15 Dec 2012 at 7:57 pm #2683
Yesterday horrific things happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, just 90 min. from NYC (some residents probably commute to the City). China also experienced similar violence the same day, but with knives. Many Chinese and Americans as well as others around the world are no doubt asking why someone would commit such heinous acts, the American murders all the more terrible because they were mostly of innocent children.
On one level, finding out why is the task of science, and I hope funding for psychological research will increase. I also hope we finally get serious about gun control. On another, deeper level, spiritual people will look to their beliefs for answers that they may or may not find. Still the cosmic reach is important and necessary, and for some it may be more disturbing than comforting. But if they keep reaching, I believe they will find understanding and peace.
Cormac McCarthy, who has brilliantly probed the horrid depths to which humankind can descend, once said, I’m a pessimist but there’s no sense being miserable about it. All my adult life I’ve vacillated between pessimism about the human condition and optimism.
Certain happenings at Newtown yesterday and today make me an optimist in the way this community of fine folks keeps coming together in faith, humility, and questioning. They caused me to think of Browning, Ah but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp but what’s a heaven for, and of Eliot, All shall be well. All manner of thing shall be well. Perhaps a rabbi said it best about his community and the horror inflicted on it and by extension on all such tragedies with which humans must cope, We’ll get through this.
What courage, what faith!
17 Dec 2012 at 11:53 am #2686
Such a sad sad thing, Bob. A lot to talk about and think about…and you know not just stop at the first ideas of how this happens…what happens. There is something terribly amiss in families and parenting. Parents need to really address the time they spend with their kids, who their kids are and stay close to them. Some children just need more time with their parents. They need their parents with them all day. And unfortunately…parents are too often struggling to pay bills, make more money, build careers…in a society with very few jobs, and so many of them unsatisfying and crappy. Our society also rewards power, job positions and status. We don’t have rewards or validation rituals for family life and community life.
No body needs to own a semi-automatic gin. It’s bullshit. I’m not into gun control or anti-gun…but it’s ridiculous that anyone should be collecting semi-automatic guns and having them in their homes. A locked panic room, I get..a gun storage locked room, I get…I know some people love collecting guns. I have friends who collect guns. They are marines and soldiers and hunters. I get it.
You can be an avid gun collector and keep your semi-automatics at the gun range in a lovely locker.
Right now people are jumping onto tv and claiming that mental illness is to blame. This is a total cop out.
Our society aggravates and stimulates personality disorders…chronic dysfunctional family behaviours also aggravate and encourage mental illness and personality disorders. Until families become self-aware healing communities then the behaviour of kids like the shooter will be the extreme manifestation of mass-chronic unhealth.
It’s like a terrible tragic mass disease perpetrated by fear. And the fear mongering about mental illness this weekend doesn’t help. It’s taken so much work to educate us that mental illness isn’t what we thought it was say a hundred years ago. It’s like all of a sudden we are treating mental illness like the madwoman locked to a bed in an attic.
Here are two things circulating the internet…and it”s interesting to see the dialogue between these two articles.
The first article is…”I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” I read it and thought “What a bitch, I’d bite you too!” (Oh wow while I type this coincidently this mother is being interviewed by CNN!!!)
You know there is a lot revealed in this womans letter. I think that this reveals how parents tend torely on forcing their kids to fit stereotypical behaviour…instead of allowing a child to be independet and creative… Why is she making her kid, if they are a troubled child…why make them go to a private school with a clothing restriction, stiffling their childs creativity with clothes? Why let the kid scare you with wild claims of behaviour. This is a situation where this kid needs more time with their parents. One on one time, maybe even homeschooling. Not a hospital.
…and then here is a response ” You are NOT Adam Lanza’s Mother”
And here is a book I always recommend to new parents…it’s just such a great book…
HOLD ON TO YOUR KIDS: WHY PARENTS NEED TO MATTER MORE THAN PEERS
I just think there needs to be a discussion not on just on gun control…not just on mental health…but how to live a little easier…simpler…less materialistically…so parents have a chance to stay home with their kids, or involve their kids in the parents work life…let it be that families can understand sometimes a challenging kid is a sign of something amiss in the family dynamic. That maybe we need to stay home with these challenging children and the PARENTS get therapy and medication to help them learn about mental illness and not put this on the kids. It’s time for parents to act like adults.
17 Dec 2012 at 1:26 pm #268718 Dec 2012 at 11:58 am #2693
I agree. Out national and local media’s inability to discuss the real issues behind the CT shooting is what really troubles me. A week after the Columbine incident in my Shakespeare course my prof was quick to point out how we no longer have Volumnia present to “soothe” the minds and being of our young men. And of course we all know that Volumnia prevented her son Coriolanus from going on a killing rampage of his own community.
With that being said, the entire preventative course that we’ve taken that leads us right to firearms as the enemy is therefore silly and nothing more than political grandstanding. I am pretty sure the most destructive school incident that killed more students and completely annihilated a school building did not have one gun involved: explosives were used. Michigan back in ’27.
MikeQuote19 Dec 2012 at 8:01 pm #2698
Thanks for your post, Candy. I certainly agree that we need to take more time and effort to relate to, hug, and kiss our kids even if they’re grown like mine who still need a lot of love.
As for those soldier and marine friends of yours if they’re collecting military-type assault guns for their personal home collection, those damn things belong only in military arsenals not in civilian homes. But I may have misread what their real purpose is. Anyway I offer the following:
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Why has there been a proliferation of gun sales right after the Newtown massacre? Answer: Radical individualism.
* Radical individualism today is a terrible throwback to the 19th century American frontier where most people carried guns, many honest folks desperate to get some measure of protection however small, many criminals to harass, rob, or kill.
* Radical individualism includes many who are self-appointed control freaks. They feed on exaggerated fears that their exaggerated “freedom” is under siege. Like the John Birchers of the 40s and 50s, they see enemies everywhere, e.g.: criminals, liberals, immigrants, foreigners, even harmless neighbors who verbally disagree with them, etc.etc.
* Radical individualism includes many who are educated but in very narrow fields, more often than not in narrow tech fields. These have had few to no humanities courses in school or college. What of these subjects they have been exposed to, they’ve dismissed as unnecessary intrusions on their specialties and/or nonsensical subjects taught by weirdo professors, whom they see as threats to their individualism. These radical individualists have hardened their hearts and heads to any sense of collective reform. They limit “social progress” to their own groups and tend to exclude outsiders.
* Radical individualism includes many who are “religious” and extremely egotistic in trumpeting a personal deity who they think will save them if they just believe in him. They put no emphasis on good works. To them personal salvation is all. They tend to be quite fond of religious stories in which God favors a certain side in war and leads the charge to slaughter enemy troops, enemy women, enemy children, enemy animals, enemy homes, enemy tools, and enemy old folks.
* Radical individualism is woefully pervasive in the U. S. today because the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America and other groups and people besotted with “gun rights” have fostered and promoted it in close connection to lethal weaponry. Radical individualism festers and inflames and grows malignant by and among the Rush Limbaughs and Anne Coulters of the land. The result: 300 million guns are now owned by Americans, including many criminals and crazies. Among these are numerous deadly military weapons fully loaded, ready to be fired by itchy trigger fingers.
* Radical individualism includes many who revere and flock to poorly regulated gun shows where lethal weapons are bought then hoarded up. All these purveyors of gun-ism bear indirect responsibility for the Columbines and Auroras and Newtowns.
* Radical individualism includes many who distrust established laws, elected officials, trained police, or National Guard to protect them and help promote the general good. These radicals think only they and their kind can promote their brand of “law and order.”
* Radical individualism includes many whoare chronic cynics whose fear, money, rhetoric, and love affairs with guns have poisoned Congress, including much of the House of Representatives.
* Radical individualism includes many who have usurped power and influence way out of proportion to their actual numbers. They can be toned down by people rising up and vehemently protesting their rhetoric and deeds. Some may even be redeemable to some kind of social sanity and good sense, but that’s a tough job for educators and true reformers.
* Radical individualism includes many who have twisted the original meaning and intent of the Second Amendment to fit their wrongheadednessand fly in the face of real democracy and responsible citizenship.They are either ignorant of or choose to ignore the fact that for over 100 years astute legal minds interpreted the Second Amendment to mean a well-regulated militia bearing arms, a right given the militia by the will of the people. This militia evolved into our present-day National Guard. But then along came reactionary judges and politicians who threw out the original meaning of the Amendment and gave just about everybody the opportunity to get most any kind of gun they want if they meet certain lax conditions. Even then many have flouted the rules to mushroom into movements and black markets that make heavy weaponry as available as street drugs.
* Radical individualism includes a number of gun fanatics who worship their firepower as an extension of their penis power or clitorial power. This feeling may be subconscious but no less insane.
I believe most Americans do not subscribe to the stupidity of arming schools and institutions. How effective is a teacher, even one trained with a Glock, against a loony killing up her school with an AK-47? In the Aurora crowded movie theater, a good guy with a gun would have had to be highly skilled at maneuvering and shooting to kill the murderer and not hit other moviegoers. How many civilian gun owners are or could be so trained? It’s one thing to qualify on a shooting range. It’s quite another to be adept at firearms against moving, violent targets in crisis situations.
The radical individualist idea of arming the public with little to no regulation on weapons is sheer idiocy.
I believe we should take this initial step to begin to stop the kind of horror we’ve seen at Newtown and other recent places of senseless slaughter:
Ban all assault rifles, high-powered pistols and the magazines for these weapons. Those who persist in selling them openly or covertly should be arrested and get jail time and stiff penalties. The same for those carrying the weapons on their person or in concealment. Pay people a stipend to turn in their high-powered guns. Use the turn-ins to fill any weapon gaps in police or military arsenals and thus save tax money. Be sure to reserve a number of the turn-ins for recycling and raw materials to produce things for peaceful use. Thus a progressive update of the biblical vision of beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks!
20 Dec 2012 at 9:33 am #2699
There’s a bunch of strange code in front of my last post above. Please remove it, so that the post will initially come into view. Thanks in advance.
20 Dec 2012 at 12:45 pm #2700
Mike, I’m not a big fan of Volumnia. Yes, she did soothe her son into not taking revenge on his country. But she is also the one who raised him to have intimacy issues and subvert sexual energy into war and aggression. to not be able to accept validation but to switch the emotion of respect and validation into aggression. Volumnia was I believe, a little like the sick mother who wrote the article “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” with her real name and talked a bout her kid, a minor, and his body, his mind and soul in public. These kinds of parents seem to relish in their childs performances…even when they are mentally ill. A kind of sociopathic energy. I think Volumnia is a sociopath. I don’t think it’s Coriolanus we need need to analyse and dissect when reading or seeing the play…but volumnia. She is a snake. She is the Karl Rove of Rome.
I do agree with you that running straight to firearms as the source of our problems is political grandstanding…and that is why I suggested that we need to see the whole thing as a web. They are interconnected. Yes, a car, or a bomb, or a knife, or bare hands, will kill. But they won’t usually kill as many or as fast.
Mental illness can also be co-opted for political grandstanding. and what we have going on here will probably turn out to be bipartisan splits agin…one party adopting gun restrictions, the other posturing about mental illness.
The mental illness situation is interesting because we need to be so delicate…yet clear. When a parent gets in public and clams their kid has mental illness…well a red flag is going up. That parent is in the dark by not realizing what they’ve told us as listeners is that they too are mentally ill. Mental illness is a web that flows through those diagnosed and those that may or may not be diagnosed but are co-dependent, or enabling, or vampiric, or within the family structure. The behaviour of a parent greatly influences how mental illness may or may not manifest int he child. Yet…doctors, media, friends…our sense of tact and diplomacy restricts us from getting the PARENTs on medication and in therapy. Before a child ever is given drugs…the parents probably should be in two day a week therapy…but who is going to suggest that? Who is going to medicate a parent of a child behaving with acting out and tantrums. We’re at a place where tantrums are being labeled depression and mental illness.
The problem with Coriolanus…is his mother!
Mike, I’m not saying to restrict all guns. I’m not anti-gun. I enjoy going to the shooting range and target practice. I’m a terribly good shot in fact. But I’m saying…no one…no one…needs to own a semi-automatic weapon. Thats ridiculous.
The idea that parent with a troubled child like Adam Lanza would be an avid gun collector and own these semi-automatic guns is totally gobsmacking to me.
How much in the dark are we as a community are we living? It seems like utter darkness and ignorance to me. How could this woman have friends who would support her moral choices like that? Or co-workers?
Why are we so afraid to blame this woman for what happened last week? And why are we so quick to blame guns and mental illness?
The problem with Adam Lanza is Volumnia.
And we are al Volumnia when we choose our intimacy to be aggression and choose aggression as the best conflict resolution.
Or as Bob so succinctly said:
“Radical individualism includes a number of gun fanatics who worship their firepower as an extension of their penis power or clitorial power. This feeling may be subconscious but no less insane.”
And then combine that with caregivers and parents who see their children as possessions and extensions of themselves…when we see parents who label their own children as mentally ill yet seek no medication and therapy for themselves instead of the child…and use their own children to get attention and sympathy.
20 Dec 2012 at 4:25 pm #2701
I’ll be giving Coriolanus another read this weekend and get back to this thread; it’s been awhile. Much of what you say makes sense. So, I’ll be able to defend or further condemn her in a few days.
Interesting, two hours ago my school had its second lock-down in as many months. Students are constantly bringing all kinds of weapons to school, and are then admitted back into general population within two weeks. Also, it is not uncommon for 12 and 13 years old students to be posting pics in which they are holding automatic weapons on Facebook. However, the real problem is when serious crimes are committed in the vicinity and criminals use the school to evade the police.
Automatic weapons should not be in the hands of the general population. But, like the War on Drugs, the War on Automatic weapons will only ensure one thing: the the bad guys will have the goods (superior firepower), and this scenario would be no better than the one we are immersed in at the moment.
MikeQuote20 Dec 2012 at 9:01 pm #2704
The assumption that most of the automatic weapons are in the hands of the bad guys is, I think, wrong. If they were, you’d see a helluva lot more crooks using assault guns to kill guards and/or anyone in their way in their acts of robbing banks and other big money places.
Many of these weapons are owned by seemingly law-abiding citizens, but they should not have them. What in hell does a so-called responsible citizen need with an M-16 or AK-47? What does a hunter need with one except to mangle prey and render it unedible. A good hunter respects animals and prides him- or herself on giving them a fighting chance. The good hunter is fair and nature-oriented. He or she hunts for food, not for sport. Using assault weapons to hunt is not only unfair. It’s a terrible sacrilege against nature.
Suppose all of Newtown last Friday was assault-gun-armed. They still could not have prevented the massacre, so sudden and speedy did it hit Sandy Hook. Ditto for other mass killings like in the Aurora theatre unless a good guy there was so highly trained to take out a bad guy in a crowd. Dawn Hochsprung, the Sandy Hook principal, unless highly skilled would have run a grave risk of killing first graders even if she did zap Lanza with her hypothetical assault gun.
Police today generally are of much higher caliber than the Knoxville cops that bullied McCarthy and me (yes, I was unfairly jailed by one). We should respect and trust our responsible police more. We should work to get even more such professionals in our communities and certainly weed and jail the rotten ones. High quality police are the ones we should entrust to deal with the bad guys, not Chuck Citizen who thinks he’s a hot shot with his M-16 or an Uzzi. He shouldn’t have them. He should be liable to prosecution if he keeps them around or trades them on the black market.
You can’t completely eliminate black markets, certainly not the black market in weapons . But responsible, civic-oriented law enforcement along with a dedicated citizenry can put a sizable hole in black market-dealings if public officials and the general public have the will. It will also take tax money if the government starts a pay-for-gun policy. I think it worth a try.
We all need to be much more public-service minded, much more dedicated to the collective good.
21 Dec 2012 at 3:00 am #2706
I like what David Chase said, when asked by Piers Morgan about violence on TV and film. Something like …… ’I woul like to ask a different question: Has the movie Mary Poppins helped reduce violence in society in any way’?
I was thinking similar thoughts after watching Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ the other night. I was looking for something seasonally uplifting after all the bad news of this past week. Instead it made me want to kick the screen in. Think I’ll rent ’Bad Santa’ next time.
White Christmas is a paean to an exemplary society; the kind that Billy Parham and John Grady Cole couldn’t wait to run away from. McCarthy understands that such saccharine-coated dross about America has always been psychologically very harmful.
What has this got to do with the tragedy of Newtown last Friday? A hell of a lot; but I’m too saddened by it all to continue the point.
cantonaQuote21 Dec 2012 at 11:01 am #2708
I wish you would continue your point, Cantona, because I’m not sure where you want to go with it. Bad Santa’s funny on one level, quite cynical on another.
More power to Piers Morgan! He’s one of the very few really speaking out for control of lethal weaponry, for humane common sense. That Larry Pratt guy of Gun Owners of America on Morgan’s show the other night is dangerous. It’s scary that he’s got a lot of gun owners solidly behind him.
22 Dec 2012 at 11:26 pm #2724
Sorry for the unintentionally gnomic comments of my last post. I decided not to continue because I began to realize that this might not be the right thread to advance my ideas about exemplary societies and communities. On reflection, and out of respect for this awful tragedy, I should have erased my post.
I will say, however, that it was partly in reaction to the way the media often create suspect narratives around tragedies, especially American ones.
If I have time in the next few weeks, I may start a thread about McCarthy and exemplary communities/societies. I think that that would be more fitting.
For what’s it worth, I was very impressed with your comments on ‘radical individualism’.
cantonaQuote23 Dec 2012 at 4:44 am #2725
If I have time in the next few weeks, I may start a thread about McCarthy and exemplary communities/societies. I think that that would be more fitting.
That would be a most interesting topic for discussion. I’m very interested in McCarthy’s sense of community. He seems to lose faith in the concept as his career develops.
robmcinroyQuote23 Dec 2012 at 10:15 am #2726
I think your idea on McCarthy and exemplary communities/societies an excellent one, Cantona. I know I’d be much interested in your and any other Forumer’s takes on the topic.
I started this thread because I felt the need to take an immediate stand on issues that exploded in innocent blood at Newtown. Surprised I was the first Forumer to do so! Guess my anger got the better of my shock!
It’s dismaying to me that Obama approved bills allowing the carrying of hand guns in national parks and on Amtrak. I didn’t find this out till recently when NYC Mayor Bloomberg spoke out against it. I voted for Obama, but not nearly as enthusiastically as in 08. The guy has some major lacks, and for me the last election was a choice between a terrible candidate (Romney) and a mediocre one (Obama).
Since McCarthy doesn’t believe poets should vote (I guess he means poesy poets as well as prosey ones) and his personal and fictional takes on humankind have a good deal of doom in them, I’d guess his insights into community would range from bleak to dismally dark.
26 Dec 2012 at 1:43 pm #2742
Bob, I don’t know how McCarthy would voice his opinions on community…but
“For generations, the people of Britain heated their homes and fueled their stoves with coal gas. While plentiful and cheap, coal-derived gas could also be deadly; in its unburned form, it released very high levels of carbon monoxide, and an open valve or a leak in a closed space could induce asphyxiation in a matter of minutes. This extreme toxicity also made it a preferred method of suicide. “Sticking one’s head in the oven” became so common in Britain that by the late 1950s it accounted for some 2,500 suicides a year, almost half the nation’s total.
Those numbers began dropping over the next decade as the British government embarked on a program to phase out coal gas in favor of the much cleaner natural gas. By the early 1970s, the amount of carbon monoxide running through domestic gas lines had been reduced to nearly zero. During those same years, Britain’s national suicide rate dropped by nearly a third, and it has remained close to that reduced level ever since.”
I see it as not static. Community as a force, which it is, has the potential to be life-affirming and as well devastating. It kind of depends on catalysts. The thing is…we never seem to be able to see “the big picture” until after event unfold. We make decisions that so often seem like wise ones, but then back fire. I believe there are some interesting facets about community. Not hard rules. It seems that communities often function best when either small, in chiefdoms, for all involved…and a kind of circus mentality of economics. And then an extreme an opposite when it’s not a small group and leader/chief…but when a huge amount of people all have voices and inputs.
I also think…maybe we could transpose the info we know about suicide attempts and availability to means…with murder…perhaps?
Which although I am not a believer in legislating gun control…rather I prefer social taboos…making bullets difficult to access avoids the nra bullshit…and may allow “time” to change the behaviour of some murderers…
“Beyond sheer lethality, however, what makes gun suicide attempts so resistant to traditional psychological suicide-prevention protocols is the high degree of impulsivity that often accompanies them. In a 1985 study of 30 people who had survived self-inflicted gunshot wounds, more than half reported having had suicidal thoughts for less than 24 hours, and none of the 30 had written suicide notes. This tendency toward impulsivity is especially common among young people — and not only with gun suicides. In a 2001University of Houston study of 153 survivors of nearly lethal attempts between the ages of 13 and 34, only 13 percent reported having contemplated their act for eight hours or longer. To the contrary, 70 percent set the interval between deciding to kill themselves and acting at less than an hour, including an astonishing 24 percent who pegged the interval at less than five minutes.
The element of impulsivity in firearm suicide means that it is a method in which mechanical intervention — or “means restriction” — might work to great effect. As to how, Dr. Matthew Miller, the associate director of the Injury Control Research Center, outlined for me a number of very basic steps. Storing a gun in a lockbox, for example, slows down the decision-making process and puts that gun off-limits to everyone but the possessor of the key. Similarly, studies have shown that merely keeping a gun unloaded and storing its ammunition in a different room significantly reduces the odds of that gun being used in a suicide.
“The goal is to put more time between the person and his ability to act,” Miller said. “If he has to go down to the basement to get his ammunition or rummage around in his dresser for the key to the gun safe, you’re injecting time and effort into the equation — maybe just a couple of minutes, but in a lot of cases that may be enough.””
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