Crazy people with guns

Why the gun control versus mental illness debate is dishonest and dangerous distraction.

First and foremost. The majority of people with mental illness are not violent. It’s quite easy to say, “look at that horrible violent crime. The perpetrators must be mentally ill.” The media look back at mass murders reinforces a stereotype that pathogizes people who seek treatment for mental health issues.I’ll repeat because we cannot say this enough: the vast majority of people with mental health issues are not violent.

Pro gun republicans and libertarians are planting a false debate that gun control should not be an important part of the solution. “It’s mental health!” they say (or immigration, depending of the color of the perpetrators skin).

The truth is the policies that republicans push eliminate the very safety nets essential for people with mental health issues.

You know those adults on Medicaid that are demonized as not working enough for the republicans? People with untreated mental illness are more likely to be unable to maintain steady employment. Their Medicaid is their ticket to essential mental health care. Republican states are queuing up to add able bodied adult work requirements for Medicaid that will most surely impact people with mental health and substance abuse issues.

If they are able to sustain employment and have private health insurance, the affordable healthcare act (ACA) ensures that mental health benefits are included in their plan no matter what state they live in. The GOP opposes essential health benefits. Along with prenatal care, mental health services are targets of the “I don’t need it so why should I pay for a plan that covers x” mentality.

It’s no secret that the National Rifle Association (NRA) makes significant donations to politicians, heavily focusing on republications. Again, Trump and the republicans have proven through policy that access to weapons trumps public safety and the needs of people with mental health issues. Any attempt to implement common sense gun legislation is targeted with a two prong attack: legislation and heavy propaganda. This article from 2012 documents NRA’s highly effective social media reach.

The NRAs propaganda is highly effective. Most Americans advocate for common sense gun legislation yet the debate is entrenched and we are mired in inaction. Democrats are not looking for an unconstitutional ban on guns. Yet the NRA political campaigns would suggest that we are divided. The social media campaigns seek to push Americans apart when it’s time for us to come together.

Sadly, there are too many moments when children who are killed and their families are in my thoughts and prayers.

Too many.

My heart aches.

And I never want to become numb to the grief. I never want to become desensitized. I hope you don’t either.

I want our grief to mobilize us to unite and take action. My faith tells me that I have a responsibility to be part of the solution. That prayer and action are linked.

I want common sense gun restrictions. I want a robust safety net for people with mental illness. I want effective treatment. I want my elected officials to break the grip that the NRA has on them.

I am an engaged citizen and I vote.

The sketch

By now, most of us have seen the sketch that went viral. In spite of its simplicity (or because of it) a thief was caught. I get it. A few lines and a couple of dots captured the visual essence of a man.

Less is more in the detective business.

Saturday over breakfast, my son and I decided to throw our towel into the forensic artist business.

I offer the following sketch to my lovely neighbors in case their dog should go out galavanting and get lost on their way home.

You would surely recognize their dog at a glance if posted on any poster.

Please understand I have complete faith in the careful puppy parenting of our neighbors. I anticipate that this image will never be needed for anything greater than my own portfolio.

I also present my talented son’s forensic sketch.

He is seeking a long lost friend from kindergarten.

The image is a good likeness though perhaps less effective than my own.

I do not mean to throw my son under the bus but if a position for a forensic artist becomes available, I am the better candidate for the job. Our family would be better served by an income spent on food than an income spent on the latest and greatest hockey sticks.

Yoga Week: Oh who cares?

Since November, through sickness and health, solitude and celebration my yoga practice has been unwavering. But this week may be the one to break my resolve.

See yoga connects me. My body, my feelings, my view of the word all become one. Yoga in fact mean “union.”

My breath and movement can explore a tightness that is physical and spiritual. It can consider and loosen without force. The opening is more than a stretch. It’s an opening to new perspectives, new ideas and new opportunities.

There’s yoga for every state of being. When ill, it can be soothing stretches and coordinated breath. Meditation in movement. On other days, it can activate my body. Bathe my cells with renewed vitality.

So, why am I finding many little ways to try and undermine my practice?

Because yoga isn’t selective. It connects to our joy; it connects us to our sorrow.

Right now, I don’t want to be connected. I want the numbness of distracted living. Winter is rough on someone dear to me. I wear myself out caring and caregiving. And there is a heartfelt sorrow as I see his struggles and hope for continued healing.

So I’m working around the edges of lapsing. Moving my practice to the last moments of the day just before sleep takes over. Reducing the chance I will connect deeply.

The opportunity to feel even this deeply is before me.

Namaste

Bewildered by these women today

The old men peddle shame.

How can you blame them?

Their mamas lied to them.

Their wives lied to them.

The elders let their boyhood selves stand on soapboxes while their sisters clapped.

“Sit with the men. The girls will handle dinner.” The mamas said.

The papas grinned. “You are a chip off the old block.”

It’s anatomy and all that!

It’s biochemistry!

It’s the natural order!

Who could blame the old men now?

——-

Inspired by gender bias in politics and the daily post, bewildered

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bewildered/”>Bewildered</a&gt;

The loud sounds of stars exploding

The days of feminine subtlety have passed.

The new strategy must be to let your power shine.

Let your strong opinions grow in the sunshine of unsheltered, unfiltered light.

Yes, it’s more risky than you know.

People will define you as brash. Your voice will be called shrill.

They will define your strong options anger.

They will think you are on your period, menopausal or a lonely unloved she-devil.

You may hear that you are a FEMNAZI.

The old strategy has lost its usefulness. Cajoling and influencing is the strategy of the lesser.

But you are equal.

Not a lesser planet circling a male sun.

Shine as the star that you are.

The universe will be twice as bright.