I heard NPR talking about mental health today, as if that were the big issue with gun violence. I get more disgusted with them each time I listen. A little while ago, a tweet came by from Counterpunch that was pretty spot on. It quoted a tweet from the DOD in which they were gloating about their new gunship. Counterpunch said: “The Department of Defense tweets about actually killing people like it is a sport, and some people still wonder where this country’s violence problem stems from.” Ayep.
Of course, the reaction against the mental health obsession leads to confusion, but part of it is “mental health” and “emotional health” tend to get thrown into a big bucket that most of us don’t understand, leaving us talking about we know not what. And this leads to places where it sounds as if disability advocates are saying that, yes, someone who opens up in a school with a semi-automatic rifle is emotionally healthy, which I’m pretty sure isn’t what they mean. At least I hope it isn’t what they mean. But we live in an unhealthy society, one in which our leaders gloat about violence. “We came, we saw, he died,” said the Secretary of State, gleefully praising the cold-blooded murder of Gaddafi.
At the same time, police shoot down anyone they happen to feel like without punishment. Do you know how many murdering cops were prosecuted by the DOJ over the last 16 years? Zero. The message is clear, and you can hardly blame some poor over-stressed bastard for hearing it.
The illness of a society is, as always, manifested through individuals, some of whom, for various reasons, express it in horrific ways. Sensible gun laws? Sure. I’m pro Second Amendment, but I don’t have a problem with some reasonable limitations on military-style weapons, and making sure anyone with a firearm knows how to use it.
Also, cut it out with the idiotic arguments: Anti-gun people: pointing out that the Second Amendment was “passed by slaveholders” therefore we can get rid of it is reckless and stupid. So were the other nine. Also, you might want to remember that the most stringent gun laws this country ever saw were passed in California as a direct attack on the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.
Pro-gun people: Oh, come ON. Thinking you can defend yourself against “the gummint” with a rifle makes as much as sense as the Dutch folktale of the woman trying to hold back the flood with a broom. And, if the Founding Fathers had somehow had the foresight to say, “A well regulated highway being essential for liberty, the right of the people to keep and drive cars shall not be infringed,” I don’t think that would have prevented states from requiring drivers licenses.
But the essential point is the one I started with: how can we expect to take on the violence in our society when it is praised, extolled, and demonstrated day after day, year after year, by those at the very top? For the last 17 years, there has not been a day in which this country was not bombing people, and hardly a day in which a cop wasn’t shooting someone. If you think this has nothing to do with the violence in our society, let me indulge in understatement by saying I think you are incorrect.