What pride breeds

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Gun Control, Healthcare
Tags: , , , ,

“Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.”    –Emily Brontë

To all those gun loving 2nd Amendment Americans out there that think having a weapon with them or near them actually makes them safer, take a look at this.

The deadliest sniper in U.S. History (let that sink in), Chris Kyle, was shot to death at a firing range by a man who he was trying to help, a fellow veteran with PTSD. If Kyle couldn’t protect himself, what the heck makes the average American think they can? It’s pure deadly hubris to think this way.  Emily Brontë evidently couldn’t conceive of society and the weaponry available today, otherwise her quote would have been more like so:

Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselvesand the innocent around them.

This story is just anecdotal evidence of a very big problem that America is and will be facing in the coming decades–it’s a sad story that is being kept too low beneath the radar.  Did you know that suicides in the military have been on the rise since 2004? In 2012 the average was one soldier a day. Wrap your mind around that. Also rising are the number of murders committed by returning soldiers. Sadly the victims are usually their families or colleagues.

What do you think is going to happen when ALL our soldiers return from Afghanistan? Do you think those with PTSD will get better? They are already not receiving enough treatment from the VA and often have to rely on charity groups. Will there be enough private charity? Will be it be spread out across the country enough to meet the needs? Isn’t that the responsibility of the VA first, it being the best and most widespread network of hospitals? What about those with brain injuries that affect mood, impulse control, etc. Sometimes there’s an overlap–they not only have a brain injury, they also have PTSD. How many of these vets 20 or 30 years from now will break down, killing the innocent and kidnapping children as a cry for help because we didn’t meet their needs long ago?

This is NOT blaming the soldiers. They are victims too.  They risked everything and suffered for their country and they expected that we would do right by them when they came home. We owe them treatment and help. When someone is in crisis and it’s aftermath as so many soldiers are upon their return, the LAST thing we need to do is just dump them off into a society filled with deadly military grades weapons. In so doing we are practically asking for more tragedies like what is happening in Alabama. Get ready America, if you think it is bad now, it is only going to get worse if we don’t make some changes in gun control AND improve our mental health system AND focus on helping the tens of thousands of soldiers who gave up so much and live among us.

  1. Easter Bunny says:

    You don’t sound too D’Ranged to me. Makes a lot of sense. This rabbit agrees! Great post.

  2. redlonglocks says:

    Just a thought…..Have you ever read Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged”? Or seen a documentary on the book? There’s one on Netflix called “Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged” which I think you might enjoy. Having read “Atlas Shrugged” at far too young an age, it was rather a revelation for me to watch the bio/documentary about her life and the message she was trying to get across with “Atlas Shrugged”. It has prompted me to re-think & re-consider many things, particularly how we try to regulate and draft laws to protect our citizens. I’m not saying that reading the book or watching this will change your mind on the position you’ve taken in this post exactly, but it MIGHT change or suggest new ways that persons like you and me, might begin to think of addressing these complex issues.

    • drangedinaz says:

      Yeah, I have read Atlas Shrugged. I liked it when I first read it way back in high school and she seemed to make a compelling argument. However, over time I found, in general, that the basis of her theory that “free markets” as she defines them don’t behave the way she predicts they will nor do they always result in positive outcomes for the consumer or society as she posited. For example, remember the deregulation of the Airlines? It was supposed to lower prices through increased competition which would in turn spur growth and expansion with new routes, etc. Well, that’s not what happened. Today, the Airlines suck. They don’t have enough routes, they are too expensive, they treat people like cattle and it’s very, very hard for anyone to break into that market because the big companies have a stranglehold on the industry. And this kind of thing keeps happening over and over in other industries as well like telecommunications. That deregulation led us to have fewer cable and phone companies, older infrastructure (Europe is way ahead of us here), slower bandwidth, crappy service and higher costs. We pay more for our broadband than most other countries and we get the worst quality in return. Basically, most economists say that deregulation and the kind of things that Ayn Rand advocated always end up in someone getting hurt and it’s usually the consumer and/or the worker–the opposite of what Rand theorized.

      There are a couple of other aspects to her Objectivism or rational self-interest ethics that I found troublesome. The goal of self-interest, particularly in regards to profit, in industries that center on the welfare of people tends to open the door to corruption and the abuse of those people. The perfect example of this is privatized prisons and jails. The idea was that private companies could do a better job of running a prison or jail than the government. On the surface that sounds reasonable. But once the companies took over this function, we found that they are far too willing to sacrifice the prisoners and their needs for the sake of profit. For example, when the government runs a prison, they have standards that they must meet for hiring and training officers primarily because good officers means having a safer prison. Private company’s routinely staff at minimum levels, hire much less qualified people because they pay less and therefore attract only less qualified people, and train less. So their facilities end up being less safe. We may not like our prisoners but we as a society have an obligation to keep them safe from one another while they are incarcerated. The other problem is one of corruption. No government is free from corruption BUT because it is government we have the right to review the books, to vote into office people who hire the people that run the prisons, etc. With private companies, a lot of what they do is not open to public scrutiny. We have no say on who the CEO is, etc. And that becomes a problem and sometimes in dramatic fashion. Remember the case in Scranton, PA where a judge was found to be taking money from a private prison/jail company to send more and more juveniles to the companies juvenile facilities? That company got paid by the number of kids they had in detention–so the more they had the more profit they made. The judge ended up sending hundreds of completely innocent kids to jail and in many cases ruining their lives. So the profit motive provides incentive for abuses and corruption and the lack of public scrutiny and accountability provides the opportunity for that stuff to occur. With government, there is no profit to be made and much less opportunity for abuse and corruption to happen. Does government do it perfectly? Of course not, but privatized prisons are far far worse when it comes to protecting prisoner’s constitutional rights. If we get nothing else right, we should at least do that.

      Another thing that bothered me about her philosophy was that she said so long as all actors are rational, there would never be conflicts of interest–this is patently untrue. We all know that rational parties can disagree and their real interests can conflict. So, it’s things like that that give me pause. The final thing that bothers me about the book is that too many people, particularly libertarians, read that book, liked it and decided that’s how the world should be run without every really acknowledging her very real logical fallacies or how her theory falls apart in most real world situations. The entire “Trickle Down” theory of economics pushed by Reagan and which Romney most recently championed is based on Rand’s philosophy but there is no basis in fact that “Trickle Down” works. There is zero historical evidence to support it. Yet, libertarians just froth at the mouth if you try to point this out because they’ve accepted it on “faith”…it’s become their ideology and no amount of factual evidence ever changes their mind. That kind of absolutist thinking is dangerous, no matter what end of the political continuum you are on.

      Ultimately, I think her theory is probably only practical in very particular circumstances and specifically in economic models. (Sorry that was such a long answer).

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