I am so proud of Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. Many of you may not know it, but her mother was married to my late father for many years. So she was my step sister, in what is now another lifetime ago. Now, I watch from afar, in great admiration. She is on the frontlines of Democracy. And lately, she has been dealing with the recent break in at her Michigan headquarters, where John’s memorabilia was damaged. And now, the mass shooting at Oxford HS has her reflecting deeply. I left a comment on her FB post today (above), which I have used as a springboard for today’s blog:
Thank you Debbie, for leading by first asking the tough questions and having the humility not to KNOW the answers. Keep building a constituency of concern. Someday the wind will be at your back and we will move forward with the best ideas. In the mean time, thanks for keeping the faith.
Your writing is eloquent and poignant. Violence can no longer be put forth as an “alt” solution to our problems. Violence has always been the way in this country. I was bullied as a child, threatened and accosted. I’ve had a gun to my head. No one is immune. My son witnessed a fatal shooting just one month ago. We all experience these mass shootings, together. They are like a ritual now, almost like a mass at church, replete with symbolic rage, memorializing, finger pointing, ways to cope and ending in prayers for the victims and their families. When is enough enough? I sketched throughout the Dylann Roof trial. We’ve all studied the mind of the murderer. What I see is psychopaths all have one thing in common: they have gone astray. They have broken from the pack.
What to Do When One of Our Own has Going Astray?
We celebrate rugged individualism in this country and then we give people guns. Stoicism and vigilantism are praised in our country. Sadly, we now call people who are good citizens who believe in peace and kindness, in working together, who play by the rules and are part of the pack, “Sheeple.” While those who go outside the norms of society have always been celebrated as our heroes. “Don’t tread on me” is the rallying cry of the estranged outsider. Their solution has been to arm ourselves. But the push to arm our citizens has produced only more violence. And, it also happens to be a great way to control/subjugate/oppress the population, if you’re into that sort of thing. Now we never know who is packing heat and who just might open fire on us. So we live in constant fear. Our society is literally frozen in fear.
It is obvious we must do something to slow the flow of guns. A ban on assault rifles, requiring a license to own a gun, mandatory training, these are a no-brainer to any rational being. Yet somehow these common sense ideas have become controversial, even radical. They have been politicized by people justifiably frustrated by the current trend towards violence in our country. Both sides of the political spectrum believe theirs is the only answer, even as the obvious, sensible answers stare us in the face. When did common sense
become so radical?
Garden of Youth
Intervention is the Key
But the ultimate solution is we must intervene, through education, counseling and some form of mentoring when kids first begin to go astray. The suffering that leads to murder begins very young. The signs are there but we turn our backs. Not because we don’t care but because the resources, need I say it, the infrastructure, are not in place. You have no idea how difficult it has been to get trauma counseling for my son ( see below).
That’s why we need preschool education. funding for mental health services, so that before something happens, when a child begins to withdraw, we can send in the troops. Not the army. No, I’m talking about the village of concerned social workers and regular citizens who care, who will listen, who will be a friend, who will teach right from wrong, who will help find healthy alternatives to violence. What have soldiers and SWAT teams ever done to prevent the carnage? Nothing. The good guy is a myth, right out of the wild west. We must spend a lot more money on social programs and a lot less on war and policing. Again, common sense is being drowned out by political rhetoric. We deed to drastically address our priorities as a society. The solutions are not that elusive; in fact, they have always been there. What we lack is the political will.
Here is more information about the incident involving my son.