Saturday, January 15, 2011

I was interviewed for a story on parenting and the Arizona shooting this week in the Washington Post:
What are Jared Loughner's parents thinking today?

Do they blame themselves for the rampage allegedly committed by their son that killed six people and gravely injured U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) in Tucson on Saturday? Should we?

In a parenting climate that is fraught with mixed messages, conflicting studies and thousands of theories, mothers and fathers across America are taking a moment and perhaps shuddering at the thought of their children doing something horrific. Inside plenty of parental hearts this week is a probing self-evaluation of whether red flags are waving in their own homes. ....

"There are always warning signs. Nobody simply snaps," said Helen Smith, a forensic psychologist in Knoxville, Tenn., who has written books on school violenceand specializes in boys and young men.

She's got plenty of young men in her Knoxville practice who have violent thoughts. But they are getting help because their parents paid attention and pounced.

"It takes a lot of work to get them to open up. It's a matter of sheer time and effort. And it isn't easy," she said.

Let's hope all parents will learn to know when it's that time.

Well, I thought the Post did a good job with this story although to clarify, I have seen many young men over time in my practice but in recent years, I have cut back on my practice significantly.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another male victim of domestic violence

Apparently a male victim was stabbed to death by a female suspect in Knoxville last night. But domestic violence is all about male on female violence...even according to the Tennessee Department of Health EMS manual. How many men have to be hurt or killed before Tennessee and other states see a problem?

Labels: , ,

Presenting to boards and councils

I am reading a new guide by Michael Wade entitled How to Make Presentations to Councils and Boards. The book is a great tool if you want to learn to be effective making presentations to boards and councils. For many new activists out there who are speaking up at city council meetings, school boards and other political arenas, there is a lot of good advice packed into a very short and succinct guide (57 pages). Wade focuses on some psychological techniques such as not worrying about being smooth or flawless. Rather, "a speaker who is not perfect can project a genuine nature that wins over the audience." Techniques and approaches that are unique to council and board meetings are prevalent throughout the book, and even work for meetings that are less formal. So even if you just want to give a persuasive talk to your Home Owner's association, this book might help.


Hot diet tip from Calorie Lab for 2011: "Wanna Lose 10 Pounds This Year Without Dieting? Stop Binge Drinking."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Osler says his friend wasn’t shooting at people, 'he was shooting at the world.'"

It seems that Jared Loughner did not even like or watch TV or the news, according to his friends:
He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right.

The friends went on to describe deep seated rage: "Osler says his friend wasn’t shooting at people, "'he was shooting at the world.'"

This would make him typical of other mass shooters according to a study 0f 102 rampage killers done by the New York Times:

The Times found, however, that the debate may have largely overlooked a critical issue: At least half of the killers showed signs of serious mental health problems. ...

*While the killings have caused many people to point to the violent aspects of the culture, a closer look shows little evidence that video games, movies or television encouraged many of the attacks. In only 6 of the 100 cases did the killers have a known interest in violent video games. Seven other killers showed an interest in violent movies.

It seems that a number of the Times's columnists overlooked the paper's own findings on rampage killings when first discussing the Arizona shooting. Do they even bother doing any research? For example, Krugman blamed talk radio, the culture of right leaning hate and Rush Limbaugh. A NYT's editorial made the same points. Maybe if someone there had taken the time to reflect on their own study, they would have reached a different and more even-handed conclusion.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Neo-NeoCon: "So, why did no one report Loughner to the Arizona mental health system?"

In my mind, the bigger question is, "would it have done any good?" Time and time again, I have seen the mental health system fail for those who are ill and the families that need them. Psychiatrists hand people meds and don't monitor their patients and psychologists don't take the time to really assess the patient and take the time to do the grueling work it takes to get someone who is psychotic/and/or personality-disordered back to reality. It is hard time-consuming work.

I have gotten a number of calls and emails from the media about this case and many others. Mainly, these reporters want some quick answer about why these killings happen with a simple explanation or game plan to tell their readers or viewers how to stop it. In my experience, there isn't one. The solution is rather, a complex set of variables that must be assessed and then intervened upon. This takes tremendous time, energy and work, none of which our quick-fix society wants to engage in.


Clayton Cramer at PJM: "Mental illness and Mass Murder."


Sunday, January 09, 2011

"If you see it on the news one night, know that I got out fast..."

Drudge has a link to this Washington Post article that details a classmate's encounter with the Arizona shooter in a college class. Here are some highlights:
From June 10:
"As for me, Thursday means the end to week two of algebra class. It seems to be going by quickly, but then I do have three weeks to go so we'll see how I feel by then. Class isn't dull as we have a seriously disturbed student in the class, and they are trying to figure out how to get rid of him before he does something bad, but on the other hand, until he does something bad, you can't do anything about him. Needless to say, I sit by the door."

From June 14:
"We have a mentally unstable person in the class that scares the living crap out of me. He is one of those whose picture you see on the news, after he has come into class with an automatic weapon. Everyone interviewed would say, Yeah, he was in my math class and he was really weird. I sit by the door with my purse handy. If you see it on the news one night, know that I got out fast..."

Across the country, there are other Jared Loughners out there--students who are mentally ill, and disturbing classrooms with little to nothing being done--either to help them or the other students. Their behavior is just to be tolerated. The Post article did say that Loughner was thrown out of class after 3 or 4 weeks but he probably just went on to disturb someone else. Welcome to classrooms across America.

A while back, I wrote an article entitled "Violence on Campus: Practical Recommendations for Legal Educators" along with two University of Tennessee Faculty members. In it, we outlined steps for teachers to take to reduce the chances that a student would commit an act of violence. For a while, no law review would take it. Why? The suggestions were apparently not PC enough. The Journal of Legal Education at Georgetown turned it down--stating that we "must be working with John Ashcroft" given the suggestions we made. Our outrageous suggestions? Have a designated person assigned in the school to handle reports of inappropriate behavior. We finally got it placed with a law review but that is not my point.

My point is that as long as schools and society simultaneously place the rights of the mentally ill above other citizens while refusing the mentally ill the help that they may desperately need, we will continue to see mass killings like the one in Arizona. People will seemed dazed and ask "why?" until they forget and another horrible killing takes place. The media will give the whole thing a political spin and indeed, perhaps there is one, but usually only in some idiosyncratic bizarre way that only the killer (or maybe a good therapist) would understand.

And while the media uses the killings for political gain, another Jared is brewing, ignored, feared and filled with fury, rage and homicidal revenge.

Labels: ,

"If this is the level of research we are getting from DHS, then Heaven help us."

I was just listening to a reporter on Fox News discuss the connection of the Arizona shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, to the group American Renaissance:

A law enforcement memo based on information provided by DHS and obtained by Fox News suggested strong suspicion linking Jared Loughner, the man accused in the Tucson shooting on Saturday, to what it called an "anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government) and anti-semitic" group known as American Renaissance.

In an effort to counter those charges, the head of the organization responded directly to Fox News' James Rosen on Sunday.

Jared Taylor called DHS' views "scurrilous" and took especial issue with the reference to his group being "anti-ZOG."

"That is complete nonsense," he said. "I have absolutely no idea what DHS is talking about. We have never used the term 'ZOG.' We have never thought in those terms. If this is the level of research we are getting from DHS, then Heaven help us."

Taylor, who earned a BA in philosophy from Yale in 1973 and a master's degree in international economics from the prestigious Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris ("Paris Institute of Political Studies," in English) in 1978, says he had never heard of Loughner until yesterday. Taylor says he checked his organization's records going back twenty years and Loughner never subscribed to AmRen's publications.

Taylor says he also has no indication that Loughner ever attended any of AmRen's events, all of which have been held on the East Coast.

It's amazing how quickly much of the media, politicians and left-leaning bloggers are attempting to make this guy look right-of-center to score political points before the evidence is even in. Their quickness to point the finger may backfire however, because now, thanks to the internet, shoddy reporting is made more transparent.

"If I forgive you, I've given you no reason to stop..."

I have sometimes argued against forgiveness (in some, certainly, not all cases). Now it seems that a new study shows forgiveness may not be the answer in your relationship. In LiveScience, an article entitled "Why You Should Hold A Grudge Against Your Spouse" (via Instapundit) makes some good points:
Newlyweds who forgave their partner's bad behavior were more likely to face additional bad behavior the next day compared with those who stayed mad, the study showed. The benefits of forgiveness may need to be weighed against the risks, said study author James McNulty, a psychologist at the University of Tennessee....

Social scientists, theologians and clinicians have touted the virtues of forgiveness, frequently without attending to its downsides," Finkel wrote in an e-mail to LiveScience. "McNulty's work helps to serve as a corrective to the simple-minded notion that forgiveness is always good..."

The most common transgressions reported were mild ones, such as disagreements, nagging, or one spouse being inconsiderate to the other. Some, however, were more serious: About 9 percent of men and 5 percent of women reported psychological abuse. One man reported a betrayal, and one woman reported sexual coercion by her husband.

Sadly, many men think that the answer to a psychologically abusive wife is forgiveness. Time and time again, her bad behavior escalates in response to his passivity and constant excuses, yet like a battered wife, he continues to do it. Until men learn that being a martyr where women are concerned is not the answer, the abuse will continue and men will swallow their pain until it is expressed in high blood pressure, depression, drinking and even suicide. Perhaps, for these forgiving men, taking a look at Jeanne Safer's book Forgiving and Not Forgiving:: Why Sometimes It's Better Not to Forgive will help understand why forgiving is not necessarily going to make the problem go away.


What makes a good salesperson?

I have always been interested in what makes a good salesperson and started reading a new book, Slow Down, Sell Faster!: Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales. I was never a great salesperson of products, though I did sell shoes at the mall when I was 15 and did a pretty good job. I have always admired those who can sell things or products, as it does take a certain amount of psychology to get people to feel that they need or want what you have to offer.

Anyway, the author of the book, Kevin Davis, has taught thousands of people at Fortune 500 companies how to "slow down" and sell faster. He uses an eight-step method that focuses on "the power of slowing down each sales conversation, asking more questions, identifying needs, and supplying solutions--in the right sequence, with the right approaches." Most salespeople focus on their selling process and don't get into the head of their customer and find out what their buying process is when making major purchases. The problem is, as Davis points out, that "customers don't care about your selling process. They care about their buying process."

If you are in a sales job or work in a business that sells products or services, it looks like a helpful book. If you have bought a major purchase lately, did the salesperson help you make that decision, or are you like me, more likely to buy online to avoid salespeople altogether?