From West to Boston to China: Terrible Things Happen. You Have Two Weeks to Get Over It.

Categories: Schutze

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Just so people won't get caught unaware, I want to point out that the town of West has until a week from tomorrow to grieve. That will be two weeks from the time of the industrial accident that blew up their town, took the lives of loved ones and left behind a legacy of bloody suffering and agonizing recovery.

According to the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly called the DSM-5, significant symptoms of depression after two weeks, including weight loss, concentration and memory problems, as well as more serious manifestations of sadness, may cease to be considered normal bereavement and could render the people of West susceptible to diagnosis and treatment including psychoactive drugs.

The people of Boston are under the same kind of deadline. It's OK for them to be really really crazy sad for two weeks. After that, according to the DSM-5, they may not get away with grieving any more. They could be deemed disordered. Just saying.

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The diagnosis explosion is obviously a good thing for diagnosticians, and maybe it's a good thing for us, too. Could be. For example, I'm a gun-control libtard. There's been all kinds of talk lately about ginning up better records of people's mental states in order to keep guns out of the hands of disordered persons. But I have this question: After you stick a diagnosis on somebody, what exactly are you going to do about it?

There's a story in The New York Times today about one of our fellow Texicans who hijacked a Yellow Cab in Manhattan yesterday and crashed it in New Jersey after a big police chase because he thought he was a spy escaping the KGB.

His brother is quoted: "He goes off and says stuff off the wall, that he's a DEA agent, that the KGB. is after him. He was in a mental hospital in Nebraska for a while. They helped him out real well there. But once he got back to Texas, he wouldn't take his medicine and he'd just get lost in the system."

In terms of public safety, exactly what good did it do to put a diagnosis on that guy? Didn't keep him from going to New York and hijacking a cab. I'm not saying he shouldn't be diagnosed or there shouldn't be an effort to help him. I'm just saying it's not going to help the rest of us much, because we lack the ability to do much about him.

Look: There's another good one in the Times today saying the FBI didn't keep track of the older Boston bomber brother even after the Russians told them he might be a dangerous terrorist, because after doing some web searches and an interview with him the FBI lacked legal authority to stay on his case. I think the same story also provides another clue to the government's lack of interest.

He wasn't interesting enough. Books have been written about Lee Harvey Oswald defecting to Russia in 1959. But in 2013, a guy moves back to Russia, worries Russian intelligence enough to warrant a warning to the CIA, then comes home and posts jihadi videos on the web. He's sort of interesting. But not that interesting.

The Times piece quotes an American intelligence expert: "I tend to view this stuff [the videos] as certainly interesting, and evincing some degree of extreme beliefs, but probably not exactly a flashing warning sign."

What does that mean? It means there are too many guys like that. The FBI has to pick its battles and husband its resources. Guys like this just happen. Things like this happen. Our ability to protect ourselves from danger is like our ability to protect ourselves from grief. Limited.

Can we do better? Should we try? Of course. A story in The Dallas Morning News today (they're kicking ass on the West explosion and getting themselves cited all over the linkosphere) details an incredibly sorry half-assed record of state regulation in West -- a complete failure by the state of Texas to enforce even the rules and regulations already in the law. It's disgusting.

Hey, sorry to jump you all over that linkosphere, but let's dip back into today's Times for a look at another story, this one about the incredible plague of air pollution in China. The story includes this paragraph: "I hope in the future we'll move to a foreign country," Ms. Zhang, a lawyer, said as her ailing son, Wu Xiaotian, played on a mat in their apartment, near a new air purifier. "Otherwise we'll choke to death."

Don't move to Texas, Ms. Zhang. You won't be improving your lot.

In the coverage of West, especially in the stories about how close the plant was to a school, nursing home and houses, there is a barely perceptible suggestion that the people of West must share responsibility for allowing that arrangement to occur. Makes sense logically, I guess. My least favorite part of our city's only daily newspaper, the editorial page, is off on a crusade again about how industry should not be allowed anywhere near neighborhoods.

Yeah. I grew up in the Rust Belt, where you could write on your windshield with a magnet every morning because of the fine film of steel dust. Not saying that was a good thing. Just saying I know why people in West kept their mouths shut about that plant.

It was work. It was money. Doesn't do any good to have clean lungs if you're starving to death. Life gives us a lot of really tough choices and trade-offs. Sometimes you breathe steel so you can eat. Oh, now I have to jump back into the links and mention a piece also in today's Morning News, actually in that same section I just talked bad about, by a writer with whom I have crossed keyboards in the past (a reference to crossing swords, get it?), Tod Robberson. Robberson writes very movingly today about the families of terrorists and the awful burden of shame they must survive. He describes a couple cases in which the surviving family members, especially fathers, have dealt with their shame by drinking heavily. I believe that's called self-medication these days. In Detroit it was called a toot. I wonder when the DSM-5 will get to toots.

Terrible things happen, and there isn't always a way we can prevent them from happening. There are cases where we even know really bad things might happen, and we take the chance anyway. We do the best we can. We do what we can do. That's not an excuse for not trying to do better. But maybe in our desire to render some mercy on the people of Boston and West, we might all confront and recognize that one simple, terrible reality: We do not write all the rules. Never did. Never will.


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34 comments
Americano
Americano

Liberals still freak out over president Bush (43).  I suppose that means they are disordered.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

Know what you can do Jim?  Instead of going on an absurd rant about suffering, how about discuss something the linkosphere ignored?  How about mentioning that 30 Afghan women and Children were murdered last week by US drones?   How about mentioning an act so horrific it doubled the casualty total of West and Boston?  How about mentioning the fact that WE did this as a matter of policy.  A couple of radicalized kids, do one thing, lax gov't and complacent people allow another, and we wail and cry about all the suffering.  But we fail to even mention the graver atrocity, committed as the considered policy, in all our names, and very few have the courage and temerity to even mention it.  Wonder why they hate us?  Cause were insular people, we're like Tom and Daisy, consumed in our frivolous dramas, while we wreck the lives of those we don't even deign to notice.  I shout, others use bombs.  It's not right, but I understand. 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

What was in your coffee this morning?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Jim, are you sure that the picture that you have with this article truly is a photo of the explosion cloud from West?  I am very familiar with the area and there are a number of things that don't look right in the picture.  Among these are the bench on an overlook and the scene looks more urban than rural; and, the vegetation doesn't look right.


If it is a photo of the West explosion, I would like to know the vantage point.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

I'm just saying it's not going to help the rest of us much, because we lack the ability to do much about him.

no Jim, it isn't because we lack the ability, we lack the wherewithall, we lack the collective focus on how we as a society can help our fellow humans.

Those Chinese citizens who are stuck in a community where the industry supported by the state pollutes the air, producing clear and indentifiable health hazard for the people living there. It is better in Texas, it is better in the US, because we as a society said that we will not allow this to exist in our country. We exhibitd the wherewithall to require industry to comply with regs that stopped the pollution from becoming a health hazard. The sad part is we as a society can't seem to gather that same collective will to address the lack of quality, consistent healthcare (including psychiatric) for everyone regardless of income.

The problem isn't that we can't help those who suffer, it is that our society is cursed with a group of people who believe it is all about the individual, are against providing assistance thru the state to help, and just frankly don't have the cajones to agree that it is their opposition to social welfare nets that allow people who need help to go without that help. It's "the strongest will survive" social darwinianism.

schermbeck
schermbeck

"Just saying I know why people in West kept their mouths shut about that plant." Yeah, it's the same reason lots of abused spouses never speak up. Thank God they do though.

CraigT42
CraigT42

According to a recent slate.com article in the new DSM-5 roughly half of Americans will be considered to have a mental condition. Yt at the same time we want to do background checks for constitutionally protected rights that would disqualify you for having a mental condition.

Sme of the mental illnesses listed in the DSM-5 are caffeine dependency and having the jitters from caffeine withdrawal.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Life is a terminal condition.

Best not to dwell on it, I guess . . .

roo_ster
roo_ster

@scottindallas Indeed.  

FTR, I am generally in favor of blowing terrorists to Hell.  I am even OK with a certain amount of "sucks to be you, seeing that you were too close to a terrorist at the wrong time."  

What sticks in my craw is the re-definition of these sorts of "bonus" killings as combatants.  No, they aren't.  They are dimwit camel-humping illiterates who were likely sympathetic to the terrorist(s), but they are not combatants.  And knowing the number of folks we kill en route to killing our enemies is something we ought to know and think about.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@mavdog 

I think I agree with you on everything, up to the point of sheer overwhelming logistics, the odds and the cruelty of fate, but maybe we should let Shakespeare worry about that stuff.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

Hate to say this, but the Huffpo piece looks like they read the DMN coverage and chased up the same docs.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@CraigT42 Either you're an idiot, or you're a liar (or both), because caffeine dependency was REJECTED for inclusion in the DSM-5. Geez, hyperbole much?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@CraigT42 

Add to that picture the fact that most shrinks spend one hour total on diagnosis because that's all the insurance company will pay for. OK, just a second, got to get my tin hat arranged on my haircut. So, if we project all this forward,  do we not see a day when they can come into our homes and shoot us up on all kinds of dope if we give them even the least little amount of shit? I mean, if there's a hard border between here and there, show me where it is. The shrinks? OMG! They're all the ones who got turned down for dermatology residencies. Tell me there's a better line protecting us, so I can take off this hat.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Michael.MacNaughton @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  

That makes sense ... Alon USA in Big Spring


tyvm

CraigT42
CraigT42

@casiepierce@CraigT42 

Or I am quoting an article, but I am sure the personal atacks make you feel better about yourself

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/04/diagnostic_and_statistical_manual_fifth_edition_why_will_half_the_u_s_population.html

But I confess I misquoted, it is not caffeine addiction it is caffeine intoxication

"Another example is the “disorder” “caffeine intoxication,” characterized by at least five symptoms after consuming the equivalent of two to three cups of coffee"

 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@JimSX @CraigT42 the shrinks are complicit in torture, another incontrovertible fact you left out of our meandering rant, though again, the proof of torture wasn't covered in the press much, nor our arming of terrorists in Syria, Libya, and Chechnya. 

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @JimSX 

Well, they just say everything in a certain tone of voice because they don't want to get accused of ruining their readers' naps.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@CraigT42 @casiepierce that's serious, seriously, can cause temporary blindness, weak heartbeat and many other serious issues.  Though, those don't really sound very "psychoactive" to me

casiepierce
casiepierce

@CraigT42 @casiepierce Caffeine intoxication is a legitimate medical disorder and can cause a person to become dehydrated and end up in the hospital. Think of a college kid driving straight through from North Carolina to West Texas to get home in time for Thanksgiving dinner, pounding back one Monster drink after another. Trust me, that kid will end up vomiting uncontrollably, dehydrated, violently shaking and babbling incoherently, kinda similar to a drug overdose, oh because it IS a drug overdose.


I tend to get my medical facts from medical sources, not from Slate articles meant to entertain and/or inflame.


JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@CraigT42 @casiepierce 

Shit. I get that every morning. It's the only way I can make myself read the Morning News.

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