Friday, June 24, 2016

It Is Time For Me To Put In My Two Cents Worth On Orlando!

Before I start to discuss the horrific terrorist attack on the Pulse Nightclub on June 12, I want to tell you a little bit about my gun history.

When I was four, I received my first guns. I got a Paladin pair of six shooters complete with my own business cards that read, "Have Gun Will Travel" and I was styling.These were my pride and joy until I ran out of caps!

Here I am protecting my little sister, Kathleen from any bad ass that wandered in front of our trailer house in tiny White, South Dakota. Shortly after that picture was taken we were on the move again hauling our belongings in that trailer to McLaughlin, South Dakota three hundred miles away!

Two years later, Santa Claus gave me this double barrel, cork gun which I was hunting Grandma's large porcelain cat that sat across her living room with these huge deep blue eyes taunting me. The cat need not worry about my shooting skills because I am left-handed but right-eyed. Nothing I ever shot at needed to worry about being hit because I was never aiming at my target. Although, years later my uncle Terry let me shoot his BB gun at flickertail gophers!  I do not remember, however, I may have even shot gophers once or twice with his 22 rifle. I had no interest in shooting anything or anyone! I certainly was never a member of the NRA!

As always, click on the image to make it larger:

Now, back to my original intent of this post. After much consternation and bickering back and forth between many sides of the issue including restrictions on military style automatic weapons, to discussions on mental health issues, to hatred of someone whose lifestyle you do not approve of, to the shooter who after looking through his computer, journals and his apartment appears to have been a closeted gay man, to our elected bodies of the Congress who are acting like little boys and girls now in what people are calling an unprecedented act by the GOP walking out of Congress literally in the middle of the night and the Democrats staging a twenty-five hour sit-in!

I find it humorous how people are calling this act of Congress on both sides unprecedented; because it happened on the other side of the aisle in 2008 when President Clinton's Congress did the same thing only the parties were switched around over an oil drilling bill. That is only eight years ago and many people have forgotten their recent history!

I want to address a couple issues that have stood out for me over this mass shooting. The irony in the nation getting so upset over the enormity of this one particular shooting and since then we have had several more shootings and the total of one hundred twenty-five people have died from guns! That is less than two weeks people! The numbers are staggering and continue to mount.

Former Chief Justice, Warren Burger (incidentally was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1907) was appointed by Richard Nixon in 1969. He was a staunch conservative and voted many times on conservative issues like abortion, women's rights, equal pay for women and a number of other issues. However, he maintained the Second Amendment was not interpreted properly. He believed the militia or as we refer it today as the National Guard should be in charge of our defense and the only ones who should possess weapons of mass destruction in a quick amount of time!

Mitch McConnell, the majority leader in the Senate proudly proclaimed he would not allow any bill to be brought to the Senate floor that was not first approved by the NRA! The nerve it must take for a supposed leader of the Senate is beyond me! He made his proclamation while holding up a single shot musket shown here:

I have not even begun to address the issue of mental health and/or lack of mental health treatment for people that are contemplating such an act as the Orlando shooter. I will not use his name because I do not believe he deserves to be addressed by name by me.

The issue of mental health as a disease is often not classified as such and many statements are attached to someone with a mental problem. They are often shunned, put down, excused as a "head case" and if they do receive any care maybe the diagnosis is often misdiagnosed. Oftentimes, someone with mental health issues are just shoved along in the system from one department to another and along with misdiagnoses may receive medications that counter the effects of another. If the patient or an advocate for the patient is not diligent in keeping track of medications and treatments, patients often will begin to create an even more horrible situation than the beginning.

They may not have any problems at all in the beginning; but, rather misdiagnoses and treatments that can lead to problems. We are just beginning to understand the brain and how it functions. The sad thing about brain research is many programs are losing funding because of grants drying up and priorities going elsewhere. I have strong beliefs about how our Western medicine operates. I'm a staunch believer in Eastern and/or alternative medicine, and believe the two can work together and create a much better system for everyone.

That brings us to the issue of who pays for what in the medical field? Many insurance companies will cover a certain drug and not another one that might do the same thing. From all my years of experience with the multitude of medications I need to take for certain things to the acupuncture, supplemental herbal supplements as well as some home remedies I am getting by.

This country is divided in many ways and we need to understand and appreciate the people around us who are different than we are. That difference may be cultural, philosophical, racial, language, sexual orientation, disability, age and others.

In the immortal words of the now deceased Rodney King who once asked, "Why can't we all just get along"?

As always, I look forward to your comments.




Colleenmpatrick said...

Great blog, Michael! WHY CANT WE JUST ALL GET ALONG , our survival depends on this concept. Too much hate mongering and falsehoods out there today. ,... History has taught us this path leads to nothing good. Keep on keeping on!

Frank said...

As always, my friend, you are succinct at pointing out the paradoxes in our society. Here's something for you - if Congress wants to allow anyone to own any gun, except keep them out of the hands of the mentally unbalanced or potential terrorists, then Congress must be held responsible for identifying those people, with close to 100% accuracy. In the practice of medicine, we are held to standards of nearly 100% accuracy, which often requires clairvoyance. I feel I have the right to demand the same of our Congressmen where matters of life or death are concerned. Of course, this is a preposterous idea of wishful thinking, but it is at least fair.
Keep up the battle!


Doug said...

Good post Mike.

We will never 'just get along'.

We need to make it OK not to be OK!

Removing the stigma of mental health issues should be Job 1. Not trying to tackle gun control. It's like trying to tackle the abortion issue.