I started this post over a year ago. 5/29/14. What’s sad is that I had to look up which mass shooting happened around that time. http://shootingtracker.com/wiki/Mass_Shootings_in_2014 shows that there were plenty of shootings around that date. I’ve re-edited this to include my thoughts from the past year.
Let’s talk about guns, racism and mental health.
Once again we’re faced with a mass shooting. One that “nobody could have prevented”, if you believe folks on the right. Well, nobody but a “good (white) guy with a gun”. But they’ll tell you the real issue is mental health. At least that’s the story when it’s a white guy shooting anyone. My “sound bite” response is always that “mental health” is a distraction used by The Right to avoid talking about guns, how many people they kill every year in the US, and how skewed that number is compared to the rest of the first world.
Here’s the thing: it is about mental health, but not in the way The Right would have you believe. I think that our issues here have a lot to do with two mental health issues, and they’re collective to America: Parnoid Narcisim.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/basics/definition/con-20025568
Symptoms of paranoia and paranoid disorders include intense and irrational mistrust or suspicion, which can bring on sense of rage, hatred, and betrayal. Some people suffering from paranoid personality may have a high capacity to annoy or enrage others because of rigid and maladaptive behavior. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/paranoia-and-paranoid-disorders
The NRA will tell you that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. This is both paranoid and narcissistic. The idea is that if only more of us (white folks) were armed with guns, fewer of us would die at the hands of guns. It’s on us to protect us. We’re a nation build on the idea that we’re self-reliant and that we overcame tyranny to achieve freedom. We’re told to ignore the fact that it wasn’t individuals that created America, it was the nation.
“We built this” is a rally call of The Right and Libertarians. We’re told that we’re better off as individuals than as a nation. Libertarians and Republicans alike rally against the collectivism that bought America it’s freedom. It wasn’t guns, it was people (To appropriate an NRA dog-whistle). Yet time and time again we’re told they “they” (non-white people) are out to get “us” (white people).
Yet if you peruse the list of perpetrators of mass killings, it’s usually a white guy, and it’s always with a gun. It’s almost always a legally obtained gun.
I’ve owned guns in the past. I’m not against gun ownership. I enjoy target shooting, and I support managed hunting. I’m not even against the concept of gun ownership for protection. I just think we’re ignoring something huge.
On Mental Health
Mind you, The Right and Libertarians will sue to not accept the Affordable Care Act and it’s funding for things like mental health. They will claim it’s unconstitutional to “force” medical coverage on everyone. They will claim that it will just lead to worse care for you (white people), death panels for your (white) grandparents, and forced vaccinations on your (white) children.
Solving mental health issues in America is too big for a government that must be kept small. But mass shootings are an issue of mental health.
This is another “dog whistle”: by blaming shootings on mental health, but refusing to solve (fund) mental health coverage, The Right and Libertarians feed their own paranoid narcism: There are mentally unstable people out there, and only you can protect your families.
Buy a gun. Buy one for the whole family. It’s the only way to protect yourselves. Only if, of course, you’re white.
If you’re still reading this and don’t agree with me, thanks. I appreciate your patience as I blow my own “race” dog whistle. I’m aware of this, and I do it with purpose.
Given that this guy was photographed with a jacket embellished with the flags of Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia, given that this guy said very plainly during his rampage “You’re raping our women… taking over our country and you have to go”, it’s inconceivable that anyone would doubt the race component. As someone on Facebook put it:
If you’re living in racist South Carolina and rocking a Rhodesian flag, you’re officially doing extra credit for racism.
I’ll leave it to you to look up the GOP presidential candidates responses to the Charleston shooting. I had an acquaintance (I shit you not) try to connect this with abortion. Anything but the truth.
In the last year or so we’ve had the killing of Travon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray (to name a few). I’ve had to endure The Right claim there isn’t a race component to this:
“We’re past racism”
“I don’t see color”
“This is an issue of income disparity, not race”
These are paraphrased quotes from Facebook conversations I’ve had with folks in regards to these shootings and the subsequent #BlackLivesMatter protests. It’s almost impossible to get someone on The Right to admit that racism is alive and well in America.
Tie it off with a bow
We’re told that we must arm ourselves (narcisim) to protect ourselves (paranoia) from “bad guys” (racism).
End of story.