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 sacrificial rituals of early 21st America

Their gods needed a sacrifice for the women had become two bold. The audacity! With hashtags #MeToo #TimesUp and #withher feminists were stirring up trouble.

The #maga oracle had predicated that there was a new battle for our civilization. These anti-patriarch feminists were going to set civilization back ten thousand years. The oracle swigged the ancient scotch, the vessels swelled and his visage glowed blood red. He roared a battle cry. “The gods INSIST.” He bellowed.

He whispered to the king. “But Hillary.”

The oracle’s image flickered blue in the homes of the faithful. They rose from their recliners and gathered in the new Public square.

The CEOs wore their power suits and flashed their extra cash around. The ministers carried their holy books and read passages written by the sacred early misogynists that promise hell fire for the disobedient. Members of the NRA paraded in camouflage carrying their rapid fire armaments. College boys bore tiki torches, their khaki legs marching in lock step while they chanted “lock her up, lock her up”

“Hang the treasonous bitch” a lone voice called. The mob was filled with bloodlust and the chanting climbed louder.

“Not the flesh.” The oracle cried. “Not the flesh. We do not need a martyr to fan the feminist fires!” But his voice slurred and few could make out his words.

The crowd parted for the #maga sisterhood. They flowed past their men in their ceremonial stilettos. They smiled through painted lips. They were hungrier than the men for they had to demonstrate their loyalty. They carried the pantsuited effigy to the foot of the king’s golden throne.

“Her emails” they chanted.

Then the maga sisters tore the effigy to shreds before dousing it with lighter fluid. The most bleached moved her arms in rhythm to the chants. She flashed her sparklers like pom-pom’s and then tossed it onto the effigy.

A roaring fire rose and brought a feverish blush to the apples of her cheeks.

“So hot.” The king mumbled then tweeted.

“Women love me. Long live the king.”

——-

Inspired by Bannon’s comments about anti-patriarchy, trump’s obsession with Hillary and the daily prompt: insist.

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

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.

Resisting the propaganda machine.

Propaganda is pervasive and we are more easily influenced than we would like to admit. Information is flowing so quickly we are drawn to shortcuts to make sense of the world around us. Simplification of complex ideas to a single emotional meme works like a virus. Right, left or center, no one is immune.

Some signs that infectious content has hijacked your brain:

  • You believe you completely understand the issue with little research.
  • You are emotionally attached to purity of your perspective. Other perspectives are seen as a threat.
  • You find you are unable to sustain a meaningful exploration of an idea without resorting to prepackaged words and slogans.
  • You reject nuanced discussion.

What we can do:

  • Really talk to people we disagree with.
  • Fact check.
  • Use of own voice and our words to describe our perspective. Avoid the slogans that come easily.
  • When things get nasty, exit with strength and dignity.
  • Learn to recognize propaganda
  • Find out more about propaganda theory.

Here’s a few articles about propaganda that I enjoyed.

On our drive to be influenced.

On our need to simplify in an age of information overload.

photo credit: “Nixon is the One” from examples of propaganda by Caitlyn Jordan. An artful collection of propaganda posters.

Inspired by the daily post. <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/theory/”>Theory</a&gt;

Images of elegance

Michelle Obama’s elegant outfit harkens back to Kate Hepburn.

Some say there is no such thing as white privilege.

But google images tell me otherwise.

Screenshot of top images for a google search for “elegant women.”

Inspired by Daily Word

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/elegance/”>Elegance</a>

photo credit, Michelle Obama: TYLER GOLDEN/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK/GETTY IMAGES

The unsettling

Powerful, talented men are falling all around us. Falling stars who attracted wishes and dreams and burned up women’s hopes like delicate moth wings.

We are all more than a little uncomfortable. The tower of patriarchy is crumbling. Even the foundations are cracking. We are finding that the foundation we built our culture is not bedrock but landfill and all this #metoo revelations aggregate into an earthquake. But unlike a natural disaster, this man-made disaster will clear the field for the rise of a stronger culture for both men and women.

But this powerful movement is also being exploited.

False equivalencies flow from partisan mouths. A proposition is not the same as an assault. Consensual sex with an adult is not the same as pedophilia. Harassment is not the same as rape. Even harassment has levels. I know these things from my own life experience but these are not just personal opinions. The legal and criminal codes of our country define what is a civil violation and what is criminal.

Our legal system has the tools to address harassment, rape and child abuse. Our workplaces have the policies. We need to remove the cultural and social obstacles that mute the victims while preserving due process.

We need to complete fair investigations on the accused. The court of public opinion just buries the truth in propaganda and partisanship.

I want investigations into the allegations against franken, trump and others and then fair judgement and commensurate consequences.

It looks like we are not ready for that kind of balanced action. We are in full disaster mode. The spectacle and passions drive us.

Today I’m trying to steady the ground in my own small way.