This one’s for my Christian friends, college and Crossroads buddies, and people from the greater Charlotte area!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I have watched over the last several months and most importantly the last week as you have engaged in lively debate and/or spirited defense regarding the actions of Mr. Furtick and Elevation Church.  I don’t want to hurt any feelings, but I want to drop some facts and what you do with them and whether or not you let them hurt your feelings is entirely up to you.  You’ll have to pardon me, but I live in Asheville, in community with lots of these sinners that such a church is supposedly trying to reach and I thought that some of you might like to see the facts as we see them.

Fact One:  If you are a pastor and you refuse to release the details of your salary, especially after building a $1,700,000.00, 16,000 square foot home (I want to you really look at those zeros, folks), in a post Jim Bakker/Robert Tilton world, then you deserve absolutely every bit of scrutiny that you have coming your way.

Fact Two:  If you are a pastor and you build a 16,000 square foot home for a family of five while the average-sized home for your congregation is probably 5 to 8 times smaller than that, you probably need to go look up the term pastor in a dictionary.

Fact Three:  To those of us that have read up on the issue of Elevation’s “spontaneous baptism” protocol, that operation looks a lot more like the work of the Wizard of Oz or a snake oil salesman than it does the work of the Holy Spirit.

These are the facts.  Y’all need to quit arguing about it and let Steven clean up his own mess.  Also, please note that any of you can pass this along to Mr. Furtick.  He knows who I am and we have a lot of common associates.  Please let him know that he can get my cell phone number from any of those folks and give me a call, if he feels the need.

Slowly, but I’m getting there.

I’m implementing a new internet rule for myself.  I’m calling it The 24-72 Hour Sliding Scale and I think that it is going to save me a lot of grief.  It is certainly going to save me from wishing that I had conferred with my friend, Susan, before I took that time to write a big post about an issue.  Anyway, here is the rule in its entirety:  If I am about to write about or respond to a post about an issue that comes to be via the internet or the mainstream media, I must decide how big of an issue that I think it really is; then wait between 24 and 72 hours to actually publish an article about it, with the scale being directly proportional.  The bigger the issue, the longer that I have to wait to publish a post.

You may ask yourself why I might adopt such a policy, but I will give you a very complete, multi-part answer:

  1. I have a fairly significant attention problem and no real filter between what I’m thinking in my head and what comes out of my mouth.  Often, that is quite entertaining to watch, but in reality, it is sometimes hard on my interpersonal relationships.  I should rarely say what I’m thinking out loud, let alone post it on the internet.  (In fact, the only times that I allow myself to “just roll with it” are when I see someone being victimized by a rude and/or hurtful person and I publicly step in to make comment.  I got applause the last time I did that to a table full of people at a restaurant in Boone who were unthinkably rude to their server and I think that at least one of the people at the table may have wet their pants.)
  2. The larger and more complex an issue is; the more time it takes to gather facts and gain the proper perspective.
  3. We are being lied-to and manipulated by the media.  All of it.  All types.  Both sides.  All the time.

For me, the implementation of this rule is quite easy to illustrate with an issue from 2012, the Benghazi attack in Libya.  At first, there was bad information in the media.  Then, there was purposeful misdirection from the White House and the State Department that sought to put the blame for the attack on an anti-Muslim film.  Finally, we learn that this was an orchestrated attack by al-Qaeda which had sent warnings to two other countries, whose missions in Libya were attacked before our embassy.  Anyone commenting on the issue in the first two days had nothing but erroneous information and in that instance, it would take months for all the real facts to start coming out.

I just think that a wait-and-see policy regarding hot-button topics is probably the best for me.  Perhaps we could all adopt this policy.

…and this, folks, is why you should discipline your children and expect others to do the same.

I was thinking about giving up on blogging.  With an infant, a four-year-old, and two parents who need a lot of my assistance around their house, I have found time to be at somewhat of a premium.  I was just going to kill the website, save myself a little money in web hosting, and let this whole thing ride off into the sunset.

That was until I got the following responses to an email that I sent last week:

Screenshot 11:14:13 3:17 PM

I know what you’re thinking.

I used to be a youth minister and this must be from one of my former students who is in college and making some bad decisions.  I must have written an email trying to address some bad behavior or poor choices on the part of someone in their late teens or early twenties and this is their response.

Well, you could think that…and you would be wrong.

These were the responses from a man in his forties who just ran for an elected position in city government for our town.  We had a few personal exchanges in the past, regarding a pertinent local issue and so I had his personal email address.  I could explain further about our interaction or relationship, but that might give away his identity and I honestly believe that the main point is about something much bigger than the specifics that led to the email exchange.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure on my part, I must admit that I was tough on this guy.  He had said and done some things that were generating a lot of hurt and animosity; so much so that some of it ended up on Youtube…and in the local paper…and on the local television news.  He was reflecting badly on part of my community, he was saying very hurtful things to and about peaceful, decent people in the public forum, and I felt that his attitude was detrimental to our whole city.  I had sat back and watched all of his behavior that I could stand and I had the avenue, so I took the opportunity to punch his ticket.  It needed to be done and I was in the position to do it.  Like I said in the subject line of the email, I was trying to create a teachable moment.

Anyway, here is the crux of the issue:  I sent a private email to an adult male which expressed my concerns and the responses that I got were what I would have expected to get from a fourteen or fifteen year-old teenager with a bad attitude.  This guy is old enough to and has run for public office.  He is old enough to buy alcohol and firearms.  He is married and has kids.  He is all these things and he hits me with “whatever” and “I’m not even reading this” as his response?

That is insane.

If he had come back with a reasoned response, explaining his behavior or apologizing, I could have respected him.  If he had blasted me with anger and misinformation (which is his usual tactic in the public forum), I could have at least understood.  Any of that I could have comprehended, but not this.  This is not even truthful, as I was contacted by the head of a community discussion group because his wife was questioning my involvement the very next day.  Oh, he read it, alright.  He just couldn’t maturely address the issues and that is where the trouble lies.

As a nation, we have completely disregarded adequately disciplining our children and it is already coming back to bite us.  Just to be clear, when I say “as a nation”, I mean everyone.  I mean white, black, brown, plaid, liberal, conservative, Christian, Jew, Muslim, gay, straight, vegetarian, omnivore, educated, uneducated, rich, poor…I don’t care, you name it.  We have all dropped the ball.  Admittedly, some of us have botched it more than others, but we are all a long way from the days when I knew that if I got in trouble at someone’s house or at school that I not only had to answer for it there…I had Hell to pay when I got home.

This guy is just another product of a system where not only are we not going to discipline our kids, no one else is going to be allowed to, either.  His attitude can only have developed and survived to his current age in a system where he has been allowed to walk out on every argument or disciplinary action and he is not alone.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I heard the phrase “no one else is going to discipline my child” in the last ten years of youth ministry.  That mindset has become pervasive and it is toxic.

It is essential that all of us learn to respect the rules of not only the greater community, but also those of other individuals and families.  My kids need to learn that the rules at your house are just important as the rules at mine and I definitely expect your kids to live by my rules while they are at my house.  This is what it truly means for a village to raise a child.  It is not some easy platitude, but rather an ethic and a value that forces examination of values and principles.

The problem comes when we try to shirk the responsibility of knowing the parents of the kids with whom our kids associate.  We get nervous that our kids will be subject to some set of rules that we don’t know, approve of, or trust.  The only solution to that is to get to know our fellow parents, to engage in dialogue, to actually be a community.

I strongly believe that how we treat people in our daily lives finds its foundation in how we were raised.  I can’t help but believe that the fact that I got a juvenile response from a forty-something man is firmly rooted in the lack of discipline that this man received from permissive parents.  Maybe if his parents had bothered to teach him to respect the rules of others, then I wouldn’t have had to write my email.  I only know that if I had ever given someone a “whatever” or an “I’m not going to read this” when I was growing up that the consequences would have been firm and lasting.

Discipline breeds respect.  Permissiveness breeds contempt.

Dad was right…

I’ve read just about everything in the world about our current scandals and life-changing government blunders, and I’ve come to these final positions regarding Obamacare, the Federal Shutdown, NSA overreach, and Benghazi (because they are the strongest examples of where our country and its leadership are positioned):

  1. Anyone who lies to you will also steal from you.
  2. Don’t ever argue with an idiot, people may not be able to tell the difference.

Why are these statements so important?  Well, because President Obama, Representative John Boehner, Former Secretary of State Clinton, Jay Carney, and most of our current leadership in Washington are lying sacks of excrement and it should be no surprise that we are finding ourselves robbed and our way of life being destroyed by these people.  This is clearly addressed with statement number one.  It should also come as no surprise that it is fruitless for anyone with half a brain to try to convince their supporters that something is wrong by presenting them with facts.  This is clearly addressed by statement number two.

I just hate that I’ve wasted so much time realizing that I would have just been better off to operate under the parameters my father gave me.  That’s an awful lot of time lost which could have been better spent on other endeavors.

Our country is going to Hell.  How much lying, stealing, and ethical bankruptcy can we stand before we actually do something?  Somebody wake me up when people start burning stuff and heads start to roll.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Lloyd Dobler…

So…that is the monologue that goes through my mind anytime one of my friends starts to pitch me on whatever particular multi-level marketing brand has captured their imagination (or their soul…you decide).  I would personally like to go back to calling these life-sucking, personal-relationship-ruining, predatory marketing schemes what they are: pyramid schemes.

I could write and deftly defend a thesis on why these pyramid schemes fail as a road to financial success, but I will leave that to Penn & Teller, as they have done a stellar job with that, already.  No, I would merely like to make one single point in my plea for a return to sanity.

If you are my friend, it is because I value you as a person and enjoy your company.  That does not, however, give you the right to sell me stuff or to enlist my help in selling your brand of stuff.

Now that we’ve gotten the main point out-of-the-way, I would like to let you know how I feel about said attempts at recruitment (or opportunities for AMAZING financial success for those of you who have been drinking the Kool-Aid).  I know that we all are living in a struggling economy and that good, solid, full-time jobs are hard to find.  I know that many of you have chosen a lifestyle of one working parent or home schooling your kids and want to have some sort of way to work from home.  I respect those types of choices and this is a mostly free country, so you have every right to make those decisions.  There is, however, one fact that I would like you to consider and that is this:

I, like millions of other Americans, work from a workplace.  I always have worked from a workplace and even when it was my job to sell auto parts for my father’s business, I sold them at someone else’s workplace.  I didn’t try to sell to them when they were “off-the-clock” and I surely didn’t try to sell to them while they were at home…that would have been rude.

I understand that you folks have listened to a very convincing sells pitch for your respective brand and that you really believe that your products or services are going to affect positive change in the lives of your clients.  Also, some of you folks are among my best friends, so please believe that I am trying to be as loving as I possibly know how when I tell you this:

You have become the dinnertime telemarketers of our generation.  You are damaging your relationships with people in order to create opportunities to sell your product or services.  Not only will you not get rich, but you will awake one day to find that you have damaged some of your most valuable attachments to people in this life.  Your companies have poisoned the traditional bonding activities of dinners and parties for the pursuit of sales and recruitment and even the expanding realm of social media is quickly becoming just another venue in which you can solicit.


I beg of all of you multi-level marketers.

Just stop.

Don’t invite me to dinner unless you just want to share a meal.  Don’t invite me to a party unless it is just to hang out and have a good time.  Don’t try to get me excited about an “amazing business opportunity” on Facebook.  I don’t want your products or your services and every second that I spend listening to your sales pitch is time that I’ll never get back.

Keep your supplements, your cell phone plans, and your juices or whatever other snake oil that you happen to be selling.  Before you approach me with anything, please apply what I like to call the Lloyd Dobler Paradigm.  I don’t want to buy, sell or process anything that you are selling.  If you can respect that simple philosophy, then we should be just fine.

I swear, the next one of you that approaches me with a multi-level marketing scheme will become the test subject for my reality therapy solution for those afflicted with involvement in such companies.  I will take your home address, cell phone number, email address, and Facebook account and fill out interest cards and forms with as many of your local door-to-door religious proselytizing sects as I possibly can.

“You gotta have some kind of back-up plan, right?”

So, this short video clip pretty much sums up how I’ve been feeling since I was about 21.


Without ceasing.

It sometimes keeps me from easily falling asleep at night and it is often the first thing that I think about in the morning.

I first became aware that this sort of thing might be a real problem when my dad had some mini-strokes back in 1992 and I ended up running the family business for a while.  Nothing sobers you up like having the responsibility of making payroll for 27 people (people with families) and taking a hard look at the financial books and business prospects.  That’s when I discovered that new corporate-backed competitors were getting ready to obliterate independent auto parts stores nationwide.  They had already started opening up in town and my father’s only response was to continue doing business as we had done since the early 70’s, hoping that our service and long-standing relationships would trump corporate volume discount pricing.

It didn’t.

We got to sell our part of the family farm 12 years later when the floods came in 2004 and I learned that the way Dad had kept the last of his businesses open was to take $125,000 out against his and Mom’s house.  Not exactly the back-up plan I had hoped for.

Later, as I was finishing-up college, I worked with some friends and we did Christian summer youth camps.  When we became successful, I started noticing that people almost twice our age were looking to us as if we had the answer to where youth ministry and even the evangelical church, as a whole, were headed.  We were young and unmarried,  with no kids, no mortgages, and we had few responsibilities beyond keeping our grades up.  How could someone with all of the things we lacked in addition to a master’s degree possibly be looking to us for answers?  Didn’t they have a plan?  Didn’t they know where we were headed?

Next, I graduated and started working as a youth minister in Baptist churches.  Every staff meeting, deacon’s meeting, or planning session left me with an ever-growing sense that instead of “The Great and Powerful Oz” that there was merely some bumbling man behind the curtain to which I wasn’t supposed to be paying attention, because if I was paying attention I would certainly learn that he didn’t have a clue as to what he was doing.  Was it possible that we were on a train with no engineer at the controls?

Finally, I started paying attention to national politics and the news, in general.  At that point, all of my suspicions were confirmed.  Things are out of control because a whole lot of leaders from just about every avenue of life have dropped the proverbial ball.  That’s when I had the exact same realization that Bruce Willis’ character had in Armageddon.

There is no room somewhere with people thinking shit up.

No brilliant answers are forthcoming…at least not for most of what is really ailing us.

I challenge you to take about an hour.  Lay down all of the patent answers and statements that you’ve been accepting from our politicians and our ministers and our media outlets.  The people that we’ve been trusting, like doctors, counselors, gurus and experts.  Put all of those people aside for just a few minutes and forget that they are telling you that they have a good idea for how everything is going to work out.

Now, take a look at the world.  Take a look at our country.  Examine the state of our communities.  Read today’s newspaper front to back.  Hit up Reuters and the Associated Press.  Look at the actual events, not the coverage.  Turn the sound off on your television and flip through all the channels and see what our kids and popular culture figures all look like.  Go to a public place and see how many people are interacting with the people around them and how many people have their face stuck in some sort of electronic device or have headphones jammed in their ears.

After doing all of that, I don’t know where you will end up, but I know where it has left me.  I think we aren’t paying attention.  I think that we are being distracted by people who are trying to convince us (as well as themselves) that they have it figured out.  I think that we are getting hollow platitudes.  I think that some of us need to find a way to walk away from most of the concerns of the American dream and start soul-searching for some better answers.

We need to realize that there really isn’t a room where people are “thinking shit up”…but there should be.  And those people that should be “thinking shit up”?  That should be us.

We are responsible for our own families.  We are responsible for our own faith.  Each and every one of us is responsible for being well-informed, so that we can make the appropriate choices.  More importantly, we need to be able to tell when we are trusting someone that has no contingency plan.

Please Buy One of These…and Learn How To Use It

A time-tested device for not looking stupid.
A time-tested device for not looking stupid.

I wondered what would rekindle the fire that drives me to write.  Would it be any of the number of currently trending political topics?  No.  Would it be some massive and controversial social issue?  No.  It turns out that what I really needed was to read a simple Facebook post.

The items that you see in the above photo are dictionaries.  For the uninformed they are books that contain alphabetical listings of words and their meanings.  These listings even come with handy phonetic representations which help with pronunciation.  I know what you’re thinking.  THAT IS AMAZING!  What an ingenious invention.  When did someone come up with such a thing?  Well, apparently the first ones came into existence around 2300 B.C.E  or over 4,300 years ago for those of you who need a little help with the math.

For those of you who have to have the “latest and greatest”, you may be surprised to learn that they have quite a number of FREE WEBSITES that work in exactly the same way and reference the same material.  In fact, most web services, browsers, computers, and word processing programs come with dictionaries built-in.

Quite simply, dictionaries are an amazing tool that make learning and communicating with a common language very easy…and yet there are a very large number of people who shun their use and insist on looking and sounding like complete morons.

As a public service I would like to take this opportunity to present several serious, salient, and pertinent questions, along with the correct answers:

  • Is it important to use proper spelling? Yes, always.
  • I have a teacher or parent (for the home-schooled) who says that effort is more important than accuracy.  Is that true?  No, they are allowing you to appear stupid and making you unemployable.  Good luck.
  • Is it cool or clever to use hip alternate spellings?  No, it makes you appear uneducated or worse, as someone trying to be hip (which is just sad).
  • What if my spelling skills aren’t that good?  Can I still post on the internet?  Only if you want people to know how little you value a proper education.
  • If my spelling skills aren’t good, what should I do to correct the problem?  I’m glad you asked.  You should BUY A DICTIONARY AND LEARN HOW TO USE IT.  You might also consider taking a course at a local community college in writing, grammar, and spelling.  Remediation always helps.
  • I’m still in school.  What should I do to improve my spelling?  Immediately turn off your computer and go to the library or someplace with no distractions and do your homework or read a book.
  • I’m having problems learning how to spell on my own.  Is there someone who can help me with that?  Yes,
    they are called teachers.  Find one and ask for help.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.  I would love to help.  If you have any negative feedback, please feel free to submit that, as well.  I would love to mark it up, correct the spelling and grammar, and then post it here on the site.


Parenting 2.0


Do you see this picture?  Do you know what it is?  THIS is what it looked like the other night after a song came on the radio with Sammy Hagar singing.  I asked my daughter who it was and she responded “The Red Rocker, Daddy.”  Today, she asked for ZZ Top by name and wanted “that haw, haw, haw, haw song” which meant that she wanted to listen to La Grange.  Other days, it is “Hey Daddy, I want to listen to hey ho, let’s go” and we are of to the races with The Ramones.

Sure, she still listens to little kid music.  She loves Veggie Tales and The Backyardigans.  She sings the songs that she learns at preschool and vacation bible school, so don’t think that I lock her in a vault with a radio set to the local classic rock station with the tuning knob removed.  It’s just that she listens to what we listen to in the car and around the house and she picks up what she likes and often asks for it by name.  I’ll never forget the day that I had to add Crazy Train to one of her programmable toys.  There is nothing quite as funny as a Fisher-Price toy with all its bright colors blasting Ozzy as a three year old listens and shows off her “sweet rock moves” for everyone.

When we first had her, I was scared to death.  The only experience that I had ever had around kids was with the teenagers with whom I had worked for two decades.  She was so frail and helpless and I was just sure that I would never figure out how to be a good parent.  Now, we’ve just had our second child (and the primary reason for the big gap since my last post) and I have had a little more one-on-one time with my daughter while my wife has been taking care of business with our infant son.  I’ve also taken some time to reflect and I think that I’ve found the one thing of which I am most proud regarding being a father.  I spend time with my daughter and I teach her about the things that I enjoy and feel are important.

I know that she has the rest of her life to develop her own interests and passions.  I am also aware that she’ll eventually learn about stuff that I find appalling from her peers at school or in everyday life.  There will be boys that I find stupid, lazy, and worthless that show up to try and take her out on dates.  There may even be a few boys that me and my friends have to bury in Pisgah National Forest because they have overstepped their bounds with my daughter.  However the future unfolds, I know that she will spend a lifetime learning things outside of my areas of influence, interest, and expertise.

My job is to do the best that I can to teach her about the things that I know.  I hope that when she is my age that she will be able to say that she knows all about what I like and what I’ve taught her.  That way, when I’m not around anymore, she will have a good idea of what I would say to her when she really needs some help.  More importantly, I hope that she will know who I really am, so that she will be able to remember who I really was.

My dad took the time to teach me how to work and for that I will forever be grateful.  Unfortunately, he always kind of figured that we would travel when he got older and spend our fun time together then.  It turns out that he had a leaky heart valve that caused some mini-strokes in the early nineties and I found myself running the family business in my early twenties while he recovered.  About the time that he was more or less recovered from the strokes, we lost the family business to a bad business deal and a massive flood and he had to go on anti-depressants for a while.  By the time he got back to normal from that, he had lost his hearing from being around engines, racing, and machine shops for decades.  Even with hearing aids, it is almost impossible for us to have a conversation lasting more than about three sentences.  It annoys him that he can’t hear and talking rings in his head because of the hearing aids, so I just get a lot of smiles and nods.

When I think of my dad, I always see him as he was in the nineteen seventies and eighties because that was when he could still communicate very well.  I love that guy, but I wish that I knew more about his life and his interests; who he was and what he did before he was my father.  I used to be able to glean a lot of that stuff from his close friends, but they are all dying off and I’m only left with sanitized stories that the family will tell.  Pretty soon, he and all of his peers will be gone and all I’ll have left are the memories.

I love Ernest Greene and I thank him for everything that he has given me over the years and I even named my son after him.  He is and was a great man who has seen and done some amazing things.  I just wish that I knew more about those things and what they were.  Hopefully, I will do a better job of conveying my life to my kids.

So, I wrote this article…

Monday’s article about mental illness and how we have and have not been dealing with it seems to have hit a nerve with a lot of people, as it has been shared and read well over 400 times by people in 5 countries.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with most people sensing that I sought to initiate a tough conversation that needs to be had in order to protect the general public, as well as the more dangerously mentally ill.  I’ve seen lots of the comments and discussions and not one called for any sort of witch hunt.  Everything that I’ve read was about people expressing care for the plight that this issue poses for the person with the illness, the parents and family, and the general public.

Then I get a scathing comment from an aspiring attorney so I checked out her blog…and her wisdom regarding her unemployment…and how she would appoint her dream office, so that I could get a feel for my detractor.  Her comment blasts me with what I have come to expect from the vast number of would-be experts and professionals who have never spent one hour, let alone months at a time, in a full-time setting with kids who have serious behavioral issues stemming from mental illness.  Here is what my ersatz Ally McBeal had to say:  “This is ridiculous, if not downright frightening and sick. It’s not time for a discussion about locking people up and separating them from society “for their own good.” It’s not time for a discussion about “humanely” denying people their due process rights and fundamental rights to freedom. It is time for a discussion about how people VIEW the mentally ill, how to treat them in such a way that they actually WANT to seek treatment (here’s a hint: locking them up isn’t going to make ANYONE seek help), and providing them with treatment that fits their particular circumstances.

I’m glad that Ms. McBeal took it upon herself to straighten me out.  It never occurred to me that the problem was how I viewed the mentally ill when I had to restrain a student that was throwing D-cell batteries as hard as he could at a female college student summer staff who might have weighed 105 pounds and was one of the kindest, gentlest women I have ever met.  I also should have taken the time to treat the student who was trying to molest another student in such a way the he would want treatment and not just separate him from the group by putting him in his own tent for the remainder of the course.  In fact, because of Ms. McBeal’s comment, I am going to have to contact every mentally ill student that I have ever stopped from committing felonious assault, attempted murder, and any number of sex offenses and let them know that I am sorry for violating their basic rights to due process and freedom.

Or not.

You see there are some problems with the assumption that I have some draconian attitude towards those with mental illness.  I can still remember cleaning defecation off a student in a river in Pisgah National Forest because he was having an episode, had soiled himself, and could not take care of his own needs.  At the time I was 4 days and 9 miles of hiking from my next shower.  Oh, and there was that time that I worked 60 days straight with no time off on a course with 8 students because my staff partner flaked-out and left the group for 6 days and I felt that it would be unsafe for the kids if I took more than an hour away from the group.  This suspicion was later confirmed when said staff partner had one of our students committed the day after I left on vacation, so when I got back I had her removed from the course and returned the student to the group.  I could go on, but that would merely be self-serving ego-stroking.  Simply put, I am an advocate for getting caring, appropriate, and effective treatment for the mentally ill.

Still, I’m glad the pre-bar exam McBeal made her comment.  It gave me the perfect illustration of one of the two most irritating problems with getting people with mental illness the help they need without endangering others.  My personal opinion (see how I did that to exempt me from litigation) is that there are way too many attorneys who want to project this idealistic notion of protecting the rights of the mentally ill before they hurt another individual…and then they want to sue them and their families into oblivion when one of these people hurts another person.  Everyone spends so much time with forms and audits and protocols and hearings that it is a very long time before the person with the dangerous mental illness gets any mandated treatment.  In actuality it is often several incidents into a problem before anyone can get the ball rolling on removing a dangerous person from the general populace because everyone is so busy covering their buttocks from litigation.

The other vexing problem is the parent with the checkbook; no real time for their child, no patience for the hassle, and definitely no concern for the safety of other children.  These lovely individuals merely write the checks that clean up the messy situations that their child creates.  They are essentially the same as a lot of bad parents, only their child has a dangerous mental illness and needs their time, love, and attention way more than anything else they can provide.  Yet these folks spend their time discounting the opinions of professionals, ignoring advice from doctors, and generally keeping their kids in the mainstream which is a danger to both themselves and others.

I’m going to keep hammering this nail and many others until people start paying attention.  This country has run off the rails in so many ways and until we start fixing some problems, we are going to continue to see the sort of destruction that we saw last week in Connecticut.  This is not about demonizing the mentally ill.  It is about completely changing the system to protect everyone…especially the patient.  In fact, the one person who keeps me in check when my life runs off the rails in someone who has been institutionalized with mental illness.  We all need someone to step in and take the reigns when we are out of control.  Why should we not afford the same kindness to the dangerously mentally ill?