Monday, January 7, 2013

God Bless AmeriK-47 by Alison Ross

TS Eliot was woefully wrong when he wrote, "This is the way the world ends/not with a bang but with a whimper." It should read, "Not with a whimper but with a BANGBANGBANG!"* For there will be no time for a whimper if the NRA has its way. 

The NRA conference with director Wayne LaPierre a mere week after the sinister slaughter of 20 schoolchildren in at an elementary school nearly matched the horrific nature of that bloody massacre. His cold callousness freezes the soul. LaPierre is a lot like the other men who commit these horrifying mass killings in that he shows zero remorse about such acts and even seems to revel in them. But to compound the issue, he stigmatizes and scapegoats the mentally ill - when he is clearly the sickest of them all. 

In fact, it's easier to sympathize with the psychological turmoil of someone like a mass killer because his illness, typically hidden from the wider public until it's entirely too late, has been sorely neglected by a viciously underfunded mental health system (THANK YOU RONALD REAGAN AND ALL PRESIDENTS AFTER HIM - YES, THAT MEANS YOU, PSEUDO-PROGRESSIVES CLINTON AND OBAMA) - whereas LaPierre is an overt sociopath who is allowed to domineer over the most entrenched political lobby in the history of the country. It's disturbing as hell. The NRA has evolved from being a collective of semi-innocuous weirdo gun-nuts to full-blown malevolent maniacs who specialize in maliciously muddying the original intention of the second amendment so that they can capitalize on unfettered gun access which leads inexorably to rampant gun sales. It's an insidious enterprise. 
The NRA has triumphed in making the second amendment to the constitution the most perverted of all constitutional amendments. The founding fathers, when crafting the second amendment, intended to grant people the right to defend themselves against a potentially encroaching and militarized government, not to permit unchecked access to guns which encompass assault weapons whose sole purpose is to annihilate the universe. 

Of course, all of this has been said before, and in much more eloquent fashion. What IS a bit more uniquely salient to say, though, is that the origins of mass killings such as those in Newtown, Columbine, Aurora, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum, are a convoluted amalgam of the various causes thrown about in the mainstream, fringe, alternative, and social media. 

Gun control is essential, yes, but it's titanically true (and I don't give a fuck what anyone says) that ubiquitous media violence, disintegration of family, and America's brutal imperialistic legacy are all culpable of conspiring to create a nihilistic society. Add to that a steady defunding of mental health services since the 1980s (once again, merci, Herr Reagan) and you have a toxic cocktail. And, of course, lest we forget - the proliferation of mental illness is a direct result of the stresses we experience from overworking, from our country's extreme emphasis on individualism versus collectivism, from stark wealth disparity, and the attendant societal and familial breakdowns. 

Yes, I said ubiquitous media violence. Most left-leaning types are loathe to touch on that as one cause for real-world violence, but time and time again, it is noted that the perpetrators of mass killings have often enjoyed violent video games, and I have seen first-hand how violent video games and movies inure teenagers to real-life destruction. It's just so outrageously obvious to anyone with half the amount of required brain cells to exist that violence in movies and video games feeds into the pervasive psychopathy of our society. Most naysayers weekly proclaim that there is no correlation and that media violence is just a reflection rather than an incitement, but such naysayers are in devastating denial and themselves a victim of how media violence narcotizes us to the effects of real-world violence. We have accepted bloody massacres as a way of life because hey, that's what they do in movies. And unstable people are readily provoked by media violence. And don't get me started on violent video games - those things should be banned and the makers of them indicted for urging our teens to turn into killing machines. 

As far as family breakdown, this is typically an issue thrown about in right-wing fringe media - usually freaky religious fundamentalists blather   about this and lefties balk at it. But I think there is more than a modest amount of truth in the idea. A robust family unit means that signs of mental disturbance among family members will not go unnoticed, and in fact, a functional family environment can provide infinite mental health benefits. 

As I said, however, it's the convergence of media violence, family breakdown, insane income inequities, and American imperialism that cultivate this cretinous culture. And because we are a society so mired in workaholism and our government is so overtaken by corporate profiteering that creates such blunt economic disparities, we are severely stressed. And yet our mental health system, which could help us navigate those mental minefields, is abysmally underfunded. So the most taxed among us, not having the tools to cope more constructively, suffer meltdowns, and the rest of us must endure their meltdowns as well. 

And that is where guns come into play. The unfettered access to weapons of mass destruction, to assault rifles designed to kill maximum people with minimal effort, facilitates these meltdowns. Without abundant availability of such weapons, those whose coping strategies are compromised by a malicious system would not be so capable of sucking us into their vortex of hysterical dysfunction. 

It's just common fucking sense. And yet the NRA and its asshole allies in government have held us hostage in their dastardly dystopia - holding us at gunpoint, as it were, to accept their vile vision of How Things Are. 

We are, indeed, hollow men and women. God Bless

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