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This one time at Writer's Camp…

Amerika ist Wunderbar

I’ve watched the simmering pot boil over this weekend and not said anything, partly because all of the facts aren’t in (and probably will never be in) and partly because a lot of people have such a difficult time comprehending how someone can go into a public place and do such a thing.

This isn’t a pro-gun rant (though, if not careful, could turn into one), nor is it an anti-gun rant (again, same rules apply). This is a “why our country is great” post.

You see, if something like this had happened throughout the rest of the world, condemnation would come immediately (as it did here). However, anyone with a dissenting opinion which differed from the accepted thought process of the masses here is simply argued with (sometimes shouted down, sometimes respectfully disagreed with). Elsewhere in the world, that person would be arrested and charged with a hate crime, or worse, they’d be put on trial and stoned/shot/fined/incarcerated.

Freedom. We cherish it, and we should remember that freedom comes with responsibility. If we continue to push the responsibility onto others and not take our own actions into account, disassociation from society will begin to occur and events such as the Aurora shooting will come about. The same thing happened at Columbine: two kids refused to accept responsibility for their freedoms (and the freedom of others) and reacted.

I’m not excusing either of their actions. Far from it, actually. I’m blaming the individuals involved. I’m not blaming President Obama, the NRA, the City of Aurora, Columbine High School. I’m blaming the individuals for what they did. They all choose to deny the freedom of others, as well as be unaccountable for their own freedoms, one of which includes, yes, owning a firearm.

I hope that society doesn’t overreact and push more securities on a country already reeling from too little liberty at the moment. I wish that, should I ever pollute this world with spawn of my own, that they can grow up in a free country and not one so burdened with political correctness and safety measures that their individual growth into wonderful and productive human beings isn’t stifled. I dream that we, as a nation, can learn from this and think about how we can accept our responsibilities towards our continued freedoms. And lastly, I call upon all of us to remember those who died, and ignore the ones who committed these horrible crimes. For with the death of their memory comes the healing process for those who remain.

Our country will remain great so long as freedom reigns. Our freedom will remain so long as we continue to be individually accountable for it.

Amerika ist wunderbar.

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7 responses to “Amerika ist Wunderbar

  1. Barb Caffrey July 24, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    I’m concerned about mental health services, Jason. Why was this guy not getting some sort of help? And the fact that the first thing his mother said after the media got a hold of her was, “I’m sure you have the right person” — what kind of mother says that unless she knew her son was in big-time mental health trouble?

    That said, I’m with you that additional laws don’t seem to apply. I am concerned that this man managed to get so many rounds of ammo online, and I’m even more concerned about the way he got his four weapons — but he did it legally, he wasn’t a convicted felon, he’d never done anything like this before, and no one had any idea this was coming. So putting any additional restrictions out there because this guy flipped out (even with premeditation, he still did something really out there that no one has any idea as to why, thus my definition of “flipped out”) does _not_ make sense.

    I think another reason the US is a great country is because of our people. So many people have lined up in Colorado to give blood. Donations for the victims are pouring in. We don’t wait to be asked; we just give, and give generously. (I don’t know any other countries who have people like ours who do this crisis after crisis.)

    Anyway, great post on an extremely difficult subject.

    • warpcordova July 25, 2012 at 2:09 AM

      Barb, don’t forget that unless someone poses and immediate and obvious risk of harming himself or others, unless he volunteers for mental help than nobody can force him to seek such help.

      Hindsight being 20/20, we know now that he needed help. His mother needed help. But without violating his rights, there was nothing anyone could have done.

      • Barb Caffrey July 25, 2012 at 4:30 AM

        Yeah, understood. It just seems, now that we do have some hindsight, that this guy Holmes was a great deal like the shooter at West Virginia — another smart, but really messed up, individual in serious need of something. I’d hoped we’d have learned from that terrible tragedy in W. Virginia . . . maybe the parallels don’t stack up, and if so, then as you say, absolutely nothing could be done because this particular terrible deed had never been done in this particular horrible fashion before. 😦

        That this guy’s mother reacted that way — she obviously knows something that hasn’t been released publicly about her son’s mental state. It makes me think she knows he was supposed to be on medication, but wasn’t taking it, and because of that, was therefore capable of anything.

        Under those circumstances, there’s still not a lot you can do as a parent if your child is a legal adult unless there’s some warning sign that’s bad but way short of this. (At that point, you probably could have your son committed until he starts taking his medication or gets well, one or both.) Unfortunately that option is off the table, and a whole lot of good people are dead.

        I do think the answer is better mental health treatment. We’re getting there, slowly; there’s not as much of a stigma attached toward getting help now as there used to be. But in this case, maybe the answer just was too little, too late. 😦

      • warpcordova July 25, 2012 at 11:19 AM

        Again, responsibility. He was a grown man working in a highly advanced field. It wasn’t so much about him getting help as it was about him accepting that he needed help and then getting it.

        Responsibility for one’s choices and actions are what I’m harping on here, Barb. Not his mental well-being.

  2. Barb Caffrey July 25, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    True ’nuff, Jason. Responsible people do what you say; they accept there’s a problem and treat it. They don’t care if it makes them feel like they’re “weak” or whatever the old stereotypes about mental illnesses were (and in some places, still are); they do it because they know it’s the right thing to do.

    What do you think about the newest piece of info, that apparently this guy sent some sort of notebook to the University (with stick figures?) saying he was going to do exactly this? (It was there for a while; they only noticed it today. No one has any idea why that notebook sat there.) Do you think this is significant? And if it is, could this guy have done this not just ’cause he’s some variant of mental illness (that’s nearly a given at this point), but because he has a wounded ego? (I.e., supervillain syndrome?)

    • warpcordova July 26, 2012 at 4:09 AM

      Who knows? At this point, who cares. He’s done, his insanity plea is completely false, and he’ll spend the rest of his life at a Colorado supermax prison.

      On to something more important.

      I know they’ve set up a scholarship fund for the victims, but has anybody set up a relief fund for the hospital bills of the wounded yet? I haven’t heard anything, and it’s not like they can sue the shooter (he has no money apparently).

      • Barb Caffrey July 26, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        So far, three of the five hospitals involved have waived all bills for the victims. The other two are the biggest hospitals in Denver and usually deal with the most Medicaid patients, so it’s expected that they’ll do the same, albeit more quietly. (They refuse to say whether or not they will do it, but they didn’t say they _won’t_, IOW.)

        The real problem is going to come in when these folks are able to get out for physical and occupational therapy. Hopefully the hospitals will follow up and keep waiving the bills. (Oh, yes; at least one of those three hospitals is waiving co-pays for those few people who actually did have insurance.)

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