Anyone who is paying attention knows that there is something deeply wrong with American society today. That much is obvious. Increasingly obvious, albeit less well known, is the fact that the fixes that all too many people are applying to heal their broken lives are not helping a thing; in fact, they’re only making things worse. In many cases, they’re the source of the problem. But when will we turn away from these spurious therapies and embrace some genuine solutions?
Take, for instance, a Monday news item from WCBI, a TV station in Columbus, Miss. The headline was straightforward enough: “Arkansas woman arrested, accused of making bomb threats in Oxford.” We’re told that “Oxford Police said an Arkansas woman is facing charges for making bomb threats in Rebel territory. 29-year-old Lily Mestemacher is accused of false reporting of placing explosives. Police said they got information that she was mentioning bomb threats in Oxford on social media several times.”
All right. That’s bad enough in itself, but the story also carries a photo of Lily Mestemacher. The attentive reader will notice quickly that there is something off about Ms. Mestemacher: she is actually Mr. Mestemacher. In what is clearly a mug shot, a scruffy fellow with messy bleached hair and about a week’s growth of beard grins weirdly, his abundant chest hair visible over his orange prison v-neck.
So who’s crazier: “Lily” Mestemacher, or the “journalists” who believe that they have a duty to indulge his fantasies by referring to him, without any caveat or explanation at all, as an “Arkansas woman”? Could Mr. Lily have been helped along the path that ultimately led him to issue bomb threats by all the people around him who anxiously encouraged and abetted his delusions, rather than trying to bring him back to a healthy understanding of reality? Would a healthier society have taken this man’s conviction that he is a woman as a sign of mental instability that could manifest itself in other ways as well?
And speaking of mental instability, there’s the case of Taylor Schabusiness, who by all accounts is a genuine woman in Wisconsin. On Tuesday, the winsome Ms. Schabusiness made headlines for attacking her own lawyer during a courtroom hearing. She was in court in the first place because, according to the New York Post, she is “accused of decapitating her lover during a wild, meth-fueled escapade last year.”
Wait, it gets worse. Ms. Schabusiness reportedly hooked up with one Shad Thyrion, and “allegedly decapitated Thyrion during sex, continued to perform sexual acts on his lifeless body, and mutilated his corpse with a serrated bread knife. She then stuffed his severed head and penis in a bucket and other body parts in a crock pot, leaving them for his mother to find.” She told police to “have fun trying to find all of the organs.”
Meth is, as they say, clearly one helluva drug, but Taylor Schabusiness’ troubles are longer standing than just one night with meth and a serrated bread knife. According to the defense attorney she attacked Tuesday, Schabusiness “was previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has received mental health treatment since she was a seventh-grader.”
Taylor Schabusiness is reportedly 25 now. That means she has been receiving mental health treatment for around 12 years, nearly half of her life. Twelve years of treatment, and she decapitates a man and says of her deed, “Ya, I liked it.” Will anyone dare to point out that all that mental health treatment clearly didn’t work? It was likely based on affirming this young lady’s self-esteem and making her love herself; maybe the old discarded Judeo-Christian ideas of challenging people not to be so self-obsessed and focused on their own pleasure might have been more effective.
While she hooked up with the unfortunate Shad Thyrion, Taylor Schabusiness was, we’re told, married to another man. (What do you call a man married to a woman like this? “Stew.”) Did anyone ever tell her that she would find greater personal fulfillment within her marriage than she would in meth-fueled sex romps with random strangers and serrated bread knives? Almost certainly not. That would have been passé, not to mention cisnormative or whatever.
Lily Mestemacher and Taylor Schabusiness are two recent indications of the massive failure of our secular and self-centered culture. They are fresh indications that the ways in which all too many people are told that they can find happiness and peace actually lead them to just the opposite. But these two won’t, unfortunately, by any means be the last examples of this.