When Will It End? Vol. 1

I’ve seen the flag at half-mast too many times in my young life.

What happened in Vegas earlier this week is horrible. That goes without saying.

I hesitated to write anything in the immediate aftermath to allow events to develop, and not to rush to judgement about anything. I also hesitated because it’s getting way, way too routine to have to do this.

There’s a paradox here; I love the true crime genre, but I hate people getting hurt. I justify this to myself that reading and watching true crime brings us to a better understanding of justice, and to a better understanding of evil. As much as human beings can comprehend evil.

More about rushing to judgement…

Some have claimed it’s not the time to talk about gun violence in America. These same people never bring it up…except in the wake of a mass shooting. By now, I think, it is clear that this is a uniquely American problem. American gun laws are uniquely lax in the developed world.

Moreover, if the NRA supports the existing ban on federal funds for research on gun violence, I think we can all safely assume it’s because they think the findings would be unflattering.

That we don’t even enable research into this uniquely American problem is a disgrace.

If we don’t understand the causes of gun violence, we have no hope of preventing it in an effective way.

In another rush to judgement, mental illness has been suggested as the primary cause of the massacre in Las Vegas, and better mental health care proposed as an answer.

While I agree there is a desperate need for better access to mental health services, I point out that most mentally ill people are not a threat to others.

There is, so far, little evidence that the Vegas shooter had mental health issues. Moreover, the intensive planning we now know went into this crime indicates the perpetrator knew what he was doing and attempted to conceal it because he knew others would view it as wrong; even if some underlying suicidal impulses or anger issues come to light, his premeditation excludes him as “criminally insane” as recognized by most courts.

Perhaps it is a kind of benign, charming naiveté to believe that a “sane” person could not murder almost sixty of his fellow human beings and wound hundreds more for seemingly no reason.

Behind that charm, however, I fear there is an ongoing assumption that “crazy” and “evil” are synonymous. It is this assumption, along with others, that stigmatizes mental health issues and discourages access to mental health care.

Whatever complex web of motives and drives that led to the Las Vegas shooting emerges, I propose the following:

Evil is real.

Now, what are you doing to thwart it?

May I suggest calling your elected officials and telling them you oppose the Dickey Amendment? If you get the answering machine, keeping trying. That means it’s working. 

Stay safe,

-L

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One comment

  1. Allison: I found this page while going over the Wp Reader. Interesting, is that absolutely nothing is mentioned about the murder rate in Chicago. Noting that you state yourself as being young, there are numerous concerns that you will face during your lifetime, which I do hope will be a long, prosperous, healthy, and happy lifetime. My better days are behind me. I have lived my life around guns, and crime. The discussion about guns, is a bit misdirected. I started with guns at the age of twelve, many decades ago. My father, a WW2 combat veteran. He had one deer hunting rifle and a 1911 pistol. I was the oldest of five boys. We were taught that the guns were there in the closet and never to be touched without permission. My father found me looking into the closet at the guns one day and for punishment because I did not ask permission first, made me place the pistol in my waistband and hold my arms straight outward with that heavy rifle in hands, and hold it there until my arms ached and then continue to hold it outward. I immediately did not want to poke around guns after that. Later that year, I accompanied my father and uncles deer hunting. I did not touch any rifle, but did assist field dressing a buck. That sort of became my chore as time went on. At age 16, I hunted, and harvested meat for the family. When I was 17 years old, I most unfortunately, enlisted in the Marine Corps. I was a troubled kid, always in fights, never starting any, but always finishing them, and got a bad reputation as a wild kid. I knocked down two longshoremen to the pavement once. Word spread all over the neighborhood, and while walking home from school, I just stepped off of a NYC elevated train station and there were two men standing there asking me my name. I dropped my books figuring a fight, but they grinned and said they liked me. They were mafia. They wanted me to “hang out” with them sometime. Torpedos for a local loan shark. Days off from school since the age of 12, I helped out my grandfather, do concrete work, for $12.00 a day. The mafia guys paid me $40.00 just to go with them and do nothing while they collected debts. I really did not want to stay in school after that. An uncle, was a tugboat captain and started taking me to work on my days off, so that I would not fall to the street element. Tugboats were tough work. Work and not talk unless an emergency or to relay a message or order. But alas, I became a Marine, a machine gunner, and ended up in Southeast Asia in an infantry company. I did my job. While there, I observed people suffering. I did what I could to help, within authorization, but suffering was all over the place, all because an enemy could hurt people, and took pleasure in hurting others. It affected me. When I returned Stateside at the ripe old age of twenty, nobody would give me a job. My friends lived a happy life, and said that I was “different”. I saw them as children. They cared about nothing other than their own selfish desires. I eventually got the only job available, in a slaughterhouse. The workers laughed at me, saying that I was a “natural”. It was unpleasant but necessary work, and I needed that job. I stopped talking. I saw suffering on the streets. It was exactly like what I had previously observed overseas only a different language and skin color. I wanted to help people. I became a cop. I did my best to help others, and people in the community got to know me, at first they thought that I was bad because I wrote summonses and arrested people, but in their time of need, they knew that I would do my very best to help them. I was also in three on-duty shootings. People were starting the politically correct stuff and I suddenly had politically correct bosses and cops who were against me. I fired a total of eight rounds of ammunition, got eight hits, seven gunmen dead. Later on, I made detective. After that I was promoted to sergeant. I worked patrol and was bumped into the detective bureau as a sergeant and became a squad whip in a robbery squad. I was passed over three times for promotion to lieutenant while others who wrote lower marks than myself on the promotional exam were promoted. Some went higher up the ladder. I retired. I blog because my kids felt that I do not talk other than the keyboard. They wanted me to learn computers. All I knew was License and Warrants data. So here I am behind a keyboard. Guns are not the problem, people’s behaviors, are more of a problem. I advocate Constitutional Carry. But know this, with Constitutional carry, goes added responsibilities and added obligations. The issues, revolve around people having a lack of self-discipline, and having a lack of serving others. Family is the greatest thing, but we all see a very high divorce rate and one parent families. When I was in school, Good Citizenship, was taught. You learned about America and you learned about respecting other people. Today, people blurt whatever is on the tip of their tongue, without thinking. Maybe they are programmed to do that, because they think that they are on some sitcom. Rather than question too heavily, firearms, it would be, in my opinion, a good suggestion to look and observe behaviors of people around us. Too many are immature. That, is where you will find the trouble. Why? Because you are young, and need to have a full lifetime ahead of yourself, and hopefully someday, for your children and grandchildren who are yet unborn. Think ahead. Discussions with facts, not emotions. Best of Luck to you. I enjoyed my visit here, and hope that I did not step out of bounds.

    Like

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