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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Guns may not be the problem. Stupidity and cutbacks to Education and Mental Health Care have come home to roost!





This may be a misunderstood comment. People may disagree but any who know me, know that I am not a violent person.

My position the last few days has been: We do not have a Gun problem. We have a Stupidity Problem. We have a problem when we are dealing with people who are mentally or expressively challenged. Stupidity can be at one end of the gun or the casue for taking to the gun in the first place. The Shooter is not always the Stupid one.

Many years ago, we were asked with the Howard Jarvis Tax initiative and other such Tax cut initiatives around the country, if property owners wanted to pay for schools when they had no children in attendance in the schools? Did they want to pay for roads or services in communities where they didn’t live? Should we cut Mental Health Programs and release the people seeking help to the streets of our cities?

Did these over-burdened property owners want to have their taxes cut?

Of course they did! Face it...we tend to be greedy and we want our stuff!

There was an overwhelming cheer and a rush to cut the taxes that paid for the schools, unnecessary school programs like Art and Music and field trips to museums and plays, and health and mental services that served the weakest in our communitiy. Even some Athletic programs suffered.

When I went to visit my youngest son's new school, I noticed the condition of the classroom: cracked windows, broken chair seats, some ripped study aids on the walls. A classroom that was in a general worn state of decay. When I asked the teacher what the janitor was doing to correct these problems, the teacher responded “Our Janitor? We SHARE 1 Janitor with four schools in the area.

Luckily our children grew up in an environment where as parents we treasured Art, Music, expression, travel, but we are still Parents. We can only bring them so far. They were teenagers and we were Parents, so even that exposure was limited, but we tried.

I talked to a family member and he recalled the machete murders in China, the Taliban attack at the airport, the Las Vegas shooters, the young man who committed several murders in Santa Barbera, the child with a gun story that is unfolding as I type, the mass murders of children and school personnel in Newtown Conn. And on and on.

I had to break these shooting into three categories.

I felt that some shootings and machete murders and bombings were really political actions, precipitated by a probable response to some sort of repression by a heavy-handed Government.

The second category which probably overlaps all three categories, is certain mental deficiencies, mental problems that caused the shooter to feel that the only way they could express themselves was through the barrel of a gun. Newtown, Santa Barbara, probably what is happening now is the result of some sort of repression or derangement where the shooter has felt no other means of expression.

The third category is just stupidity. Stupidity can also include racism, sexism or just stupidity. The Las Vegas Shooters, the Trevor Martin murder, the murders at the Synagogue in California are probably the result of stupid people who feel they have no other way to express themselves without the use of a gun. They are Racists. They are Haters of Jews, of Hippies, of Business people, of everyone that disagrees with them. They hate and they are just plain Stupid.

In a way the people that all voted to cut their taxes and save movey to buy more stuff and just as guilty of being stupid and certainly short-sighted.

We become more aware of situation 1 (the political murders), but those are frequently lost in the news storm of information and we may not hear about the atrocities for months ofr years. Sri Lanka would be an example of that. Repressive governments have a way of suppressing that type of murder, those horrible examples of institutional genocide.

Situation 2 and 3 are coming to a head, because in many cases and in the 24 hour news cycle, filled with “Breaking News” we are typically on the scene, even before the unfortunate scene has run it’s course. It is almost impossible to catch our breath from one set of murders before another matched set of murdered strangers flies into our view.

It has taken us a decade plus or minus a few years to allow the degradation of our society by cutting back on schools and Mental Health programs, trading the building of prisons instead of schools, to reach this frantic chaos. 

Everyday is a potential mass shooting day. 

We watch the news for larger and larger body counts and we are always aware that the problem is somewhere else and not in OUR neighborhood. (Don’t be surprised when it shows up at your door.)

Two other things were said today that caused me to think. A soldier in the war admitted that he had probably changed untold lives and families by killing many of the combatants that he and his squad had engaged over the years. It could have happened to him as well. That is the reality of War. It is the reality we rarely consider. Even when the "Good Guy" kills hundreds of "Bad Guys" while they protect the evil mastermind, does anyone ever think:do these bad guys have kids. Did the Nazi's know they were Nazi's and evil and when we killed them what was the greater impact on our society. But that is a topic for another blog.

I also noted in social media:

            “How would you feel if you were sitting in a Golden Corral Restaurant or an Applebee's of a Chili's of a Fridays and a group of young blacks with semi-automatic weapons slung over their shoulders, dropped in for a dinner on the way from their softball game?

            Would "Stand your ground" be in effect? Would you be justified to start shooting them because you might feel threatened ? Your family might be threatened?
            I felt confused…“

I am still confused, but we are coming to a murderous Wagnerian crescendo.

It took 2000 years for our civilization to recognize the message of Jesus of peace and love and humility. Except for the infestation of ill-power hungry political insights into what Jesus said, it was probably a good message that he left for us. It may take another 1000 years to understand the message of John Lennon, or Maya Angelou or any of many of today's celebrities. Maybe even Miley is another coming. It might just take some times....

But the impact of not paying for schools, for mental health facilities, for suppressing expression through art, music, etc. has come back to haunt us in a very short life span. In a way it is like how the Global Environmental change in happening in all around us in less than 100 years and probably before we know it we will wake up choking from fumes we can not breath and it will overtake us.

But we can respond to our education now, We can respond to funding Mental Health and HEALTH Care now and reverse this day to day wait for bigger and bigger body counts and useless slaughter. Of course, we can always carry more guns and build more prisions.

As always, I encourage your comments. These are just my thoughts.