Let's Talk: Crazy Guns

Today the internets are abuzz with the horrific business of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. I can’t go far into the pain of the loss of life. I simply can’t.

 

 

On the day that it happened, I took this photo of Mikey, just home from work, holding wee Mac’s hand:

IMG_6541

My heart ached for the parents of the slain children, for the families of the adults killed as well.

I cried. Hard.

Then, I suppose simply because I have so much sorrow in me already with this blasted post-partum depression and struggles with feeding my boy – I couldn’t take it, I shut off and focused instead on the double-whammy issues of gun control and mental health.

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I’m reading too much on everything – of course I am! The articles I liked best were:

Kristoff’s Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?

Long’s I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother

xoJanes’s For the Last Time…

 

Long’s article is catching slack within the Disability Community for many reasons, all of which I don’t really want to get into now but should for the sake of the people that aren’t privy to those circles. It’s this – by her saying what she did, according to some, she’s not supporting her child, she’s castigating her child for his behavior and shifting blame for incidents like this back to mental health. Did I miss anything, friends?

Like many in the disability community, I’m nervous about blame-dumping on mental health, nervous as hell about people making wild, unfounded correlations between aggression and the autism spectrum disorder. But I do want us to have this conversation about mental health.

This is the thing about mental health: when I was gorgeously insured, I called the hospital and told them that I am deaf and very depressed. Could I email or text please? They said no, I had to talk on the phone if I wanted to receive services. I went through the phone-hell, was actually reduced to tears from the strain of trying to hear, and was scheduled for some group class two months later to deal with the big-time depression that I told them I was facing at that moment. Mind, I went into details about my mental state that I don’t care to here on this blog, but suffice to say: I was highly messed up, in dire need of help, like years before I ever made the call. And their answer?

Put me through the wringer, wait a few months and go to a how-to group meet n’ greet, complete with bad coffee and stale cookies.

IMG_6586You remember this, don’t you? A meme that was big a while ago?

It would be so much more funny if it were not true. And I should know. I’ve been that man standing facing the stairs, and more – I’m deaf – and all the bannisters were auditory.

We need accessible  mental health care. We need to help and protect people who need it. We need to remove the stigma associated with having bruised brains, chemical imbalances and whatever else comes from mental impairment and depression.

As far as gun control goes:

IMG_6531There are asinine notions floating around that guns didn’t cause this, people did. That’s like saying food didn’t make me fat, my hand did.

On the same day that Adam Lanza shot down 27 people, a man in China also went into an elementary school, but armed with a knife instead of a gun. The 20+ people in China are alive – wounded, yes, but there are no funerals going on over there. My point is, badly disturbed people like Adam exist everywhere. The difference is that other places make it much harder for people like Adam to get their hands on the types of guns he was able to – and result is, far fewer die.

So let’s just quit all the rhetoric already – because these events just escalate. More massacres happen every year. Gun laws are not changing. The culture is not changing. How on earth can we hope to have different results?

Here are the articles that I loved, one last time:

Kristoff’s Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?

Long’s I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother

xoJanes’s For the Last Time…

– what about you?

 

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.
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@meriahnichols

#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
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6 Comments

  • My son is almost 17 years old and is aspergers. He’s intelligent, loving, kind. No violent acts happening. He’s scared to death of movies, games, and books that have violence in them or where people die. Studies show that most of our kids who are Autistic are VICTIMS of violence,not instigators of violence.
    And what is considered mental health services for depression, wouldn’t be adequate services for someone who has been diagnosed with Autism. Way too many so called mental health professionals try to pass themselves off as being experts on Autism, but they know dangerously little about sensory integration issues, inconsistant communication abilities (or complete lack there of), misinterpretting one’s environment and so on.

    And Those who are autistic many times live with severe anxiety because of all of that.

    I’ve seen people who are autistic mistakingly diagnosed Bi Polar and then the Bi Polar treatment causing extreme issues the people didn’t have before. It’s made some violent who before hand were not violent…and some doctors do little to undo all that. The wrong doctor can ruin that person’s life in a snap.

    And parents need to be parents again. There is no sense in someone who isn’t always thinking things through correctly being handed a gun just for fun or allowing them acess to violent games and story lines and letting them ponder the possibilities on all of that.

    There needs to be better and more appropriate services for mental health and those with developmental disabilities. And if other disabilities are there too, of course they should be supported.

    So sorry you went through all that. I cried too on Friday.

    • Thanks, Martha. I loved your post.
      To be really honest, I think I’m only willing to be as open about my depression and struggles therein now that I realize that those types of struggles are far, far more common than not. That is to say, I think the “sane” person who doesn’t have slices of depression or darkness they work through are actually way more rare than the opposite. Knowing this makes it easier for me to raise my hand.

      Again, I always love your writing – thanks for sharing the link to your post!

  • I cried Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and yesterday… and this morning while driving to work right after I droped my son in school! I have been so moved by this tragedy. I also read the I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother article and it was hard, I feel for her, she seemed to helpless! I have hope that something is going to change this time, I have signed two petitions alredy about gun control, many people are working in favor of a positive change. Is just very sad that something like that had to happen for this country to demand change.

  • Oh! and I just read this morning that an 11 year old boy in Utah brought a .22 milimeter gun to shcool to “protect himself and classmates in case of another atack” WRONG!!!

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