Does Reaching the Age of 21 Signal Good Mental Health?
This headline appeared in the New York Times on Friday: “Angry Customer Is Charged with Killing a Food Courier.” According to the article, the customer was angry because months earlier he was delivered less than adequate duck sauce with an order. Having obsessed on the matter for a while, he decided to kill somebody, which he did. He killed a hard-working immigrant with three children. The shooter, Brian Hirsch of Queens, is 51 years old.
On October 1, 2017, a man hauled an arsenal of weaponry to the 32nd Floor of the Mandalay Bay – a Las Vegas Strip hotel. From his perch above a crowd of innocent people he did not know, he carried out the largest mass shooting in the sordid history of U.S. mass shootings. This deranged individual fired more than 1000 rounds into a crowd enjoying themselves at a music festival. Sixty innocent lives were wasted by this act of lunacy. The shooter, Stephen Paddock from Mesquite, Nevada, was 64 years old.
This happened last week in Tulsa, Oklahoma: A patient dissatisfied with his surgeon headed for the Natalie Medical Building on the Campus of the St. Francis Health System, picking up an AR-15 on the way. He shot and killed his surgeon, one other physician, a receptionist, and another patient. The shooter, Michael Lewis from Muskogee, Oklahoma, was 45 years old.
Even without any further discussion of the epidemiology of U.S.-style mass shootings carried out by infantile, narcissistic, lunatics, wouldn’t common sense tell us that we don’t cross some “good mental health magic line” at the age of 21? Wouldn’t we understand that a population of 340 million people in a society becoming sicker and sicker without good access to mental health services includes a large number of people of all ages who become enamored with the thought of carrying out some horrific act of mass murder?
The Problem is Mental Health Combined with a Robust Gun Crazy Sub-population and the Venal Politician who Cater to Them.
Most people who spout toxic, perverse, theories about the 2nd Amendment are not crazy enough to pick up an assault rifle with a 40 round clip and head for some crowd – any crowd – and commence to kill people. However, politicians, religious fanatics, libertarians, extremist Supreme Court justices, and other misguided individuals who fail to grasp the evolution of society vis a vis the U.S. Constitution are enabling dangerous people to act on their psychopathic need for attention.
Another factor underlying mass killing – including the 16,000+ gun-deaths per year – is the mass production and distribution of military weaponry and ammunition at the retail level. I served a three-year hitch in the Marines from 1962 to 1965. As an “infantry weapons specialist” I had been to school on weapons that were typically in an infantry battalion armory at that time: M-14 rifle, M-60 Machine Gun, 50-Caliber Machine Gun, and 45 caliber handgun. Since my discharge, I have watched with horror as these, and even more powerful military weapons and ammo, began to flood civilian society.
After leaving the Marine Corps, I never owned or possessed a firearm of any type. Furthermore, I outgrew my infantile need to kill wildlife. In my young adult life, I began to appreciate the beauty of ring-neck pheasants, deer, and all other forms of life in the wild and question human fascination with murdering other living things.
I’m not for gun control. I’m an abolitionist. There is absolutely no good reason for deadly weapons to be in the hands of civilians. Let’s lock them all up in military arsenals. These weapons are not for amusement, e.g., target practice. Nor are they good for protection. Gun owners are more likely to kill their loved ones, or people they fall out of love with, or themselves with a weapon than protect themselves from someone else.
Epidemiology of Diseases: Agent (firearms), Hosts (crazy people), and Environment (Crazy Second Amendment Theories Spread by Media, Venal Politicians, Etc.).
The U.S. problem with “gun deaths” is not all that complicated from an epidemiological perspective. We have agents which are increasingly powerful weaponry and ammo available to anyone who wants to buy it at various retail outlets. We have mentally ill hosts who are susceptible to silly gun rights. And we have an environment comprised of wackadoodle theories spread by manufacturers and the gun crazies who promote their financial interests – many of which are elected politicians.
The spread of diseases through a society is simply a matter of human behavior and probability. As agents and hosts proliferate in a favorable environment, a disease will worsen. It will become extremely bad when enhanced by promoters of agents are left unchecked. Even liberal politicians are given to hackneyed phrases, cliches, and bromides. You might hear a politician of a liberal bent say, “I’m not against guns, heck I own one myself,” or “I don’t want to take away anyone guns,” or some such meaningless nonsense.
The President & Congress Owe Us More than Window Dressing & Bromides.
The overwhelming majority of Americans want to see a ban on assault rifles. I don’t know why the President of the United States would speak to the Nation and say that he wants an assault weapons ban but will settle for a ban only pertaining to anyone under 21. He didn’t mention hollow point ammunition.
Given the lack of respect for federal laws these days and the lack of bureaucratic enforcement of regulations, why would the President and Democrats think that background checks will stop the proliferation of assault rifles in the hands of lunatics – especially lunatics whose lunacy hasn’t really been noticed. How many of the mass shooters would have been “red flagged?”
In effect, the Democratic Party and the President are signaling weakness and fecklessness. The starting point of their position – their demands – are almost where the Republicans are on the issue right now. There is not much room for forcing movement on the part of a party, the membership of which is mostly made up of wannabe autocrats, gun nuts, religious fanatics, extremist libertarians, neo-Nazi sympathizers, and cult-followers of Donald Trump.
The American people deserve better than that. The Democrats and liberals blindly supporting them must realize that the little meaningless tweaks and their begging and pleading with the smarmy, nasty, bunch leading the Republican Party looks pathetic. Hollow and ineffective reforms only solidifies and legitimizes a pathological system the likes of which I never thought I would see when I left the Marine Corps.