It seems the phrase “She was difficult to deal with” or “He was difficult to deal with” is appearing too often in the news nowadays. Isn’t it time for change? On Jan. 1, 2013, CBS News reported that “The family of a woman accused of shoving an Indian man to his death in front of a subway train last week called police several times in the past five years because she had not been taking prescribed medication and she was difficult to deal with, authorities said Monday.”
One cannot help but be reminded of Nancy Lanza who had told her restaurant friends that her son Adam Lanza was difficult to deal with. In fact, Adam Lanza was so difficult to deal with that just three days before Adam Lanza’s shooting rampage, Nancy Lanza escaped and left Adam Lanza alone in the house.
“But just three days prior, Nancy, 52, made a 220-mile drive from her Connecticut home to the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods for some rest and relaxation … Nancy drove up there to escape her painful existence at home. … She was at a crossroads on what to do with Adam, and occasionally she would make the trip to the hotel just to get away from it all. … On the evening she arrived, Nancy hit both of the hotel’s bars. First she ‘downed several glasses of Chardonnay’ at Stickneys. After that place closed, she moved on to The Cave, where she continued to drink alone until the place closed at midnight. … Nancy did the same thing the following night, then checked out at noon on Thursday and headed back to Newtown and an unimaginable nightmare.” (Adam Lanza: Psychopath or Sociopath)
It appears that neither calling the police, as in Erika Menendez’ case, nor going to a resort, as in Adam Lanza’s case, adequately addresses the topic of how to deal with someone difficult.
Adam Lanza’s body has by now been claimed by his father Peter Lanza who had not seen his 20-year-old son in four years.
Erika Menendez, 31, is by now being held without bail for the murder of 46-year-old Sunando Sen, a native from India. Erika Menendez had never met Sunando Sen before shoving him off the subway platform. According to prosecutors, Erika Menendez did it because she “thought it would be cool,” reports CBS News. Erika Menendez also thought Sunando Sen was Muslim despite the fact that he was a Hindu.
In 2003, Erika Menendez was arrested because she had punched a 28-year-old man in the face inside her Queens home. The case was later dropped.
Also in 2003, Erika Menendez was arrested for a violent and relentless attack on a stranger on the street near her home.
By the end of 2003, Erika Menendez was given a conditional discharge for cocaine possession.
It appears that 2003 marked only the beginning of more trouble.
“Over the past 12 years, New York City police have records of 14 encounters with Ms. Menendez, 31 years old, including nine arrests separate from the calls for help from her mother,” reported the Wall Street Journal in a Dec. 31, 2012, article about Erika Menendez.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza killed 27 innocent people. On Dec. 27, 2012, Erika Menendez ran away after pushing Sunando Sen “off the elevated platform of a No. 7 train that travels between Manhattan and Queens.” Sunando Sen lived in Queens for decades and owned a print shop. Like Sandy Hook’s innocent victims, Sunando Sen had done nothing to provoke Erika Menendez’ assault.
During her court appearance last weekend, Erika Menendez “laughed and snickered so much” that the presiding judge had to warn her. The court-appointed attorney Dietrich Epperson who represented Erika Menendez said that "she acted the same way with him when he tried to speak with her. He had no further comment.”
Erika Menendez’ attorney does not really need to provide any further comments.
Erika Menendez’ mother, Maricela Mera, already stated that “her daughter was acting violently and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, an illness marked by extreme shifts in mood.”
Erika Menendez’ police record shows that she was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
In 2007, Erika Menendez was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, an inpatient psychiatric unit, because she had overmedicated on pills causing her to become “disoriented and drowsy.”
In 2008, Erika Menendez was again taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center because she was "threatening to harm herself and others."
Adam Lanza had also been assigned a psychologist at school because of his social awkwardness according to a Dec. 17, 2012, Wall Street Journal report.
“Not long into his freshman year, Adam Lanza caught the attention of Newtown High School staff members, who assigned him a high-school psychologist, while teachers, counselors and security officers helped monitor the skinny, socially awkward teen, according to a former school official. Their fear wasn't that he was dangerous. ‘It was completely the opposite,’ said Richard J. Novia, the director of security at Newtown School District at the time in 2007. ‘At that point in his life, he posed no threat to anyone else. We were worried about him being the victim or that he could hurt himself’."
How about the idea that a child that has the potential to hurt himself or herself also has the potential to hurt others?
It appears that the last month of 2012 is sending a clear message that something needs to change in 2013.
Adam Lanza had access to guns and killed. Erika Menendez didn’t have access to guns and killed.
What would have happened if Erika Menendez had access to an assault rifle?
How many more deaths of innocent children and adults will it take before the topic of adequate and appropriate mental health care will be added to the discussion about gun control and school safety?
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