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Old 12-14-2012, 01:26 PM  
jAZ jAZ is offline
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Mental Illness

Some of you may know that I was personally fairly close to Gabby Giffords. I also have a son sitting in a kindergarten class right now. I'm also known as an outspoken liberal on this board.

I have opinions about gun control policies, but I don't see that as the critical issue that links these issues. I agree that guns don't kill people, people kill people.

We as a nation need to have a grown up discussion about our culture. But I think we are missing the issue if we talk about gun control.

We need to talk about these incidents as a function of all sorts of factors, key of which are mental health.

A couple of years ago, I think my son was 3 years old and we were at a video arcade, he wanted to play one of the gun games. Something clicked for me when he asked about that.

I realized that we have created a culture of murder and killing as a form of entertainment. I realized that somehow we as a society have embraced murder as a game or entertainment. And for some reason, rape sits squrely on the other side of the line of acceptability.

We don't make movies or video games that glorify rape. That crosses a universally unacceptable like that somehow murder doesn't cross.

When I realized this contradiction in our social make up, I made a choice that I was not going to allow my son to engage in games that treat violence as a game. I started to teaching him that guns are dangerous machines should be treated with extraordinary care. And that they can but used in a lot of ways including for violence. That they aren't toys. We agreed that he wouldn't play video games that treat killing as a game. But in return, when he is old enough, we would go learn how to operate a gun and that he'd get to experience shooting a gun in a responsible way.

I say all of this because I think there is a 3rd way to have this discussion. We can protect gun rights. We can talk about our culture. We need to discuss the role of mental illness in these incidents.

It doesn't have to be a dumbed down discussion where one side focuses exclusively on banning guns and the other side focuses on expanding access to guns.

This is a multidimensional issue that demands a grown up discussion.

I guess this is my opportunity to share my thoughts in hope that it's a contribution to that effort.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:00 PM   #16
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I disagree on your take with the video games. Our sons are the same age and like you mine wanted to play the gun games the very most from an early age. Like you I thought about whether that was appropriate but only for a second. Those games are not glorifying murder. If in that game you were breaking into someone’s house and filling them full of holes or opening fire on a school that would be one thing. For the most part you are defending yourself against zombies or some lame ass thing. Hardcore military would be inappropriate for a young child so he doesn’t play those.
The whole gun culture thing is lame too. I was raised in a gun culture. Nobody was running around opening fire on groups of innocent people.
My vote for the real problem is a combination of the psychotropic drugs they are on and the fact that the media is making these kids famous.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:04 PM   #17
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I think maybe it's more to do with people realizing it can be done. I'm not sure that people thought of a mass shooting as something they could do, and the more frequent nature of it happening makes them think, "I could do that. If I did it this is what I'd do differently."

I do think there's a certain lack of respect for other people. I think of it more in terms of people posting youtube videos of people getting beat up, hit by cars, getting seriously injured, etc. I would be much more concerned if I found out my kid was watching videos of someone being actually injured than I would be if he was playing a first person shooter.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock View Post
Video games have nothing to do with this. My friends and I used to run around "killing" each other with toy guns all the time.

These people are probably all on prescription drugs given to them by their doctor.
Video games are but one, small dimension of the culture. Gang culture. Drug culture. Poverty. Broken families.

The view of depression and other forms of mental illness as something that people just need to toughen up and get over themselves...

It's all part of the conversation we need to have, IMO. Gun regulation is a nominal part of the solution, IMO. Not irrelevant, but to make it the singular subject of discussion to the extent that it polarizes people who might otherwise work together on the other dimensions, is a real shame.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jAZ View Post
Video games are but one, small dimension of the culture. Gang culture. Drug culture. Poverty. Broken families.

The view of depression and other forms of mental illness as something that people just need to toughen up and get over themselves...

It's all part of the conversation we need to have, IMO. Gun regulation is a nominal part of the solution, IMO. Not irrelevant, but to make it the singular subject of discussion to the extent that it polarizes people who might otherwise work together on the other dimensions, is a real shame.
You're talking about human nature, though, really. The problems with the world and society and not curable.
The biggest impact would be for people to actually do things themselves. Volunteering time and resources. We know a couple that feeds and tutors impoverished kids in Dallas after school, for instance. I don't do enough. I'm basically a selfish person. But if people actually, realistically, wanted to make a large scale change that would be the way. More person-to-person involvement. Government help can do so much, but I think there's an impersonal nature to it that doesn't satisfy.
And then there's people you'll never reach, no matter what you do. No amount of money or care can help them.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:42 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by blaise View Post
You're talking about human nature, though, really. The problems with the world and society and not curable.
The biggest impact would be for people to actually do things themselves. Volunteering time and resources. We know a couple that feeds and tutors impoverished kids in Dallas after school, for instance. I don't do enough. I'm basically a selfish person. But if people actually, realistically, wanted to make a large scale change that would be the way. More person-to-person involvement. Government help can do so much, but I think there's an impersonal nature to it that doesn't satisfy.
And then there's people you'll never reach, no matter what you do. No amount of money or care can help them.
Agreed that these are macro issues. I don't pretend to know the future. I also agree that seeing through a change of culture is difficult. Incredibly difficult.

But I think the only wrong answer at this point is to believe that nothing can be done. Much of "human nature" is not defined by the actual person, but defined by the ground rules with which we engage with each other.

That you see such diverse cultures around the world suggests to me that it's entirely possible to have a different culture. It's possible, just difficult.

And the path to get there is completely unclear and I'm sure incredibility difficult. It's not going to happen from the top down. While I think that access to high performance weapons needs regulation, banning guns isn't the solution.

But saying nothing can be done (and letting that be the final word) is probably the only wrong answer, IMO.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:44 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jAZ View Post
Agreed that these are macro issues. I don't pretend to know the future. I also agree that seeing through a change of culture is difficult. Incredibly difficult.

But I think the only wrong answer at this point is to believe that nothing can be done. Much of "human nature" is not defined by the actual person, but defined by the ground rules with which we engage with each other.

That you see such diverse cultures around the world suggests to me that it's entirely possible to have a different culture. It's possible, just difficult.

And the path to get there is completely unclear and I'm sure incredibility difficult. It's not going to happen from the top down. While I think that access to high performance weapons needs regulation, banning guns isn't the solution.

But saying nothing can be done (and letting that be the final word) is probably the only wrong answer, IMO.
I'm not saying nothing can be done. I'm saying the most effective thing to be done would be to be out doing volunteer work with people you believe are in an at risk category.
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:00 PM   #22
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Maybe evil like this ought to be kept behind bars--before they snap?
Great....let's get rid of the 4th amendment!


Oh wait, that's already started...
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:05 PM   #23
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The mental health care is system reflects the health care system as a whole. Fragmented, and often those who need the most urgent care do not have access to the system, for many reasons.
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:37 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Iowanian View Post
Maybe it's time to start protecting society from broken people.
That sounds dangerous too. Let's just put people away who's ideas we don't agree with.
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:39 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Brock View Post
Video games have nothing to do with this. My friends and I used to run around "killing" each other with toy guns all the time.

These people are probably all on prescription drugs given to them by their doctor.
Unfortunately, most of them are. Certain ones have violent and suicidal side effects.
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:40 PM   #26
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This country doesn't take mental health seriously. We never deal with emotions and think a pill will make everything ok. Is it a coincidence that school shootings have gone up since mental health funding was cut in the 80s?
Um, that's why there's now mental health screenings in schools...and even for communities. Big Pharma would love more on some of their drugs that they make for such conditions.
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:48 PM   #27
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From what I am seeing on this issue from other boards, this mental health push is being pushed by lefties everywhere. Is state mental health or state mandated mental health, now that the govt is to mandate health insurance next on the agenda? Oh brother are we moving closer to dystopia.
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:51 PM   #28
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Maybe we should just shoot everybody thats pshyco.
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:54 PM   #29
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Maybe we should just shoot everybody thats pshyco.
Question is who gets to decide?

Many of these gun shooting cases were in the hands of some mental health professionals before such acts were committed. There's a long list of them and they were on drugs that produce such violence as a side effect. Is this the way we want to go when it's been done already?
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:55 PM   #30
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It's all about the psychotropics. There is a huge history there that never gets addressed. Good thread jaz.
You don't know what the **** you are talking about. The drugs are not the problem. The fractured mess that is our mental health care system is the issue.
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