This is a Facebook post I just sent to someone as a response to their post regarding reaction to the 14 December 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy. I’ve taken individual references to actual friends/family out, but I wanted to share it [a followup to my previous post: society, psychoses and weapons: what to do?], as it contains information that people might take the time to look up for themselves. Also, it reaffirms my own position on this most important issue that faces, not just America, but all societies. I expanded the post in some cases where I thought clarification would help:
I agree in how small this discussion seems in the grand scheme of things, but then again, I believe that all dialogue is good and not just a “speck of dust.” Too much of what passes for dialogue today is nothing more than partisan rhetoric with its only intent being to slam the opposition.
This site [the Facebook site I originally posted on] has some of the best discussions around. On my site, friends and family seem many times to want to talk about Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or just to post Jesus affirmations. In all fairness, I’ve done that too, and hey, what’s social media for if not to socialize. All reasonable dialogue is worthwhile. To steal the title of a recent Bob Dylan song, “It’s All Good.” Even if friends/family don’t participate in the political/philosophical dialogue, at least they hear how I feel, and that’s good enough for me. Notably, and appreciatively to me, there are some who do participate.
I see the problem of mass killings as complex, with three elements: societal ills (media violence, gaming violence and exponentially morphing technology), the increase of psychoses, especially among males in their early thirties. Mother Jones did a recent article with specific stats: [“Half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 19, respectively); the other 31 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, government buildings, and military bases. Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman. (See Goleta, Calif., in 2006.) The average age of the killers was 35, though the youngest among them was a mere 11 years old. (See Jonesboro, Ark., in 1998.) A majority were mentally ill—and many displayed signs of it before setting out to kill.”]: ), and finally the presence of weapons (not just guns, but fire, bombs, machetes, vehicles…).
Weapons are not going to go away. Societal ills can be worked on, although there is much money in not toning down the violence in movies, TV and gaming (see the book by Dave Grossman (). As far as working on mental illness, there are great organizations doing great work (NAMI and actress Glenn Close’s BringChange2Mind site), but their hands are too often tied by legalities.
I once had to become legal guardian for a relative with schizo-affective disorder. After multiple police encounters with the person in his trying to live alone, I still had to go to court with an attorney. The relative was assigned an attorney. The hearing determined, after arguments, that this person indeed needed a guardian.
I could only take the experience and heartbreak for two years. Then, I went to court again, with attorneys on both sides, to assign a new guardian and conservator, and to place the person in assisted living. These proceedings, I wholeheartedly admit, are necessary. Otherwise, anyone can just lock up some “crazy” off the street, or have some family member arrested or institutionalized, maybe with eyes on an inheritance.
There is no easy answer to societal ills (with exponentially morphing technology in which people are spun out into castaways more-and-more with heated anger toward society) or to mental illness, with lawyers in the middle, or finally weapons rightfully guaranteed by the Second Amendment to protect one’s home and family against assault from criminals or from a tyrannical government. We’re free not to buy guns. We’re free not to pray. But, when our home is broken into and our family is in danger, the first thing a person without a gun would do is call for someone with a gun and pray that that person arrives in time. Who is one going to call if the government comes after them, now that they can, for any reason at all? See the new NDAA bill signed into effect by “our” president.
Perhaps I’m overreacting. I just felt like dialogue is never a “speck of dust,” even though I agree that it seems that way. It’s all good, and it’s what’s needed more. Like many today, my mind is heavy regarding the killings, and like many, I have to get it out. The Journal News in New York and Gannett News Service (it’s corporate owner) are idiots who couldn’t reason their way out of a paper bag as far as their publishing, interactively, the names, homes and addresses of gun owners and then their hiring armed security guards to protect themselves.