I finally watched Babel tonight, trying to avoid the late fees from Blockbuster; no such luck....Tragedy and gun violence...and how intertwined the whole world is...and, yes, its a little self-aware as a movie, but I liked it. It was a good match for my mood. I didn't bother with Borat at all.
So whats going on? Lets see:
Pathological Narcissism...Asocial Personality Disorder....Psychosis....Selfishness...Anger Management...;
Is that Gonzo or Cho...or maybe Georgie himself? (...and lets not forget Alec Baldwin, for anyone who wants a little taste of...um...my childhood.
Yeah...about the tragic shooting: Its more than a little scary to hear some of the dissection (10% of the time only, they say) on every media outlet, non-stop, in the days since the shooting, and to realize that our own president shows signs of the same disorders, or at the very least some sort of extreme denial in the face of logical evidence. I suppose that if we called that particular manifestation a mental illness, we would have whole church buses full of people being treated (or not, as the case may be,)with anti-psychotic drugs...
For a moment yesterday I got an AAR signal in the car, just long enough to hear Randi Rhodes read a heartbreaking letter from a woman who has raised a kid with one of these extreme diagnosis', and it only confirms so much of what I've been saying, and what I'm now hearing all over, that this Virginia Tech tragedy is a failure of an overtaxed system that has its hands tied, but also that is controlled by insurance and drug companies, and then the burned out doctors, buried in paperwork, many of whom will throw meds at a patient and not follow up properly.
It is probably true that people with disorders this severe cannot be treated...they never get better....but if they are at least identified, maybe something like these sorts of mass killings can be prevented. Who knows?
I'm actually surprised that this doesn't happen more often, considering how much pain people seem to be in all around.
I know from my own experiences, that mental health problems all fall on some continuum, and that a stone cold diagnosis without a deeper understanding, or at least awareness, of this fact does little for society or safety, much less the sick person.
This kid apparently stopped his rampage long enough to go back to his room, finish a videotaped suicide bomber message, and then go and mail a package to NBC.
NBC, upon receiving this package had to decide, along with the FBI, how much to show in that fine line between encouraging copycats, and informing or upsetting the public. Of course there are ratings to be had there too.
The airing of the video is, I guess, a sticky situation, but I can't see that not knowing what this thing is about helps society. Hiding this from our kids isn't going to give them the tools that they need in order to question and reason about the world around them.
The hard truth is that we are actually evolving animals with layers of history contained within a brain mass that is hardly understood by medicine or philosophers. There are, of course, barbaric tendencies deep inside (or sometimes less deep, I guess,) and on that evolutionary continuum lies some sort of self control and awareness of right and wrong....maybe.
In a tribal world, this kid would have been taken out just because his basic behavior is not a desirable trait to pass on, (...or he might be worshiped as a god I suppose...anything is possible.)
We have this storied ability to reason and feel empathy which sets us apart from the other animals in the kingdom, but delusional thought is delusional thought, and that higer level reasoning depends so much on not only chemicals but the stark fear of death, that is also probably instinctual....and who decides if its crazy that Allah is telling you to strap on a bomb and go shopping, or if Jesus is coming to rapture you up to heaven? Where is the delusional line beyond the DSM-V.v6 and whats considered socially acceptable, from handling snakes to eating a wafer that is magically the flesh of God?
This kid had all sorts of very obvious problems and had actually checked himself into a mental hospital as a danger to himself and others at one point...but the system failed him in that there is no way ever to do anything unless and until someone gets hurt. The system is able to dispense meds and encourage therapy, if one can get it, wants it, and has health coverage... If not, then theres another soul added to the masses wandering round with a prescription bottle in one hand muttering to the sound of wheels turning somewhere.
If care and love and empathy are really caused by the release of certain chemicals; for example a breastfeeding mother hears her baby crying and the milk actually rushes down within her breasts; (...and it is the strangest feeling I can ever describe, let me tell you!).... or, my bird, Ben, is feeding his mate, Rosie, in the nest box while she sits on her egg(s?) Is that what we have been led to believe is "True Love?...Or, as Marc Maron
said one morning a couple of years ago on the radio, "love is (just) need, all dolled up,"...Is this feeling of love and empathy just a thing that is necessary for survival, or is it more?....and so then are the most empathetic and well oiled in the hormonal and brain chemical department the fittest? If things get to a point where there are just too damned many of us, do we start to go crazy and cut the herd ourselves? Is that OK? I don't know, to tell the truth, but it seems like its worthwhile to think about it, because our system has been going through a long cycle of breaking down (as it seems to every time the republicans are in power,) and we are actually cutting the herd.
This is a close up view of Darwinism...and surely its a failure of society in that we are raising our kids not to question the cultures and personal proclivities of others, to the point where its OK to act like a maniac and no one will get involved lest they appear un-PC. There is a difference between personal space and privacy, and questioning insane behavior; even if it just makes YOU more safe and you don't give a shit about anyone else... . But what is missing when the individual only cares about itself, and doesn't see that the person who they are trying to move into the next subway car to get away from is a cog in the societal chaos that makes the self be able to survive, (or at least the gene line and history of the self.) In other words, if you feel guilty about running the other way, maybe you shouldn't because being selfish is the Darwinian way...right? Maybe that's politically incorrect, but where is the safety net and how can we draw a reasonable line?
We are raised to spend every waking moment going against what our animalistic urges are, and with the help of the constructs of society, laws and religion, we do a pretty good job of keeping things sort of orderly...but, every once in a while, it seems like its an awfully hard thing to maintain what the rules are if you haven't found your own ethical grounding...who are you and who do you want to be...and is it even possible?
The material released by NBC is an important piece in this story...I would never choose to hold this information back in order to stop any sort of copycat, as opposed to letting society know what certain behavior looks like, and that its not OK to just ignore it; just like the sweating guy praying furiously before getting on an airplane or the box left in the middle of Grand Central Station. Isn't it time we started taking some responsibility for whats going on around us? Not in a negative police state sorta way, but in some encouraging of awareness of our neighbors and the fact that we are all overstressed by life, war, and a government which has decided that the best way to hold power is to keep the masses in fear, ignorance, and poverty. How did it become OK to look at the Jerry Springer Show with interest and yet not OK to make sure that your neighbor is alright?
The Republican agenda, which kicked into high gear when Reagan was in office, has cut as much funding as possible from social programs, from health to education to welfare to...you name it. My question is, hows that been working out for us?
Is society getting healthier and better as we outsource everything to private entities? Who ends up with the ultimate responsibility after a few heads roll? Americans have an insatiable appetite for who to blame, and then we go back to the couch and turn on Oprah and eat some more chips.
Will we ever look at this for what it is? Its a failure of our entire society and government to take care of each other...and yes, that includes so-called liberal programs and safety nets that take care of our weakest members. We are only as strong as the weakest member of our society, and we are only as good, moral, and ethical as we act towards those people. So for any religious people out there trying to fulfill that impossible perfection of a God's requirements, there will be no rapture or heaven for you ...no flying either...no clouds...unless you straighten this out.
Would a social system with a good safety net in place catch everyone who might fall? No. Would it maybe prevent some of the horrible things that come out when the human mind scrapes bottom with nowhere to turn? Maybe...and its worth a shot. Its at least worth it to actively engage people, like we do in the first year of a baby's life with so many doctor's visits and checkups....Why do we not have health insurance that includes preventative health care?
Anyone at any time can lose certain capacities through brain injury, onset of mental illness, or just be born without certain juices that make one "normal". We are an evolving animal but it remains to be seen which direction we're evolving in. So, isn't it worth it to work towards solving problems and actively providing outlets to people?...maybe try to evolve in some sort of positive direction....
So, blame the kid. Storm off the Today show because they aired the video. The kid is a monster and he killed your kid; never forgive him. But as sure as you or I are gonna go on, I can say that there are others like him out there right now. Is it more important to try to show what this one looked like or more important to show some sort of grief driven respect to the dead?
Without regulation of the health insurance industry, a national health plan, a strong set of programs to allow parents to actually parent their children, and an adjustment of what is expected in the way of a work week as opposed to time to live...and education...and encouragement of reasoning, learning ethics, decision making, and philosophy...How can we expect that every member of society is going to at least be caught in a safety net somehow, somewhere?
We are surely evolving, but the question that we have to ask ourselves is are we falling backwards into to tribal barbarism and warring behaviors of earlier versions of ourselves...and should we expect more of ourselves as a society? I say that we should...much more. Forget your tax break and spending it at Wal-mart. We should demand a society with programs for everyone. Health, parenting, nutrition, education (even college!) We should also expect that kids growing up in this society do some work for the country in the military or in social services programs. Everyone should be invested, and everyone should expect something back.
For any of us who might feel like they are empathetic and caring and who also realize (sometimes to our own dismay and embarrassment) that its all really about the big "me", I say, good!...because you at least realize that you are interacting with another human being, and at the moment of realization that you are probably acting as just a selfish animal trying to put on a jacket and tie in the jungle, you have shown more self awareness than most people ever have.
Most of us are so afraid to even peek in the mirror, and some of us ONLY look in the mirror. The difference is in how we reason about the clear information that is presented to us there.
So, look in this kid's eyes. Hate him all you want....maybe he had no empathy for anyone at all, ever....maybe he was born a stone cold murderer....Some people know this of their kids and beg the system for help, as the woman who wrote to Randi Rhodes has done for years. In the end, she is begging for help because the kid will leave home soon and she is sure that he will be hurting people in the best case scenario; become a killer in the worst. But also realize that the kid is all of our failures. We need to own this as a society...its not just a crazy kid...its not just solid evil...Its not the devil; Its a mix of things including gun control, health care, mental illness, dissociation in society.....
If real love and connection with another person is some sort of looking into another and feeling as one, or seeing yourself in someone else, and in fact a chemical reaction, then why does it stop there? Isn't the point of the capacity to care and love one other person that it also has the capacity to extrapolate outwards to all of society? The truth is, that we are less human if we cant see ourselves in the drunk on the street or the crazy guy with a gun.
I cant say if the shooter in this case was in pain, depending on how removed he was from himself...but, I can say that most forms of mental illness, be they just some mild obsessive compulsive disorder or depression, up to the worst illness you could imagine, hurts like hell...and there is no escape. The horrible thing is that this guy had to take so many people out with himself....but maybe because of this huge systemic failure we can look at the system from the government on down and try to remember every person's right to have proper medical care and attention no matter what...maybe that will prevent the next tragedy.
The victims....The New York Times has a nice graphic of who got killed
...but in the same week, a couple hundred people were killed in Iraq, and countless others as collateral damage, not to mention the injured and the kinds of injuries that we are seeing in this war (or not seeing, actually...)
As sad and horrible as this thing is, don't ever think that these kids are more valuable than the kids in Iraq, or Oklahoma City so many years ago....Here
is a CNN graphic site of soldiers killed in Iraq, if we have to know who each one was individually.( ...and I hope that hell for George Bush is eternity watching the home movies of not only the US and "coalition" forces, but also the civilians killed in this farce of a war.)
I have an inherent fear of those huge universities with hundreds of kids packed into each lecture hall. It feels like there are too many of us sheep out here and like we are warehousing our kids, overworking our teachers, and like, if we are crowding people into the system like cattle and not spending the money and time that is necessary in order to address their needs, we cant expect that something like this isn't going to happen once in a while. Probably more than we know, depending on what is newsworthy and what to actual body count is.
The thing is that most of the kids around here who have been in precious private schools for their entire lives yearn to be at the huge high schools or colleges. You cant really tell kids anything, but you can raise them to be empathetic and to know that the world depends on them being able to reason and make ethical and moral decisions ...and that its not such a bad thing to run the other way once in a while....trust your gut...tell someone.
And one more word to Alec Baldwin: Its you, Alec, who is a "worthless pig".
..she is an 11 year old child who has been put through hell because you are an aggressive asshole. Hows that yelling and screaming thing working out for YOU?... There is NO excuse for ever speaking to a child that way.
And Personal to Joementum Lieberman
: Shut the fuck up, butt boy! ...or Ill fly out there, pull you out of Bush's butt, you worthless little pig, and straighten you out!! The Ill fly away!! Oh and, Joe, no one cares what you think...only Bush, Laura, and Barney...like I said, nobody!
Labels: Cho, Evolution, Love, mental Illness, Virginia Tech Shooting