentally ill to be out in society.

Setting aside the complete lack of intelligence in terms of mental health issues, how people are institutionalized and...well...that the world is shades of gray (not so black and white), statements like this show just how religious these folks are about guns. It's not about the 2nd amendment anymore. It's about proselytizing. Worse, it really illustrates just how ignorant these folks are regarding human nature and how they completely misunderstand, either by free choice or pure ignorance, the fact that low levels of responsibility are the norm, not the exception, in this country. It's this simple fact that will eventually bite them hard in the ass.

These thoughts really crystallized for me a couple of days ago when two separate events occurred. The first one was a story my wife told me about a fellow parent at my son's school. She was having a conversation with another mom that turned to video games. My wife was pretty shocked to learn that this mom let her son play whatever games he wanted (like Call of Duty) even though he has had mental health problems. Compounding this waiting disaster was the mom's admission that she and her husband were going to get their conceal and carry permits and how they were going to start taking their 11 year old son (the one with the mental health problems and love of Call of Duty) to the range on a regular basis to "turn him into a man." It's nice to know the next Adam Lanza will be just a few short blocks away.

Later that day, I went and played tennis with a younger guy who was clearly on the autism spectrum. He was very picky and jumpy throughout the match, admonishing me for not handing him the balls in the right way on the changeover. A couple of times he just wigged out because he thought he saw a ball flying onto the court from another court and in reality, there was nothing. He apologized after the match, noting his mental health issues, and asked me to give him a break. We never talked about guns but it occurred to me that, while this guy was just fine to be out in public, he would decidedly not be fine given a firearm.

There are many people in this country that are not dangerous in and of themselves. But you start adding in elements to the mix of a perfect cocktail and you can very easily have an explosion of violence. It's not as black and white as the commenter assured me (shocking). Everyone is different and each mental issue is complex with each individual. To say that they should all be institutionalized simply because they can't be trusted with a gun is completely myopic.

And I am real tired of the annual culling that goes on from gun violence as a result of this ignorance.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

All Too Familiar

From a story on the LAX shooter, Paul Ciancia...

In a part of the letter, addressing T.S.A. employees, he wrote that he wanted to “instill fear in your traitorous minds.”

“It was very hard for them,” said Amanda Lawson, 21, a waitress in the Broadway Diner in Pennsville, who graduated from Pennsville Memorial High School in 2010 with Mr. Ciancia’s brother. She described both brothers as “awkward.” “They had some depression issues, and they both got obsessive,” she said on Saturday.

But he had apparently turned against the government, and it seemed clear that Mr. Ciancia knew he was putting himself in a suicidal situation by marching with an assault weapon and 100 rounds of ammunition into the third-busiest airport in the country, officials said. He also sent a text message to his brother that left the family alarmed. He seemed to have a specific grudge against the T.S.A.; his handwritten note singled out the agency as a symbol of what was wrong with the government, mentioning by name the former head of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, according to a federal official. Bystanders said the gunman had appeared to be targeting T.S.A. agents in particular.

Obsessive, depression and turning against the government...sounds like TSM commenters to me! Ah well, at least his second amendment rights were protected.

Friday, November 01, 2013

All Is Well!

23-year-old Paul Ciancia walked into the LA Airport this afternoon with his assault rifle and started shooting TSA agents before he himself was shot and taken into custody. Clearly mentally ill, Ciancia didn't stop to think that there are plenty of armed personnel all over the airport.

Weird. That's not what the right wing bloggers tell me. In fact, they post moonbat shit like this. Ah well, as long as nobody infringed on Ciancia's 2nd Amendment rights, all is well!

Friday, October 25, 2013

It Begins (And Ends) With The Parents

Nearly all of the challenges I face as an instructor are due to poor parenting. Parents do indeed really suck and they are getting worse. Even the number of sucky parents are on the rise as our culture becomes more and more cemented in the misplaced and harmful values of the Michael Jordan Generation. It's very clear that parents are just not doing their job.

Never was this statement more true than with the parents of the shooter in the recent Sparks, Nevada Middle School shooting. While it hasn't been fully confirmed yet, the student who killed teacher and vet Michael Landsberry and wounded two other students likely got the semi-auto 9mm from his parents. What the hell were they thinking? And what kind of a fucking country do we live in where a guy who does tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan lives through that but gets shot in his hometown? It's stuff like this that completely disgusts me.

This would be a clear example of people who should not be allowed to own guns and why our laws regarding arms need to be changed. Their license to own a gun should be taken away and they should face criminal charges. I'm wondering if they were "live free or die" types like Nancy Lanza who also thought it would be nifty to let her mentally ill sun have access to her guns.

The facts of this case have been very slow in coming but my takeaways are that it's clear there was some sort of bullying involved (more on that later), the shooter was mentally ill, and his parents are directly responsible. Further, this latest incident has led me to reflect about Newton and come to the conclusion the ideology that bloviates from the gun community is also responsible. This is particularly true in the case of Nancy Lanza who bought their lies to such a degree that she felt she needed a fucking arsenal to protect herself.

It begins and ends with the parents, folks. If they don't do their job, we end up with situations like this. And more and more of them these days are failing miserably.

Friday, October 04, 2013

We Must Change Now

The incident at the Capitol yesterday involving Miriam Carey once again illustrates how we are failing on the issue of mental health in this country. Family members have said that Carey suffered from post-partum depression and mental illness.

We may never know what set her off yesterday as she was shot and killed by Capitol police but we can take steps now to improving the perception of mental health in this country. The first thing that has to happen is we need to remove the stigma that is associated with it on a cultural level. There are far too many people who think that people that see therapists are "nuts" and should be locked away. This is fallout from baby boomer bullshit and all their fucked up issues with their parents.

The fact is that the brain is the most complex organ in our bodies. Something that is "in the mind" is not magically disassociated from the body. Why on earth do people think this? We don't think twice about getting our annual breast exam or prostate check. Or even going to the dentist every six months. But a psychologist? Well, that's only if you are the stigma sadly goes.

Everyone, and I mean every single person, should see a therapist at least a couple of times a year for a tune up, if you will, at the very least. Working out the complexity and the difficulties of emotional and mental issues require specialized dedication. It's a process, so the joke goes from the Analyze That. This isn't a "take a pill and you are cure" situation. Whatever drove Miriam Carey to go berserk yesterday is likely a combination of several issues (nature, nurture) that require individual attention.

There is no doubt in my mind that we could reduce violence in this country if we moved to changed our perception and actions on mental health.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Usual Malarky

The gun community and the Right are foaming at the mouth again about gun free zones after the Navy Yard shooting. As usual, they aren't really thinking. If they allowed anyone to carry a gun in a place like the Navy Yard, then guys like Aaron Alexis, a gun enthusiast with mental health problems, would have free access to roam around as they please. Further, Alexis was going in to kill people no matter what the state of defense in the Navy Yard. This was a very mentally disturbed man who was angry at his employer.

This military directive, issued in February 1992 under George HW Bush, explains the policy of the Department of Defense on Use of Deadly Force and the Carrying of Firearms by DoD Personnel Engaged in Law Enforcement and Security Duties. It is a very reasonable policy that makes perfect sense which is why the gun community hates it.

Speaking of making perfect sense, props to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for politely asking his customers to leave their guns at home. This comes on the heels of some gun supporters playing a role in "ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.” I guess there was an incident recently at the Newtown, Connecticut Starbucks. Man, these folks are all class. I love the first photo in the link that shows the woman working on her laptop next to the nutjobs.

Note that Mr. Schultz did not call for a ban on the premises of his stores which means people can still bring guns into Starbuck's. Essentially what he is saying is, "Hey, jack wagons, take your psycho elsewhere."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Neighborhood Mental Watch

As more information comes out about Aaron Alexis, it's becoming very clear that we, as a nation, are falling short in terms of mental health. Someone that hears voices should not be allowed to own firearms. Period. Yet, as is usually the case now with these shootings, the gun community is falling all over themselves to make sure that none of our nation's gun laws are changed in terms of mental health restrictions. Since we've seen the piles of dead children's bodies won't move them, this latest incident won't either. Further, the Bloombergs and Bradys of the world will be equally as impotent in bringing about change. So, it's time to turn the whole debate on its ear.

I propose bypassing civil law (for the most part) and creating private, community based organizations around the nation that keep an eye out for mentally unwell people and raise a red flag if they own firearms, specifically focusing on young men as they seem to fit the profile of these spree shooters. We can use Bill and Tricia Lemmers, along with suggestions from Peter Brown Hoffmeister, as the models for how to intervene in such situations. Think of it as a Neighborhood Mental Watch.

The structure could be set up in a similar way to MADD or DARE (so we would need to come up with a cool acronym...NMW doesn't really pop...any ideas?) juxtaposed with a local militia. The gun community has their views on militias being allowed to protect local communities. Fine. So will we. It will be staffed by mental health experts, community leaders, retired law enforcement officials, teachers, ministers, and other concerned citizens who will keep on eye out for the next Adam Lanza. Like George Zimmerman patrolling his community for thieves, the Neighborhood Mental Watch will be ever vigilant and seek to keep towns safe.

Perhaps it's time to admit that the gun community is correct. Police are inadequate in terms of providing protecting from criminals. So is the law. It's time to take matters into our own hands.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The One With The Happy Ending

It started off as an all too familiar event. A young white male with a history of mental health problems gets into a school and threatens to shoot it up. Convicted felon Michael Brandon Hill (who somehow managed to get a skirted past security at Discovery Learning Academy in Decateur, Georgia and held two staff hostage.

But one of the staff, school bookeeper Antoinette Tuff, talked him down and he surrendered to police. The story of how she did this is detailed in the above link. More importantly, however, is that she did this without a gun of her own in a gun free zone. This incident really drives home the point of how this is all about mental health and not guns. What happens to young white men that they get to this point? Why is it always the same profile, save a few outliers?

This is at the heart of the school shooting issue. We need to figure out the profile for these guys just like we would a serial killer or habitual thief. More intelligence means better crime prevention and (thank God) leaving the very unhelpful gun ass hats out of the equation.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

More Parents Like This, Please

Bill and Tricia Lemmers ought to be given the Congressional Medal of Honor. Why? Because they just prevented another mass shooting.

Their son, Blaec, recently confessed to police that he was planning an Aurora style shooting after purchasing an AR-15 from Wal Mart. His parents, keenly aware that their son had been in and out of mental institutions but unable to prevent him from buying a gun, reported him to the police. They picked up Blaec and he confessed as to the reason why he bought the weapon.

We need more parents like Bill and Tricia to see the warning signs and note that their sons fit the profile of these types of spree shooters. It's been painfully obvious since Newtown that the gun community is going to be of no help whatsoever with this problem (and, by extension, the federal government) so it's up to individuals like the Lemmers.

Let's bring mental illness out of the shadows and address this issue head on. Many people in communities around the country know people like Blaec and should not make the same mistakes that were made with Adam Lanza. If you know someone that has been in and out of mental institutions and has just bought a firearm, call the police immediately.

Monday, April 15, 2013

He Is Saying Things That Need To Said

There are so many things to love about Peter Brown Hoffmeister's recent piece that was banned from the Huffington Post that I don't even know where to start. He is saying things that need to be said and forcing us to confront a very deep fissure in our culture. In many ways, he speaks to the heart of the problem with young men in this country and how a few of them end up going on shooting sprees.

He should know. He was one of those young men and he made it out and became mentor and teacher himself. Correctly, he identifies the ingredients that get these young men to the point of shooting people and it's not just the guns.

Now I am not anti-video game crusader Jack Thompson. I’m not suggesting that everyone who plays a video game will act out that video game in reality. But I am saying that it is very dangerous to allow troubled, angry, teenage boys access to killing practice, even if that access is only virtual killing practice. The military uses video games to train soldiers to kill, yet we don’t consider “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″ training for addicted teenage players? A high school boy who plays that game 30 hours per week isn’t training to kill somebody?

Now combine that with a mom who buys into the whole "live free or die" horse hockey and decides to allow their son access to a large quantity of weaponry and you have a disaster. Why is that the parents of these shooters never have their feet held to the fire? In the final analysis, it's primarily their responsibility. Nancy Lanza was a complete and total failure as a parent and her incompetence resulted in the deaths of 26 people.   There are thousands more like her out there and they truly, truly suck. They need to stop sucking. Yesterday.

Where are the parents in this situation or others like this one?

I was walking behind two teenage boys in the hall at my high school the other day and I heard one talking about slitting someone’s throat. He said, “I just came up behind him, pulled out my knife so quietly and cut his throat.” The other boy said, “Yeah, then I killed everyone else in less than, like, 10 seconds. Just slaughtered them.” 

I looked at these two boys: Tall and awkward. Unathletic. I knew that they weren’t tied-in socially, that they both struggled in classes and with peers. Yet they were capable of incredible and sudden violence on screen. Together, they could slit throats and shoot everyone. I asked one of them later, and he said that he played Call of Duty “an average of 40 hours per week, at least.” 

Is this what we want angry, adolescent boys to do? Do we want to give them this practice? Do we want them to glorify violent actions, to brag about violence in the school’s hallways? Or even worse, given the perfect equation of frustration + opportunity + practice, do we want them to do as Weise, Roberts, and Lanza did, and act out these fantasies in real life? Do we want them to yell, “I am the shooter” as they enter a crowded mall – as Roberts did? Or dress like video-game shooters – as Lanza and Roberts were – before heading into a murder spree?

When I was an awkward teenager, all I thought about was sex. All my friends were the same. We smoked pot, listened to music and were obsessed with progressing around the bases in terms of carnal escapades. That is definitely not the case today. Sex is very verboten subject with teenagers and they are much less sexual active than they were in my generation. There are drugs, of course, but they are viewed so negatively by our culture that the deviance takes on a truly ugly hue for the kids that do them...even marijuana. I can't help but think that if some of these kids just smoked some pot and made out with their girlfriends or boyfriends, they might be more at peace.

Hoffmeister closes the piece with a direct appeal to parents. I agree with it completely and I will close with it as well.

Get kids outside. Take them out and let them wander around in the woods. Let them canoe across a lake. Let them backpack through a mountain range. Give them a map and compass assignment. Give frustrated youth an opportunity to challenge themselves in the natural world. Have you ever heard of a school shooter who’s hobbies are kayaking, rock climbing, and fly-fishing? If that seems absurd – and it does seem absurd to me – we might be onto something. I don’t think that those hobbies can create a school shooter. There’s just something abut the natural world that defuses anger. I know this because the outdoors helped saved my life. An outdoor diversion program for troubled teens started the process when I was sixteen. Camping and hiking and climbing helped me mature further as a nineteen and twenty year old. And now, as the director of a high school outdoor program, one of my student leaders said recently that “the outdoor program saves lives.” That’s not me. That’s nature. Kids need the outdoors. Help the young people. Get them outside.