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Mass Shootings and Society

The shooter wasn’t mentally ill in Florida. florida-shooting-new-gallery1

He was pure rage, uncontrolled.

His primary rage appears directed at his ex-girlfriend, who dumped him. He jumped her new boyfriend and assaulted him which is how he got expelled.

He also had rage against Jewish people who make up almost half the students in that district, a rage fueled by white supremacist groups that are known to be anti-Semitic.

He was not mentally ill. He was angry, to the point of rage. We need to stop confusing rage with mental illness.

We already recognize unbridled rage as bad. We have religions, many of them, that admonish about controlling one’s temper, about the evils of letting rage and emotion control your actions.

Society already knows this is bad. But in a pseudo-scientific way, to make it try to sound scientific, we want to label something that is not mental illness as mental illness, because we do not want to take responsibility for it!

If it’s mental illness, it’s not society’s (white people’s) fault that young white males do this.

Here’s news for 21st century America – yeah, it IS your fault. Part of this is the outgrowth of 400+ years obsession with warfare, violence, misogyny, conquest, and genocide. Part of this is the outgrowth of a few thousand years of patriarchal male dominated ownership of women as sex objects.

But white supremacist patriarchal society does not want to take responsibility for the fruits of 400+ years of colonialism, patriarchy, genocide, and obsession with conquest and warfare. That is the United States, in a nutshell.

To be responsible for those things means society could change those things, might even need to change those things, but if they can instead blame a factor beyond society’s control, then society doesn’t have to change, does it?

But, by laying the problem at the feet of mental illness, white, male controlled society washes its hands of the problem, and then pretends it can go on being patriarchal, genocidal, misogynistic, and obsessed with conquest and warfare.

If these are the fruits of society’s CHOICES, then society could change and alter those fruits. By pushing it off on mental illness, society is trying to pretend that what happens is no one’s fault.

That is what you are seeing happen around you right now.

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December 1st, 2017

A dear friend just lost her mother this week. I lost mine in early December five years ago. It’s odd. As I get older, I find more and more difficult memories accruing around the Thanksgiving to New Year’s time frame. Or maybe the ones that happen in this time frame just hurt a little bit more.

I’ve never really gotten over the death of my mother. I don’t think I ever will. I’ve learned to live with it, to remember her daily, but “getting over it” is not something I anticipate ever happening.

December also marks five years and four months estrangement from my sons, and their children. I don’t know why they think I deserve to be ostracized like this, but they do, for some unknown reasons. But what I most regret is not being able to see three of my grandchildren grow up, to participate in their lives, to get to know them, talk to them, to try to be there for them. That, however, has been denied to me.

I suppose, while I am aware of that every single day, it stings a bit more at this time of year, when families would otherwise be planning to get together, to spend time together, to laugh, enjoy one another’s company, eat, and tell stories together. I was never much for games, especially loud boisterous games, because of my hearing loss, but I do miss being able to sit and chat with people, to share experiences, and to listen to those children.

I hope, somehow, someday, that those three grandchildren realize that I was not the one who walked out on them, but that their parents pushed me away, closed the door, and locked it, with me on the outside looking in. I hope they don’t hold that against me, because it was not my choice, but that of their parents.

And so, at this time of year, when I consider other losses, this is one set of losses that I hope someday might be reversed, that I can do more than just wish Happy Holidays from afar, that I can share this time of year with three beautiful young lives.

If I can make just one wish this holiday season, it would be for families to not turn away someone who loves them. I don’t expect it to ever happen, but I can wish, can’t I?

Happy Holidays, everyone. May the season be joyous and full for you and yours, wherever you are.