I am a retired pediatrician in Chicago. I also have a PhD in pathology and trained for six months in forensic pathology observing and participating in autopsies including many gunshot victims. In addition I was medical director of a mental health care group practice. I know what I am talking about as I have treated babies and children who have been boiled, beaten, shot, and shaken. I have smelled their burned flesh and held their brain tissue in my hand. I have attended their autopsies. The destruction of tissue by high-powered weapons is unbelievable. Tissues explode inside of you as the tissue is vaporized and the bullets wobble and gas from heated vaporized tissue expands the damage. There is absolutely no reason for high-powered, high magazine capacity weapons for civilian use. I fear though that it will take decades to confiscate them all as there are millions out there and millions of high capacity magazines. Too many people do not secure their weapons and too many can buy them without background checks. The ratio of weapons to people in this country is so astonishing it is beyond belief. No weapons ban will fully work until we start taking this ratio down.
However we have to start somewhere like limiting the availability of high-capacity magazines and certain types of bullets. Although limiting guns in UK and Australia has worked well, it won’t work so easily in America where 5% of the world population has 50% of weapons owned by civilians! What are we going to do? Have a massive confiscation campaign? Eliminate the 2nd Amendment? NO! We must close the loopholes concerning background checks. We must start banning semiautomatic weapons to some extent and slow down their proliferation. The number in this country already is more than we will ever need. We must link all background registries at the national level. BUT! How are we going to define mental illness that makes a person dangerous and that deserves to put them on the registry? How are we going to help wrongfully convicted felons clear their names. Are all felons deserving of having a ban on owning fire arms? I think NOT!
I was wrongfully convicted of aggravated battery of an officer for “bumping” him with my wheelchair and sentenced to two years in prison, a false charge as Sgt. Anthony Salemi actually attacked me in my wheelchair, falsified his records and committed perjury. Now Chief Judge Evans in Cook County is banning all cell phones from courthouses as the eavesdropping law was declared unconstitutional so no citizen can document corruption of Sheriff officers and judges in courthouses even outside of the courtrooms!
We have no choice with this amount of weapons in our country and t he impossibility of banning them due to the numbers already out there, but to make schools as secure as courthouses. This is the sorry reality and it will cost us dearly – causing fear in our children and enormous government expenditures. Our 2nd Amendment with the technological advances in weapons and astonishing proliferation of weapons in the hands of citizens in America make us a dangerous overly armed population.
We MUST increase the requirements for police officers training and education. We have a pitifully under trained and corrupt law enforcement legacy in this country. Read my blogs in the following. We are now even killing a whole lot of people unnecessarily with Tasers!
We also must MASSIVELY increase our funding for mental health care. We need 30,000 certified child psychiatrists but only have about 5,000 in this country. We have been forced to choose between drugging people and providing cognitive or talking therapy. Drugging won as our healthcare system won’t pay to talk to anyone. I believe however that talking therapies are critical and drugging often does more harm than good!
Those doctors who do procedures (cardiac and ortho surgery for example) get obscenely high payments while psychiatrists, psychologists, and general practitioners, as well as pediatricians and family practitioners are the lowest paid. We also pay by the pound. My patients (Vincent triplets) are in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “lightest triplets in the world” (1997 edition), yet I was paid $50 to put in central lines into ultra premees while vascular surgeons were paid $500 to put in central lines into adults! Go figure! Our priorities are goofy.
Our justice system is so corrupt that honest harmless people like me are wrongfully convicted (in my case in retaliation for whistle blowing against corrupt police and officials – see my other blogs links to the right) and criminals know all the loopholes. Some of the most dangerous people are very intelligent and also mentally ill yet are not even in the mental healthcare system.
I fear the backlash against most mentally ill people who are harmless.
I fear that people with post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) will be discriminated against and labeled wrongfully as dangerous. I suffer from PTSD and although I am a non-violent pacifist, I cower and swing my arms in front of my head trying to defend myself against flashbacks of being beaten by corrupt police (I have been beaten several times and falsely accused of attacking these officers – see my blogs: http://cookcountysheriffdeputies.wordpress.com and http://cookcountyjudges.wordpress.com). This massacre in Newtown has caused me to have more flashbacks revisiting seeing wounded and dying children in the emergency rooms where I worked in Chicago 10-20 years ago.
There is NO mental health care in America; no understanding, respect and compassion for the mentally ill; no support for their families; no help available; just disdain, disrespect, hatred, blame, and ignorance. LaPierre’s and others’ descriptions of mentally ill shooters as “lunatics” and other derogatory terms I would rather not repeat makes the defamation against the mentally ill even worse.
Would you blame a person for becoming sick with cancer or being born with a deformity? Yet we blame the criminally insane and defame them as evil! We are a very sick society!
I treated a boy who attempted suicide and when I was releasing him from the hospital, the major university children’s hospitals in Chicago and its suburbs said they didn’t take these kids in transfer who didn’t have insurance (Loyola University, Northwestern University Medical Center, Rush Medical Center, Christ Hospital affiliated with the United Church of Christ and part of Advocate Healthcare) they had a year-long waiting list (Mt. Sinai Hospital and Medical Center), they only took transfers to their mental health unit of persons on Medicaid who lived in their zip code (University of Chicago); or such other lame excuses all due to the country refusing to pay for mental health care.
I tried to testify in juvenile court that an aunt who was trying to help her nephew, whose parents were in prison for murder, had a child who was dangerous due to his mental illness, a liar and that the aunt was not a child abuser. Instead the child needed hospitalization and mental health care for life. He may grow up to be a mass murderer. His aunt was falsely labeled a child abuser due to the child’s lies without a legitimate fair due process court hearing. The aunt lost custody of the boy and his brothers. The children were placed in foster care or given to their criminal drug dealing and gang member relatives who the aunt had protected them from. He has already become a rapist and was in prison for a year. His brothers have become burglars and teen drug dealers under the wings of their relatives and the lives of the brother who were doing well with the aunt have been ruined by the Cook County judges and court system. We need extensive judicial reform! I would love to testify before Congress.
Instead the judge threw me out of the courtroom, declared I was not a reliable witness, instead listened to a child welfare worker who had a few months training after getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology, ended up destroying my career and now corrupt officials arrested me on many false criminal charges and jailed me in retaliation after I began this campaign to get help for these people. Read my other blogs: here, here, here, here & here. The corrupt officials who divert Social Security Title IV-D funds from helping families to judicial pensions and fees for incompetent court-appoint hacks who claim to do mental health evaluations and claim to evaluate family situations (child representatives and guardian ad litums in divorce and custody cases), vilify anyone who tries to change the system and get the country to really look at mental health care, custody decisions, divorce courts, and misuse of government funds because we threaten their illegal funding stream. Read about that here.
Until the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as “Obamacare”, patterned after “Romneycare” in Massachusetts, is in full swing and expanded to deal with mental health care and cover all Americans as a universal single payer health care system, none of these mothers will have help and the shootings will continue. Victims also need access to mental health care.
See my suggested 15 point plan to address gun violence and gun deaths in America here: https://twitter.com/DrLindaShelton (1/2 of them are suicides and most are not mass murders but are murders by people known to the victims – 11,000 per year in the U.S. – compared to about 35-50 in either England or Australia who have both banned and confiscated weapons after mass murders in schools).
Please consider joining the group “Newtown United” on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/NewtownUnited
The following is a MUST READ that has begun this conversation: http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/2012/12/thinking-unthinkable.html
The following poem expresses all of our grief and sadness: http://newtown.patch.com/blog_posts/dear-santa-7cbef59a
Statement by former Representative and victim of shooting Gabby Giffords husband Kelly at her shooter’s sentencing excoriating the government and Gov. for not dealing with gun violence and mental illness: http://jezebel.com/5959149/gabby-giffords-husband-stares-down-her-shooter-gabby-and-i-are-done-thinking-about-you