During the weekend following the Newtown, Conn. shootings, Boise writer Liza Long wrote an essay published in The Blue Review that has struck a chord on the internet, re-published and re-tweeted thousands of times. She writes about her 13-year-old son Michael, whom she describes as incredibly smart but mentally ill.
“I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.”
He’s threatened to kill her with knives on numerous occasions, Long writes, prompting her and her two other children to practice safety drills by running to the car and removing sharp objects from the house.
She writes, chiding society’s stigma on mental illness and our country’s broken healthcare system: “no one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail.”