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Friday, December 4, 2015

OK, so I Can't Scapegoat Mental Illness. NOW WHAT?

It was brought to my attention today that my previous post about the need for mental healthcare in our country was based on bad assumptions on my part: Apparently mass shooters are more likely to be adolescent or young adult males who are poor, have easy access to guns, and are abusing alcohol or drugs than they are to be mentally ill. This baffles me, honestly, since I cannot imagine a sane, rational person committing such horrible acts of violence... but then again, most people aren't rational a lot of the time.

Since I am a grown-up who can admit when I'm wrong, that's what I'm doing here.  

But now I'm also left with this uncomfortable chasm of uncertainty and sadness.  I have a very human need to blame SOMETHING when I feel that I've been narrowly avoiding violence these past 15 years since I moved out of my parents' house.  

I also work in the public with a LOT of young adult males who are impoverished, and their use of drugs and alcohol is something I've learned to detect pretty quickly.  For a public librarian, hearing about the trifecta of causes that go along with a mass shooter is just horribly scary.  

It would be nice to blame guns in all this, it really would.  I am not a fan of guns myself, and I fervently wish that they had never been created, let alone necessary in our past to resolve conflicts worldwide.  Guns are designed to bring death to others: that is their ultimate purpose. But it really does come down to the choices that a person makes behind the weapons they hold, and it's people, not guns, who are pulling those triggers and choosing to kill others.  

We're at least 100 years too late in realizing that a gun (or 5) in every house is a bad idea.  There's no backing out of the 2nd Amendment at this point, and even I would object to a country-wide seizing of all weapons from the hands of citizens.  Our police forces use militarized weapons, sometimes against our citizens, and I am not comfortable enough with The Man to think that the powers that be will always know best or act in our best interests.   

Of course, I'm a big believer in universal background checks for firearms, but even with strict regulations in place that deal with firearm purchases, you still can't predict when someone might choose to use that weapon against others.  

Without an ability to read people's minds, we're left to find problems with our society and decry them, without being able to DO anything about them.  
How do you get the angry loner to become less angry?  
How do you create a world where poverty isn't a problem for anyone?
How do you get people to understand that kindness and selflessness help make us all better?   We WORSHIP selfish assholes who squander their wealth on shit they don't need!  We give them television shows and follow their lives on social media... hell, we even let one of the biggest, most selfish assholes in our country run for president!  
Where are our shows about good-hearted do-gooders who want to make our planet a better world?  Where are our shows that teach compassion an empathy?

Oh wait, we lose those when we stop watching Sesame Street.  
Instead, we get a media full of rich jerks flaunting their wealth, news of gunmen getting famous for killing, and of everyone acting outraged that these shootings happened in the first place.  

So you know what?  I give up.  I'm not going to solve this problem.  I don't even know enough about it to write an accurate blog post when I'm mad.  

All I can do it show kindness and give help to those who come into my library and into my life.  And raise my kid to do the same.  

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