Ah, politicizing a tragedy. That took a day. In the first hours after the Sandy Hook shooting, the nation came together and seemed to universally agree, at least to some degree, something has to be done about these guns in the hands of crazies. That's not a political agenda, that's a human thing to say after a gunman steals a rifle and kills 20 small children during school. The more liberal among us (moi!) called for the first steps in harsh gun control that could (possibly! dreams!) lead to melting all the suckers in a vat, never to see a hysterical crowd again. The more conservative, including gun owners, simply acknowledged the lack of necessity of assault rifles in the general public. Well done, grieving nation.
And then Liza Long stepped in to pen a disturbing piece about her violent son, possibly the next mass shooter. Unless you've been under a rock for two days, you've read it. There are some valid points - mental health is stigmatized in this country, often the mentally ill fall to the responsibility of jail and Something Must Be Done. She was criticized for her own violent tendencies by another blogger and then the two ladies issued a statement about the mommy wars.
CUE FOX NEWS!!
As of today, as usual, there are two camps the media has packaged neatly for our consumption: The conservative media is gravely nodding that this is really about mental health, while reminding us with scrolling text of the stringent gun laws already in place. The other news outlets are underscoring the need for tighter gun control. Dog fight! Now instead of talking about both things that are important, we need to choose sides. Allow me to pick a side right now. Gun control. Here's why.
I don't give a [#$%!] about the shooter.
I was sad, but now I'm angry. I'm angry about his entitled little ass putting his own feelings above the lives of those he killed. Mass shooters are the lowest of the low and sorry, I find it hard to bring myself to feel sorry for their feelings or care about their problems. In short, the more I think about it, the madder I get and the less I care about "having a national conversation about mental illness".
Tell me, why is it when a white man living in a nice area commits a heinous crime, we want to delve into his psyche and develop national sympathy for his problems, yet when other demographics do heinous things, national conversations about mental illness don't happen? Jezebel has an amazing point about this I strongly encourage you to read.
That said, mental illness is indeed worthy of conversation. Several members of my family have been affected by near-crippling mental illness and I would like nothing more than for genuine attention to be paid to this matter. HOWEVER. This recent wave of conservative attention to mental illness is nothing more than concern-trolling. Think about it: How likely is it that conservative politicians, once this media cycle has churned, will actually support funding for public mental health? I'll tell you what the chance is. Zero. The conversation about mental illness in the conservative news media is nothing more than a red herring to detract from the traction gun control has gained across the board.
Lastly, this "national conversation on mental illness" has had a bit of a negative affect on those actually affected by mental illness. Instead of destigmatizing mental illness, Autism awareness groups are now having to circulate memes reminding everyone that Autism equals not planned violence. And by the way, mentally ill people are far more likely to be the victims of violence than perps.
So. Back to tighter gun control. Thank you and good day, 'Merica.
Consider sharing this post and continuing the discussion on Facebook, where we're also trying to figure out what to do with ourselves after the Elf on the Shelf. Uncle Sam on the Lam?