When Does Life Begin and When Does Life End?

I find myself to be very preoccupied about mass shootings in the US in recent weeks. I am fixated on the fact that we continue to have mass shootings in the US but there is very little movement to curtail access to guns because of the Second Amendment. While the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over overturning Roe v. Wade, it does not appear to claim any responsibility or jurisdiction over mass gun violence, purportedly because those rights are protected by the Second Amendment.

The question to me is a matter of what you propose to stand up for and where does the buck stop. Are you able and willing to stand up and protect the beginning of “life” as seen in a heartbeat of an unborn child or fetus? But you are not willing to stand up and protect the definitive lives of those lost (past, present and future) to senseless mass shootings across America?

I find it hypocritical that the people who would like to get rid of Roe v. Wade are the same crowd that say interventions about access to guns don’t work to curtail mass shootings and violence. How do they know that if these measures have not been tried? Why do you propose to save the rights of a few people (those with guns) when the rights of the rest of us to live in a violence-free society are ignored? Could that not be considered what “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is all about? Certainly gun lovers are threatening the right of others to pursue happiness on a daily basis when the gun sellers and the gun owners cannot contain their own right to bear arms without inflicting mass casualties for the rest of us to witness and to bear and to make sense of.

I would say that the Founding Fathers might stand today for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” when that Happiness avoids victimization of some other segment of society. Certainly, we cannot give carte blanche to gun owners at the expense of the Lives of those lost to mass violence, the Liberty associated with the right to breathe in an atmosphere free from violence and the Happiness that makes our society thrive at its very core.

If the Supreme Court is so set on protecting the rights of Americans to bear arms, why are they not equally set on preserving individual members of society’s rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness? In my book these rights need to be extended to all Americans. When all Americans are protected by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, the Second Amendment is put into perspective. If you cannot own guns and cannot avoid obliteration of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness in society at large, then you do not have any claim to the Second Amendment.

Cannot the Supreme Court stand up for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Surely massive lives lost to gun violence does not constitute Happiness in any one’s reality.

One more thought on the subject – if people can be sued for assisting a woman in getting an abortion, should we not be able to sue all those who allow gun ownership and gun violence by people who pose a threat to self and others. I realize that gun manufacturers cannot be sued due to some sort of federal protection. But it seems to me that if there is a precedent for suing the taxi driver who drives the woman to the abortion clinic, we should be likewise able to sue all those who participate (actively or passively) in the development of a mass shooting situation including all those in office who refuse to put proper gun ownership and access safeguards in place. Let them be accountable!

My Sojourn through Bipolar Illness – What to give up to fight stigma?

Do you feel uncomfortable when there is a news announcement of a violent crime committed by some one who is mentally unstable or mentally ill?  How can we address this stigma such that those of us who live with a mental health diagnosis largely lawfully are not readily lumped together with those people who are committing heinous acts due to their instability?

What might the typical mental health or substance use patient have to give up if there were to develop a Paranoia Hotline, a Paranormal  Institute or a Cohort Model is some level of privacy? (Please see prior posts for a discussion of these concepts.)  It is a “no brainer” to me that weapons do not belong in the hands of the mentally ill even when they are in recovery. 

I also believe we as a society should allow therapists and doctors to report clients who may be showing signs of being a danger to others. This is very tricky territory, but it seems to me that the person providing mental health care should be able to report findings to some larger group whose mission is to follow-up and investigate and intervene if the concerns raised by the therapist show that a patient is a threat to others.     At a minimum in my opinion, such notice from a therapist should ensure the patient goes on a weapon do-not-sell list.

In the past ten plus years the number of school or mass shootings in the US has sky-rocketed with the age of impacted schoolchildren often getting younger and younger.  I feel it is the responsibility of people with mental health diagnoses who know how dangerous paranoia can be and how quickly it can develop into an unsafe situation to speak up in favor of controlling and denying access to guns and other weapons for the mentally ill.  I also think the dialogue about what a therapist can reveal about his or her patient warrants more attention.  If a patient is clearly a danger to others, this fact should be communicated to a third party in charge of reconciling the account.    As people who strive day in and day out to be safe when there is often unsafety lingering around in the shadows, people with mental health diagnoses need to speak out as a group to ensure that lawmakers make weapons inaccessible to the mentally ill and provide societal intervention and/or follow-up for people who seem to be a danger to others.

It is only when we start to differentiate people who are a threat to others from people experiencing mental health symptoms but are no danger to others are we able to begin to address the stigma associated with mental illness.  The public needs to know that it is a small percentage of people with mental illness who are actually a danger to others so that we who are living with the impacts of mental illness are not lumped into that category of “danger to others”  and receive all the stigma that goes with that. These people who are a danger to others need early intervention from healthcare providers and first responders so that they do not act on these impulses to extend dangers to others.