ONTD Political

Parents of man accused of planning shooting call for changes in mental health system

10:09 pm - 12/25/2012
Parents of man accused of planning shooting call for changes in mental health system

Bill and Tricia Lammers sat in the lobby of Citizens Memorial Hospital on Friday, a week after 20 children and six adults were killed at a Connecticut elementary school. Outside, the flag flew at half staff.

The couple has been here before. They have waited for hours as hospital staffers called institutions around the state, trying to find one that had an open bed for their mentally ill son, Blaec, 20. They have waited time and again, five times here and twice in other hospitals, long before November when their son was arrested.

The arrest came after Tricia Lammers told authorities Blaec bought an AR-15 and another semi-automatic from the Bolivar Walmart, the same store where he was found three years ago carrying a butcher knife and a Halloween mask with plans to kill a clerk.

His plans this time, authorities say, were to shoot up a movie theater showing the latest “Twilight” movie. Blaec Lammers is facing felony charges of first-degree assault, making a terrorist threat and armed criminal action. Since then, Tricia Lammers has received phone calls from people who say she’s heroic.

“I’m not a hero,” Tricia Lammers said. “With the events that happened last Friday my heart tells me I did the right thing.

“Our city could be in the news.”

Bill and Tricia Lammers miss their son. He has been at the Polk County Jail for more a month now. They can only see him on Sundays. For 30 minutes. They can’t touch him. He is behind shatterproof glass, and they can only talk to him on the phone in the visiting room. They mourn him as if — in a way — he is dead to them.

“I’m a mom,” Tricia Lammers said. “It’s the holidays. I don’t have my child.”

The couple moved to Bolivar with their two children in 2009. He was the radiology director at Citizens Memorial before becoming a consultant. She is a patient liaison at the hospital. They love the city of 10,300 and hope to retire here. They sat in the hospital lobby Friday to talk with a reporter in hopes that people will better understand the challenges of mental illness.

The couple say their son has always been different. He was diagnosed with dyslexia soon after first grade. He was quiet and shy. Other children picked on him. He lettered in academics his freshman year of high school in Omaha. Two years later, he was expelled after saying he wanted to harm a teacher. He has homemade tattoos on his arms, belly and legs.

The couple has tried repeatedly to get help for their son. Over the years, he has received different diagnoses including Asperger’s and anti-social personality disorder. They’ve spent perhaps as much as $30,000 on repeated hospitalizations and medications. There is still a balance of about $9,300 from their son’s last stay at Lakeland Behavioral Health System, a psychiatric hospital for children in Springfield. They say the mental health system has failed them and their son.

“The system is broken,” Bill Lammers said. “The mental health system. There’s no place to turn to. You take them to a hospital, and 96 hours later they’re home. Maybe on Prozac, but they’re not fixed.”

They don’t believe in more restrictions on guns.

“I have guns, but they’re locked in a safe,” Bill Lammers said
. “There’s no way I would leave anything out.”

The couple say it’s too easy to get released from hospitals and other places for the mentally ill.

“In a perfect world, mental institutions would open back up,” Tricia Lammers said. “You could take an individual there and train them to take care of themselves.”

The couple has not put up a Christmas tree this year. One of their family traditions is the Christmas pickle. Each year, they would hang an ornament shaped like a pickle on the Christmas tree. The child who found it received a prize. This year, there is no one to search for the Christmas pickle.

But Bill and Tricia Lammers don’t think their son should be released. They hope he is sent to a mental institution that is able to help him.

“I think they should keep him until he is fit to be a part of society, and that may be a long, long time,” Bill Lammers said.

Bill Lammers learned about the shooting in Connecticut in a call from his wife. He turned on the TV.

“You think, thank God it’s not Blaec,” Bill Lammers said. “I thank God we got lucky.”

“Everybody in our community got lucky because he wasn’t able to do anything.”

hinoema 26th-Dec-2012 07:07 am (UTC)
I'm still all WTF over the fact that Walmart sells assault weapons. Yeah, deer hunters really need those.
wikilobbying 26th-Dec-2012 07:36 am (UTC)
and tbh i'd rather walmart not sell guns at all. ideally, i'd like everyone who purchases or looks into purchasing a gun to have access to a good, reliable gun shop where every employee in there can guide you to a smart, safe purchase decision.
roseofjuly 27th-Dec-2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
THIS. Guns should only be sold in specialty shops by licensed dealers who KNOW guns and can help the purchaser. You shouldn't be able to buy them in private sale or at a fucking Walmart!
tinylegacies 27th-Dec-2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
this for real

there also need to be longer waiting periods for obtaining guns. no one needs a gun RIGHT NOW THIS VERY MINUTE.
the_physicist 26th-Dec-2012 04:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that also struck me. A supermarket selling guns? :-/ but yeah, I'm not familiar with the American system.
hammersxstrings 26th-Dec-2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
It's beyond fucked up, is what it is. But I don't think that's such a secret anymore
the_physicist 26th-Dec-2012 04:51 pm (UTC)
my parents used to think the US Americans had a very good system on gun control. "but criminals know they can't pull the bullshit they do overhere in the US because they anticipate that everyone is might potentially be carrying a gun, even the little old ladies!"

i think they don't feel that way any more. but still, i feel my family is rather lax about guns compared to most people here. my dad no longer has his revolver. no idea what happened to it though. thinking about it, no idea how he managed to bring it over from Oman... then again, it was probably all before gun laws were strict in the UK that he brought it over. :/ just highlights how many guns are probably still around from back when gun laws were very relaxed. even if they tighten things in the US, it will take a while for them to really become less available to people without a large buy-back scheme from the government.
bethan_b_bad 26th-Dec-2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
When I was on holiday in Florida, we were in a Wal-Mart and there were all these huge glass cases of guns. I counted, and this was two aisles over from the TOY section. All these rows of Mary Kate & Ashley dolls (this was like ten years ago) and then wham! GUNS.

I was freaked the fuck out.
the_physicist 26th-Dec-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
D: not even a new thing! Wow. Yeah, I'd've been freaked out too by that.
bethan_b_bad 26th-Dec-2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
Totally not a new thing. I'm British; I don't think I'd even seen a live rifle or whatever before. Even now, aside from on airport security I think the only time I've seen a live gun was the shotgun I tried clay-pigeon shooting with on holiday once.

I don't even get what the things are for. I mean, I get people use them for hunting but apart from that... what do you want the things for?
the_physicist 26th-Dec-2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
I has British passport too... didn't grow up here though. I've seen a few guns. My cousin uses one to hunt rabbits. Shot a hole through the patio door when showing off to his friend. His parents just didn't seem to care and taped over the whole with parcle tape. *sigh* I also played with that revolver of my dad's as a kid. I guess he got it because ... "protection"? I'm not sure why. Crime in Oman? In the 70s? LOL. Yeah, ridiculous. I've fired a gun a few times myself at my uncle's. Can remember why he has them. Country thing, I guess. Oh and when I was training once. Had to learn how to shoot guns and chuck WWI machetes at trees.

... I'm rather happy with the UK's gun laws and othe laws regarding dangerous weapons. If they are legal people will use them, everyone will use them.
This page was loaded Apr 28th 2017, 12:29 pm GMT.