I think it might be the very debilitating 24-7 aspect here that has seemed so impossible.
When one lives with violent mentally ill teenagers, when there is no break, never any sense of safety, then one feels as if this just can't be done.
Or maybe the scariest part is in knowing there are younger children who might be targeted, and I think the word 'might be' is putting it mildly.
When these sweet young kids have been threatened, have been hit by the unstable angry ones, when I've filed assault charges, and the angry ones still think they've gotten away with their assaults, well it all combines to make me terribly fearful for the future.
I was called last night from the facility housing Paloma, as they were again filing an incident report, telling me about her screaming rage, sending chills down my spine, apologies pouring out of my mouth, "I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this."
"Don't apologize Miss Cindy," I was told, "This is our job."
And it is a job, it is not a way of life for a family. I owe it to the younger children here to be able to live safely and without fear.
I'm giving credit to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution here for the article I'm gonna quote in its entirety, as it so reminded me of what I'd been dealing with a couple of years ago. Paloma's older brother, who had attacked us, and others, and had made many threats to kill me if he didn't get to do exactly as he wanted to do.
I went to court, begged and pleaded to have him not be sent home to us. In a shout-out to my friend in Ohio who is also dealing with a similar situation, I feel the need to reprint this article.
It is exactly similar to multiple scenarios that have played out both here and in other homes where there is mental illness. That there is not even the birth connection to hopefully play on the aggressor's heartstrings further compounds the issues in an adoptive home, where the adoptive mom has been accused by the aggressor(s) of "stealing me away from my real mom."
Huh? I never even met her.
Yet the illogical rationale, the mishmash of impulses in their miswiring that leads to violent outbursts scares me to pieces. I've been a victim already many times, as have others, and I'm taking all the steps I can in order to protect us from here on out.
I'm a grandmother, older than this woman, my mother is way older than the fatality in this article, and I'm dead certain that a few of my children, especially from one sib group, are more prone to violence than even this kid in this article. Four out of five have already been in lock-up or lockdown facilities.
Yes, I'm scared.
Here's the article fueling my own flames and my very intense real fear this morning:
Laura Prince of Douglasville is still trying to register the brutal samurai sword attack that left her seriously wounded and her mother dead – all allegedly at the hands of the teenage grandson she reared.
Gevin Prince, 15, appeared before Douglas County Court Judge Robert James on Wednesday on charges of killing his great-grandmother.
“I’ve lost the only two people that I lived for,” the grandmother told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an exclusive interview Wednesday after leaving a Douglas County hospital.
The 55-year-old woman believes the entire episode that unfolded Monday at her home on Spring Ridge Drive could have been avoided if Gevin Allen Prince, now accused of murder, had received more medical care for his behavioral problems.
For months, Laura Prince said she’d tried to get long-term, in-patient treatment for the 15-year-old, a daughter’s child whom Prince had practically reared since birth. She’d gained legal custody when he was 5.
She said Gevin suffers from Asperger's syndrome, which is similar to autism, and the older he got, the more he “acted out” physically, eventually prompting 911 calls to county authorities.
That acting out came to a head Monday when, after a disagreement over a home computer, Laura Prince said Gevin reached for a sword, brutally attacked her and killed Mary Joan Gibbs, his 77-year-old great-grandmother. Police found Gibbs, a retired AJC staffer, dead in the yard.
The teenager, who made his first appearance before a Douglas County judge Tuesday, is charged with malice murder and four counts of aggravated assault. District Attorney David McDade said he plans to charge the teenager as an adult.
Laura Prince blamed the attacks on Gevin’s Asperger's syndrome, which was diagnosed when he was 8 years old, she said. Children with the disorder may have difficulty with social interaction skills and communication.
Prince said her grandson has had behavioral problems in the past – that’s why she was raising him instead of his mother. But the episodes had gotten much worse after puberty.
“He acted out, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle,” she said. “But when he started getting stronger and bigger, it got worse. It got worse more frequently.”
She said she took him to several treatment centers, “but they never would keep him.” She blames her lack of insurance and scarcity of hospital beds.
“I kept trying to get him help,” she said. “I was trying to get him into a facility, but it’s taken two weeks to get all the paperwork done.”
She said Gevin had seen a psychologist and psychiatrist and was taking medication for his behavioral problems. He had just seen a therapist about an hour before Monday’s attack, the grandmother said.
As his acting out escalated, so did the calls to 911.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department became familiar with the home on Spring Ridge Drive, responding to repeated calls, the grandmother said.
“They’ve been out here many times to help me with him,” Laura Prince said. “They knew his name by the address. They knew it was the great-grandmother, the grandmother and the 15-year-old.”
Just two weeks ago, the grandmother called police after her grandson kicked in a door, brandishing one of the decorative swords her oldest son collected.
It was the first time he had confronted them with a sword. Contrary to media reports, Laura Prince said Gevin didn’t injure his great-grandmother with the weapon. After he kicked in the door, a plastic hanger fell to the floor and Mary Joan Gibbs had stepped on it, injuring her foot.
Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller confiscated the sword and took Gevin into custody. The teen was then taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
“They [sheriff’s office] got involved and had him taken to a psychiatric ward,” Laura Prince said. “But because they couldn’t find a bed, they sent him back home to us.”
Prince said this week’s attacks could have been prevented if Gevin had been admitted.
On Monday, an hour after he’d had a therapy session, Gevin was back home, playing on his Xbox. He decided he wanted to get on his grandmother’s computer, but she refused because he’d broken it once and she’d just recently gotten it repaired.
“I said, ‘Gevin, I just got it fixed from where you tore it up’ “He goes, ‘I’m still going to get on it.’ I said, ‘No, Gevin. You’ve got to earn that [privilege] back.’
“That’s what started it, and then from then on it just escalated,” Laura Prince said. “He started writing down what he’s going to do to me. He’s got a ‘feelings book” for his therapy. He said he was going to kill me.”
“I said maybe you can get on it tomorrow, and that’s when he jumped on me.”
“He tried to break my neck,” the grandmother recalled. “He beat me with a metal broom handle. Then he found the sword. I was the first victim of the sword. He started hacking at me like you would a sword.”
The grandmother said the blade on the sword was dull, but the force of the blows left her with broken bones on her arm.
“He broke my arm in two places,” she said. “I’ve got a cut above one of those breaks. I have huge bruises where he tried to cut my arm off.” She said she was also left with “four lumps” on her head from blows.
Prince said the great-grandmother came in “to see what the commotion was about and he got on her.”
“I tried to get him away from her. I think she was in so much shock, she was just like a deer in headlights. She just stood there,” Laura Prince said. “I was trying to get her to get in her room and barricade herself in, but she didn’t.”
Bleeding heavily, Laura Prince said she finally managed to get into a bathroom and barricade herself. “He tried to stab through the door,” she recalled. “In fact, the sword went through the door.”
When police arrived at the home, they found Mary Joan Gibbs in the yard with fatal stab wounds.
Gevin Prince was standing in the doorway with the sword and a pellet rifle. The teen used the rifle to shoot out the windows of a patrol car, police said.
After a 10- to 15-minute standoff, the teenager was talked out of the house and into the yard, where police used a Taser and K-9 dog to subdue him.
Knowing the youth’s history, Sheriff Miller said his deputies tried to use restraint, but were prepared to resort to deadly force if necessary.
"Fortunately, we didn't have to," Miller said earlier in the week. "It was very tough."
Now Laura Prince is left with making memorial arrangements for her mother, and getting legal help for her grandson.
“I don’t know what happened,” Prince said. “It was like, this is not Gevin. When I looked at that face and saw him, that was not my grandson.”
She told Channel 2 Action News that she does not agree with the DA's decision to seek to try her grandson as an adult. She described her grandson as a math whiz who could draw architectural designs by hand but could only read and write on a first-grade level.
"He's not emotionally or mentally old enough to stand trial as an adult," Prince told Channel 2. "I know it was an adult crime, but he was not an adult."
She still hopes his final destination will be a mental health facility, and not state prison.
“I know he’s going to be gone for a long time, but he does not need to be in a prison system because someone will get hurt," she said.
“I tried my best,” the grandmother said. “I feel like I failed him. I feel like I could have done something more. I did do my best, and I was doing my best.”