This is my first diary. Back when Republican calls for transvaginal ultrasounds made headlines, I thought of trying my hand at a diary. Some people were comparing the ultrasounds to rape and since I had experience with both, I thought maybe I could contribute to the dialogue. But that is an old, painful wound that I was reluctant to pick at, and couldn't seem to get my thoughts together to be able to write about it.
Then, after the Newtown massacre and all the talk about guns and mental health, I thought of writing a diary since I had experience with both. After two suicide attempts and hours spent in our local ER with me begging for help from the "professionals", my 18 year old son walked into a Walmart, bought a shotgun, and killed himself. That is not quite as old a wound, but picking at that scab still hurts. A lot.
After yesterday's gun control vote, though, I decided I just had to get some of this out. And I don't care if it hurts, because I am really, really pissed.
I have been pissed for awhile now. We have an opposition party that has gone completely round the bend, but all the Very Serious People act as if everything is perfectly normal. We have a so-called Free Press that long ago abrogated their responsibility to keep the public informed in order to keep money pouring in. We have a president who many thought would be the progressive savior we've been waiting for, only to find yet another middle of the road, don't rock the boat Democrat.
In 1970, Richard Nixon was president, abortion was illegal and I was raped. I was a shy, 15 year old virgin who never told anyone what happened. All these years later, I can distinctly remember sitting in my bedroom staring out the window and deciding that if I turned out pregnant, I would kill myself. I couldn't think of any other way out, I didn't have the slightest idea where to go for an abortion, and I was too ashamed to tell anyone what had been done to me. The idea that we could go back to those days infuriates me.
After my son died, I requested all the records from the ER and the community mental health agency that has the contract to provide mental health services for the hospital. I won't go into the details, but let me just say it's not at all like t.v. On the medical dramas, disturbed people come into the ER, the doc calls for a psych consult, (from an actual psychiatrist), and the person is seen and then taken up to the psych ward. In the real world, the ER has no psychiatrist just waiting upstairs to be called down, and chances are you are going to be seen by a low level mental health worker who drew the short stick and got stuck with the worst schedule, the night shift. My son was obviously disturbed - he wasn't eating or sleeping, he couldn't sit still, he had just been seen in the very same ER a week before after ingesting rat poison, but the mental health worker who saw him decided he was in no immediate danger and made an appointment for him to see a counselor three days later. By the time that appointment time came around he was dead. So when I hear Wayne LaPierre claim we don't need any restrictions on guns, and that we should put the spotlight on mental health, I see red. Not because I don't agree we should improve our mental health services, but because LaPierre and his ilk have no idea what the situation actually is. Like everything else in our nation, it all comes down to money. I think he really believes it's like on tv, where psychiatrists are just waiting around to be called in and somebody, somewhere, is not doing his job. He's simply trying to change the focus away from guns, when we need work on both.
So yesterday after the senate vote, when the woman in the gallery shouted "SHAME ON YOU", I thought, yes shame on all of them. The weak kneed politicians, the arrogant news reporters, the lobbyists, all of those who lie and distort and care nothing at all for the well being of society, but only for themselves. We need to shame them.
I don't know how to start a movement, but I'm sure open to suggestions. I picture thousands of people descending on Washington with pictures of murdered children and huge signs. SHAME ON YOU! Thousands more in New York outside all the major news network headquarters. SHAME ON YOU! People outside of their rep's local offices. SHAME ON YOU! It's time to act