Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora Reflections: Why Nothing will Change

by Nomad

In the aftermath of the Aurora shooting, it's time to be perfectly frank here.

In a country that worships violence, that literally trains its children to hunt down and kill humans in computer games, that, allows a purposefully-misinterpreted constitutional right to make dangerous weapons easy to obtain, it seems pretty hypocritical to pretend to be surprised when these acts of mass murder occur. We all shudder because that's what we are expected to do.

It's All an Act

Let's face it, for the most part, it's all an act anyway because Americans are not going to do anything about any of the underlying causes for this murderous madness.
  • Americans are not going demand decisive action from their leaders. 
  • Americans are not going to change any laws about gun ownership. 
  • There is not going to be any renewed attention at establishing some workable system of identifying and treating the deranged and the dangerous. 
In fact, instead of searching for solutions to the murder-rampage problem, quite the opposite will continue to happen.

After a couple of days the shock of it will wear off and a couple of months later, the whole scenario will replay itself somewhere else. If not in Colorado, then Nevada or Florida or Georgia. A swimming pool, an opera house, a concert, any place where people come together.

Until each and every one of us loses a friend, a co-worker or a loved one in a senseless mass murder like this, it will go on.

The same breaking news reports, the grisly details, the interviews with shaken survivors and the sad tales of victims whose lives were cut short for no reason at all. There will be the same sad speeches by politicians, the flowers on sidewalks under young girls' photographs.
But in the end, nothing will change.

Why not, you ask? Just look at the immediate response to the latest event.

Senseless Crazy

Instead of seeking and demanding real solutions to this problem, we have people like Republican congressmen from Texas Louie "terror babies" Gohmert who- even before investigations began, was on a radio show, issuing his own idiotic remarks about the mass murder.
"You know what really gets me, a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of a derelict takes place...Some of us happen to believe that when our founders talked about guarding our virtue of freedom, that was important...People say...where was God in all of this? We've threatened high school graduation participations if they use God's name, they're going to be jailed... I mean that kind of stuff. Where was God? What have we done with God? We don't want him around."
Thirteen people are murdered in cold blood, more than 35 people are injured and, according to Gohmert, the cause is not enough faith in God? 
If you were one of those that believes that God takes a special interest in our individual lives, then it would be just as easy to blame God for allowing this thing to happen in the first place. If God really wanted converts, He could have easily divinely jammed the guns. Melted them.
In fact, according to the Christian Post, Holmes was "was heavily involved in his local Presbyterian church." So much for that theory. That kind of logic is, of course, wasted on people like Gohmert. Instead of playing the preacher, Gohmert should be concentrating on his well-paying job as a legislator.

Although it is unclear whether or not Holmes received psychiatric treatment or received a diagnosis of a mental health problem, Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, founder

of the Treatment Advocacy Center in Arlington, Va. told ABC News that
he believes that the increasing numbers of shooting rampages – Jared Loughner's 2011 attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the shooting at Fort Hood in 2009, the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007 – are largely the result of decreasing resources and funding for the mentally ill in state budgets throughout the U.S.
Like many states, when faced with an eye-watering shortfall, state legislatures have been forced to cut already-strapped health services to local communities.
For example, last year, the state of Texas, which ranks 50th in the nation in spending on mental health care, proposed $134 million in budget cuts for mental health services. This, according to experts, put in jeopardy many of the estimated 1.5 million people with severe mental disorders.

Mind you, this is the same state whose governor has openly rejected the Affordable Care Act, which would expand government-funded health care.
Besides putting the entire community at risk, according to one study, these budget cuts are not illusionary. The need remains and the costs are simply shifted to another area of need. According to one independent analysis of Texas' 2011 budget:

The proposed reductions to mental health services will undermine the foundation of the public mental health system. The belief that cuts to community mental health services equate to “savings” is deceptive, as the costs of serving people with serious mental illnesses is merely shifted to local communities and to other sectors of the state budget. Already, local communities are struggling to fill the gaps in the public mental health system.

Even before any budget cuts take place, community needs that should be met by the public community‐based mental health system are overflowing to State Hospitals, emergency rooms, and jails. Across the state, police officers are reporting longer waits in emergency rooms for individuals that they have brought in for care, sheriffs and county officials are raising concerns about pressures on jail as they have to absorb more inmates with mental illnesses, and emergency room staff are warning of longer waits for all patients as individuals with mental illness consume more of the emergency room’s resources while waiting for an inpatient bed to become available.

Further cuts will make a difficult situation untenable.
Could increased funding of mental health services have actually prevented the Aurora tragedy? So far that's unproven. However, cutting mental health services and putting dangerous people on the street to fend for themselves is certainly not a solution.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, because of state budget cuts, more and more dangerous people are falling through the cracks:
In March, 2011, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, released State Mental Health Cuts: A National Crisis, a report documenting deep cuts to state spending on services for children and adults living with serious mental illness. These cuts, which occurred between 2009 and 2011, led to significant reductions in both hospital and community services for vulnerable individuals with serious mental illness.
Today, with demand for public mental health services extremely high, especially at a time of severe economic distress, the crisis in mental health care continues. The impacts are felt throughout society as people go without the treatment they need.
Increasingly, emergency rooms, homeless shelters and jails are struggling with the effects of people falling through the cracks due to lack of needed mental health services and supports.
Some states, such as California, Illinois, Nevada and South Carolina, which made devastating cuts to mental health services previously, have made further cuts for fiscal year (FY) 2012, putting tens of thousands of citizens at great risk. States have cut more than $1.6 billion in general funds from their state mental health agency budgets for mental health services since FY2009, a period during which demand for such services increased significantly.
Dr. John Grohol, CEO and founder of Internet's largest and oldest independent mental health and psychology network, Psych Central, also notes that outsourcing to a private sector solution has its own set of problems:
Because of budget cuts and the focus on de-institutionalization — moving even people with severe mental illness out of state hospitals into group homes and other care settings — the state is outsourcing a great deal of their services to private providers. These private companies and organizations set their own rules for safety and care, often with very little external or government oversight;
What, you may ask, is Gohmert's solution? He went on to say:
"It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?"
Because as everybody knows, more weapons in public places is the right answer. A crowded cinema with people firing in every direction? Hmm..

As Rachel Maddow writes:
If decency had any place in American politics, this would be an immediate career-ender for the ridiculous congressman from Texas. Some political missteps are simply unforgivable.

More Men Without Mirrors

Another shameless exploiter of this tragedy, Joel B. Pollak, a blogger for the, wrote that the shooter, identified as James Holmes, "could be" a registered Democrat. He could have been a lot of things, a juggler of bowling pins, a fan of Glee or a professional wrestling enthusiast. Holmes could be a lot of things.
Or maybe not.

Few were surprised by Pollack's excuse for news reporting. Breitbart is known for carrying on the outrageously low journalistic standards of its founder.

Another of his writers, John Nolte, had the nerve to lash out at Piers Morgan for "exploiting the massacre" by questioning gun control laws.
If there's an American tragedy, within hours you can always expect our corrupt media to feast on the corpses of the victims in order to push their left-wing political agenda.
The irony of the statement is probably wasted on fans of that site. They've appeared to have lost all capacity for self-reflection or analysis.

Paul Joseph Watson, a writer for Alex Jones' InfoWars, jumps onto the bandwagon with an article that begins:
Within hours of the tragic ‘Batman’ shooting in Aurora, Colorado, political opportunists have seized upon the incident to push for gun control, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg demanding that both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama “stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about” mass shootings.
Exactly as we predicted in our earlier article, leftists have wasted no time in exploiting the actions of a lone lunatic for political grist, with Bloomberg calling on the two presidential candidates to crack down on gun rights.
We knew ghouls like Bloomberg would rush to exploit this tragedy to try and crush the right to self-defense.
And the amazing part is that none of these writers appear to see themselves as exploiters of the massacre.

Rush Limbaugh, always ready to make a public ass of himself during a national tragedy, played a unique role in this Aurora shooting. Days before the event he revealed his own silly conspiracy theory about the Batman film.

RUSH: Have you heard this new movie, the Batman movie, what is it, The Dark Knight Lights Up or whatever the name is. That’s right, Dark Knight Rises. Lights Up, same thing. Do you know the name of the villain in this movie?
Bane. The villain in The Dark Knight Rises is named Bane, B-a-n-e. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran and around which there’s now this make-believe controversy? Bain. The movie has been in the works for a long time. The release date’s been known, summer 2012 for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire breathing four eyed whatever it is villain in this movie is named Bane?
Did his radio diatribe play any part in the event? As much as I would like to pin this tail on that donkey, it certainly doesn't sound much like incitement to me. It just sounds like more of Limbaugh's usual rantings. (There have been much more clear cut examples of incitement to violence by others in the media.Think: Julian Assange during the Wikileaks hoopla.)

As ignorant as his statements were, Rush's culpability seems nonexistent. In any case, making allegations against Rush is probably unhelpful. The Right Wing has already seized upon those unsupported claims and made the most of them. Of course, as more news leaks out, a fuller picture will emerge of the shooter's motives, and his inspirations (other than extreme self-promotion and making a lot of people terrified for their lives).

In the end, the National Rifle Association (NRA) will continue to talk about defending freedom. Congressmen will talk about Christians under attack. The Right will blame the Left for it and the Left will guiltily defend itself.

Once again, Republican candidate Mitt Romney will have to face his arch enemy, Romney of 1994 who in Massachusetts once proudly defended his support of an Assault Weapons Ban and the Brady gun control law. Blessed silence should be the only response but in the campaign season, that's unlikely.

Ultimately, it will be left to Fox News to clean up the Right Wing version- something along the lines of "a lone gunman, that's all, we'll have to live with it."

Hannity will add a few so-called experts (Sarah Palin is always available) to assure us that nothing can be done, that budget cuts have nothing to do with it, that Obama is the person to blame for this, and that guns are good for us. Greta Van Susteren or blond bombshill Megyn Kelly will be on duty to make the nonsense sound perfectly reasonable (if you don't think too deeply about it). Next week, Fox and Friends will interview a survivor who will have their very own 5 minutes of stardom.
Case closed.

Then something else will happen.

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