Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Microstory 1577: Watching History

My family and I are glued to the screen, watching the horror unfold before our eyes, which we painfully muse will one day demand the majority of pages in history books dedicated to this time period.

Americans are grasping for answers, finding themselves unable to even form a sense of understanding, let alone a coherent response. The media is seizing upon every small tidbit of information, only to discard it as irrelevant, when in fact the story of this nightmare may not be as complicated as it appears on the surface. The violent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado has become the final straw in a series of extremely divisive and emotionally charged social debates, from gun control to the treatment of those with mental illnesses. Let me be very clear, and as informed as possible. This violence is a hate crime. The perpetrator, [redacted], has a documented history of mental illness and a multitude of anti-social behavior and mental health issues. Additionally, a large number of literature highlighting his mentally ill tendencies. The link between mental health and mass shootings is painfully clear, and is the same in regards to the NPI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

But let us not use mental health issues cloud and forgive personal accountability. So easy is it to let someone off the hook because there is something wrong with their brain. However, no amount of mental problems will lead someone to immediately, and suddenly, start killing people. Mass murderers are made over time, through years of trying out lesser evils, and not being treated properly. Someone who is like that cannot always seek help, but they must be given this help just the same. It is a systemic problem that can be corrected through social changes, policy updates, and a general sense of duty among all of us. I wasn’t diagnosed with autism until I was twenty-seven years old. My parents could not have understood what was going on with me, but my teachers should have had the training to see the signs, and the tools to seek guidance. I’m fine, I developed coping mechanisms, which have helped me survive, even when I didn’t understand myself. Others are not so lucky. Know this, though: even without the ability to test and evaluate each and every child, we should be more wary of just handing out guns to anyone who asks. At the very least, everyone who tries to buy one should undergo some sort of mental health evaluation. If you are deserving and worthy, then you should have no problem letting such legislation pass. If you think you’ll fail any test that the experts devise, then fail it, you should. That’s sort of the whole point. That’s all I’ll say about it.

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