Monday, December 17, 2012

This is Why Nothing is Going to Change

You must indulge me in a fit of despairing cynicism that despite the grief and hand wringing and vows that "We can do better!", nothing is going to change.

I had some hope.  At first I thought maybe we could begin to look a little at how easy it is to get guns in this country.  But with talk of laws, I realize that no law is going to change this country's odd love affair with fire arms.  In fact I am beginning to fear that banning guns would no more make people give up their guns than Prohibition made people give up their booze.  And I shudder to think of an even bigger gun black market business.

Well maybe we can do something about the abysmal access in this country to mental health services.  I know something about this but I have NO INTENTION of talking about my experience because of what I see happening to Liza Long who wrote the much shared I am Adam Lanz's Mother .  She wrote a heart wrenching, painfully honest post on what it was like to have a violent mentally ill son.  Everyone I knew was sharing it all over the place.

Then the backlash.  You can read the gory details here.  Okay she's not a nominee for Mother of the Year.   She says some disturbing things in a blog she thought was anonymous.  Seriously - YOU  never felt like throttling your kid?  Disfunction, divorce, abuse, mental illness.  It's messy.  What - are we only supposed to have compassion for perfect families that struggle? 

I also think people are piling on her because she is messing with their agenda.  The gun control people don't want her issues diverting people from their agenda.  Advocates for the mentally ill don't want people to think they are potential mass murderers.  But here's the deal.  Sorry but sometimes mentally ill people ARE violent.  Especially if they aren't treated.  That truth makes people squeamish about the mentally ill, but the answer is not to pretend it's not true.

Anyway the lesson seems to be, unless your life is spotless and blameless, don't write about your struggles and expect any compassion.  Oh wait.  Perfect people don't have struggles.  Or need compassion.

When Jesus heard this, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’ 

Mark 2:17

Anyway it sounds like business as usual.  Everyone has an agenda.  If your experience doesn't fit my agenda, then just shut up.   I feel like all those babies died in vain and it will happen again only next time it won't be quite as traumatic

Kyrie, eleison


  1. I hope you are wrong, but probably you are right. I hope my family member will continue to get the needed help. Paying for it is a problem. Pre existing condition, etc. At least THAT is changing. And thanks to the late Sen Wellstone, mental health issues get better help.

  2. Gah. I read Liza Long's essay this morning, and thought it was gutsy (and terrifying). I'm sorry she's getting flack over it.

    It seems pretty clear to me, though, that there is absolutely nothing we can do, because as a nation there is no realistic way for us to get rid of guns on the scale they need to be got rid of.

    As for concern for mental health -- well, that's also unrealistic in the society we have developed over the past half century. It is, after all,one more form of health care. Worse yet, health care for people who aren't generally employed in high-end jobs. Frankly, most of us are screwed if we break a rib; never mind if the only thing that can keep us functioning is a delicate balance of chemicals that needs to be monitored and adjusted every few months.

    Somewhere on the internet today, I saw a blog comment that said, in effect, "the only way to deal with all this crazy people shooting up schools is to meet them with overwhelming force." And that, right there, is why our society is doomed.

  3. when you said that thing about prohibition, it actually made me shiver.

    like p.s. said, I hope you are wrong, but you probably are right. I guess I am getting cynical too.

    I keep thinking -- how is it that other countries are able to figure out how to regulate firearms without getting the black market thing?

  4. Because only America has this weird fetsh about their guns. People from other countries do not get it. I don't get it

  5. I feel so helpless and hopeless in the face of this issue. Like you, I believe it'll happen again, and, indeed, it won't be so traumatic because it happened before. And the next time it'll be even less traumatic, and then where will it go? I abhor the gun "mentality" and I sure don't want to feel the only way to protect myself is to carry one, or the only way to protect children in school is to, G_d forbid, arm teachers... I just can't wrap my brain around that one.

    I was a psychiatric technician in a mental hospital in California in the 60s. Some of the people who came through my wards definitely needed to be there, in order to receive treatment for their conditions. Some of the treatments were barbaric (electric shock "therapy"), others were effective (drugs, counseling, occupational therapy). Then, along came Ronald Regan, who slashed our budgets and put thousands of people out on the streets who were totally incapable of caring for themselves. The system has never recovered, and I don't think it ever will.

    I'm 70 years old and, frankly, am glad I most likely won't be here in another 25-30 years to witness what lies ahead. I think things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

    With that... I wish us all a Happy New Year, and G_d speed to all of us.