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Hurricane Watcher @GodlessNZ
, 19 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
(1) Another topic the #Parkland fiasco has reminded me about:

What to do when an adult is "mentally incompetent" to make important decisions, such as elderly with dementia, severe brain injury survivors, handicapped since birth etc.

We have a duty of care to them & others.
(2) This is not just about guns or just about the harm that mentally incompetent adults can do to others. It's about protecting THEM from themselves and from those who try to exploit them, usually for money.

This is a BIG job.
(3) Nicolaz Cruz was adopted on the day of his birth, and his biological brother Zachary was adopted by the same parents when he was born. Roger and Lynda Cruz were aged around 62 and 50 at the time. Roger died 5 years later, from heart failure.…
(4) The family was not poor. The father's estate was estimated at around $1 million at the time of his death in 2004. A wrongful death lawsuit won $175k, in trust for the boys. The family home was sold last year for $575k. However, they moved into a trailer.
(5) If Roger and Lynda Cruz had received and acted on good advice, they'd have locked up access to all the assets in a way that neither child could access without approval from at least two trustees. Even after Roger's death, Lynda could have arranged this.
(6) As the boys grew, their now elderly mother became a victim of Nikolas Cruz's domestic abuse. Reportedly he once pulled a rifle on her when she wouldn't give him money.

Lynda Cruz needed help with parenting her sons. There is a thing called "Learned Helplessness."
(7) If you total up the cost of just the weapons & ammo Cruz purchased, it runs well into the thousands. The money would have come from his mother Lynda.

I doubt she wanted to give him all that money. I think she was psychologically broken and desperate just to get by.
(8) If Lynda Cruz had availed herself of the legal means at her disposal to limit her son's access to money, and to physically protect herself at the same time, even she might not have succumbed to influenza & died on 11/1/17.

I am not blaming her. I'm studying the case.
(9) All over America, Moms and Dads are struggling with children who have a child's brain in an adult body. It's extremely hard and my heart goes out to them.

You can't just click your fingers and have them institutionalized. And many don't want to, either.
(10) Intellectual impairment, like most disorders, is on a spectrum. Cruz was probably assessed throughout childhood as moderately impaired, or borderline. The severely impaired are more obvious to all. Mild to moderate impairment, incl autism can be hidden in plain sight.
(11) The intellectually impaired (or developmentally delayed) can also have mental illness, just like everyone else. This makes diagnosis and treatment or management even harder.

It's clear to me that Cruz was incapable of coping with trauma unless he had professional support.
(12) Fortunately, Cruz did spend some of his schooling at a special school for those with behavioral and learning problems. He should have remained in such a school until at least the age of 19.

Political correctness has pushed kids into the mainstream, which can be a disaster
(13) In a perfect world, education and health professionals would have worked with Lynda Cruz and agreed on a plan for her son to live in a supported environment, once he reached about 12-13 and became a threat to her physical safety. Her other son is in secure care now.
(14) Unfortunately, there are a number of barriers in the US that stand in the way of every affected family being able to arrange the right care for mentally impaired children. Cost, inability to force it on someone, & cultural/personal opposition to it.

We must work on this.
(15) It is possible to enact a legal system making it easier for a family or concerned individual/institution to seek a court order to protect a mentally incompetent adult.

A court appointed welfare guardian can ensure the person's day to day welfare, security & income.
(16) This can protect the person from being exploited and victimized by gold diggers, which may have been a factor in the Cruz case. Not sure yet. It protects the assets needed to provide for their care. And it can ensure they can't legally buy firearms.
(17) A welfare guardian court order could also ensure more appropriate responses from law enforcement. Such orders can be filed with local PDs so they know in advance that they're dealing with someone who is mentally incompetent. No LEO can be expected to "diagnose" on the spot.
(18) I believe that in the #Parkland case the systems & laws that could have better met the needs were already available, they were just ignored.

Most people aren't aware of the civil court orders available to assist a family like the Cruzes before tragedy strikes.
(19) I have no doubt that the relevant civil court processes are expensive, complex and difficult. Local, state and federal governments can change this. We prioritize child safety and welfare. It's time to do the same for adults with a child's brain.

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