There’s been a lot of talk since the recent Fort Hood Shooting about how we should arm soldiers on base. This is a terrible idea. While mass shootings on military bases are terrible, they are extremely rare. You know what isn’t rare? Active duty and veteran gun suicide. The rate is alarmingly high and going up all the time. We send the same 1% of our population to your after tour in combat zones over seas. Counseling services are hard to access and have long waiting lists. Marines essentially have no access at all. We give them no real help adjusting to being back in the world. Basically, we’ve decided it’s a great idea to expose them to years of high stress and extreme trauma and give them little to no help with dealing with that. A particularly vulnerable time is when they’ve just returned from a tour. Seriously, a whole lot more people will die from gun suicides than could possibly be saved by arming everyone on the military base.
We should be acting to make gun suicide less common, not more.
Those of you who know me know the obvious reason this is personal and something I am vehement about, but he’s not the only soldier I’ve been close to in one sense or another, and I’ve had late night conversations about guns, active duty, and suicidal ideation with friends who survived.
So please, keep in mind the real cost in lives if everybody is going to be armed on base all the time, as the Right is demanding.
In my case, I can’t do anything involving lots of standing or jostling crowds. If I’m taking the wheelchair, I most likely would need a helper. If I bring a lawn chair, their must be handicapped parking close by. Big protests are impossible due to there not being enough close parking and the real danger of me getting knocked down and possibly very badly injured. As a result the last protest I went to was a small counter protest against people trying to shut down Planned Parenthood, as the PP folks let us us their parking lot and I could use a lawn chair. There was no chance of jostling as we were strung out in a line. I have limited energy and so much of it goes to things that are not optional, like subsistence, or Doctor’s appointments, etc.. I must pick my rare public appearances at events carefully.
Marches are right out. Crowded chaotic things like PRIDE are out. (I have been knocked down by toddlers at the grocery store.) Long events, especially that start early in the morning are out. Events with lots of unattended children running around are out. Events where chance of stampede from either police action or violent opposition protesters are out. (Last bad fall I took laid me up for two months and ruined the better of my legs, so that it is now by far more likely to give out).
It is not that I don’t care, but that I’m trying to keep what mobility I still have.
That “Slacktivist” label is so often ablest or classist. It assumes one is able bodied and doesn’t have a mental illness that makes crowds difficult or impossible to handle (I’ve known quite a few people over the years in both categories). It assumes people can afford to take a day off of work and that one can afford transportation.
Seriously, folks. We need Universal Health Care with Mental health parity. We need to stop stigmatizing problems with the brain and start looking on them as health issues. If someone is hit by a car do we shame them for wearing a cast? No. So lets stop acting like there’s some moral component to having Depression and the like.