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Scientology pitches a fit about sensible mental health reform in wake of Parkland shooting

[CCHR Florida President Diane Klein, center]

Rod Keller keeps us up to date on Scientology’s latest anti-psychiatry antics…

A new article from Scientology front group Citizens Commission on Human Rights opposes implementing mental health screenings to combat school shootings. This comes to us from the Florida chapter of CCHR, which in Scientology means Clearwater. It’s another article targeting members of Scientology, designed to increase donations to CCHR and Scientology. CCHR’s impact on legislators and regulators is negligible.


[Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz]

In the wake of the February 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida which left 17 students dead, school officials in Florida have received additional resources to assist students with mental health issues. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act provides $69 million for students in Florida to have access to counselors and psychologists. Scientology opposes all mental health care and one of the main goals of CCHR is to cut any funding of mental health care.



[Parkland survivor and gun control advocate Emma Gonzalez]

It’s a good start for improving student access to mental health care, but it’s a politically inexpensive substitute for the action Parkland survivors really want — gun control. Cruz used a legally purchased AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle in the attack. An editorial in the school’s Eagle Eye student newspaper describes the survivors’ demands. They seek a ban on high capacity, high velocity rifles such as the AR-15 and the establishment of a national database to track weapon sales. Florida did raise the age required to purchase a pistol or rifle to 21 and banned bump stocks that simulate an automatic weapon, but the act stops short of banning military style weapons. The survivors also call for research on mental health to help predict or prevent mass shootings. The Florida legislature passed a watered-down bill that they hope will quiet critics while not angering gun supporters.

CCHR claims “Beefing up mental health services in schools is obviously not the answer. The suspicious connection between psychiatric drug treatment for young people and the horrific potential side effect of homicide is still being ignored” — a statement made without evidence as the connection between psychiatric medicine and violence is an article of faith in Scientology. But the act doesn’t call for drug treatment. It calls for trained counselors and school psychiatrists to examine students at the boundaries such as expelled students seeking a new school, or those with multiple disciplinary incidents. Cruz had been expelled from Parkland schools and had multiple disciplinary incidents for threatening others and expressing racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic views.

The article quotes conservative blogger Dr. Karen R. Effrem who says the act provides “expanded mental screening of students by unqualified, minimally trained teachers and other school personnel despite admissions by psychiatric physicians trained for years that they are unable to correctly identify those known mentally ill patients that will become violent.”

It’s true that identifying future shooters is challenging, but that is hardly a reason to oppose access to counseling and treatment for students. The hope is that among the many who are evaluated or treated there may be one future shooter who can be helped rather than being pushed from one school to another. The lesson Florida is taking from Parkland is that large-scale evaluation and treatment rather than expulsion and other disciplinary actions may help prevent school violence.

CCHR uses a 2010 article in the journal PLoS One to suggest that it has been established that psychiatric drugs can cause an increase in violence. “Victims of gun violence in schools and the families of slain victims may be a bit impatient for these ‘prospective studies’ to take place. Why are these drugs not banned outright now? One death due to someone’s violent ‘side effect’ was already one too many,” CCHR says. Scientology picks the quotes it likes from this study, ignoring the parts where incidence of violence is 0.25 percent of the serious adverse effects of the drugs studied, or the author’s call for further research for confirmation of the results.

CCHR is ignoring more recent studies, such as a 2012 article in the journal Psychopharmacology which found the opposite effect. “In a period in which the exposure of the Dutch population to antidepressants increased, the homicide rates decreased. As is the case for suicide, the association is strong, changes in the use of antidepressants can account for 65 percent of the variation in homicide rates. These data lend no support for an important role of antidepressant use in homicide. With regard to the subgroup analysis, the younger male groups are of primary interest. Here, the same negative associations are found.”

By cherry-picking scientific research and quoting little-known commentators, CCHR is appealing for member donations to help them fight the “psychs.” Scientology’s opposition to the mental health provisions of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act will have no effect on public policy.

— Rod Keller


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. We have something in mind, but for now we’re not giving out information about it.

Friday night we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22.



Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, and Nancy Cartwright]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard considered James Bond’s nemesis SMERSH his biggest enemy
[TWO years ago] A HowdyCon 2017 announcement: Special guests and performances!
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s ‘personality test’ taken apart like never before, and by a former member
[FOUR years ago] More proof that Scientology used the ‘R2-45’ method to intimidate enemies
[FIVE years ago] Here are the wealthy people keeping Scientology alive
[SIX years ago] ABC finally takes on Scientology…with General Hospital
[SEVEN years ago] Why Irish (Ex-Scientologist) Eyes are Smiling


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,390 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,519 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,023 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,503 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 566 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 454 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,761 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,629 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,403 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,177 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,523 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,089 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,009 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,176 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,757 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,017 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,057 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,769 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,295 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,384 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,524 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,844 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,700 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,819 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,175 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,477 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,583 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,985 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,857 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,440 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,935 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,189 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,298 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 17, 2019 at 07:00

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Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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