The United States of WTF? – Part One

Welcome to America. This is the land of the free, the home of the brave, the home of… oh, who the hell am I kidding? We’ve become the land of the psychotic, the spoiled, the entitled, and the dangerous. We, as a nation, are focused on fun and self-indulgence. We stopped caring about our fellow man. We are a nation ruled by our love of guns, marijuana, the Bible, and bigotry.

Oh, this series of entries will be such fun; and will piss off SO many…

Let’s start with the guns. Here’s a few headlines, just from this week:

Police ID 3 Injured In Party Shooting Near TSU (http://www.newschannel5.com/news/local-news/3-college-students-injured-in-shooting-near-tsu)

The Comedy Store closes for a night after shooting leaves one dead (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-man-killed-comedy-store-20151014-story.html) [Author’s note: This one is particularly frightening; as a close friend of mine performs stand-up at The Comedy Store.]

Baltimore police arrest man in shooting of 9-year-old girl in Waverly (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-ci-arrest-20151014-story.html)

1 dead, 3 injured in 2 separate Wilmington shootings (http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/crime/2015/10/14/wilmington-shooting/73948850/)

1 Dead in Shooting Near Syracuse University Campus, Suspects Shoot at Detectives (http://www.twcnews.com/nys/central-ny/crime/2015/10/14/syracuse-university-students-alerted-to-stay-indoors-amid-off-campus-police-investigation.html)

This is just a small handful of occurrences that happened just in the past TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. This is not even half of the first page that showed up in Google News when I searched using the word “shooting”. Pages upon pages were filled with senseless shootings and dead innocents. Would you like to know what I did NOT find? There was not even a single story in the EIGHT PAGES of news headlines that I looked through where someone successfully used a gun in self-defense. Not even one. Think of how many headlines appear on one page. I counted twelve on page eight. There was not even one gun-toting hero saving their own life, let alone the lives of others. There was, however, plenty of cold-blooded murder.

I was raised around guns. My stepfather was convinced that there would one day be a race war, and that white families would have to defend themselves against the black man (he was a REAL winner [aka ASSHOLE]). I remember shooting a rifle when I was about six years old. I remember the recoil as I fired toward targets on a dirt hill. I remember holding my mother’s hand as we walked the aisles at countless gun shows. I remember the smell of cold metal and gun oil. I remember the old men chanting about how important guns are. I remember seeing the camouflage; not of soldiers, but of hunters. I remember signs that said that I could have their guns when I pried them from their cold, dead hands. I remember my stepfather rushing to purchase an AK-47 in the hopes that it would be grandfathered in when their sale became outlawed. He also had an entire dresser drawer AND a safe full of ammunition. Even as a child, I couldn’t understand why. Since I can’t understand why it’s necessary to have a small arsenal in the bedroom, I’ve sometimes been called a sheep. A libtard. UnAmerican. Yet; even growing up in a home where guns were so important, they were still not as important as the humans living within the home. The guns themselves were locked away. My younger brother and I had no access to them. We were taught how to live safely with them in our home.

Now? Not so much.

Guns today have become the most important thing to America. They have become our drug, mistress, and even our religion. Every day on Facebook, I see posts about how proud people are of their guns. Not their kids, not their spouses; their guns. They will post photos of guns the same way that people used to post pictures of their children. Instead of talking about how Bobby or Sally got an A+ in school, they brag about their new Glock. No matter how many guns they have, they need more. They’re like junkies. One gun isn’t enough. Twenty guns aren’t enough. They need more, more, MORE! The rush that they get holding a new gun is their high. It’s as addictive to them as meth, crack, or heroin.

Thanks to how the timeline is set up, I also see their comments on pictures of guns on Facebook. They treat the guns like they’re women. “Oh, that’s beautiful.” “Gorgeous.” “Oh my god, that’s SO sexy.” They literally salivate over guns. They have sexualized them. People treat pictures of guns the same way that they used to treat issues of Playboy and Hustler. In fact, they’ve actually crossed over into the world of pornography. I’ve seen pictures of nude women lying on top of automatic weapons. Pressing guns between their breasts with orgasmic facial expressions. I’ve even seen pictures of people, both male and female, masturbating with the barrels of guns. Seriously? Why is this a thing? Guns were invented for one thing and one thing only: to kill. Putting them into an orifice is supposed to be sexy?

The only thing that offends people more than disliking guns is the suggestion that maybe, just maybe, people exist that shouldn’t own one. They demand an official, government-issued ID for the right to vote; but balk at having to present the same when they buy a gun. They want welfare recipients to be tested for drugs; but, not to buy a gun. Even if someone has a history of mental health problems, there are many who cry out that preventing them from having a gun is denying them of a basic human right.

I will reveal a little about myself that I don’t like to think about. I have a bit of a mental health history. I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder that swings toward the depressive side, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. While I thankfully don’t have any form of schizoid symptoms, I do tend to have very severe depressive episodes. This has led to more than one attempt at suicide. Suicide attempts, of course, tend to lead to hospitalization. Even with a history of three visits to a mental health unit to be treated for the depressive episodes, I am legally allowed to own a gun. Granted, I’ve never wanted to hurt another person. My thoughts were always of harming myself. However, not everyone with mental illness is the same. My depression led to suicidal thoughts; but, in some, it can lead to HOMOCIDAL thoughts. Just look at how many murder-suicides there are every year! Depression is not the only illness treated at this facility, either. There were people with schizoid behavior in the ward. There were people with rage disorders and drug addiction. There were people VERY capable of violence; yet, our behavior and illnesses weren’t enough to bar us from owning a gun. Someone who drank a bottle of cough syrup with codeine can legally own a gun. Someone who sees shadow men around every corner and hears voices telling them that the ward wants to kill them can legally own a gun. Someone who admits that they fantasize about strangling their wife and kids can legally own a gun. The only thing that would prevent them from legally owning a gun would be if they had committed a violent crime. This is how gun rights enthusiasts want to keep it. Well, I think that’s bullshit. I shouldn’t own a gun, even with treatment; and I’ll freely admit it. My fellow patients shouldn’t have guns. Arming the mentally ill is a disaster waiting to happen. If someone is hospitalized for a mental illness that risks making them a threat to themselves or others, their right to own a gun should be revoked. Period.

I don’t believe that the government should take all guns from all citizens, but I DO believe we need better safety measures. People argue that background checks are an invasion of privacy, especially if there’s a suggestion that treatment for certain illnesses could bar gun ownership. I’m not suggesting that Joe-Bob’s background should list his full medical history. I’m suggesting a database showing those who are no longer authorized to own firearms; and for it to simply say “DENIED” for those individuals. Problem solved. The seller doesn’t have to know your medical or criminal history; just that they can’t sell a firearm to you. It’s not perfect. Some sellers may wonder just why you were barred. However; your privacy would be better protected, people are safer, and most sellers surely have more important things to worry about. I also feel that just as we must pass a test in order to legally drive a car, we should have to pass a test in order to legally own a firearm. If Jimmy down the street can’t pass an exam on gun safety, do you really want him to own a firearm? I’m sure that you don’t; yet, many others do. We should also be required to purchase a gun safe and provide proof of that purchase before we can purchase a gun. Too many people are being killed because their guns are left in the open, and children find them. There have been over forty shootings BY TODDLERS this year alone. At least fifteen were fatal (http://gawker.com/report-american-toddlers-responsible-for-one-shooting-1736636148).

If you would like the stats for a nation that hands out guns like they’re Halloween candy, here you go: http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/. Let the stats sink in. 41,262 incidents. Only 944 are listed as defensive. With stats like that, how can you say you’re protecting yourself?

Don’t ban guns. There actually are plenty of RESPONSIBLE gun owners who study gun safety, and who keep their guns locked away from the reach of little fingers. No, don’t ban them. I’ll say it again; just in case there are still people who believe I’m an anti-gun activist, despite reading this: DON’T BAN GUNS. Make them harder for dangerous people to obtain them. Also, for the love of everything sacred; STOP worshipping guns. By worshipping guns and making them cool, sexy, and a necessity for True Americans™; you are helping to encourage a culture of violence and bloodshed.

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