Sunday, February 24, 2013


My husband has been out buying bullets. Rather, trying to buy bullets. There aren't many to be found in the post-Sandyhook-hysteria. Not even in a liberal oasis like Portland. Its a redneck Easter egg hunt, four-wheel drivers filling the lots of Bi-mart just as it opens, waiting at the door, rushing the counters. We may look like Liberals, but we're country folk at heart. Even with limits, boxes of .22 shells sell out in minutes.

Why am I writing about this? It's Sunday morning and I slept way in. My husband went fishing and I slept and slept, having circus-bizarre dreams, finally to awaken to an empty house. Ahhh. I could be doing so many other things. Laundry, dishes, bad things.

So I said to him as he left the seventh store in search of ammunition, "Just how many rounds you think you're gonna get off before the army that is marching down Clinton Street gets you?"

But for him, it is just not liking to be told what to do. Or not do. There is no army marching down our street shooting citizens. We just aren't that interesting. But it does raise those questions, doesn't it? What is freedom? I won't try to answer that, but I do question the political debate that focuses soley on guns and again and again turns a blind eye to mental illness.

Since Reagan de-institutionalized the mentally ill (whenever that was -- don't ask me about dates, I wasn't paying attention during the entire Reagan administration) -- the "rights" of the mentally ill have, in my opinion, created a false reality that behavior can be predicted with mimimal oversite and the assumption of appropriate use of medication. This paradigm works well for insurance companies that don't want to pay for care/housing, or long term treatment, or diagnosing of the breadth of the problem. Associations like NAMI, persuasive organizations that advocate for the rights of the mentally ill, have a great argument, but faulty at its core. You can't fix a broken brain with a broken brain.

 Its not that I would return to the days of trepanning, but it is, I'm sure, far more costly to deal with the mental health crisis than to go after the guns. All that being said, it is only one facet of gun violence: what about black men shooting black men? It's a great solution for white men, so we won't look too closely at that.

Anyway, happy Sunday. I'm gonna heat up my wax and paint.

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