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AdLib On October - 2 - 2017

LV shooting

Last night, a mentally deranged man perched in a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, fired  automatic weapons to shoot, kill and wound hundreds of innocent people enjoying a concert. Over 50 unsuspecting people were killed, over 500 were injured at this concert attended by an estimated 22,000 people.

The deranged terrorist who committed this inhuman act was Stephen Paddock, a 64 year old white male retiree with no criminal history. There is no apparent reason behind his committing these vicious, coldblooded murders though he did apparently shoot himself to commit suicide after doing so which at least testifies to his deteriorated state of mind.

It’s too early to know too many concrete details about the motivation for these mass killings but being allegedly holed up with ten rifles and/or automatic weapons and using them to kill and injure innocent people, Paddock was deranged.

When such an act happens, it is shocking to the senses. The news channels exploit this by instantly filling every minute of every hour with know-nothing pundits making up theories about the perpetrator and showing endlessly looping footage of the terrible incident like they’re The Clockwork Orange News Network.

The focus by the media is obsessive and tunnelvisioned, there is no sense of perspective or perhaps we might notice that this may be the most deadly of attacks by a deranged white man recently…but it is not the only one. It is actually another in an ongoing string of mentally ill white Americans attacking innocent people.

Is this part of a pattern? Are more Americans becoming mentally unstable or are they just acting out more on their derangement? Has insanity become mainstreamed?

The country was outraged by what happened just 6 weeks ago in Charlottesville, when an Alt-Right follower and marcher plowed his car into a crowd of peaceful, anti-hate protesters in Charlottesville, killing 32 year old Heather Heyer.

However, just days before that, there was a terrorist-styled bombing of a mosque in Minnesota:

Minnesota Mosque Bombing an ‘Act of Terrorism,’ Governor Says

The Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in suburban Minneapolis, like other U.S. mosques, occasionally receives threatening calls and emails. Its leaders say they’re more frightened now after an explosive shattered windows and damaged a room as worshippers prepared for morning prayers.

Last month, as reported by Willamette Week in the state of Washington:

Police in Vancouver Detain Man for Nearly Running Down Antifa Protesters With His Truck

Police in Vancouver this afternoon handcuffed and detained a man after a Patriot Prayer rally when he nearly ran his truck into a crowd of antifascist counter-protesters.

What this may reflect is that more and more mentally deranged “lone wolves” seem to be acting out on their derangement. It is compelling to consider what has changed in the last year that might contribute to more people to be driven to follow their demons.

Donald Trump is a psychiatrist’s goldmine. His almost daily display of paranoia, sociopathy, narcissism, hatred of “the others” and unrepentant intolerance of any who criticize him or support opposing views is beyond anything Americans have ever seen in a President. Even including Nixon. Trump’s behavior may actually “give permission” to the mentally unstable to similarly act on their worst instincts.

The mindlessly, hostile supporters of Trump have been a reminder that one of the most neglected and widespread medical issues in the U.S. is mental health. Not only are the numbers of mentally ill Americans rising, 50% of those with mental illness go untreated.

What percentage of people would you guess have reported mental illness at least at some time in their life? 5%? 10%? The percentage is closer to 20%. Yes, around 6 million Americans have reported they have or are experiencing mental illness and around 3 million of them are never treated for it. Now consider, how many more Americans have mental illness but haven’t reported it? The percentage of all Americans with mental illness in their past, present or future is much higher than that because of the stigma attached to mental illness (might it match the percentage of Trump supporters???). And the numbers of those afflicted with mental illness are growing.

Here’s some interesting info as of 2016 on mental illness in the U.S. from Mental Health America:

Adults with Any Mental Illness (AMI)

18.53% of adults in America reported suffering from a mental illness, a slight increase in percentage from last year (18.19%). While this is only a .4% increase, the estimated number of adults with mental illness increased by 1.2 million individuals.

All states that had a statistically significant change in percentages of mental illness experienced an increase in rate from last year’s estimates. These changes occurred in Texas, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Nevada. No states experienced a significant decrease in percentage rate of Adults with AMI.

What we do know is that over 20% of Americans have or have had some type of mental illness and that percentage is rising. We know that millions of Americans don’t tell their doctors or seek treatment for mental illness. And we know that we have a president who exhibits in a profound way, many of the symptoms of mental illness. There’s even a book out about this:

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President

In THE DANGEROUS CASE OF DONALD TRUMP, twenty-seven psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health experts argue that, in Mr. Trump’s case, their moral and civic “duty to warn” America supersedes professional neutrality. They then explore Trump’s symptoms and potentially relevant diagnoses to find a complex, if also dangerously mad, man.

His madness is catching, too. From the trauma people have experienced under the Trump administration to the cult-like characteristics of his followers, he has created unprecedented mental health consequences across our nation and beyond.

One must recognize that opinions aren’t facts, this book is a summation of opinions from professionals on Trump’s being  mentally ill. That said, there are many respected professionals in this field who share that opinion of his mental state.

If the leader of your country and the man who gets the most press coverage every day in the country acts like someone who is mentally ill and it becomes routine, could that encourage others to grow more comfortable acting out on their mental issues?

We have seen that Trump’s blatant bigotry has opened the floodgates for his supporters to openly display their own bigotry with the insincere cover of “speaking my mind” or “not being politically correct”. Perhaps it is having the same effect on  those with mental illnesses.

One can only hope not because horrific incidents like this one in Las Vegas can’t keep happening. They are a vicious cycle, the more that unhinged people attack innocent people, the more unhinged people will become. Trump is trying to tear down our government and society to horde power and wealth for himself and others who are among the 1%. Whether or not it’s intentional, his madness can’t be allowed to become contagious and normalize the occurrence of violence by others who are mentally ill.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

4 Responses so far.

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  1. Kalima says:

    I would have to say that trump and the gop have absolutely contributed to the rise in insanity, hate and racism in the country by normalising it. There seem to be no set limits on the outrageous and demented things he can get away with, including declaring himself king and sticking his fat fingers in the eye of the rule of the law and the Constitution. These nasty people came out of the woodwork when Obama was elected, but after trump’s sickening campaign and now the 8 months of daily chaos in the WH with hardly any reprimand, he can just about do anything he wants to do to the chorus of, “Well that’s trump. He’s not like any other president”. What frustrates and sickens most of us, is acceptable behavior for his hard headed cult members. That won’t change until he and this henchmen are held responsible for the state of the country now and the lies, outright profiteering and being involved in the attack by a foreign state to manipulate a democratic election.

    I had read these two articles during our week long disappearance from the internet so I couldn’t post them but think they are relevant now.

    A Group of Experts Wrote a Book About Donald Trump’s Mental Health—and the Controversy Has Just Begun
    Bill Moyers talks to co-author Robert Jay Lifton about the complications of diagnosing the president.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/09/a-group-of-experts-wrote-a-book-about-donald-trumps-mental-health-and-the-controversy-has-just-begun/

    —�-

    Trump and his supporters have caused a devastating mental health crisis in America, according to psychotherapists

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/09/trump-and-his-supporters-have-caused-a-devastating-mental-health-crisis-in-america-according-to-psychotherapists/

  2. Kesmarn says:

    AdLib, I think this is a question that we’ll be struggling with over the next days and weeks. I was thinking about this issue earlier today (drive time is often cogitation time) and it occurred to me that the nation is in the grips of a terrific sense of rage (hardly an original observation, I know).

    But what I was wondering is whether Trump is “cause” or “effect.” And I suspect that the truth is, he is both.

    As you noted, he does seem to have the effect of normalizing belligerent behavior. But I also believe that it could be argued that if he hadn’t already existed, a subset of America would have had to invent him.
    Trump seems to function (in my estimation at least) as a high-profile “mirror-holder” for the 21st century American psyche. “You want racism? I’ll give you racism.” “You want misogyny? Got it, baby.” “Xenophobia? Greed? Contempt for the rule of law? I’m your boy.”

    I think there’s been a load of anger across the land for quite a while now — even before Trump announced that he was going to run. Why? I can think of at least two root causes: extremely rapid change in a short time frame, and severe and growing income inequality.

    The sad thing is that very few people try to puzzle out why they’re so mad all the time. Rather than trying to analyze the elements of change in their lives and seeking to find ways to adapt to constructive change or to push back again harmful change, they just get angry. Rather than vote for people who will address income inequality through enlightened legislation, they decide that the people who are keeping them in those $8/hr jobs are “those foreigners,” or “those welfare cheats.”

    So Trump — for better (not) or worse (more likely) — is both cause and symptom. And when guns are plentiful and easily bought, that’s a toxic brew.

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, such a thoughtful and insightful post! Well done!
      Just as Hitler was the “perfect” mirror for the resentment and anger of an economically struggling people, Trump is.

      But if there wasn’t a Hitler or Trump, would one have been created? I don’t think so. Such uniquely charismatic sociopaths aren’t plentiful and I don’t think they’re easily replaceable.

      I think the same people who are racist and hateful today were the same hateful racists in 2008 and 2012 when Obama won. IMO, had Democrats nominated a candidate that wasn’t as polarizing, fair or not, as Hillary Clinton was, Trump would have lost and the blindly hateful people in the country would just continue being in the minority as they were.

      The election was complex, I don’t see it as driven by these haters, their enthusiasm however was another element for Dems to deal with. But the Russian hacking, Comey’s insane interference just before election day, social media’s indifference to promoting propaganda, Voter ID laws and other voter suppression, Hillary’s overlooking of campaigning in the Rust Belt swing states, all created this perfect storm where a man disliked by a majority of Americans won a presidential election.

      However, your point about Trump reflecting and adopting the bigotry and hatred of the GOP base makes a lot of sense. I do think that Trump’s elevated position in the media, the MSM’s constant availability as a megaphone for Trump’s unapologetic bigotry and hatefulness, gave a kind of permission to his base to be just as openly racist and hateful.

      “If Trump can say racist things and compliment Neo-Nazis in front of the entire country, I can too!”

      I also would suggest that this is not a recent development for these types of Americans. Before being the Trump base, they were Tea Partiers. Before that, they were The Moral Majority. Before that, they were the Goldwater Base and George Wallace supporters.
      What’s hard for many of the more enlightened people in this country to accept is that there is around 30% of this country who are poorly educated, easily manipulated through their fears and programmed to favor authoritarianism. These people, though they are not all hateful, are the embedded enemies of progress in our society on every level.

      They didn’t and don’t believe in evolution, they don’t believe in Climate Change, they don’t believe in “fake news” that doesn’t affirm the propaganda they’ve gladly gobbled up and they embrace victimhood and seeing everything in their life and society that they don’t like as an attack on them by “librul” enemies.

      The Right Wing propaganda machine has captured the minds of these people to the point that they support their party taking away the very health insurance they depend on. Taking away their jobs and income, all the things that are the real causes of their suffering in life has been caused by the party they blindly follow and they sheep-like buy into the phony distractions of Repubs pointing at Dems as the ones to blame.

      For these obliviously self-destructive people, politics is like religion, they are Republicans like they are Christians, no one can argue against their blind faith to make them change their beliefs. They are beyond the reach of those who reason and IMO, should not be chased for votes. They are the adversaries of progress, they should be seen as natural adversaries of those who reason and beaten politically, dragged involuntarily into a better future.

      The voters who made the difference in the election were the more independently minded voters who, demonstrating the gullibility of many Americans, wanted to believe that electing Trump would shake up the system in a good way because they were tired of the useless status quo of Congress in particular in making their lives better.
      The Wishful Thinking Voters. They are the ones who are moving the polls against Trump now, they are the ones realizing that they were conned. And they are the ones that can bring sweeping victories to Dems in 2018 and 2020. They are the ones Dems need to woo.

      It’s hard to believe that after what we’ve all witnessed so far, that indie voters would be available to be won over again by such a lying sociopath who has so tarnished the WH and the country. I think those that leave him are gone for good for the most part so the cautions of pundits not to count Trump out, are oblivious to this reality.
      Yes, we need to keep Russia from interfering in our elections to the degree they did in 2016. I do think it won’t be as easy for them in the future. And we need to fight the voter suppression agenda of the GOP.

      The real job is to pull back the misguided support from indies that empowered the bigots and haters on the right. A big chunk of Trump voters weren’t racists, they were rubes who were conned and many who have realized that are done with him.
      I think we have to just accept that we will always have this 30% or so of Americans who are bigoted, hateful and ignorant. That can only change over generations of educating their kids on critical thinking, science and reason. You can’t teach a racist, rabid dog new tricks. You just avoid them.

      We need to improve our society despite them, it’s never going to be with them. To them, the ideal direction for society to go is backwards to white superiority, male superiority and coal superiority.

      Dems just need to make sure they connect with average American working people as they always did but strayed from in their greed to serve corporate and Wall Street interests in exchange for campaign financing.

      We can’t separate the ignorant from their self-harming ignorance but we can send them back to the margins where they don’t have the power to hurt those who aren’t white, male and affluent. And we can help them economically despite their fighting against it as long as we attract and enthuse indie voters to come back to the Dem party.

      • kesmarn says:

        AdLib, let me start off by thanking you again for all the hours you’ve put in these past two weeks getting the Planet up and in orbit, not once but twice. You should get a substantial raise in pay along with a handsome Christmas bonus for all the hard labor you’ve done!

        I agree that about 30% of Americans probably are in the “virtually irredeemable” category that has been around through all the historical eras you described. (Not to mention the McCarthy Era, the Know-Nothings, the Confederates and the Salem witch-burners.) Fearful, hostile people who were probably damaged as children and would need both motivation and effort along with expert counseling to see things differently. (Unlikely, to say the least.)

        Then we have the people who supported Trump even though they knew exactly what he was/is. People like Steve Bannon who have a nihilist/anarchist take on things and viewed him as a human Molotov cocktail. They seem to be jumping (or being pushed) overboard by the day.

        I absolutely agree with what you said about Trump voters and racism.

        A big chunk of Trump voters weren’t racists, they were rubes who were conned and many who have realized that are done with him.

        I realize that this idea is rejected by some. I’ve heard people say that after that seemingly endless campaign, during which Trump made no effort to disguise his appeal to the basest of the base, people who voted for him regardless must be racist. But I really don’t think that’s the case. Your equation of their GOP politics and their fundamentalist religion seems a more likely explanation. They follow Trump the same way they follow Franklin Graham or Joel Osteen. They’re looking for a “Daddy” to fix things for them. Piloting their own way through life, relying on their own critical thinking and assuming an adult level of responsibility for themselves is a prospect that’s just too terrifying.

        You’re so right when you say that indie voters need to be given reasons to come back to the Dem Party. And I suspect that if the Dems run a Goldman-Sachs, extremely corporate-friendly centrist in 2020, they’re very likely to see a re-run of 2016. Can the country handle that? I have my doubts.


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