Search Results for: that way madness lies

LIGHTING CANDLES OF HOPE: 3 More Mental Health Everyday Heroes

[Short trailer for Dr. Ruston’s new film]

This is my third blog about “everyday heroes” — individuals who are speaking out about mental health. In this final blog in my series, I wish to pay tribute to filmmaker Dr. Delaney Ruston, who grew up under her father’s illness; Ed Aro, an attorney with the law firm, Arnold and Porter, who is a champion for our nation’s most despised citizens; and Chrisa and Tom Hickey, who are extra-ordinary parents.

 These three join the list of everyday heroes  who I’ve already featured: two song writers, a monologist, a cartoonist, a photographer, an activist parent and a community organizer. My point in writing this series has been simple:  everyone of us, no matter who we are or where we live, can advocate for change.

We need better comprehensive community mental health care services. We need to stop the inappropriate imprisonment of individuals with mental illnesses whose only real crime is that they got sick. We need to bring an end to homelessness. We need to offer people hope and the tools that they need to empower themselves and recover. We need to care for those who are so mentally sick that they cannot care for themselves. Most of all, we need to educate our neighbors so that we can recruit them to help us finally overcome stigma. 

It starts with one voice.

Delaney Ruston emerged as one of those powerful voices when she decided to take camera in hand and make a documentary about her

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White House Mental Health Summit: An Inside Report

Glenn Close was one of the celebrity advocates invited to The White House

Glenn Close was one of the celebrity advocates invited to The White House


My friend, the Rev. Alan Johnson, was one of the 150 guests invited to the White House’s summit on mental health yesterday.  Here is his report. Thanks Alan for being our eyes and ears!

Are you listening, America?  The White House is talking!

Who would have thought that over 150 people from across our country who are working in the trenches for better mental health would be invited to a whole day in the White House?  But it happened! The White House brought together mental health advocates, educators, faith leaders, veterans and local officials for The White House Conference on Mental Health.

President Obama was the first one to speak to us at the conference, and he empathetically stated that we must “do a better job recognizing mental health issues in our children, and making it easier for Americans of all ages to seek help.” The President was not only speaking to those of us gathered, but to the whole country,where the overwhelming stigma on mental illness blocks people from even acknowledging there is mental illness and keeps them from seeking help.  In this climate of embarrassment and fear, the President acknowledged there needs to be education to overcome the misunderstanding of mental illness and support to come out of the closet to speak with authentic stories of one’s own mental health challenges.

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Callous and Inhumane Treatment — Even Torture – of Federal Prisoners With Mental Illnesses, Suit Alleges. Where’s The Outrage?

Currently, BOP [the federal Bureau of Prisons] turns a blind eye to the needs of the mentally ill at ADX and to deplorable conditions of confinement that are injurious, callous and inhumane to those prisoners. No civilized society treats its mentally disabled citizens with a comparable level of deliberate indifference to their plight.  [First paragraph of lawsuit.]

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons is being sued in a class-action lawsuit for allegedly abusing, neglecting and, in some cases, torturing prisoners with mental illnesses being housed in the federal government’s most strict penitentiary. The lawsuit was filed by Ed Aro, a partner at the Washington D.C. law firm, Arnold and Porter, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

Allegations in lawsuits are exactly that — allegations. The BOP’s attorneys will file a response in a few weeks. But if the charges are true, then the public should be outraged and the BOP should be forced to mend its ways.

The five prisoners named in the class action suit, along with six other “interested individuals,” all have “severe mental illnesses.” One also is “mentally retarded.” All are being held at the BOP’s SUPERMAX penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, also known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” They were moved there after they had violent run-ins with other prisoners or with correctional officers.

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Wearing Two Hats in Vero Beach, One Comfortable, One Not

With tears in his eyes and his voice showing emotion, Carl Elliott Jr., told me last week that he hoped my book, The Serial Killer Whisperer, would finally be enough to get Florida’s governor to schedule the execution of serial killer David Gore. 

Gore abducted, raped, and murdered Elliott’s daughter, Lynn, age 17, in Vero Beach. He has been on death row for nearly thirty years. 

I certainly did not write my book to prompt the death of anyone, including Gore. But my book has re-ignited interest in his case and is stirring strong emotions in Vero Beach.

The book describes the plight of Tony Ciaglia, who was hit in the skull by a speeding jet ski when he was 15 years old. He died three times en route to the hospital but was revived. After several weeks in a coma, Ciaglia awoke much different from the carefree, happy, and popular teen he had been. Filled with rage, often uncontrollable, and suffering from damage to the front lobe of his brain, Ciaglia spent much of the next several years under a self-imposed house arrest.  At times, he was suicidal. Bored and aimless, he needed a hobby and by chance he began writing serial killers. His psychiatric problems mimicked those of the killers and he was able to befriend many of them and get them to share their inner-most thoughts with him. Today, he tries to help the police with his ability to communicate with killers.

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Baton Rouge Selects CRAZY To Read

I have exciting news! The City of Baton Rouge has chosen, CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, as its One Book, One Community  selection this summer.

In 2006, Baton Rouge joined more than 400 American cities that participate in this national reading program. In a letter informing me that CRAZY had been chosen,  Abby Hannie, a member of the Baton Rouge’s program  steering committee, explained:

The One Book, One Community initiative was formed to promote a common city-wide reading experience to increase intellectual and cultural dialogue among readers and to exchange ideas for the purpose of raising awareness and visibility with regard to a particular community issue.

The idea is to get everyone in a city to read and discuss the same book. Two of the most popular selections chosen since the first program was launched in 1998 in Seattle have been  To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

That’s pretty heady company.

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The books of bestselling author Pete Earley promise to take you on a literary journey.

My job as an author is to tell you interesting stories. Sometimes that means taking you places where you normally wouldn’t go, such as inside a maximum security penitentiary, or introducing you to people who you normally wouldn’t meet, such as the American traitors John Walker Jr., and Aldrich Ames.

Besides entertaining you, I believe authors, especially journalists, should expose wrongs. That’s what my books, Circumstantial Evidence, and CRAZY: A Father Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, represent.

For me, there is no purer form of journalism than a book. A journalist doesn’t have to worry about “sacred cows” or partisan politics. If you can find a publisher willing to finance your idea, you can write about any topic that you wish without pulling punches.

I’m not going to waste space here trying to persuade you to buy my books. They speak for themselves. I just hope that if you read one, you will agree that the trip we took together on its pages was worthwhile.

Circumstantial Evidence Cover

Circumstantial Evidence

Death, Life, & Justice in a Southern Town

In Monroeville, Alabama, a young, pretty student was found murdered. Several months later, a black man with no criminal record was sentenced to death for the crime. As he sat on death row, lawyer Bryan Stephenson found the trial was tainted by mistakes, conflicting witnesses, and outright perjury. He was determined to find out if the right man was convicted – even if it took unconventional means.

Family of Spies eBook

Family of Spies

Inside the John Walker Spy Ring

For two decades John Walker, Jr. fed secrets absolutely crucial to America’s national security to the KGB. Incredibly, for two decades, his treason remained undetected. Pete Earley’s gripping tale of master spy John Walker, Jr. and his ring – his son, Michael; his brother, Arthur; and his best friend, Jerry Whitworth – is dazzling in its detail and shocking in its revelations.

Confessions of a Spy Cover

Confessions of a Spy

The Story of Aldrich Ames

For nine years, Aldrich Ames fed highly classified information to the KGB. Russia paid him millions of dollars–and promised millions more. He betrayed the identities of the United States’ top agents. An act that led to their executions inside the Soviet Union. Never before in American history has one man done so much to sabotage our national security.

Crazy Cover


A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness

It was only when Pete Earley’s own son–during a manic episode–broke into a neighbor’s house that he learned what happens to mentally ill people who break a law. This is a compelling look at the thousands who suffer confinement instead of care and brutal conditions instead of treatment in the “revolving doors” between hospitals and jails. Earley takes us through his experience as both a father and journalist trying to fight for a better way.

Circumstantial Evidence Cover


Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness

At a young age, Jessie Close struggled with emerging symptoms of severe bipolar disorder that lead her to the brink of suicide. In Resilience, she dives into the dangerous shadows of mental illness without shying away from its horror while her sister (actress Glenn Close) shares alternate views on Jessie’s life. With Pete Earley, Jessie tells of finding the treatment she needs and the emotional strength to bring herself back from the edge.

The Hot House Cover

The Hot House

Life Inside Leavenworth Prison

With the cooperation of the Bureau of Prisons, Pete Earley spent much time from mid-1987 to mid-1989 at Leavenworth, a maximum-security institution whose nickname, the Hot House, derives from its lack of air conditioning despite the searing Kansas summers. An explosive eyewitness portrait of life inside the notorious prison, Earley spent two years among 1,400 of the nation’s most dangerous criminals to write this gripping, New York Times bestseller investigative report.

Super Casino Cover

Super Casino

Inside the “New” Las Vegas

In this lively and probing book, Pete Earley traces the extraordinary evolution of Las Vegas from the gaudy Mecca of the Rat Pack era to one of the top family vacation spots. He revisits the city’s history of moguls, mobsters, and entertainers, reveals the real stories of power brokers like Steve Wynn and legends like Howard Hughes and Bugsy Siegel, and offers a fascinating portrait of the life, death, and fantastic rebirth of the Las Vegas Strip.

The Serial Killer Whisperer Cover

The Serial Killer Whisperer

How One Man’s Tragedy Unlocked the Deadliest Secrets of the World’s Most Terrifying Killers

The strange but true story of how a young man’s devastating brain injury gave him the unique ability to connect with the world’s most terrifying criminals. The Serial Killer Whisperer will take you into the minds of murderers as never before.

Comrade J Cover

Comrade J

The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War

Between 1995 and 2000, Sergei Tretyakov, more commonly known as “Comrade J,” was the go-to man for Russian intelligence in New York City, overseeing all covert operations against the U.S. and its allies in the United Nations. He was the man who kept the secrets. But there was one more secret he was keeping. For three years, “Comrade J” was stealing secrets from the Russian Mission he was supposed to be serving for the United States.



Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program

For decades no law enforcement program has been as cloaked in controversy and mystery as the Federal Witness Protection Program. Now, for the first time, Gerald Shur, the man credited with the creation of WITSEC, teams with acclaimed investigative journalist Pete Earley to tell the inside story of turncoats, crime-fighters, killers, and ordinary human beings caught up in a life-and-death game of deception in the name of justice.

Lethal Secrets Cover

Lethal Secrets

Fiction Novel

During high tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States, the KGB has cleverly smuggled a nuclear bomb into the very heart of Washington D.C. which is now in the hands of a band of Chechen rebels, lead by insane terrorist Movladi ‘the Viper’ Islamov, who’s threatening to detonate it. The fate of the city rests in the hands of a disgraced deputy U.S. Marshal who is reluctantly called into action by his FBI/CIA rivals because he was once a friend of Islamov before he became a terrorist.

The Apocalypse Stone Cover

The Apocalypse Stone

Fiction Novel

All seemed to be well for Judge Evan Spencer, until he received a package from an old friend containing a cryptic note and a small stone: the same stone Christ used when he stated “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” Throughout history it has been passed along, inflicting its owner with stigmatic wounds and visions of their sinful life. With the help of an expert on stigmata, Spencer must uncover the secrets behind the stone, or watch his family, career, and his life be destroyed.

The Big Secret Cover

The Big Secret

Fiction Novel

In 1955, white supremacists lynch a promising black activist and celebrate by carving their initials into the trunk of “the trophy tree.” Decades later, when a newspaper reporter vanishes while investigating the crime, U.S. Senate Investigator Nick LeRue travels to Mississippi to find her. LeRue is joined in his search by the woman’s twin sister and together, they unearth an old secret that leads them back to Washington and two unlikely suspects – a U.S. Senator and the nation’s best investigative reporter.

Prophet of Death Cover

Prophet of Death

The Mormon Blood-Atonement Killings

An account of the crimes of Jeffrey Lundgren describes how the fanatical preacher used his hypnotic oratory and his twisted interpretations of religious texts to justify the excesses of his church–perversion, sexual slavery, and human sacrifice.