In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 30, 2013/ 27 Tishrei, 5774

After the Massacre: The Blame Game

By Suzanne Fields

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | After the massacre comes the rush to judgment. The blame game begins. Such things shouldn't happen among civilized people. Don't we have safeguards to prevent such tragedies? Can't we do something, as they say in the old westerns, to cut the killers off at the pass?

Public institutions guard health and safety through doctors and cops, but they're only human. Men and women who check identifications and rummage through our bags at the airport sometimes miss peril lurking in our midst. Security firms that vet employees insensitive or semi-sensitive government jobs occasionally fail us. Family and friends can miss the obvious.

Like holes cut in a knitted scarf, once one thread is cut the whole scarf unravels. Lots of threads unraveled for Aaron Alexis, the shooter at the Washington Navy Yard, enabling the demented voices inside his delusional mind to determine that 12 innocent men and women must die.

At the memorial service for the victims, President Obama tried to comfort the friends and families of the fallen, calling the roll of other similar tragedies. The names sounded like incantations of famous battles held in the nation's collective memory: Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook and now the Washington Navy Yard. The common denominator is not war, death in defense of country, kith and kin, but sickness in mind and soul.

The gun control advocates leap to blame the ease of purchasing guns, but Aaron Alexis had no criminal record or history of mental illness that would have turned up on a gun check. Wayne LaPierre, the president of the National Rifle Association, calls for "good guys with guns" to protect the rest of us, but Aaron Alexis, as his friends at the Buddhist temple in Fort Worth, Texas recall, was once "a good boy" himself.

His complaint to the cops about "being followed" and "hearing voices" was, in psychological phrasing, "a cry for help," and it was answered only superficially. He was reported to Navy authorities, but the report didn't move up to those who might have done something to get his demons on the record.

The Experts, a subcontractor whose name sounds like something invented by George Orwell for a dystopian novel, employed him for about six months during the year before the massacre. The Experts expressed growing concern over his troubling behavior and talked to his mother about it. He took three days off, and when he returned to work the Experts reported he did "satisfactory" work.

Family, experts, police and the Navy collected separate pieces of the story of the mental disturbances in Aaron Alexis' mind, but none pieced together a coherent picture. The focus for blame is now placed on the process of vetting. U.S. Investigation Service (USIS), a private company in Falls Church, Va., conducts about half of all the background checks for the Office of Personnel Management and vetted Aaron Alexis. Neighbors and former spouses of candidates for "secret level" clearance, such as Mr. Alexis, are not interviewed. Even candidates for higher-level security clearance are exempt from questions about prior counseling related to marriage, grief or combat. Veterans, like Mr. Alexis, are usually reluctant to seek psychological counseling, lest they be stigmatized and considered ineligible for employment.

And it's not just veterans. Many people refuse to seek treatment for mental problems because they think it will imperil their chances of getting good jobs, and many times they're probably right. George McGovern dropped U.S. senator from Missouri Tom Eagleton from the 1972 Democratic presidential ticket when it was discovered that Eagleton had had successful shock treatment for depression. Pharmaceutical drugs are the treatment of choice today, but patients have to be diagnosed and treated, and the medications have to be carefully monitored. When a patient lies about his symptoms, as Aaron Alexis did when he sought relief from insomnia, it's difficult for doctors and other medical professionals to identify the problem. Only when it's clear that someone is dangerous to himself and others can he be committed to a mental institution. It's becoming more and more difficult to do that.

A twenty-something woman of my acquaintance has been diagnosed with mental illness. She hears voices and suffers delusions. She frequently drinks to intoxication, which triggers belligerent behavior, and her family has often called for police assistance. A judge refuses to commit her because she does not "appear" to be legally dangerous to herself or others.

Family, friends and public institutions failed Aaron Alexis. We have a system, but it works better in hindsight. Have we the will to change that?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.


Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields