17 December 2012

Guns, mental health, autism and tragedy

Just a quick little note on the massacre in Connecticut. I do not think this was a feminist issue. A few people have been quick to point out that the shooter killed more female people than male. However, it was an elementary school, and women are disproportionately represented in that community. Also, he killed the kids indiscriminately. So no, I do not think this is a feminist issue. This? This is a human issue.

Human. That's right. Human. Not "monster". I am so very against dehumanizing criminals, because it really prevents us from treating them, rehabilitating them, but more importantly, from preventing them from becoming criminal. This man? I don't know. I don't know his history. I've heard everything from schizophrenic to psychopathic to Aspergers (more below). But I don't know, and neither do you. What I know is that this man got so disturbed, so miserable, so disconnected from his humanity that he killed his parents and a classroom full of children. And that shit needs to never happen again. And we cannot prevent that if we continue to dehumanize people who get to that point.

We also can't do that if we allow weapons like the ones that killed those kids. At the same time as this happened (not the same exact time, but within a day or so), a man in China lost his shit and went into a classroom full of kids and stabbed 22 of them with a knife. None died. Guns did this. If people think that a few dead kids are worth their 2nd amendment rights, well, then I'd say they're the problem. A damn big part of it. Every time someone is murdered with a gun, it should be on the heads of the people who continue to make those weapons available. The ONLY point of these weapons is to kill. That's what makes them different from knives, cars, ropes, all these other things that can kill. The only exception I'd make is for hunting rifles and shotguns. And those should damn well be registered. Like cars. And licensed. Like driving.

And can we please please stop with the talk about this guy being autistic? Please? Because it's no more relevant than the colour of his hair, the length of his eyebrows, or the number of moles on his back. There is NO connection between planned violence and autism. None. Nada. Not even in the 'they've been stigmatized more, and so they're more prone to snap' type. NOT EVEN THERE. So knock that shit off.

And finally, can we please stop stigmatizing the mentally ill. Most do not commit these kinds of crimes. Most are not dangerous. Most know the difference between right and wrong. And they need to be able to have the confidence to go get help when they need it without worrying that their friends, neighbours and coworkers will be afraid of them should they find out that they're mentally ill.

There. I feel better. Time for a nap. :)