Published on October 6th, 2015 | by jen9150
No, it’s not the guns.
Emotions are running high in Roseburg, Oregon, these days. As the community continues to grieve the lives lost and the shattered peace, many are also fighting with friends and family over a hot topic: gun control. There seems to be a certain type of peace-loving person who believes that guns only bring death and destruction. Well yes, by nature they are designed to kill. That is their purpose. They are a weapon in a long line of man-made weapons: sticks, stones, clubs, arrows, spears, cannons. Mankind has never sat around a campfire singing Kumbaya for long. All of us want to live in peace, but the reality is, that sometimes that is just not possible. Usually the warfare is over a recognizable reason: border disputes, resources, expansion of empire. Lately, we have had to deal with a new type of violence, terrorism. The terrorist kills for one purpose: to create terror and to garner attention in order to bring himself and whatever he stands for under the world’s gaze.
The problem with the gun control debate is that people too often conflate everyday violence–accidents, suicides, gang violence, domestic violence, criminal activity–with the mass shootings taking place in schools, churches and movie theaters, which really should be termed domestic terrorism. So when you talk about wanting gun control after one of these mass shooting incidents, do not bring up statistics from a completely different data set.
These types of domestic terrorism mass shootings, with very few exception, have largely occurred in the last few decades. The majority are concentrated in the 1990s and 2000s. What has changed? Has our access to guns increased? No, in fact it has only gotten harder for people to obtain guns in the United States, as more and more states add background checks and close loopholes. In Oregon, you must pass a criminal background check to obtain a gun. The shooter at Umpqua Community College had no prior record and obtained all of his guns legally. Further legislation, unless it was complete confiscation, could not have prevented that tragedy, unless it somehow was able to prevent mentally ill persons, and especially those on SSRIs and psychotropic medications which are proven to increase the risk for violence and suicidal ideation in some people and especially in young men, from obtaining weapons. But then we would have to find a way for people to accurately disclose their medical records without violating HIPAA and other privacy laws. If the President or anyone has any ideas on how to do this, I’m all ears.
Better yet, let’s look at the real reasons why so many people are walking around drugged up and why time and time again, drug companies are found to have covered up the real risks and side effects of their products and GET AWAY WITH IT, like when GlaxoSmithKline claimed in 2001 that Paxil was safe for teenagers, when the exact opposite was true. According to the New York Times, experts estimate that “Over the years, thousands of people taking or withdrawing from Paxil or other psychiatric drugs have committed violent acts, including suicide.”
Interestingly, none of the mainstream media articles that are whipping the nation into yet another giant neighbor-against-neighbor controversial frenzy are mentioning the role of SSRIs and pharmaceuticals in every single one of these mass school/theater/church shootings, beginning with Columbine High School in 1999. While the majority of the perpetrators of these crimes are on record as being on or recently on a mental state-altering pharmaceutical, the Sandy Hook shooter’s toxicology report was never released to the public. However, he, like the UCC shooter, was admittedly being treated for mental health issues, and ‘treated for mental health issues’ can only mean one thing in the United States: SSRIs.
Funny thing is, I am far from a right-wing redneck. But I pride myself on actually using my head instead of going with the crowd. I am closely acquainted with dozens of friends and family members who have been responsible gun owners for the better part of their lives. Some of them use them to legally hunt, and some of them keep their guns locked up in a safe, just in case they need them to protect their families in a worst case scenario. They go to classes and they keep their skills sharp with target safety practice. I am not remotely worried knowing that my family and friends have guns locked up in their houses. In fact, it brings me comfort.
In a perfect world, there would be no guns. But they exist. I do not want to live in a world where only criminals, the police and military have access to guns. If we can find a way to prevent guns from getting to truly mentally ill people (and yes, I know that not all mentally people have a tendency to become violent and I honestly believe that the pharmaceuticals are more often than not the culprits pushing people over the edge), then that would be a good thing. Better yet, we should as a nation take a good hard look at exactly HOW mental health is addressed in this country (pills and more pills) and at more of the root causes of these sorts of incidents.
This county has been chock-full of guns for over a century now. Let’s not let this incident be a reason to call for disarmament, but a reason to look at not only mental health, but the powerful, dangerous DRUGS that are behind these tragedies. Be aware that the media is distracting you and dividing you. They will never finger Big Pharma as being a culprit because that is their cash cow.
The vast majority of us who live in Roseburg are proud, safe, good, law-abiding citizens. We don’t want to hear your criticism. We want you to let us grieve, for the media to start doing their dang job, and for the government to hop out of bed with the mafioso drug cartel that is destroying the very fabric of our society.
UPDATE: The New York Times reports that the shooter (no names, please) was on the autism spectrum, was being treated for mental health issues, and was on medication (or at least, off and on). He was described as a “head banger” by his mother and was often heard “pacing until 3 or 4 in the morning.” This raises another question: with as terrible as our collective mental health is now, what is going to happen in five, ten, fifteen years when the 1 in 68 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder reaches young adulthood in a society that doesn’t know how to treat them, or even barely acknowledges their existence? Let me give you a hint: no amount of gun control legislation will keep you safe from that.