The March For Our Lives movement began, I’m sure, with the best intentions. But the best intentions are never enough in the world of American politics and the great circle of deceptions that America uses to avoid the tough decisions. I see that there have been people within the movement that have mentioned the “mentally ill” in the same way as one would talk about terrorists or some criminal organization bent on murder. And there have been calls to allow law enforcement access to mental health records to allegedly “make sure” the “crazy people” don’t get guns.
First off, let me say this. I am considered to have mental illness because I suffer from Anxiety Panic Disorder. I have suffered from depression. I really am tired of being marginalized in this society but have come to accept being cast out of it. When you have a mental illness, you pay a heavy price. Employers don’t like keeping you once you’ve had a panic attack and cost them some oh-so-precious sale or have to make the reasonable accommodation that the EEOC and ADA (aka THE LAW) says they must. Hence, we have very few choices in this country because this country does not understand us, accept us, or genuinely care about us. Because if it did, we wouldn’t be targeted for extrajudicial surveillance by police without having broken any laws. Don’t give me any of this crap about “safety”, ok? What about OUR safety?
See, we know that African-Americans are shot and killed by police in hugely disproportionate numbers. It is obvious that when police stop an African-American, they see that person as a threat immediately, almost like an instinct. It’s unreasonable and wrong, but that’s what they’re doing. That’s how they’re so quick to open fire when not even a loud voice is called for. Add to that the obvious racism and the militaristic attitude of police, and it’s a recipe for the ongoing mass murder of African-Americans that isn’t afforded the same outrage by Americans. So then what, therefore, will happen, when these same police can access mental health records via the computer database they’ve got in their cars? They pull over a person during a traffic stop, check the person, and see the person is flagged as “mentally ill”. I guarantee you that cop’s threat response will go up and he’ll see that person as a threat. The mentally ill will be shot routinely. Well, more than we already are. Because we are.
I ask you, if the mentally ill are such a mass murder threat, where is the same concern for the sane police whose murders go on and on unabated and their access to deadly weapons is never restricted? In fact, the police have far deadlier weapons. They’ve all got AR-15s or even U.S. Army surplus M-16s. But their departments have also got tanks, armored personnel carriers, and .50 caliber heavy machine guns. Where is the call to sweep these police departments top to bottom and find out whether these cops can be trusted with these weapons? Let’s be clear. The police have murdered African-Americans with impunity and continue to do so. We’ve got it on film. Nothing is done. And these cops are sane.
How about the fact the United States government is sane and has killed millions of people all over the planet over differences in economic systems and political ideology? Oh, and let’s not forget when it’s simply over protecting the oil supply or corporate profits. The U.S. commits mass murder, but calls them “airstrikes” or “drone strikes”. Where are the calls to sweep this government top to bottom and find out who in there is giving these orders and to what purpose? No, this is the government run by two political parties that both have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people since the beginning of this new century alone. We know this. We also know they torture people. Nothing is done. And these officials are sane.
This government passed a law called the Americans with Disabilities Act that is supposed to protect us from discrimination. Yet, here we are with the ADA, and earmarking the mentally ill for special police scrutiny is talked about openly as if we’re all guilty by reason of our disability. There are laws protecting the privacy of medical records, too. But I guess that’s just so men whose penises don’t work can get Viagra without embarrassment. Right, let’s save the stigma and shame for the mentally ill. We already live with that, you know. Mental illness is heavily stigmatized and you can't avoid the shame, humiliation, and embarrassment when people find out and react as if your condition is highly contagious. Click To Tweet Moreover, they act like you could “flip out” and start attacking people for no reason at any moment. That’s also what the police do if they find out you’re mentally ill, by the way.
So you want to give them access to our records? We might as well prepare our last will and testaments now and avoid the rush later. We are many times more likely to be homeless. We are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it. We’re more likely to be jailed than taken to a hospital when we need care. And you know what else? We are human beings. Our lives are filled with suffering you cannot imagine if you are not mentally ill. Many of you wouldn’t be able to do it. You just couldn’t. You’d never get out of bed. But we go on, day by day, because the present moment is all we’ve got. Hey man, we’re not asking for your pity over here. We’re asking for compassion and to be treated like human beings. That’s all.
I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the government got away with it. “Well, the people wanted it…” No, some people who should have educated themselves about mental illness BEFORE making public statements steeped in the brew of ignorance and superstitious fear wanted it. Yes, we know your fears are based on old superstitions about us. But be advised. You got away with gassing us during the Holocaust. We’re not going quietly this time. This time we will speak up as loudly as you are speaking and the shame will be yours this time. Not ours.
You want to ban AR-15s? Fine. I applaud you. But what you don’t get to do is put all of us into your pathetic little database for the cops because of your unreasonable fears about us. You’re far more likely to be shot by a cop than a mentally ill person, but there you are saying only the cops should have the guns. We all want to be safe. It’s a human desire. But we want to be safe, too. And your ideas about a database for the cops do not make us safe, they put us at risk for police violence. And the cops get away with their ongoing mass murder. Let’s see you all address THAT gun violence.
If I’m wrong, then publicly retract and disavow all calls to give police access to mental health records. If I’m wrong, include the police in the people who need better background checks before being issued not just a pistol and an AR-15, but a tank and a .50 caliber heavy machine gun. If I’m wrong, demand the government stop the mass murder it is taking part in over in Yemen, the Middle East, and Africa. But if I’m right, then this movement has probably been co-opted by the Democrats just like the Tea Party was co-opted by the Republicans. And why? To channel the outrage and anger into votes for midterm elections. That’s the fuel that drives that vehicle.
How dare I say so? There’s a good way to avoid me calling out people on this: Don’t suggest things like putting me and my brothers and sisters into a database for the cops. The government doesn’t need your encouragement to do wrong and commit evil. They’re perfectly capable of that without your advice. So now it’s YOUR turn to sit down and listen to what we’ve got to say. We’re not your scapegoats. We’re not your sacrifice. We’re not your personified fears and superstitions that YOU need to address and work on. Because your fear mongering is no different than the fear mongering the NRA uses. So shake hands with them. You’re sinking down to their level. #GunningForTyranny
“To the wicked, everything serves as pretext.” ~ Voltaire
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