While most of the media appears to have stopped asking why Adam Lanza killed, there are at least two people who haven’t stopped; the father of six-year-old Arielle Richman, Jeremy Richman, and the mother of six-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene, Nelba Marquez-Greene. Both six-year-old girls were among the 20 Sandy Hook Elementary School children who were gunned down mercilessly by Adam Lanza not even two months ago. The Housatonic Times reports on Jan. 30, 2013, that Arielle’s father and Ana’s mother testified during Tuesday’s legislative subcommittee hearing by Connecticut lawmakers.
"The shooters in Sandy Hook, Tucson, Aurora, Littleton, Blacksburg — we will not grant them the respect of using their names — were not in their right minds. … Too little is known in the mental health area about what drives these violent behaviors. … Clearly, something is wrong with the person capable of such atrocities."
Arielle’s father, Jeremy Richman, is not only a man of words but also a man of action. He and his wife have started a foundation in Arielle’s name in order to protect vulnerable groups from violence and to understand the mental underpinnings of violent behavior.
During Tuesday’s legislative subcommittee hearing, Jeremy Richman also said that it is clear that Lanza did not commit an impulsive act of violence, but rather a planned crime with the "goal of achieving infamy" like other mass shooters.
Ana’s mother, Nelba Marquez-Greene, who is also a licensed marriage and family therapist, expressed her hope that Connecticut would become “a national model to improve its mental health system.”
In a written testimony which was ready by Nelba Marquez-Greene’s sister on Tuesday, Ana’s mother said that "My Ana Grace was murdered. She was six years old. She was one of 26 innocent people massacred senselessly. … This tragedy could have been prevented."
In her written testimony, Nelba Marquez-Greene suggested exposing families to trained mental health professionals to de-stigmatize mental health access and treatment. She also called for the state to fully fund programs that provide support to parents.
In addition to Arielle’s father and Ana’s mother, another Sandy Hook Elementary School mother spoke out at the legislative subcommittee hearing.
Jennifer Maksel is a Newtown mother of three children. Her youngest son is now a first grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Jennifer Maksel told the legislative panel on Tuesday that she is worried about her “mentally troubled 12-year-old son,” who can be abusive towards his other siblings.
"It took something like this. Because I don't want another tragedy. Would I think he would do it? I don't think so. But who knows? He's 12 years old. … But if I don't get him social skills to prepare himself for when he's 18, what am I going to do?"
Did Tuesday’s legislative hearing by Connecticut lawmakers result in any revelation for Jeremy Richman, Nelba Marquez-Greene, Jennifer Maksel or any other parent?
It actually did.
Connecticut lawmakers are reviewing mental health care following the deadly Newtown school shooting “even though they and the public have little insight” into the mental state of the 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza.
“The prosecutor in the case, Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, said he cannot release information about Adam Lanza's mental health because of the Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct, which covers all attorneys in the state. His office is reviewing whether details of Lanza's mental state can be released to the public after the police report is completed, possibly in June.”
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has created two task forces for gun violence and school safety. A third task force which is to focus “on mental health services and reducing the stigma of treatment” doesn’t feel like it needs details about Adam Lanza, his mental state, why he killed, or how the Connecticut School shooting could have been prevented.
“Members of Malloy's commission said they would like to have details of Lanza's mental health, but it's not essential.”
Slightly more than 100 people signed up to testify on Tuesday's hearing on mental health. In comparison, 1,200 people signed up to testify at Monday's hearing on gun laws.
Until mental health becomes as important and as openly discussed as gun laws, a tragedy like the Connecticut School shooting will most likely not be prevented. How many more school shootings or other public shootings will occur until June?
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