Archive for mental illness

Young Master Chef Lost to Guns and Mental Illness, Melissa Harris-Perry Notes



Master Chef finalist, fan favorite and troubled Chicago student Josh Marks lost his life and dreams to suicide, in the tragic intersection of mental illness and the shockingly normal high availability of guns.

It's probably more difficult to get good weed in Chicago than a firearm, if anything in that cute Ted movie can be believed.

MasterChef Finale Image Courtesy

MasterChef Finale Image Courtesy

Melissa Harris-Perry did an amazing piece on Josh Marks … the charismatic African American contestant from Chicago that won American hearts with his chaffy chops and fighting spirit. The hubs and I watched, and rooted for him. [We're oddly Gordon Ramsey fans but it Twas before Chef Graham lost like half of himself if you've caught Master Chef.]

The easy access to guns in the street … Chicago has so much gun violence … there are so many gun loopholes that the supply is always there … or they can go over the [state] border."

Tragically, this gun availability here led to suicide. CNN highlights from reporting on Marks (last and successful try) late 2013 suicide.

It is overwhelming to think that with proper, intensive treatment, Joshua may still be with us," his lawyer, Lisa Butler, said Sunday. "He was a jewel with so much talent to offer this world. But, in his state of mind, he turned to the streets for a gun and easily got it."

Marks, 26, died from a gunshot wound to his head. His death has been ruled a suicide, a spokesman for the Cook County, Illinois, medical examiner said Sunday.

The NRA has framed the question as one about 'strangers' said expert Eugene O'Donnell, and he showed why that gun-fondling fantasy is balderdash.

"Do we not care about suicide?," pled Melissa.

Bryan Smith who wrote a great piece on the story for Chicago Magazine, was there to discuss, below, as was 'Law and Order of the Mind' segment expert Eugene O'Donnell joined the discussion following revelations that Marks had both prior attempts at suicide and time at Cook's County Jail - from his nearby troubled term at college. And guns were no problem at all to obtain.

The 'vacuum of fear' theme was spot on, especially when this discussion is framed in politics, social stigma and racism.

Ironically, the writers of Law and Order and House of Cards add more to the human dignity questions at the heart of this conversation than the Know Nothing Do Nothing Congress and gridlocked D.C. with SCROTUS and Open Carry gun nuts running amok.

Maybe 'Scandal' can take a stab in Season 4. No doubt Ms. Shonda Rhimes would give the pitiable Congress a hand in common sense, reality and dignity of purpose. Calling Olivia Pope!

scandal-memes-olivia-pope-6In the meantime we have Melissa Harris-Perry's coverage to the sad story of one more life lost too young to mental illness, and over-availabilty of guns for either homicide or suicide tragedies … and where those volatile and violent issues intersect.



Afternoon-Evening Links


links  Santa Barbara

By The Numbers: How The Santa Barbara Shooting Reflects A Culture Of Violence Against Women

Sandy Hook 'Truther' Apprehended In Virginia For Stealing Memorial Signs

House Republicans Vote Down Amendment Aimed At Curbing Wage Theft

It’s Time To Call Out The Real Villains

Flip-Flopper Cruz Claims 2013 Government Shutdown Is Winning Strategy To Reclaim Senate

NSA Is Collecting Gazillions Of Faces From Websites

Even The NRA Thinks Open Carry Texas Is Off Its Rocker

Norfolk police shooter was previously convicted for assaulting officer, carrying loaded weapon


Mass murder 101 #NotOneMore


guns not one more Richard Martinez mass murder

This thoughtful commentary about gun violence, mass murder, and possible reasons for the uptick in gun massacres comes to us by way of an email exchange I had with my dear friend and mentor, the source of our Cliff Notes series, Cliff Schecter:

I came to my work on guns from studying Criminology in college. I was almost a Crim major. I had no agenda, no hatred for guns (still don't). Hell, for my 40th Birthday my wife surprised me with, among other things, the NRA medals I still had from my days spending summers in New Hampshire doing competitive shooting at a camp.

The fact is what I learned in Criminology made it quite obvious that while there were a number of factors here--but guns were the main culprit. As Michael Moore pointed out we all play these video games, we all watch violent movies. We all have mental illness. [A friend] brought up the virality of certain behavior. I think there is something to that. We are unique, among high income nations, in our willingness to allow hate speech to be broadcast far and wide all day every day on talk radio and Fox, filled with half truths and outright lies, without anyone having equal time to respond. So I have no doubt that these are factors. Look, Richard Poplawski-- the guy who shot and killed three police officers in Pittsburgh-- did it because he thought they were sent by President Obama to "take my guns away."

Ditto the shooter who was headed to the Tides Foundation because Glenn Beck said they were evil and anti-capitalist, etc. He got into a shootout with cops on the freeway. Even when it is not political, it is sociological, and Fox and hate talk play into the worst fears of economically downscale white males.

But again, even with that, there are guns.

What has changed since the 1980s? Most people don't' know this, but concealed carry largely didn't exist before the 1980s. It was only in a handful of states. The NRA's' big project was to normalize the carrying of guns so they could sell more of them. And they have been very successful.

Also, military weaponry--like assault weapons--were not available to most pre-1980s. So, add in the availability of more lethal weaponry and the ability to carry outside your house without anyone blinking an eye, add in President Reagan destroying mental health services with cuts--which has been destroyed many more times since then by more cuts-- and add in that unhinged person, with no institution to go to sitting at home watching Sean Hannity saying Cliven Bundy is a hero. We should stand up to the government! The tyrants! etc. etc.

There are other factors, but to me it is:

1) Gun availability

2) Untreated mental health issues

3) Making hate and fear viral via Fox/Rush, etc.

You combine those 3, with other nations similar to us not possessing any of them on the scale we do, and that gets us there...

Put it all together, you have today's climate.

Thank you, Cliff. Now here's a little Twitter snark to wrap things up:

gun bingoLink


I Could Have Been Elliot Rodger


murder Image: The service is no longer available so we have removed that code from The Political Carnival. Here is the original post on Crooks and Liars.


Christian Minister Incites Christians To 'Spiritual Violence'



The service is no longer available so we have removed that code from The Political Carnival.

Here is the original post on Crooks and Liars


Bullying - Learned In School, Practiced In The Adult World - It Must Stop



We've all been exposed in real life to bullying -- either as an innocent bystander, perhaps even as a swept-up in the moment participant or sadly as a victim. Let's be real with ourselves, even if we can't be with others. We're more likely to have contributed at some point than to have rushed to someone's defense. That doesn't make us bad. It means we're all human and we're all vulnerable. Nobody wants to be on the outside looking in. There are pressures many times to join in or be ostracized ourselves. So we take the weak or cowardly way out. The course of least resistance.

Like sucking our thumbs or picking our noses, we generally outgrow these dirty habits. Some of them are learned naturally, others in school. They generally start when we're young and vulnerable. That's where they're most likely going to be corrected. Yet for many, the bad habits continue on to later in life when the damage can be even worse.

If we don't find ourselves early enough, if we don't develop the strength to stand up for justice, fairness and tolerance for others not as well off or popular, the future isn't pretty. Below is a video that's worth looking at.

Bullying - Catch it early or it'll catch us: The translation at the end says,

"A day of work doesn't have to be like this. Nor a day at school. Bullying is learned!"


Dogboy & Mr. Dan Look At The Affordable Care Act


sychronized head in the sandGOP Synchronized Head-In-The-Sand Class

The Republicans are in such a hurry to destroy the Affordable Care Act (I'm getting tired of giving into the misleading Republican nickname for the law) that they can't see the forest through the trees or as they'd prefer to mock, you can't see the doctor through the patients. These GOP'ers just don't get it. They would prefer to stick their head in the sand than face the music and dance.

So, clever satirist and political cartoonist Mark Fiore has made another 2 minute episode of Dogboy & Mr. Dan. It's smart, funny and boy, does it pack a wallop. Now if only John Bonehead and Eric Cantorwont would carve out a few minutes from their hectic schedules of misinformation and obstruction to check this out, maybe they'd actually learn something. Oh, but that would be crazy. Wait. Crazy? Mental health is covered under the new healthcare law -- the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act --now that the provisions are finally taking effect. All Republicans should take advantage of it. And they don't have to worry about it being a pre-existing condition. The ACA has fixed that loophole.

I know it's a lot to ask of them, but hey, would you like to see what the Republican Talking Machine is blathering about? Sometime the truth hurts. Under the Affordable Care Act, Bonehead and Cantorwont would actually be covered for that, too.

Just click on the picture below, and you'll be whisked away to a few minutes of fun satire:

Dogboy & Mr. Dan2

Oh, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack