Posted by: Mark Nielsen | December 14, 2013

(Tell Me Why) I Don’t Like Mondays

Movie poster / photo for "Benny & Joon", a 1993 film about a schizophrenic woman.

Movie poster / photo for “Benny & Joon”, a not terrible 1993 film about a schizophrenic woman.



[ sorry it is so dense/ badly formatted (tech issues with my system today) ]

  • On the one-year anniversary of the #Newtown shootings this week, I re-blogged above a 2008 blog post of mine, written in the wake of the Northern Illinois Univ shootings. It mentions the prior Virginia Tech shootings, the Amish elementary school shootings, Columbine, and other material starting with the famed elementary school shootings in Wilmette, IL in 1988 by Laurie Dann (publicized by the Boomtow Rats/Sir Bob Geldof song of the title).


The mental health issues here are big and complicated, obviously… as are the education and public policy issues. But in the meantime, Illinios has become a concealed-carry handgun state.

I don’t know what to do with that concealed carry question, but I will admit it bothers me…

But to read the best article on mental health and self-injury or violent tendencies that I have read in YEARS, go here to this week’s long story by Wayne Drash, a senior writer/producer at cnn.


[A personal note or disclaimer: this is not at all an academic, journalistic or political issue for me. We are dealing with the real genetic components of mental illness in my own family, across several generations… paranoid schizophrenia, clinical depression and/or addiction and recovery being the main ones. So tread carefully with any comments, and pray for us. The brain is a beautiful, complex thing, and we all barely know how it works, even with the best doctors and scientists working on it night and day.]

Respectfully, Mark Nielsen

p.s. I emailed journalist Wayne Drash a thank you note, and then Wayne wrote me back a nice note saying he is getting hundreds of similar letters from people all over the world. But his special personal note back to me made my entire week, if not month…

…so thanks again Wayne, if you are seeing this…

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The sizzle, from other people:

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Marking Time

A long time ago, in 1988, a bipolar woman named Laurie Dann lost her job, hated her life, and in the middle of a really bad Monday, she shot some grade school kids and then herself in nearby Wilmette, Illinois. It was one of the first big incidents of random gun violence in America’s schools. Later that year it inspired a song by the Boomtown Rats –Sir Bob Geldof’s former band– with the above title (based on something Dann had said in the midst of her manic episode). Though Wilmette soon passed some gun restriction laws that it formerly had been unable to pass, the long-term ramifications of this rampage through a second grade classroom (and its heavy national news coverage afterward) were not fully realized for many years, if at all.

Though it may sound callous, I have a minor confession to make: When the recent shootings at Northern Illinois University happened, my…

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