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Friday, June 19, 2015

Gift of Guns

When I read of the church shooting in North Carolina, I wondered immediately if Dylann Roof had been in possession of a gun given to him by a parent or close relative.  It was an intuitive feeling, and it turned out to be true.

This is the second mass killing I personally know has been implemented by a gun given to the perpetrator by a parent.  Dylann Roof's father, who gave the gun to him on Dylann's birthday, had a personal responsiblity to NOT give a weapon to his son, whom he knew to be heavily drug-addicted, with increasingly and publicly violent ideation, and an arrest which was partially for erratic and frightening behavior. It is nauseating that a parent could be so blind.  It was like giving this person permission to kill.  In addition, the young man was ranting publicly for six months about killing people and starting a race war (reminds me of Charles Manson). Every person interviewed about this said, "I thought he was just kidding."  No one helped him, at all.

John Holmes, the "cinema shooter," expressed repeated ideation to his girlfriend about wanting to kill people. The girlfriend said, "I thought he was kidding, though I did suggest he seek therapy."

Adam Lanza, though very good at keeping his homicidal ideation to himself, had a mother who was the supreme enabler of all time.  She kept an arsenal of weapons in her home, at least two unlocked gun safes, and enough ammunition to singlehandedly start Armageddon.  She took her fragile, mentally ill son to shooting ranges for "bonding" and gave him a gun for a birthday present, which he duly used as one of the weapons in the Connecticut school shooting.  What was this mother thinking? She was his first victim, by the way.

When are people going to wake up to the idea that a person may NOT BE KIDDING when they express any form of homicidal ideation, especially when they do it repeatedly?  Even the ranters on the "vegan animal activist" sites, with their endless, sickening pictures and calls for social violence and the murder of non-vegans (yes, really, I often hear that "people who eat meat should choke on it, be killed in the way animals in slaughterhouses should be killed," etc.) concern me now.

What if someone there is actually serious about such things, or could break and do something irrational because they feel it is "right"?  There are all kinds of groups on social media, of every stripe, not just these "activists," who rant along these lines.  One has to think there are a handful of deeply imbalanced people posting on such sites, because they can blend in.  They may not even know they are imbalanced. Certainly viewing and posting gory, bloody pictures all day and ranting about death and violence has got to affect one's mind. When and how are we going to know that a person who speaks of killing another person is serious or when they are "just kidding" or "just exaggerating?"  Everyone described Dylann Roof as a nice, quiet kid.  I would bet there is social media or a website he posted on which is going to reveal at least a hint of the violence in his mind.

 I personally allow myself no more than two hours a day working with my true crime book (including visiting key sites around town), and then mentally visualize putting it all in a box and wrapping some string around it, and tying the string in a knot.  Then I make SURE to do something really positive: a walk in nature, hooping, playing with Thistle, singing, playing music.

I have also learned through  sad and hard experience that it is VERY wise to choose one's language.  This is one of many important things m. taught me, to watch  my words and think about my self-expression.  I never once heard him express any language that had to do with killing, hurting, etc., not even when he was very angry about something.  I always admired, and in fact still admire, his ability to choose wise speech. Yes, I have a few choice phrases of his that have replayed in my mind at times and are painful to remember, but mostly he engaged in wise and well-chosen words. Violent speech is addictive, and the way to avoid that is to simply make the effort not to do so.  The brain gets used to such things, but it is possible to reverse that with hard work and time.

 By the way, all the gun owners I personally know have extremely high standards of safety, and I am sure they are disgusted and heartsick at news stories such as the ones I cited.

I have no answers to any of this: no answers at all.