Every time there’s another senseless act of mass-murder by a gunman with easy access to guns and ammo and a heaping helping of aggrieved entitlement, that’s when everyone in the political sphere suddenly remembers that mental health issues exist. Not that they often even intersect — just the mere fact that the guy (and it’s always a guy, and almost always white) killed a bunch of folks doesn’t actually say anything about their mental health. In fact, the Oregon shooter a few days ago passed a psych eval before his mass-murder. And yet everyone’s quick to say the problem here isn’t easy access to guns and ammo, but rather the murderer’s mental health.
John Oliver takes apart this situational and blatantly self-interested concern about mental health readily. Not that it’s hard, but nobody in the media is doing it, what with vested interests and an entire 33% of your country who thinks “a well regulated militia” means owning thirty guns in a misguided effort to try to take on the US government because you don’t like what some Republican has told you is going to happen to your gun rights.
The skeptical and atheist communities overlap significantly with a great many other social causes. The confrontational and the accomodationist have pressed into the northeast and southwest; feminists and male supremacists carved out chunks on each side of a great rift down the center; gun control advocates and self-proclaimed gun nuts both push toward the middle of our communities from opposite sides. Some communities advocating social change overlap ours by default, thanks to shared enemies — the LGBTQ communities are an excellent example. There are a scant few social causes that overlap so significantly with our goals of humanitarianism and evidence-based ethical frameworks that there is no counterpart pushing back against the cause keeping it from taking the community by storm — the only real obstacle to its widespread adoption as a cause amongst our community’s participants is the utter silence about the problem.
The nice thing is, breaking that sort of silence usually only takes one brave soul in a position to speak loudly enough to make their voice heard. Sometimes the conversation doesn’t start immediately, sometimes that tinder must be struck a number of times, but once the conversation that everyone so desperately needs has begun, it will sweep across our community like a wild fire. Continue reading “Some of my closest friends have mental issues”→