Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"I need every brain cell blazing to outwit my invisible enemies."

This week's shooting at the Navy Yard has once again brought the gun control debate to the forefront of our national dialogue.  (And just in time, too, since John Kerry inadvertently solved the Syria crisis.)  As always, some of the most entertaining dialogue takes place on the ksl.com message boards.

Most of what I've read there is the typical "everyone needs a gun" and "guns make people safer" mumbo jumbo, but one particular comment stands out in the pack.  Nathan T posted the following in response to a comment that this shooter was acting out of frustration with the government:
Unfortunately you are right on the money there. It has already started, the revolution, but it will always start at the fringe and the people will always call them criminals; they will die for their cause.

But yes it has already started. It is not the kind of revolution I would like; and I will only join when they [the government] come knocking/busting down on my door. But it has started and will continue and get worse UNLESS honest people boot out all dishonest government officials. The only way to stop it is for complete turn over in every elected position every few years for three to four generations [that is three to four population generations, not political generations].

Unless that happens, the revolution will be bloody and it will take a very long time.
Because of ksl.com's ridiculous written and unwritten comment policies, the link to that comment has been lost as electrons floating through a vast, empty space, but at least it gave ol' Nathan Hale a chance to clarify his point:

We DO NEED to focus on the mental component. In a previous news article I said that the revolution had started; that it always starts at the fringe [historically accurate]. Which fringe of society am I referring to this cycle in history?
The fringe of mental illness. We call them all criminals; anyone who is mentally will whether they have or have not actually committed such a heinous crime as Aaron Alexis has just committed. 
Why did he commit such a crime? I ask that in sincerity. Until society can begin to answer that very question; we can mourn the loss of his victims and the many many other victims that WILL YET BE; but such morning and focus will do no good. We cannot and will not stop the fringe from rising up; until such time that the general population changes the way they act and react.
There are a few ways for that change to come about; a long and bloody revolution in which the general populace eventually participate; a political coup de ta; a democratic change in leadership [ousting all incumbents for up to three to four generations]; or a change in policies of how people are treated [e.g. a return to the U.S. Constitution].
Because the uprising has started and will continue at the "fringe" the policies that should be address IMMEDIATELY would be with the fringe. With the "mental component."
Instead of automatically calling everyone mentally ill a criminal and removing their rights (what was done with the last mass shooting) we need to do the opposite; uphold their rights; stop the constant and consistent disregard to their humanity; put an end to the discrimination that occurs daily; and begin to treat the medical condition as a medical condition and not a criminal one.
Right now; and even this article shows this to be fact; mental illness is over and over treated as a criminal condition. "Disorderly Conduct" is where it starts; basically if someone does something that someone doesn't like, they are a criminal and you can charge them with disorderly conduct. And the "mentally ill" are very weird, they are always doing something that someone doesn't like. And so is true, this man started there; being discriminated against for his illness and charged as a criminal. Once in the system there is no way out and the government continues the offenses against the individual until the mind is completely broken and THIS [mass shooting] is the very result of such government tyranny.
Change the stigma return to the freedoms this country was founded upon; and treat medical problems as medical problems and that would put a stop to the mass shootings. 
A few things.

1.  What an awesome theory!  The mentally ill only remain so because government tyranny makes them crazy.   He is right that our prejudices toward the mentally ill marginalize rather than treat them, and that our system does very little to rehabilitate and treat those who engage in criminal behavior because of mental illness.  On the other hand, it is absolutely bonkers to say that government tyranny made this guy hear voices and shoot his coworkers.  The causes of his mental illness are multifaceted and the lack of treatment is a huge problem that needs to be addressed, but neither is because the government is doing too much.  Indeed, the marginalization of the fringe members of society can often only be addressed through government intervention.

2.  Welcome to the revolution!  I love that to Nathan T., the shooter is a revolutionary, someone who is standing up to government oppression.  However, the sad truth is that this guy engaged in a workplace shooting, not some quixotic challenge to the government that hurt him.  He lashed out at the people he interacted with most, they just happened to work for the government.  I also love that in his later comment, Nathan T. backs off his original pledge to stand with revolutionaries like this guy.  Yup, the solution to the lack of treatment for mental illness in our country is to either violently or systematically over 100 years remove every person of power from government.  That will totally solve the problem and is definitely not a misdirected overreaction.  You nailed it.

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