Tag Archives: Policy and Advocacy

Mass shootings, gun control, and equal rights-a different viewpoint


Equal Rights road sign isolated on white.

I have written before on this topic, but always trying to appeal to “everyone”, with little reference to having mental illness.  I think it’s time to try again.

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I have bipolar.

I watched, with everyone else, the media coverage of the mass shootings in recent years.  I watched, and have heard, how the focus for every media covered shooting has ended in a call for “gun control”.

I don’t understand it.

Being someone with a mental illness, invariably what screams out at me is the fact that, with the exception of the Trayvon Martin debacle, every nationally covered shooting has had two common denominators.

1:  A firearm was used.

2: The person committing the mass shooting had a mental illness.

It’s really strange to me that the focus is on “gun control”.  I remember a time when there were a number of incidents that were highly publicized about senior citizens driving into stores and crowds.  There was discussion about treating them as individuals and testing them on a case by case basis, more frequently, or whether to set an “age limit” on the driving privilege.

When it has come to nationally noticed gun violence and people with mental illness, the same consideration is not taken.  Instead, to make a comparison, the discussion most brought up in the public eye is whether or not to ban guns of this type or that, as well as calls to ban them in general.  This is sort of like with the senior citizens, if there had been a public debate on whether to ban automobiles of certain types or something.

What a tragedy!  All of that money and airtime that could have been spent on mental healthcare reform and such wasted on limiting the rights of people who have done nothing wrong.

What gets to me, though, even more, is the amount of disrespect it shines on people who have a mental illness.  “They can’t be held responsible”, an attitude which carries on into everyday life constantly.

I wish people would wake up to this.  The United States is based on the importance of the rights of individuals, and great battles have been fought for the equality of individuals and the elimination of discrimination against groups of people.  Here we are, though, with the disposition that people with a mental illness are incompetent children who are unable to be responsible for themselves.

I am not a child.  I have an illness.  If I shoot someone, why on earth would you then want to limit other people?

I am expected to pay bills.  I am expected to do what I am supposed to do within society.  I am expected to take responsibility for the maintenance of my own care to battle my mental illness.  I am allowed to vote, to buy alcohol, to drive, to do any number of other things that I am afforded the right to do by my rights as a citizen.

How disrespectful for the government and society to treat me like a child, and to encourage me to sit down and be quiet because I am “suffering” and I have “no control”.

Madness.  They want people with a mental illness to take all of these responsibilities, and then pat us on the head if we do wrong.  They wink at us and say, “Oh, well, you know, they’re crazy, you can’t hold them responsible.”

It can’t be both ways.  We are either expected to do right and treated like equals, or come right out and say that we should be treated like children, and then provide us with the same care you would a child.  Either provide us with “full care”, housing, therapy, medication and everything else that would be provided to the child you think we are, or treat us as we are.

We are citizens, individuals with different capabilities fighting illnesses as best we can and in different ways.

Have the respect for us to hold us responsible for the things we do.

 

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Filed under Mental Health, Social ideas, Thoughts

On Gun Control…


I am on to say something, and I want you to know where I’m coming from on this. I am mentally ill. I will never own a firearm personally. That’s ok with me, and I totally understand the reason for this.

The problem I see right now is that people are focusing on the tool used to commit atrocities-but it is not “socially acceptable” to point out the other thing that is always the same. Those who commit these acts are mentally ill.

As a person with mental illness, I want to say that I believe that we should be dealing with the issue of regulating the mentally ill, not firearms. There have been huge changes in the world of psychiatry over the past 30 years or so, and long term stays in the hospital have gone from being common to almost nonexistant. However, during my personal times of crisis, I NEEDED to be somewhere safe, for a longer period than a week, so that I could be watched and cared for until I came out the other side.

People with mental illness should be registered and monitored more carefully and thoroughly. There needs to be a requirement that I speak to someone from the mental health industry with an eye toward my stability on a monthly basis, I should not be allowed to own a gun, and if someone I live with owns a firearm, they should be required to show that they are taking steps to keep it out of my hands. Whether a gun lock, a class on gun safety, whatever.

You see, I have thought about the efficiency of delegalizing assault weapons and firearms, if I were to decide to become destructive and kill people on a large scale. Simply put, if I wanted to kill people, a ban on firearms would not stop me at all. Shall we next ban bleach and ammonia(mixed they make a potent poisonous gas)? How about hammers? I could kill someone with those, even a large group, should they be unarmed. How about cars? Give a person a car and a desire to commit an atrocity, and large crowds should beware.

This is all said to illustrate-banning a firearm in no way will protect people from the acts of the criminal or the mentally ill. If you want to “protect the public” from the acts of this minority, then keep close watch upon them. I would understand being registered as mentally ill, regular check-ins and even being sent to a long-term care facility in the event I refused to take care of myself. This is called holding me responsible for my own actions and choices.

Mental illness is not a license to act badly. If you have a mental illness and act badly, you should be incarcerated. Perhaps away from the “criminal” element, but you should still be away from society. Why on earth would you, instead, if a person acts poorly, hold everyone else responsible?

I do not believe the government wants to take your firearms to keep you “safer”. Being “safe” is an issue of personal responsibility, and if that is what the true desire is, then gun ownership, gun training, should be things we encourage as a society. If everyone is armed, then the power of the “scary assault rifle” gets quite a bit weaker.

What if the principal had been armed? What if there had been an armed guard or two in the halls of sandy hook? What if there had been a few audience members in CO that had been armed?

Even better, what if ALL of the responsible, law-abiding adults had been armed with a firearm during any one of these atrocities?

The government wants to disarm the people for a reason besides public safety, and it’s time we looked that fact in the face and called it for what it is. It’s time people started publicly seeking the truth of their motives.

I am mentally ill, and I say we need to watch the mentally ill more carefully, and encourage gun ownership by the public. These are the solutions to prevent “atrocities” by the mentally ill, while allowing the citizens to defend against any moves toward tyranny.

I’m not ashamed of being mentally ill, but I recognize it for what it is. Hold me personally responsible for my behavior and well-being, don’t hold everyone else responsible for it.

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Filed under Social ideas, Thoughts