For obvious reasons the gun control conversation has reached a fever pitch, perhaps the shock and sadness that accompanies a violent killing spree in an election year has inspired this particular tragic event to be more pervasive than typical.
Folks all over are weighing in, even chefs, locally one wrote on Facebook that, “I’m sad to say it’s an American Problem.” Well, it’s not. As David Brooks pointed out, it wasn’t an American problem in, “Early in the morning of Sept. 4, 1913, Ernst Wagner murdered his wife and four children in the town of Degerloch, Germany. Then he went to Mühlhausen, where he feared the townsmen were mocking him for having sex with an animal. He opened fire and hit 20 people, killing at least nine.”
Nor was it an American problem, “In the 1990s, there were at least 11 spectacular spree killings. Over the past decade, by my count, there have been at least 26 rampages. These include Robert Steinhäuser’s murder of 16 people in Germany, Seung-Hui Cho’s murder of 32 at Virginia Tech, Anders Breivik’s shooting spree at a summer camp in Norway in which 69 died, and the killing of 12 moviegoers in Aurora, Colo., last week.”
When you investigate the minds of these killers, you find yourself deep in a world of delusion, untreated schizophrenia and ferociously injured pride. George Hennard of Belton, Tex., was angry that women kept rejecting him. He drove his car through the window of a restaurant and began firing, killing 14 women and eight men.”
Anyway you slice it, guns don’t kill people, people do. There is just no evidence that supports gun control ending this behavior.
On the other hand there is plenty of evidence that governments have systematically murdered people, and that private citizens need to be able to arm themselves should events warrant it, “never again”, means just that. The argument that the Holocaust took place was 60-some years ago and won’t be repeated is a hopeful stretch, why just last week we had a member of our own congress spewing hate speech at Muslims. Michelle Bachmann, and similar fascists are a reason that decent people may need to be able to protect themselves from their government should these types ever hold the reins of real power. Hate is not a family value, whether it comes while hating Muslims, Gays, Hippies, or who have you. Love, acceptance, and forgiveness of past transgressions is the only way forward.
Norway has handled their losses with extraordinary grace. It seems to me that they have talked openly about this person, his trial, the atrocities he committed, so that as a society they can better understand mental health. So that we can learn from these horrific experiences, and not simply forget, because it scares us. The stigma associated with mental health exists to this day, but mostly because we need to educate ourselves, to talk about mental wellness, and accept our society’s stake in our mental wellness.
All around us people carry enormous burdens relating to their mental health, folks are engaged in behavior that is primarily self destructive, yet that represents an enormous squandering of potential, on a personal level and for our entire society. I witnessed a young man on 94 a couple of weeks ago, swerving in and out of traffic, flipping people off, exhibiting extreme levels of anger. He didn’t just go home and kick the cat, he no doubt carried that destructive behavior with him, and it manifested itself in ways that were very likely hurtful to himself and others.
For far too long too many people have suffered in silence. There is nothing strong about avoidance, about keeping a stiff upper lip. Get help, and get help for those around you that need it. In everyday conversation be sure that you are using language that indicates that you think consulting a mental health professional is as ordinary as going to the dentist, or the gym, but often far more necessary.
Gun laws will not change these tragic stories from unfolding. Perhaps folks that pretend that laws will control this behavior are just ignorant to the extent of human suffering, or delusional that we can always keep guns out of the hands of folks in the throws of a chronic mental health crisis. However there is no actual evidence to support that gun laws will make our society safer from spree killers. Pointing fingers at gun laws, even at countries may seem useful, but it’s complete nonsense. The only way we will prevent this behavior in the future is if we take it upon ourselves individually to seek mental health help, that we lead by example, and that we encourage loved ones to follow our lead.
That’s all for today… I’m off to see my therapist. Take my lead. Pretty please.