I’m annoyed. And offended. And annoyed some more.
Following the terrible tragedy in Connecticut there has been a lot of chatter online about who or what is to blame. Gun control, violence in American culture, and lack of access to mental health services seem to be the most prevalent. I think there are valid points to each one of these, and not one in particular is at fault. An event like this does not take place because of a single reason, and I believe it’s a little ridiculous to try and narrow it down so.
None of that is what is annoying me though. What’s annoying me is the responses against each of these reasons.
This morning I read about the church group who are planning to picket outside of the children’s funerals. Westboro Baptist Church claim that this was God executing his judgement after Connecticut passed a same sex marriage law last month. They’re saying something about CT being a Godless state and this is the result. I won’t say too much more about this, as I’m sure it’s obvious why I’m annoyed by it! I’m not religious, but have to assume that about 99% of those who are also think it’s absolutely terrible.
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I disagree. People WITH GUNS kill people. Yes, of course, people without guns kill people too. But that still doesn’t change the fact that if someone wants to kill someone else, they can easily go out and legally obtain a machine gun to do it with.
Which brings me to my next bit of annoyance- Why does anyone need a gun?
You always hear Americans going on about the right to bear arms, that it’s necessary for protection. Protection from what? Well, I’m guessing from another guy with a gun. So, if guy A doesn’t have a gun in the first place can we assume then guy B doesn’t need one to protect himself with?
As a Canadian I find the idea of people walking around with guns absolutely terrifying. I’ve never seen a gun, nor do I know of anyone at home who has one. I’m guessing folks in more rural areas have them for hunting, and I’m not even sure if it’s that much more difficult to get one here. I honestly just think that as a culture we don’t feel the need.
My main annoyance was coming from the mental health arguments. People saying that mental health services are available to those who need them, or blaming a persons upbringing, or worst of all, those who claim that mental health issues aren’t real.
Where do I even start with this? Sigh…
Do mental health services exist? Yes, of course. Are they effective and/or available to everyone? Not at all.
As someone who has been seeking assistance with mental health issues for 6 years now I have to point out what an epic failure the mental health system is. It’s an absolute disgrace, and I’m embarrassed by it. And I’m speaking of the Canadian system! The American system is even more limited, only offering services to those properly insured. And with a lot people suffering with mental health issues being unable to maintain steady employment without treatment, how on Earth are they supposed to get help?!
On top of that is the fact that it’s next to impossible to get proper help unless you’ve reached an appropriate level of crazy. Unless you commit a crime, or attempt suicide, you’re not really deemed worth the time/money that’s put in to mental health services. I recommend The Anarchist Soccer Mom’s post “Thinking The Unthinkable“, if you haven’t read it already.
A friend just mentioned on Twitter that someone she knows said there would be far few people with mental health issues if people just parented better. This makes me just as sad as it does annoyed. To bring it back to a nature vs. nurture point: Brain chemistry is not determined by your environment, but by your genetics.
I was genetically predisposed to having a lack of serotonin in my brain that causes me to go in to bouts of depression and anxiety, when triggered. For anyone with this, of course triggers could include trauma in childhood. But, for a lot of people like me, the trigger was University. The brain is a wildly complicated thing, and the medical community barely understands how it works. To blatantly say that someone’s mental health issues are a direct result of their parents is downright insulting. My mom is awesome, and for someone to blame her parenting for my chemical imbalance is just wrong.
And those who claim that mental heath issues aren’t real? Well, they’re just ignorant and I don’t imagine anything aside from them or a close loved one developing one will change their minds. Which I would never wish on anyone, so I’ll just shake my head at their close-mindedness.
Image from How My Depression Almost Killed Me on Hello Giggles