Guns R Us…Why should Sandy Hook Surprise Us?

Don't shoot!
Don’t shoot!

We are what we do. As a society we are what we teach our children to do. And we are no better than what we allow to happen by our inaction, if we don’t act to stop it. Our gun laws permit, nay, they encourage gun use by everyone, they enthusiastically promote gun ownership and usage, and they turn a blind eye to gun ownership and usage by those who should never lay their hands on a toy gun, much less a loaded one.

Guns kill. They are not decorative or ornamental items. They are not collectors items. So let’s not fool ourselves. It may take a human agent to pull the trigger, but it is the bullet from a gun that kills. And get this straight: when a gun kills 20 little kids, it matters not whether the slugs come from a sig sauer, a glock, a .22. or a Saturday night special, what kills is a gun that does the only job it was designed to do.

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When it comes right down to it, it is far too easy to kill someone when you have a gun, any gun: if you push or punch someone because you are angry, it is likely that he or she will be bruised, but they will live. It is only when there is a gun attached to your fingers that lethality comes attached as well. GUNS KILL PEOPLE. People using GUNS KILL PEOPLE, but people without guns do not so frequently kill people.

Let’s face it, Adam Lanza would have found it extraordinarily difficult to have murdered 20 children and 8 adults in less than an hour without his two handguns. The guns literally empowered him to do what he did. Without his guns, he would likely not even have attempted such a deed. Guns made him a god to grant and take away life, and in a moment of passion, he decreed that 28 people would lose theirs. Now, I don’t even believe doctors should be playing god, so I am horrified that all it takes is a gun, and Everyman has the power to do what only god should be in charge of.

Check out the website created after the Newtown, Connecticut, kindergarten shooting this afternoon, http://wearebetterthanthis.org, sponsored by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. God bless them,  I fully support the Brady Campaign. However, I am not sure we — whoever we are — are truly better than any “this”…Who are we anyway, and what proves that we are actually better than we witness happening around us?

The stats are ominous and more than distressing. And they speak volumes about whether perhaps it’s just a big fantasy, our being any better than the murderers among us.

For one thing, you should know that while there are 34, 589 hardware stores in the United States, there are more than 129,817 licensed firearms dealers as of Aug 2012 .  Of those, 51,438 are retail gun stores, 7,356 are pawn shops and 61,562 are collectors. The rest are manufacturers and importers of firearms and destructive devices.

There are also 80,000 ice cream parlors. Ice cream does 18 billion in sales a year, which isn’t bad considering an average ice cream cone costs only between $2 and $4. An average Glock 17, “America’s favorite gun,” costs around $500.00 You do the math and then tell me how easy it will be to convince gun dealers to change their ways…

JAKEgmGun

But right now, why should they bother? Guns are great business! In 2010 the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) ran 16,454,951 background checks for firearms purchases.  Only a small number of these purchases (78,211 or 0.48 percent) were denied. During Obama’s first term, and well before it ended, more than 50 million background checks had been run by the NCIS. This was a bonanza for the gun industry compared to the same 3.5 year period under George W Bush, when “only” 28 million such checks — background checks are an index of the demand market — were run. So clearly, if guns in the hands of the wrong people kill, chances are that more guns had to be getting in the hands of more wrong people than ever during the last four years…many many more.

Note that it doesn’t matter how many guns are purchased at one time, there is only one background check per purchase. After that, what you do with the guns and how many you have purchased at one time, is your business and yours alone… Oh and lest you think the so-called “mentally ill” would be screened out by the NCIS background check, think again. Being “adjudicated mentally ill” and barred from buying a gun is not at all the same thing as simply seeing a shrink or even being hospitalized in a general hospital, with or without your consent for 15 days.

I have been kept in a hospital against my will for even longer, but I have not been formally adjudicated mentally incompetent, or if I ever was, now that I am OUT of the hospital, I am no longer considered non compos mentis, and I could buy myself any gun I wanted to.

Frankly, I think that is only right. Why should some angry redneck be able to buy himself a Glock 17 semi-automatic handgun and I, peaceable and very, very unlikely even to pick it up, let alone use it, could not buy a sweet little .22? Furthermore, I would be far more likely to use it ON MYSELF not on others…

This last is a notable case in point, because unbelievably, suicide far exceeded homicide as the cause of gun fatalities at least in 2005. In 2005, 5.75/100,000 people committed suicide with a firearm, whereas “only” 3.43/100,000 people caused firearms homicides in that same year. Since in 2012, the suicide rate has hugely increased, probably due to PTSD in returning veterans, this ratio likely has only increased.

Approximately 34 persons are felled by guns each and every day in the US. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, between 2006 and 2010,  47,856 people were slain by gunfire in the U.S., more than twice as many as were killed by any and all other means.

Whether or not the suicidal mentally ill should have access to guns – and just how to prevent it, just how to define who is mentally ill would be a huge problem — I see a bigger problem with an angry man of any stripe being able to purchase a handgun. Anger is a big spur to impulsive behavior and impulsivity and guns decidedly do not mix.

So I ask you: How can we be better than Friday afternoon’s Glockencatastrophe if we buy or permit/encourage the purchase of so many more handguns than ever? We are a gun culture, we worship guns,  we hav a national love affair with guns. What do we expect?

You know, one of the first rules of writing fiction is, if you “plant” a gun in the early scenes in a story, it must go off by the end…Similarly, if we have and are a gun culture, who are we not to expect to be a culture of shootings? We have the guns, how can we expect people, both good and bad, not to use them?

During the Newtown shooting, from what I gather, the shooter killed himself after he shot all the 28 other victims…All the high tech and paramilitary heavy weaponry with which the police have equipped themselves did zilch in the end to prevent mass murder. No, 20 small children and 8 adults were quickly and savagely murdered, a horrific act accomplished largely so it appears with two handguns, a plastic and metal glock and a sig sauer. The shooter supposedly had access to a Bushmaster combat rifle it is not clear that he used it for the killings.

Whatever is the case, things will become clearer in the coming days as the police reveal more information.

Perhaps I should be softer and sadder right now, perhaps I should not bring up things like slugs and guns and such at this moment. Forgive me for not wailing and beating my breast or crying but many more are doing that tonight elsewhere, so I am just going to save my breath for rage on behalf of those poor murdered children and the eight  others…Any more  tears added to that ocean would just be wasted salt and water.

SAILBOAT PAINTINGS AND A CAT PAINTING

I am posting these four eminently “sane” paintings for a friend who wanted to see them all together here. The first and the third are still available if anyone is interested…Contact me through the About page. Availability of the others is pending.

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Three Catboats in cove, in mist. ©Pamela Spiro Wagner All rights reservedThis one was inspired from a photo but is not a copy, done in colored pencils and oil pastels.
Three Catboats in cove, in mist. ©Pamela Spiro Wagner All rights reserved
This one was inspired from a photo but is not a copy, done in colored pencils and oil pastels.

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Boats at Evening, after Monet
Boats at Evening, after Monet

UNBELIEVABLY DELICIOUS NO FAT, LOW CALORIE CHEESECAKE!!

Okay, so this is a reprise of something I posted before without fanfare, but I think in these cold winter months we all need CHEESECAKE, so why am I hiding this lightness under a bushel? (I know I know it is ridiculously simple too, but do not be fooled. Try it! It will amaze you. Make you knock your head and think: WHY didn’t I think of this before????)  8D

I post this especially for anyone who takes antipsychotic drugs and has a resulting weight problem, but obviously it is meant for everyone else who needs low cal cheesecake too. 8) Enjoy!

All you need to do is MIX together:

1 container of plain, no fat, Greek yogurt.  Yes, you can use regular yogurt but I have found the Greek kind makes this cheesecake extra thick and delicious. Usually these are around 100 calories (also extraordinarily high in protein, if you care).

1/4th of a package of Jello instant low calorie, no fat, cheesecake pudding mix.

Top with your choice of fruit- strawberries or blueberries, or even a few nuts or three or four semi sweet chocolate morsels (if you can actually eat that few…) et VOILÁ!

Try it, it is really an unbelievable dessert, especially if you have not had one in a long time and really want to taste creamy richness of cheesecake without guilt.

Greek yogurt: 100 cal.

Jello pudding mix 25 cal.

GRAND TOTAL for a whole 8 ounce dessert => 125 calories!!!!!!

Now, that is all I use, but if you really want a crust, Lord love you if you NEED a crust, you can do this: break up a couple of graham crackers and mix them with a little of the yogurt to moisten them and press this mixture into the sides of a custard cup and chill it a while until firm. Spoon in rest of cheesecake and chill again for a couple of hours.

Where Have All the Multiples Gone?

One of the terrible consequences of the APA’s DSM is the Multiple Personality Mayhem that resulted from that fad diagnosis of the late 80s and 90s. I was hospitalized many times in those years, and I was appalled even then at how this once extraordinarily rare diagnosis was suddenly “popping out of the woodworks.” Somehow, multiples, with their putative history of extreme childhood sexual torture, were everywhere. At any time on a psychiatric unit of 18-20 beds, you might see 4 people supposedly suffering from MPD. It was absurd, but try and point that out to the professionals! No, they were much too busy creating very sick individuals out of the whole cloth of their own — the psychiatrists’– minds!

Even at the time I felt very frightened by what was happening, as I understood how difficult it was going to be, when it was all over, for such patients to come to grips with the fact that their disorders were invented for them by the doctors who wanted to have their time in the limelight. Now that the fad is over, where have all the multiples gone? Have all of them been converted to DID — that is, are they still being lied to? or has anyone decided to be honest with them and admit that the Dx was bogus all along, that they never did have MPD or any other such disorder. That their so called multiple personalities were suggested to them by the therapists and invented for them ditto.

It was a horrendous situation, and one that I do not believe anyone has dealt with completely honestly or fully to this day…Of course not. When did you ever meet a doctor, much less a psychiatrist willing to admit he or she made a terrible mistake, or say, I am sorry, I will make amends. Hah. That’ll be the day.