Monday, December 17, 2012
I recently posted an article, "Another Day, Another Mass Shooting" - and since that posting in July of this year, there have been a number of attempted and successful mass shootings at Malls and Schools, including one yesterday.
What is going on here? There is a pattern, if you choose to look for it.
Incidentally, note how the Media once again falls all over itself trying to "get the facts out" and gets it all wrong. Nearly every fact reported yesterday turns out to be wrong, today. The shooter was misidentified as his Brother. The Mother was not a school teacher. Perhaps tomorrow, we will find out everything the media hyped today was wrong as well. This is a pattern, as I have noted before.
And soon, a memorial will be built by concerned citizens, who will attach teddy bears and flowers to a chain-link fence near the school. We will all weep and cry and say what a horror it was and then...
We all will claim to be altruistic and shout to everyone how much we "care" about these poor kids and their families, and shake our heads in disbelief, once again, and say "ain't it awful."
And people will use this to reinforce their own belief systems - that if we could only "go back to the good old days" none of this would happen. Or if we only had more gun laws - or that guns are not the problem.
But sure as clockwork, in about 30 days, no one will really give a shit. You've already forgotten about the people in Aurora Colorado, and since only two were killed at the Clackamas Mall, you mentally wrote that one off.
And likely, you've forgotten entirely about Gabby Gifford and that horrific shooting in Arizona (was it Arizona or New Mexico? We forget so soon). She got better, right? It's all good. Time to mentally move on.
And of course, if you try to say, "Gee, maybe there is a pattern to all of these cases, and maybe instead of building memorials and making media events of these things, we can really prevent them?" you will be shouted down by people saying it is "too soon" to discuss the issue, as the "bodies are still warm".
And that is a convenient argument for people who don't want the Status Quo to be changed. And it is the argument the gun lobby uses - every time - when one of these events happens. It is "too soon" to discuss gun laws. But when it is "appropriate" to do so? Only when people have forgotten? And who gave the gun lobby the right to tell us what to think and when to think it?
As I noted in another posting, I am not anti-gun. But guns present a number of problems on a personal and national level. The are expensive and can be very dangerous, if not handled properly. And few people handle them properly. And there is little or no need to accumulate an arsenal of firearms - for any reason.
On one news site, a commenter noted that he had over 300 guns and that under the second amendment, no one was going to take them away. 300 guns is a lot of weaponry. If you have that many, either you are a collector, or a gun nut. And there is a difference between the two.
It is not weird or odd to have weapons if you are a hunter or a collector, or perhaps believe you need a gun for protection or for your job. It is a form of mental illness if you are hoarding firearms and ammunition for the "end times" or because you think the government needs to be overthrown. And increasingly, a larger and larger number of gun owners are falling into this second category - goaded and aided by conspiracy theory websites, television shows, and magazines.
In Liberal Blue State New York, my massage therapist tells me a friend of his has bought 20,000 rounds of ammunition, "just in case". He is worried that maybe that might not be enough, and has set out to buy 40,000 more. This is a guy who has nothing saved for retirement - which is a pretty predictable event. But if we ever have a Bosnian-style civil war, he is set.
This Bunker Mentality seems to be on the rise in this country. It is related, I think to Hoarding Disorder - this desire to set aside things for some catastrophic events in the future. And it ties in, I think, with this concept that the Government is somehow intruding into people's lives more and more these days. So-called "Sovereign Movement" people decry government - or at least the parts of it they don't like - and decide they can pick and choose which laws they should obey. Not surprisingly, while they are eager to reap the benefits of civilization (infrastructure, roads, bridges, hospitals, etc.) they eschew the part about paying taxes - at a paltry 25%.
This is a dangerous form of mental illness - and seems to be fanned by the far-Right in an attempt to destabilize our own government.
While the media is hyping how this latest shooting is "the worst since....." they conveniently forget the worst school mass-murder in history, which occurred in Bath, Michigan. A disgruntled nutjob blew up the local school with all the children in it, and then blew himself up using a car bomb loaded with shrapnel, as the "first responders" came to the rescue. A Taliban suicide attack? Some fundamentalist Christian nutjob like in Oklahoma City? No, just a deranged individual back in 1927. Same old shit, different day.
But getting back to school shootings, there is a pattern in these as well - but a pattern no one wants to see. We are told about "bullied teens" with a grudge against Christian students, or Goths or a "Trenchcoat Mafia". But the boring reality is these are mentally ill people - usually Schizophrenic - with access to guns.
And while some may say, "Gee, he was a nice kid, quiet and all. I never thought he would hurt a fly!" the writing is usually on the wall with crazy people. Like pot smokers (often in the same group, and yes, there is a link between pot smoking and Schizophrenia) they are annoying as all shit. As a result, they "start things" with friends, family members, fellow students, co-workers, and the like.
Most only end up hurting themselves. Others, when given access to firearms, often end up hurting others as well, as the events of this year alone have demonstrated - again, and again, and again.
So we have a two-pronged issue here. It is not merely a "gun problem" or a mental health problem. It is a combination of these two problems that is particularly deadly.
And while we can't guard against all such crimes, it certainly is worthwhile to so something to at least reduce the incidence of such occurrences. We can't stop them from occurring entirely, but like car wrecks, we can at least try to minimize the carnage.
Part of the solution is already being enacted. The rapid response to the Clackamas Mall shooting is a case in point. Previously, police were trained to cordon off areas where a shooter was found, and then send for a SWAT team and hostage negotiators. This merely allowed the shooters more time to kill more people, as happened at Columbine. The name of the game is to take out the shooter quickly, and minimize the carnage. It makes more sense.
And more and more schools have implemented "lockdown" procedures and secured entrances, which is not a bad idea - but makes our whole society more bunker-like.
The two areas we haven't addressed are guns and crazy people - the real causes of these problems, when mixed together.
In most of these cases, there is some warning.