OK. Keep moving; there’s nothing else to see here: it’s only dead people killed by an irrational mentally ill person.
I withheld my tongue when this incident was reported, waiting to see how long it would take the ‘officials’ to determine that it was just another case of an armed lunatic roaming free among us.
Until today, they were at a loss, running around like headless chicken trying to figure this incident out. Was it a terrorist plot? Was there more than one lone shooter? RUN! STOP THE PLANES FROM FLYING OVER D.C.!!
This is what happens when you don’t have ‘accurate’ gun listing profiles, I mean, reports; you can’t control the loonies. That’s the focus now, again.
Two things stand out (in my view) about this case: 1) the use of mental illness as an argument to justify policies in favor of arming/dis-arming citizens and 2) the stigmatizing of mental illness as a simple explanation to a problem that clearly has to do with the failure of the nation to provide QUALITY mental health services, especially to veterans. I will discuss these now.
1) The use of mental illness as an argument to justify against or pro-gun rights policies.
The knee jerk reactions are the usual: we need guns because there are too many armed crazy people out there (NRA and Republican Party preferred argument), or we need to ban guns for the same reason (Democratic Party preferred argument). Either way you cut it, the mentally ill is the culprit.
In other words, the mentally ill is a political token to be used to settle a political issue: Constitutional gun rights. Our society can’t possibly engage in this issue using ANY other type of arguments. Not moral arguments, or about compassion, or about the economy, or about the crimes of the arms dealer and builders industry…no. It has to be settled by trampling on the rights of ALL the mentally ill persons in this nation, by vilifying a whole class of people who suffer neglect and powerlessness just because they are mentally ill.
This man, who committed this crime, seems to had been a walking ticking bomb for many years; that’s the impression that NOW the media and the police want you to stick in your mind. Based on the info that we are now receiving, he may had been ill, but NO ONE ever did anything to HELP him, not to punish or ostracize him, but to help him get services. That’s the payment we give to our soldiers when they come home. We let them boil in their PTSD and wait for them to do what EVERYBODY knows is going to happen. We do it because the national debt forces us to pay to Wall Street and cut mental health services. But no one talks about that NOW. NOoo. It’s the loonies that need to be thrown in a modern psych hospital (our prison system) and be forgotten there.
2) How easy is to explain this mass murder once you stick the label of ‘mental patient’ to the incident. NOW they understand.
You see, the Washington Post did its usual manipulation of info to help you arrive easily to the necessary conclusion. First, it described Alexis having a clearly paranoid episode, which happened long time ago, and then followed it immediately with this quote, which was made before we knew about Alexis’ mental illness:
“What caused this individual to kill so many innocent men and women?” Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, asked at an afternoon news conference outside the local FBI field office.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to answer that question using the previous paragraph describing the paranoid episode. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how the mainstream media practices the art of opinion shaping through EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION.
But that’s not all. The mainstream media is in a ‘damage infusion’ mode, forcing us to conclude that Alexis was a lunatic DESPITE him having also had a history of good deeds. It’s the process of enforcing the stigma rule. For example:
a) his military achievements and recognitions are devalued in order to keep him stigmatized as a mentally ill person, unworthy of any recognitions:
“He received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, awards of minor distinction”
“the Navy mistakenly said he had received a general discharge, a less-desirable category that would have indicated to future employers that there was something amiss with his performance.”
Notice in the second quote how a dishonorable discharge is surreptitiously equated with mental illness, and in the process implies that mentally ill people should NOT be hired.
b) other people’s good opinion about him become less important, and bad opinions AFTER THE FACTS become more prophetic:
“Those who knew Alexis in recent years describe him as a “sweet and intelligent guy” (a regular customer at the Thai restaurant where he had been a waiter) and “a good boy” (his landlord), but also as “very aggressive,” someone who seemed as though he might one day kill himself (a lay worker at the Buddhist temple where Alexis worshiped).”
c) and other people’s abuses pass as ‘insignificant’ and not contributing to Alexis’ losing it:
“The woman told police that Alexis had complained several times that she was too loud. She said he had confronted her a few days earlier in the complex’s parking lot “about making too much noise,” according to a police report.”
I’m sure that if you live in NYC, you know how ‘maddening’ a loud tenant above you can be. But we don’t question how disruptive that woman was, how did she contribute to him ‘losing it’.
d) and finally, how the system ignores the people’s need for mental health service to later blame mental illness itself as the problem. Mental illness is NO problem to society when we stop pretending that we are servicing people and actually put the money where the politicians mouths are.If we treat the people when they need it, we don’t have mass killings. And if we keep people employed we don’t have mass killing either. Neither if we stop spending money in “stupid wars” for the benefit of arms mongers, oil barons and Wall Street banksters.
We know that our politicians reward our veterans with homelessness and lack of medical and psychiatric services. Alex was a veteran. The signs where there but, as usual, no one did anything about it:
“and it was unclear whether the Navy had sufficient cause to push forward. So when Alexis applied on his own to leave the Navy in early 2011 with an honorable discharge, the service granted his request, the official said.”
They had the opportunity to deal with him BEFORE he lost it. But they didn’t.
“Alexis also had an angry streak that flared often enough to create an arrest record in three states.”
“Alexis’s father told detectives then that his son “had experienced anger management problems that the family believed was associated with PTSD,”
“He did not like to be close with anybody, like a soldier who has been at war.”
And the verdict:
“Nobody could have done anything to prevent this except Aaron Alexis,” he said. “Maybe he snapped. I don’t know.”
This will not stop. Our society has failed to face the reality that mental illness is the product, not only of any physical disturbance, but of how our society is ordered, how we prioritize the use of our public wealth and resources.
Given that we prefer to pay big banksters for usurious loans instead of putting the money where it belongs (in the public service) we will have to continue blaming mental illness as the number one mass killer in the USA.
Prevention is incompatible with paying the debt. You gotta make your priorities.
See you in the next episode.
My sympathies for the relatives of the victims, as always.
I blame our government for this new social pain.