‘I am Adam Lanza’s mother’

“I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.’’

Writer Liza Long’s account of life with her 13-year-old son has touched a chord on the Internet, being picked up in full by the HuffingtonPost and Gawker, among other sites.. In the Boise writer’s essay, she argues that the broader discussion is not about guns, but about mental health:

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan -- they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

Read Long’s full article on the blog The Anarchist’s Soccer Mom.

Long’s point — that the spate of recent mass shootings are both mental health and gun issues — has been taken up anew. Nicole Bernier, a Boston-based writer, suggested on Sunday that President Obama appoint “explainer-in-chief” Bill Clinton the czar of gun safety and mental health.

David Beard is a writer, editor and director of digital content for The Post. He also edits The Optimist, a weekly e-newsletter, and has been a foreign correspondent.

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