Posts Tagged ‘Fort Hood massacre’

Newton, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine – type shootings WILL NOT STOP and WILL ESCALATE until we educate about, make access easy to, and fund mental health care

December 16, 2012

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, herehere, 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

Fort Hood massacre, the facts and commentary

November 7, 2009

Copied from author’s article first published on Examiner.com

by Dr. Linda Lorincz Shelton

From Chicago area:

Although the Army has yet to confirm the casualty list at yesterday’s horrific act of violence at Ft. Hood, Texas, it is now known through family members that two Chicago area soldiers are among the dead.

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UPDATE 11-7-09. The following are now confirmed dead. The deceased include five colleagues in mental health services working with the alleged shooter:

Lt. Col. Juanita L. Warman, 55, of Havre De Grace, Md. She was assigned to the 1908th Medical Company, Independence, Mo.

Maj. Libardo Caraveo, 52, of Woodbridge, Va. He was assigned to the 467th Medical Detachment, Madison, Wis.

Capt. John P. Gaffaney, 54, of San Diego, Calif. He was assigned to the 1908th Medical Company, Independence, Mo.

Capt. Russell Seager, 41, of Racine, Wis. He was assigned to the 467th Medical Company, Madison, Wis.

Staff Sgt. Justin Decrow, 32, of Plymouth, Ind. He was assigned to the 16th Signal Company, Fort Hood, Texas.

Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, of Kiel, Wis. She was assigned to the 467th Medical Company, Madison, Wis.

Spc. Jason Hunt, 22, of Tillman, Okla. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

Spc. Frederick Greene, 29, of Mountain City, Tenn. He was assigned to the 16th Signal Company, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pfc. Aaron Nemelka, 19, of West Jordan, Utah. He was assigned to the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pfc. Michael Pearson, 22, of Bolinbrook, Ill. He was assigned to the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas.

Spc. Kham Xiong, 23, of St. Paul, Minn. He was assigned to the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pvt. Francheska Velez, 21, of Chicago, Ill. She was assigned to the 15th Combat Support Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas.

Mr. Michael Cahill of Cameron, Texas. He was a civilian employee on Fort Hood.

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PVT Francheska Velez, 21, a graduate of Kelvyn Park High School in 2006, recently returned from Afghanistan due to a pregnancy, was killed in the assault as was PFC Michael Pearson, 21, of Bolingbrook. She had enjoyed traveling the world, decided to make the military her career, and was planning on training to be a psychologist. Surgeons worked valiantly to save Pearson who was shot three times, reportedly bringing him back to life several times but tragically he died in surgery 10:00 pm Thursday night. He was expecting to be deployed to Iraq in January. An avid musician, he had hoped to make a career in music. For more extensive profiles of these two fine young soldiers see Chicago Tribune article.

The suspected shooter in the attack, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, remains hospitalized, on a ventilator, after being shot four times. He is an Army Psychiatrist, who was trained at the Military Medical School in Bethesda and received specialty training at Walter Reed Army Hospital. He was scheduled to be deployed and recently had been in arguments with others about the war, expressing views against the war. His family has expressed that he was feeling increasingly harassed by fellow soldiers for being a devout Muslim and had expressed interest in leaving the military. He also was increasingly distressed over his coming deployment to Afghanistan. At first believed to have died, it is now known he survived and is in serious condition under military guard.

The massacre occurred in a crowded processing center at Fort Hood where soldiers are processed to go to or return from Afghanistan and Iraq. Soldiers are not armed during processing and mainly fill out paperwork and obtain medical and dental treatment and examination. Only military police and armed civilian police, as first responders were able to respond with fire power to bring down the alleged assailant. The alleged shooter is said to have used an automatic pistol with a clip containing at least 20 bullets, and with numerous spent clips found on the floor. The alleged assailant was able to fire off over a hundred rounds, with careful aim, reportedly from two handguns in a matter of less than a couple of minutes, before first responders arrived. All killed and wounded were reported to be adults, mainly military personnel and civilian police. Most had multiple deadly wounds due to the methodical and deadly aim of the shooter.

Ft. Hood Police Department Officer Kimberly Munley and her partner responded within three minutes. Ofc. Munley was first on the scene and as she rounded a corner came face to face with the shooter and dropped to the ground as he took aim and shot her three times while she fired at him. She quickly and valiantly placed herself in harms way, shooting alleged assailant Maj. Hasan in the chest, dropping him to the floor as other responders converged on the scene. Her quick, focused, and decisive action under crowded,confusing, and volatile circumstances may have saved many others, and is cited as the act that brought down the alleged shooter. Lt. Gen. Bob Cone, Fort Hood’s commanding general is quoted as describing Ofc. Munley’s actions as, “really a pretty amazing and aggressive performance by this police officer.” She is reported in stable condition after treatment of her wounds to both thighs and a wrist.

Reports are coming out that the scene was a crowded processing center, where many were wounded by ricocheting bullets, it was hard to identify exactly what was going on and the aftermath was a chaotic and horrific scene of pools of blood, spent shells, and frantic attempts to save the 58 wounded (43) and dying (13) victims with soldiers ripping up their clothing to make tourniquets. Conflicting reports put the number of wounded at 31 to 43. Seven remain in intensive care.

Military officials say they are still piecing together what may have pushed alleged assailant Hasan, an Army psychiatrist trained to help soldiers in distress, to turn on his comrades. There are also reports that some of the victims might have died in friendly fire during the fire fight under crowded conditions. Search warrants have been issued for Hasan’s computer and apartment.

Please remember Major/Doctor. Hasan is the alleged assailant and has not yet been convicted. Army sources now state that they believe there was only one shooter.

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Personal commentary:  I am a physician who has practiced psychiatry.  I also have many relatives and friends who are in or who have served patriotically in the military. This incident deeply saddens me. Trying to  put aside my feelings, I will try to answer many people’s questions as to how something like this may happen. Do NOT jump to ANY conclusions until the facts are all in. 

Doctor/Major Hasan, the alleged shooter, apparently had no history of violence or extremist views. He was reportedly very dedicated to serving his country even wearing his uniform to prayers at the Mosque. He reportedly was a talented and devoted psychiatrist who had helped many patients. There was some suggestion that recently he was turning against the war and began to have some strange views.

Therefore, it is possible he suffered some kind of recent mental deterioration. The doctors are going to have to consider the possibility of medical problems like hyperthyroidism that can cause a sudden change into a paranoid, violent and delusional state. This is treatable. There are other medical reasons people become crazy also that will have to be looked into. Then there are mental illnesses that may develop for unknown reasons. If this turns out to be the case, then it will be necessary to examine why the Army failed to screen for this. Finally there are points when people crack from pressure.

Being a devout Muslim may have brought criticism and stress while in the military to Doctor/Major Hasan as would treating for 10 or more years numerous soldiers who suffered from post-traumatic-stress and trauma from war. All of us have a breaking point and if he began to internalize their suffering and turn against the war psychologically, without obtaining his own mental health counseling, it is possible that this stress could make him crack.

The military needs to consider that pathologists, morgue workers, mental health professionals, and medical personnel on the front lines in treating soldiers may need mental health care and screening as they can also suffer from post-traumatic-stress and other types of mental deterioration if constantly exposed to the horrors of war and its consequences, mental and physical.

I can testify from my own experience that treating gunshot wounds in children in inner city hospitals, drug withdrawal in large numbers of babies, abused and battered children, as well as treating rape victims and victims of war overseas took its toll on me. Then when I was battered by corrupt police officers the stress of hearing so many details of horrific trauma came out and I suffered from post-traumatic-stress disorder. It takes counseling and constant vigilance, when one is on the front lines so to speak of being the sounding board for so many troubled souls, to avoid falling victim to the same mental health consequences that one is treating. None of us are so mentally strong that we are immune to that kind of stress. It should be talked about and not ignored or dismissed. One should not forever wear a scarlet letter for having the courage to address these possibilities in oneself before they get out of hand. Mental health treatment should be more readily available to all and not in itself be a disability.

I will pray for the victims and their families, but also for Doctor/Major Hasan and his family. Our society failed Doctor/Major Hasan if he is the alleged shooter for not recognizing his deterioration and dangerousness earlier and failed all the victims in not preventing this horrific disaster. United We Stand, Divided We Fall. We should stand together to honestly and rationally discover what caused this massacre and see that it does not happen again, from a viewpoint of careful and systematic analysis of facts and evidence, not emotions or hatred towards any ethnic or religious group.

For more information:

See the article in New York Times on No one Treating the Therapists


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