You ever kneel down to a three year old and hold up three fingers and ask them how old they are. They light up and proudly hold their three fingers up and answer, “I’m three”!
Then you change the configuration of your three fingers and ask again and they respond, “No!” Holding up the original three fingers and repeat in a determined tone, “I’m this many!” This is our dilemma socially when it comes to society and culture.
The latest shooting in Florida is another in the tragedies involving guns. There are many folks out there who do not like guns and use these situations to further their delusions that guns are dangerous. They do this to the detriment of all of us.
I don’t want to focus on the family and community failing this kid and his victims. I want to focus on mental health. We do not understand mental health as a nation and refuse to listen to the folks that do understand it because the voice of ignorance is to damned loud. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Until we understand this basic premise we’ll continue to see incidents like this because there are a lot of sick and neglected young folks out there that we’ve marginalized.
You don’t have to stretch the imagination far to consider sexual abuse in the same light. Luckily mental health folks are very involved with this problem in America. They have to work real hard to be heard over law enforcement budget concerns and a sensationalized justice system.
For years we were told to watch for the guy in the trench coat hanging around the neighborhood. Now we’re told to watch the computer screen for predators lurking in the dark web. This allowed law enforcement to create a whole bureaucracy within the justice system. The incidence of these crimes haven’t subsided, like school shootings.
The reason these issues are still prevalent is because the whole time the real danger for most victims was in the family or family friendships. The majority of the perpetrators didn’t fly in from outta state to abuse a child, they were already in the house or neighborhood going to parties or get togethers forming relationships and trust. That’s not as sensational as the guy caught on camera meeting a 15 year old in a sting set up on TV.
We don’t even consider the psychology behind the horrific legacy because the headlines are sensational. The answer is identification of behaviors and treatment to prevent these tragedies.
Addiction to drugs is another “epidemic” in America. For over a century we have labored under the ignorance that “it takes an addict to treat an addict.” This is another mental health area that the folks who understand the condition have been drowned out. Mostly by entrepreneurs seeking to come further outta their own addiction.
These folks kept the narrative quasi spiritual with an experiential twist. “If you haven’t been there, you don’t understand!” Soon religion got involved and turned the “12 Steps” into some purpose driven stairway to heaven. These systems could do more harm than good. Mental health professionals understand addiction on a therapeutic level that have psychological principles as their foundations.
They understand the addiction is a symptom. They understand that an addict is an addict. Whether you’re a 40 year old upper middle class house wife popping Xanax and hydrocodone to make it through the day or a heroine addict drawing water from a mud puddle to heat your fix, you’re the same. They understand that the addiction, regardless of its form, is a response to the addicts experiences. Not the drug choice.
Another fiction we’ve endured is the “cop shooting” lie. I call it a lie because this one is purposely developed. The real issue was not race. It was about poverty and policing. We still never got to the bottom of the issue because we never identified the issue.
Turns out it didn’t matter what race you were, if you were living in the lower socio economic class you were more likely to end up in a violent confrontation. Poverty, not race was the variable we should have been looking at.
The other issue is law enforcement leadership. First problem is the “close ranks” mentality that had folks shaking their heads and confirming for many that police were above the law.
Second was the fact that folks were being shot in the head or shot with tens of rounds. Anyone who has been around weapons understands this is a training issue. You’re either not properly trained or trained to kill, that’s fact.
Leadership, the guys in the offices, seem only interested in careers and photo ops. They seem outta touch with the guys on the ground “driving” a beat. They weren’t interested in policing, they were driven by spreadsheets and promotions.
Lastly the dollars involved corrupted the system. The rules rewarding departments through seizures changed policing to bounty hunters. If you don’t make the big bust your representatives and leaders are asking questions because the jurisdiction next to you just had a 3 million dollar photo op and received a nice chunk of military surplus for their “X Force. Now you have bounty hunters that used to be police dressed as soldiers. The communities see this and react with their own ideas of who’s the bad guy and what does that really mean.
We could go on about McDonalds and obesity. Casinos and gambling, or alcohol and driving. It doesn’t matter the vice you chose. The food, drug, sexual partner, weapon you chose is you reacting to your environment. Your actions based on your mental condition. Focusing on the weapon, pill, or burger is not a solution. It’s a co dependent approach to curing social ills by folks who have no business in the socio political culture of leadership.
Mental health is the most important topic of our times. There are entire cultures suffering from cognitive dissonances as family values. There are political structures that are developed on co dependent strategies. There are folks out there who benefit financially and politically from these confusions. We need the mental health community to sound off. Take a stand and send the message that only psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist and counselors can help us identify the origins of our ills.
Media has become the bitch to the highest bidder. It’s ideologically bankrupt and only interested in sensationalizing American life. You wouldn’t call a carpenter for a broken leg. We need to take a stand against ignorance to save our sanity.
Billions of kids went to school yesterday and came home with bags of Valentine goodies. Hundreds of thousands of people came home from surgery and can’t wait to get off their pain meds. Billions of gun owners shot paper targets and cleaned their weapons and billions of family members and friends hugged a child without ill intentions. This is the time for thinking. Reacting got us here, the same place we’ve been stuck forever.