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Words cannot describe my horror, our horror, as my children and I were out and about, listening to NPR, waiting for our favorite Friday shows to come on, as we drove to our various errands, and the special coverage of the Connecticut massacre was aired.

We were horrified. We were saddened. We all had tears in our eyes when we heard President Obama's voice waiver as he tried to offer some kind of comfort to the people over something that I have difficulties wrapping my head around.

My children had questions. I welcome their questions always, but that doesn't mean that what they ask will involve easy answers.

They wanted to know why someone would do something like this.

Some of you have lived good lives, that were comfortable, and happy. Sure some drama and hardships happen, but hopefully many of you experience even that on a backdrop of a stable community.

Some of us experience that stability fleetingly. We learn the hard way that there are people out in the world, who are not logical in the worst kind of way.

That was what I had to try and convey to my children. The two people that I have done everything I can, to give them something that I didn't have as a child, a stable and healthy home. [Not that my parents didn't try, but poverty breeds all sorts of problems and we will just leave it at that.]

I told them, that we cannot yet apply logic to what this man did. At least not to the things that happened within him, that incited this behavior. That it will take professionals to tease apart the pathology that drove this moment, and that will take some time. Sometimes people snap, and it isn't always readily apparent why, and this especially true, when their acts are so incredibly disproportionate to anything you or I could imagine that might cause someone to loose their grip or their temper, even momentarily.

But this man didn't snap. He killed his own mother to access weapons, and he purchased or otherwise acquired body armor, before choosing a soft target, an elementary school. He planned this, and probably did his planning well in advance, much like the killer in Colorado earlier this year who terrorized and murdered patrons in a theater.
But just because he didn't snap, just because this was planned, doesn't mean he isn't ill. If anything this realization should mark him as more dangerous than a person who might fit the stereotype of mental illness.

But what about the external factors? The guns? The [what is obvious now] mental health issues?

What we are seeing is a convergence: The same people that want guns everywhere all the time, are part of the same party that would deny regular healthcare for anyone who cannot pay out of pocket, and who have treated mental health care as if it were a cosmetic frivolity.
And this right here is the intersection. This, and the mall shooter, and the shooting in the Colorado theater, and other incidents of violent mayhem. This is the crossroads.

I have been trying to think about this long and hard for the hours between the announcement and now. I am not going to tell you I have answers that will solve a damn thing. All I have are observations.

My kids wanted to know why these situations are prevalent, and I told them the truth. Because America as a collective, is incapable of responsible behavior right now. We refuse to take care of our own people, we refuse to educate them, we enshrine all forms of belligerence as if this were a positive character trait, We shit where we eat, We isolate people for ridiculous reasons, and then refuse to evolve past these bad constructs.

And then when something terrible comes of all this, the majority of our population act surprised.

I am tired of the proverbial inmates running the asylum. There is no reason why we cannot do better by each other, and by ourselves. There are only excuses.

My deepest condolences to the community and all those affected in Connecticut in this tragedy.

I would like to see the NRA back down in general. I realize that is probably not going to happen, given their past attitudes. So I will put this out there.

Since Obama ran for office, there is a portion of our society that has become incredibly, ridiculously paranoid about Obama and the government trying to take their guns away.

They don't complain about drones or the abuses of the patriot act, they don't complain about corporate intrusion into individual privacy while simultaneously doing the dance of the crazy, about their fear of being disarmed. Their positions are at best incongruent, at worst, just illogical. They want government to stay out of their "private" gun safes, but still small enough to fit in my uterus.

They make runs on ammo, causing massive shortages, that push the prices up so that even people who want to be responsible gun owners cannot afford to buy ammunition for target practice, nor for gun training classes.

They create such a reservoir of bad attitudes, and fear, that they scare the shit out of their neighbors and fellow citizens, at times simply to be intimidating.

Well my friends, that great fear you had that the government was going to take your guns away? You are and have been cultivating a self fulfilling prophecy. You cannot make an argument for keeping your self nor your community safe, if you succeed only in making everyone around you feel deeply fearful.  

Look around you. You suck so bad at PR, that people are terrified of you. You are so bad, at living up to a good standard, that a lot of people cannot see you as good.

I think it's clear by now that Obama's favorite tactic is to give his detractors more rope, and a significant portion of the Gun Lobby and Gun Culture fell for it. We have had many chances to do better, to be better, but instead it's just been one long doomsday prep and ammo-run.

And hows that working for you?

We shouldn't have to be completely disarmed, but at the same time--normal, everyday citizens shouldn't have to fear sending their children to school or to set foot in a theater, or to go holiday shopping in a public place. What the hell?

If you tell me that the only way I will be safe in town is if I arm myself to the teeth, I just won't go to town. Or if I do, I sure as hell will not bring my children. Is this the world you want? Where women and children hide in their homes, afraid to go to school or to the grocery store unless they are wearing kevlar and packing heat? Gee--What does that sound like?

I never worried about guns in the Safeway or even the Convenience store as a child, not even at night. Gun fights were something that happened on television, or between criminals in isolated places. And I grew up around guns. I bet everyone in my neighborhood, had at least one, even the ladies that lived alone. Even my little old grandmother had a tiny gun that would fit in her clutch. And yet, I never in my life worried about something like this.

My spouse grew up in a rural area in the Mid-Atlantic, where schools let out for hunting season, where it wasn't unusual to see guns in racks in windows of trucks, or people walking down the road in town with a gun over their shoulder. He also never worried.

People still hated each other back then. People still argued--so what changed?

What changed? What has made people more fearful now, that they are so intent on stockpiling guns, and body armor?

Is this a sign of mass hysteria or a glaring indictment of law enforcement? I am not sure.

My kids worry about this though--my little kids. And even if I were to arm myself, that wouldn't make their fear disappear. I doubt it would even make us safer.  Because I would just be one more yahoo with a gun in a tightly packed, public space, one more complication for law enforcement. That does not sound reasonable to me. If I have to arm myself to go into public, I would feel compelled to leave my children at home, because that would seem more reasonable, more logical, that to bring my kids into a potential war zone.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in the wild west nor in a war zone. Those things are not like the video games or the movies. There is nothing romantic about shooting people, nor being shot, nor being threatened with a gun, or the threat of gun violence.

Most of America is getting more crowded and urban. Most of us aren't stringing fence on the north 40, worrying about wolves or mountain lions in most places. The pioneer mentality makes sense in some areas, but not in the majority of places. And part of being self reliant is the ability to avoid violent altercations. Guns, or any use of deadly force should be the absolute LAST DITCH effort to survive an imminent physical threat.

Right now though, it seems like most people are living on the precipice of being violent at any given time, to make a point, to win an argument, or just to feel powerful.

What is that all about? Shouldn't we be able to tell the difference by now between bullying and actual, real personal power?
People who are armed act fucked up, people who aren't armed act fucked up--it's a mystery to me, why some many citizens would inflict this kind of misery on themselves and prefer to live a life of fear and anger, over happiness in a real community.

I would like to see all sides be reasonable and respectful, but I don't have high hopes for that either. Feelings are running too high right now. This country is so divided right now, that it cannot see through the collective brain fog of slow boiling anger, without some horrible disaster that momentarily puts things into perspective. There is nothing romantic about "Us against Them" mentality either.

But then again, when one side of the country stockpiles ammo while declaring the need to "take their country back" I cannot expect reason to prevail. What else is that but a threat to everyone else who is not in their militias or their party?

We are us. We are them. And we have to find a way to get to common ground. If we cannot find a way to be reasonable with each other, then our lives will not be reasonable, our country will not be reasonable. And we have gone without "reasonable," for a very, very long time.

What would it be like, to not live in fear of each other for a day or a whole week? What would that be like, if most of everything made sense? And not in some bad, Murphy's Law way, or anything like that, but in a reasonable manner? What would that be like? How much of our fear would melt away, because the things that should be predictable and dependable are suddenly, positively, predictable and dependable?

What would it be like, if we took care of each other, rather than threatening each other?

Guns laws will change. This has happened too many times, for others to forgive. Many Gun Owners have been responsible owners, but when things go wrong with guns, the outcome is so catastrophic, that the tragedy outweighs best intentions, even of a majority. And when you add the insensitivity of some aspects of gun culture, it rubs salt in wounds that will never heal, regardless, and too that reflects on us all.  

But beyond that, we need to create tighter knit communities where a situation like this, might be caught before it gets that far. But there are no guarantees. That's the hard part to accept. Violence is part of human nature. It will always be with us, but we don't have to glorify it, we don't have to cultivate it.

Every person has a right to protect their bodily integrity. I truly advocate that. But guns are not the default answer to that. And right now, with all the threats and anger, guns are the reason people feel the need to find protection to begin with. And that last part speaks to a larger problem within our society, in which we ignore trouble until it grows beyond our ability to handle it in a conventional manner.

Crisis Management Isn't. Why do we give away our true power, and allow problems to become a crisis, rather than being smart, and changing elements in the moment, and diffuse the situation?

I accept that Gun Laws will be changed. If I am tired of this, then I can only just imagine how disgusted non-gun owners are.

There is a large part of our society that cannot seem to understand, that feeling safe isn't synonymous with being threatening. That feeling powerful isn't synonymous with being threatening.

How can we create a society, where people don't feel the need to arm themselves out of fear?

I know we can build a better society than this. The question is, are we willing to do just that?

For one I would like to see the press stop treating mass murderers like a celebrity. There is the incentive right there. Take away the fame and and the free bullhorn and what have you got? A pissed off, bitter, lone voice from the peaNUT gallery.

I would like to see the media in general STOP feeding into this Apocalyptic Mindset that is promoted by various, deviant, religious groups. You want to encourage people to prepare for natural disasters? Fine, but stop feeding the apocalypse trolls. It creates a dangerous undercurrent in this society that when pressed, or stressed, will take extreme actions because they think there will be no consequences when the world ends, or society collapses, or the space ships come--etc., Apocalypse = hopelessness and that's when people give up on everything, and no good comes of that.

When we have a belief in an "imminent apocalypse," one of two things happen: People decide they have to arm themselves to defend their stash and their family against raiders, OR they decide they can kill or commit other crimes because the world will end, and there will be no legal consequences. Do you really want to live in either of these worlds or mindsets?

Being prepared is good, but waiting for the end of the world is a pathology. America has embraced this narrative for far too long. And it's not just the people with guns either.

I would like to see Gun Owners be the ones to step forward and start advocating for a more civilized society, that isn't based on the implied threat of gun violence. I don't know how to get it through your thick skulls, but implied threats only breed resentment, hatred and fear. You cannot create a polite society based on the foundation of bullying.

I am tired of hearing that "An armed society is a polite society." Bullshit. A polite society my ass. I open the doors for people all the time, and I don't do it because they might shoot me if I don't. I don't watch my words because I might get shot. I am polite, because my parents raised me to be polite and to follow the laws of society. I don't do those things out of fear, I do those things to help co-create the society I WANT TO LIVE IN! DUH!

We need not just affordable healthcare for conventional health problems, but also we need to make mental health care a priority. I have witnessed over the years, families struggling with getting mental health care for their loved ones. People who really need  counseling either because of a one time event, or due to an ongoing mental illness condition. They cannot afford it. Insurance {those guys again} won't cover it or enough of it, the state doesn't help and so these families are left to struggle alone, not just with the problems themselves, but also with the stigma of mental illness. And then we act surprised when bad things come of this. WHY? Is it really that mysterious?

I have been sick of this bullshit for over a decade. I worry more about people who stock up ammo for the end of the world, then I do home invaders. I worry more about people who stock up on ammo  more than anything else, because they have abandoned reason, or even the pretense of society, in favor of a selfish, violent worldview that gives permission to kill people over twinkies and bottled water.

The right way to stand up to violent crime is to do so as a collective. We cannot do that if we are too busy trying to be loner-gun slingers. Guns are useful tools when used properly. However I don't see much of that right now. All I see is divisiveness, and threats thinly covering the shape of a firearm.

I will repeat: The same people/party that wants guns everywhere all the time, is the same party that would deny us affordable or single payer healthcare, and that treats mental health like a frivolous cosmetic procedure. These are the same people obsessing over the end of the world, arming themselves for that and/or against the government, while simultaneously undermining the effectiveness of the government etc.,
To them I say: You cannot use the collapse of society as a plank in your platform, if your goal appears to be, to single handedly collapse society with your ideological madness.

I am sick of the madness.

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