Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Thoughts on Newtown

Haven't really been able to focus on issues other than the Newtown shooting the past couple days.
It's not just about guns; it's about the helplessness of dealing with mental illness in America. This heartbreaking anonymous piece tells of one mom's struggle:  
No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”
"Most likely outcome of all this is crackdown on mentally ill, rather than on guns," writes Garance Franke-Ruta. "Human tendency to punish the weak, fear the strong." Autism and Asperger advocates are already worrying about the stereotypes and backlash, especially after a New York Times profile of the shooter based on far too few facts.

Media mistakes are a significant issue in this case. "The media can do many things; one thing they cannot do is on-the-spot fact-checking of the cops," writes Erik Wemple.

Also: a previous study shows that bullying and homophobia has been a factor in many past school shooting cases. 

But why am I saying "many past school shooting cases"?   "Every country has a sizable contingent of mentally ill citizens," writes Gail Collins. "We’re the one that gives them the technological power to play god." 

So a lot of it IS about guns, and this time the talk feels different. As I said Friday, "On no other issue is America's urban-rural divide as big as it is on guns." And urban American just won an election: a solid presidential win, seats gained in the Senate, and only gerrymandering keeping the House red. This is an issue where urban America has long been stymied by white male cultural mythology. It's significant that the highest ranking politician making serious noise about gun control before this latest tragedy was the mayor of New York.

"The voters who Dems worry about on gun issues are pretty much the people the Obama coalition gave up on," Ben Smith wisely notes. "TN, WV, etc. Matter for House tho." The Blue Dogs are near extinction and the opportunites, few as they are, are in suburban areas that may be fiscally conservative but would be open to dealing with gun issues. At least that's the argument

Two similar but separate pieces by Max Fisher in the Washington Post and Atlantic on the other extreme on guns: Japan. "What is perhaps most revealing about looking at Japan’s gun laws, and seeing what makes them the most extreme gun restrictions in the developed world, is that it gives you a sense, for better or worse, of what American gun laws look like to everyone else."

But, of course, conservatives have long twisted the Second Amendment into an absolutist right. The smarter ones are staying quiet; the dumb ones are trolling in anonymity. Yes, I get called a Nazi for my birthday.


Karen Fesler said...

While some conservatives do take the 2nd Amendment to the limit, some liberals take the 1st Amendment's freedom OF religion to mean freedom FROM religion. The mythical separation of church and state is just as much of an urban/rural divide that the gun issue.

Sick of Spin said...

Karen's comment hits the nail on the head. The farther away our society gets from religion, the more it seems, that tragedy strikes.

Sick of Spin said...

The actions by Jerrold Nadler is nothing to be proud of. Congressman Jerrold Nadler doesn't get that it's his kind of mindset that has helped spawn this kind of incident. He is exploiting this school shooting, just like the shooter exploited the easy target situation that he viewed the school to be.

Dem. lawmaker: To get gun control, Obama must 'exploit' shooting - Washington Times

A veteran Democratic lawmaker believes the nation will go along with stronger gun control laws if President Obama “exploits” the Newtown, Conn., tragedy and nudges Congress to action.