Trauma is torture.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Minnesota reported 28 child deaths from caregivers known to child protective services in 2016 (p64).  17 children were killed by abuse in the past 18 months.  It is probable that half or less of the deaths at risk children suffer are reported and the numbers are much higher.  Unless the tragedy is obvious and media finds it compelling, there is little chance that the public will ever know of the pain and terror abused and neglected children live and die with.

For months in 2005, the media was filled with coverage Jeff Weiss and his Red Lake murders/suicide.  Jeff’s mother had repeatedly told him that she wished he had never been born.  Jeff had been seeking mental health help for months at the time of his murderous rampage.

The pattern of troubled people doing awful things repeats itself.  Tragedy, outrage and wonder at how this could happen.  How to stop the next one. At Red Lake, they built a mental health facility after the funerals were over – a nice one (3.5 million dollars).

After a few weeks the TV and Newspaper coverage died down and we went on to the next tragedy – Michael Swanson, Kendrea Johnson  Eric Dean and hundreds more of tortured and murdered innocents since then.

A few months ago Chris Serres wrote a piece about how our state handles really troubled people; (hospitals turning away mental health patients). and the forced closing of St Cloud’s Children’s Home.  There are 800 to 1000 emergency psychiatric visits at HCMC  each month and MN ER’s have become ‘holding pens’ for emergency psych patients.

As a volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem I see so much sadness, depression, and mental health pain seriously afflicting so many children. Our culture does not recognize or help the great majority of these needy kids.  While psychotropic medications are everywhere, therapies and working programs are sadly lacking.

Three of my CASA guardian ad Litem children were sexually abused for four or more years by the time they were eight.  22 of them were raped for at least one year.  All of them had suffered torture and trauma from burns to violent  beatings.  The children that finally make it into child protection have suffered immense harm and they need immense trauma informed help.

Had my young friends received mental health counseling when they were young, they might have been able to lead normal lives. Instead, they are full of self-loathing and dangerous behaviors, prescribed Class II stimulant drugs (like Prozac), and most have self harming and suicidal behaviors.

In these respects, they are just like Jeff Weiss.

Jeff let many people know his homicidal/suicidal thoughts.  Michael Swanson’s mother lived in fear of and for her child for years,  None of these folks found help that could have averted their awful suicides, crimes and killing.

The suffering of the living goes on for a very long time and impacts so many people.


Trauma is *torture.  Watching mom being raped is torture to a child.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children


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  1. Mike,
    Thanks for your painstaking work to put this together. The Red Lake tragedy evokes many thoughts. Obviously a complex problem. Your post indirectly calls out the roll of communication in a person’s life. Clearly one form of mental health we can all participate in is simply to have meaningful dialog with our own children and the children in our neighborhood. Just remembering and greeting a child by his or her name can make a difference — perhaps helping to help a child feel significant instead of invisible that day.

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