thoughts on the latest u.s. gun massacre

As part of my continuing efforts to post here rather than -- or at least in addition to -- Facebook, here are some thoughts on the latest horrific massacre in the US, the country music festival in Las Vegas.

First, the inevitability of recurrence. When hearing about mass shootings in the United States, the worst part -- the most tragic, the most outrageous part -- is the certainty of knowing that nothing will change. That it will happen again, and again, and again.

A solution is known, of course. We won't end the culture of violence that permeates the US, but we can end access to large numbers of deadly weapons. The fact that the vice grip of a deadly special interest group outweighs the basic human rights of life and safety speaks volumes about the US political system. The congressmembers and senators who are bought and paid for by the NRA can never wash the blood off their hands.

Second, the true body count. Allan and I were talking about what it might have been like to be there. I admit I don't usually do this. I usually think about these massacres on a social and political level, somewhat removed from true empathy. But thinking a lot about the survivors, I know that every one of them will have PTSD. Many of them may never recover a fully healthy mental state.

Given the cost of mental health resources, the lack or absence of public mental health support, the survivors may or may not find help for this condition.

However high the final number of dead and wounded, the true numbers will never be known.


131220 said...

In my opinion, American society faces its greatest challenge in understanding the relationship between individual rights and societal rights. They have been led to believe from the moment they are born that the right of the individual is supreme (which is curious, because then they plop God on top of that from time to time). That is an extreme conservative position, but they seem to think that the alternative is the complete elimination of individual rights, rather than looking to classical liberalism which attempts to balance the right of the individual. It's a point on a ruler, somewhere in the middle, sometimes moving a bit more in one direction or the other. The insistence on framing issues in a binary fashion, "You're either with us or against us", or, when restrictions on guns are proposed, "They're coming for our guns!" is driving the entire society into an unsustainable situation. This binary thinking permeates the attitude to healthcare, attitude to the economy, and now it seem, foreign policy. Of course, since corporations are "individuals" too, much of the pressure to keep individual rights sacrosanct comes from business as well. The narrative needs to change. Individualism is tearing the country to pieces.

laura k said...

That's a good observation. I would say you haven't gone far enough. Individualism is the air, water, and food in the US. Any toeholds of social good that have been pushed through came in a very different era, decades ago, and it's a been a fight to hold on to those goods ever since. Smearing something as "against" individual rights is the best way to kill good ideas in the US -- witness health care, as you say.

The binary thinking is because it's easy -- mindless, lazy, dumb. It's a lot easier for the right to get the propaganda across. The left (what passes for the left in the US) needs time to build an argument, and thinking people to hear it. Good/evil, with us/against us, all/nothing -- a much easier sell.

laura k said...

Interesting discussion on this thread on FB about trauma and PTSD. Maybe I will copy/paste some of it here.

John F said...

The survivors' mental health is also threatened by the truther phenomenon. Parents and survivors of the Sandy Hook massacre are still harassed by Alex Jones nutcases. Of all the fallout from the current "run" of mass shootings, truthers enrage me the most.