Changes…

Changes…

And these children
That you spit on
As they try to change their world
Are immune from your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through…

–David Bowie

A little under two years ago, I wrote this post in reaction to Philando Castile’s murder:

Storm’s here.

In that time, nothing changed, until last February, kicked off when a series of white males took up arms against their social circle and inspired a movement in the aftermath of their destruction. Except, that’s not the whole picture. Continue reading “Changes…”

Endarkenment…

Endarkenment…

Guardian.com: If Donald Trump wins, it’ll be a new age of darkness

We are almost there. The countdown says two days. This time Tuesday, we’ll be minutes away from the closing of the last polls, except for Alaska and Hawaii (IIRC). We should already know how things look in the East. We might know the Central states. We will start to have an idea of how the Mountain states are doing.

My kids and I will bear witness to history, because this will either be the election when a woman finally steps up to the helm of my country, or we tip over the cliff to full-on fascism. Continue reading “Endarkenment…”

Storm’s here.

Storm’s here.

In December of 2014, I wrote this post as a placeholder for further exploration. I never got back to the subject because I was trying to juggle the holiday performance schedule and the last semester of classes before graduation in May. It isn’t that the problem had gone away, but it seemed quiet for a time.

The primaries have come and gone, the presumptive nominees are digging in and preparing for their party conventions, and we are reaping the rewards of decades of toxic repressed racism and anger, combined with a rhetoric of hate from the Right that promises to throw our supposedly inclusive society out in favor of pre-war fascism, just as I’ve been predicting since 2012. Continue reading “Storm’s here.”

Orlando…

Orlando…

In January 2013, after the Sandy Hook massacre, I was moved to write this post. Last night I attended the Orlando memorial and vigil, combined with the movie Pride, which my art house theater showed for free. I held one of the candles early on in the evening, before the movie, to honor the dead. Continue reading “Orlando…”

Guns? No. Radical Islam? No. LGBTQ Rights? No. Insanity? Close…

Guns? No. Radical Islam? No. LGBTQ Rights? No. Insanity? Close…

UPDATED: 7:49pm

I didn’t want to go there, but I sure had a sneaking suspicion, and I’ve just been proven right.

According to Gawker Magazine, the shooter was a regular at Pulse. This was no random attack. It was cold blooded, premeditated murder. Daesh had nothing to do with it.

Orlando Shooter Was Reportedly a Regular at Pulse and Had a Profile on Gay Dating App Continue reading “Guns? No. Radical Islam? No. LGBTQ Rights? No. Insanity? Close…”

And another thing…

And another thing…

I’m going to riff off the post I made earlier on FB, because it summarizes the problem we’re facing today. If you already read my post, feel free to share it. I’m following on from my last post, Connecting the Dots, Part 4, where you’ll find the current stats for the 2016 Primaries and Caucuses. Continue reading “And another thing…”

If you can’t say it to my face…

If you can’t say it to my face…

I woke up this morning at 2:30am after a fitful night’s sleep. I was trying to concentrate on homework before I crashed, but there was an incident last night in my favorite restaurant/hang out that bothered me on a level I failed to interpret properly, and I woke up and realized I needed to unload before I could go back to sleep, so I turned on my computer.

That led to a variety of things, including more work on the homework and, more importantly, some solidifying of my thoughts on what happened.

A few days ago, I posted a link to a quote on FB that appears to have grown legs. The quote appears to be a paraphrase of this article on Examiner.com, written by William Hamby: What if gun laws were like abortion laws?

My post, with a paraphrased version of the comparison Hamby made, continues to generate likes and has also attracted a couple of trolls who would rather point their flamethrowers at anyone who thinks pregnancy choice is a problem (read: Pro-Birth) than discuss the actual issue: Gun control.

 

I could address an anti-choice rant and get involved in a days-long fight with someone who’s only interested in posting on FB to generate arguments and feed the hate, who’s largely impervious to reason, employing logical fallacies rather than discussing the actual problem and identifying solutions, or I could eliminate the source.


I’ve been told that one of the individuals in question is a “professional troll” and I’ve got a clearly stated policy against such behavior on my FB page. Posting inflammatory rants borne of logical fallacy for the sake of pissing off the liberals is reason enough to eject someone from my space. I don’t tolerate trolling behavior and I try not to derail the conversation with straw man arguments or false equivalency, but the simple summary that generated the latest response struck me as a concrete analogy and that’s why it was important to share. 

 

Too often, 2nd Amendment supports see their right to guns as trumping any other rights to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. The trouble is, with today’s all-too-often climate of “shoot first, ask later” and doxxing as a means to settle arguments, you actually can’t be too cautious about who you invite to the conversation.

 

Maybe that’s wrong, but I called the police tonight on a guy in my local favorite restaurant (which, by the way, is run by a Muslim family) because the ass wipe was behaving in a manner that threatened him and his family. So when I say I won’t tolerate behavior and I’ll say it to someone’s face, I back that 100%.

 

Why did I call the cops? He was harassing the chef’s daughter, who does not speak English and was wearing her hijab. She was sitting quietly at the end of a long day, and he wandered through, heaping verbal abuse on a guy he called a “f**king queer (who packed up and left in a justifiable huff) and attempting to start a conversation with the daughter. I was unable to keep working on the homework. I felt threatened, and he wasn’t addressing me at all.

 

Two days ago, an American shot up his workplace after leaving angrily. This guy was wearing a cammo coat and was clearly drunk. What was going to stop him from going to his car, hauling out a pistol and exercising his 2A rights, as he saw them through a haze of alcohol? So, I called the cops, because it was necessary. It’s sad that I had to go there at all, but it was clear from where I was sitting that he was unloading all that hate just because she was wearing something he could identify as a target for abuse.

 

It’s the same hate I’ve seen filling the arenas where Trump and Carson and the rest of the bigots in the GOP try to pander to their racist, homophobic, xenophobic base, out of fear they will become irrelevant if they can’t control all the branches of government.

 

It’s the same hate that made the GOP vote to repeal the ACA (Obamacare), and defund Planned Parenthood (even though the federal government is banned from financing abortions).

 

And now that we’ve finally seen Daesh on our own shores, maybe we’ll finally see some action regarding control of weapons, even though the vast majority of mass shootings occurred with a Christian or Atheist at the trigger. The irony hasn’t escaped me, but the question is: Why now? Why not back when Lanza shot all those children in Sandy Hook? Or when the kids shot up their classmates and teachers in Columbine?

 

You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to force me to risk my health for your firmly held belief. That includes your opinion of Planned Parenthood facilities, semi-automatic weapons, medical Mary Jane or anything else. And you sure as hell aren’t entitled to say whatever you want on my FB wall or here, with no consequences to your actions.

 

I’m not going to waste my time arguing with you. Deleting the hate-filled spew on my wall and blocking the source is as much a self-defense mechanism as anything else. If people can’t be civil, they can leave. I’ve said as much on FB, right here. And if they won’t leave, I’ll eject them. It’s really, truly, that simple.

The law we’ve all been waiting for…but wait! There’s more!!!

The law we’ve all been waiting for…but wait! There’s more!!!

Last night I had an extended conversation on Facebook (which I do quite often, because these posts don’t tend to happen anywhere near as much as they should).

The conversation started with this article:

Raw Story: Vermont woman uses high-powered rifle to kill social services worker after losing custody of her daughter

I led with the phrase “Because guns fix everything, and there are no consequences, right?”

It didn’t take long to get the usual response.

“I wish they would focus on that, this was not a sane person. If it’s a mental hospital, or prison, she goes forever.”

In the following responses we saw laid bare the actual problem with this statement, and with the NRA’s [oops! I mean] Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn’s newly proposed gun control bill

It’s quite simple, really: If you have to be insane to shoot someone, then why are the prisons filled with insane people?

Mental illness isn’t a crime, is it? Well, yes, it is, apparently, or the prisons would be empty and there would be mental institutions everywhere.

There aren’t, are there? Why is that?

Well, the answer’s kinda complicated, see. It starts with the shutdown in the 1980s of mental facilities and President Reagan’s dismantling of a lot of the structure supporting those facilities.

Salon: Ronald Reagan’s shameful legacy: Violence, the homeless, mental illness

But that’s not a complete answer, is it? No, because people fire guns for a whole bunch of reasons, including (but not limited to) in no particular order:

  • suicide
  • anger
  • revenge
  • racial profiling
  • accident
  • crime
  • fear
  • greed

You get the idea.

If you look at the prison system today, violent offenders make up only a portion of the population. And a majority of folks who are responsible for gun-related deaths aren’t remotely mentally ill. So where does the NRA come off with claiming this will fix the problem? It’s not a cure. It’s a Band-Aid, designed to draw attention away from the actual problem and place the blame on a population that is far more likely to do nothing at all, or to self-inflict.

Statistically speaking (if you can even call it that), the vast number of certifiably mentally ill shooters who see trial are white. Why is that? Because if it isn’t a murder/suicide, they are far more likely to survive encounters with police if they are white than if they’re not. No, race isn’t a guarantee of protection, but do you suppose the case in Aurora would have seen trial if Holmes had been black? I rather think not, especially in light of Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore and the rest.

We have a gun problem in this country and the NRA is pointing at a portion of the population who are under-served, blaming THEM because then we won’t actually address the problem. CDC Mental Healt FastStats show some of the picture, but not all of it.

Prisons are not remotely designed to handle the mentally ill. Rather, imprisonment is a contributing factor to mental illness.

So what’s the deal, NRA? And what makes you think you can just pass the buck?

Yeah, money.

Just remember, when you pay your dues to the NRA, what you’re supporting. And when you vote for an NRA-backed member of congress, don’t have any mental illness in your background, or you may find you’re on that list.

The law of unintended consequences works all the time.

How we process the news from Santa Barbara…

How we process the news from Santa Barbara…

In this world, too many people see discussions as only about one topic or another, and these folks shun the idea that topics have many subtopics and sources.

The world of Elliot Rodger is by no means exclusive, but if his actions bring these multiple threads of discussion to a head, perhaps we can have the discussions we need to that will help us get past what corporate interests prefer not to discuss for the sake of continuing to generate revenue at the cost of human lives.

In this discussion, but by no means an exhaustive list: Misogyny, misandry, gun control, mental illness, autism, entitlement, politics and more. Every single one of these topics has something to do with the murders and injuries in Santa Barbara, but not the way you might think. And for me, this post has been coming since Sandy Hook and Aurora, but until now I couldn’t wrap my mind around the pile of implications and threads without being afraid either of outing myself or offending someone else, so I’ll say this first and get it out of the way, because you need to know.

It all starts with

#YesAllWomen

And it ends with

#NotAllMen

Now before you blow up all over me and say I’m interested in taking away ALL TEH GUNZ, as some now-unfriended people have done in the past, let me share some facts with you:

1. I have been in therapy on and off since I was a teenager. Losing a parent early is bad enough, but I also suffered bouts of depression and headaches and cramps that were bad enough to put me out of commission for a couple of days. Add to that being unable to get organized because I would start one process and then ten hours later find I’d gotten sidetracked and only partially finished the original goal, but forgot those 15 other things that also needed doing (along with the food I was supposed to eat regularly), well, that’s ADHD in a nutshell. Add to all this a separation from my husband and how to handle his behavior and the aftermath of the break-up, and death of a parent, and it’s not a surprise. I have been on medication but am not now and have not been for the better part of a year, and in that year I’ve accomplished Dean’s List two semesters running. My ability to cope has been tested sorely and I’ve come out okay on the other side.

Mental illness comes in all forms and so do other mental issues. I’ve never considered myself a danger to others. I used to think it was all on me, that I was broken, but no more. Having watched my ex-relationships and how they handle their current relationships, I’ve come to realize my biggest fault is in the relationship choices I’ve made and not so much with me. Some of the problems I’ve had could be chalked up to immaturity, narcissism flawed logic on the part of the opposite sex. I’m tired of playing romance roulette and I’m not looking anymore, mostly for this reason. And I’m mostly okay with that.

2. I grew up in a household with an NRA member who also smoked. I never picked up either habit, though I am a fair shot with a .22 rifle. I have spent time with people who were doing drugs, but never knowingly took drugs on my own or sought out more than alcohol and I don’t drink much now because I don’t like the effect or (in many cases) the taste.

3. I have suffered sexual abuse, above and including the “dirty phone call” variety. In more than one instance I was not a consenting adult. Only one time did someone of the opposite sex hit me, and he’s been out of my social circle for an extended period of time. No, I won’t go into details. The statute of limitations ran out a long time ago.

4. I like movies quite a bit, but am increasingly uncomfortable with what I see in them, especially when they revolve around relationships between men and women. The Bechdel Test is weighing particularly heavily on my mind just now.

So, when the news broke about Santa Barbara over the weekend, I had plenty of thoughts on the subject, but until I started seeing responses on my Facebook feed, I was willing to ignore them until I could get my thoughts to gel.

What follows are a number of articles and videos, in what I think are appropriate order. You can feel free to follow my path down through the material or just take my word for it: We have a major problem on our hands and we don’t even know how to talk about it because these issues are coming up and getting in the way of the conversation.

We can start with Ann Hornaday’s response (auto-launch video warning!) to the critical feedback she received on her scathing article published May 25, 2014, in which she indicts the Hollywood movie machine as a foundation for the problem of male entitlement.

What follows here are four reactions, every one of them written by men. I want you to read what these four men have to say on the subject. I am excluding from this conversation the father of one of the male victims in the Santa Barbara rampage because he’s addressing his questions to congress. In the end, this is what you must do, as well, or the conversation will not change.

First, regarding the shooter’s mental health condition, a subject that should really be investigated further because we do NOT treat mental illness the way we should and we never ever have. Worse, assumptions by the police that it isn’t as bad as observers have seen has much to do with lack of training, coupled with a lack of beds in hospitals and the lack of trained medical staff for dealing with violent mental illness.

Washington Post: Sheriff: Calif. shooter Rodger flew ‘under the radar’ when deputies visited him in April

That the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance companies restrict access to care and shunt everyone to drugs first is a failure to address the fundamental problem: We are not equipped to handle mental illness because it’s not in the interests of drug companies to fix a problem that nets them billions of dollars annually.

These situations exist because we have failed both the families of our most fragile citizens who know better and try to warn about the dangers and those victims who likely never knew what hit them or why. There is but one target for this: Our laws fail us and our lawmakers fail us because they answer to the industry and not the people.

But then, there are those in congress who prefer to blame the mentally ill and regulatory failures instead of looking at why those gaps exist:

Washington Post: GOP’s Rep. King calls for more background checks in wake of Calif. killings

Rep. King’s views aren’t new, but they are politically motivated, and it’s still easier to point a finger at background checks without recognizing that without a universal database to check, such a system will fail, and such infrastructure simply doesn’t exist because of the taboo discussion regarding mental illness in the first place. So sure, go ahead and talk as if a background check might have kept the violence from happening, but it’s a smokescreen on a much larger problem.

And on top of all this, there’s the dreaded “Autism = Murder” issue that came up with Sandy Hook. I read the article below when it came out, and I think it bears rereading. I know at least a dozen people in my social circle who fall somewhere on the spectrum. Everyone wants something to blame to try and explain the actions of murderers. Consider these words before you become part of the problem:

Psychology Today – Asperger’s, Autism, and Mass Murder: Let’s stop the rush to judgment.

Two more articles, and I’m done for now. I’ve posted at least one of these on my Facebook feed already, but both bear reading and further reflection.

First:

Slate – Not all men: How discussing women’s issues gets derailed

and second:

Patheos.com – John Beckett: Dude, It’s You

If you want to have the discussion here, you’d best spend the time and read these last two articles because I will boot you otherwise.

You can feel free to share this information. We can’t have the discussion if we don’t recognize the foundation for the problem.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.