Monday, September 30, 2013

Do you want a Band-Aid for that splintered femur?

I have been trying to think of a way to approach a specific topic for the past few days, and although I have thought of many possibilities, none seem to work. Therefore, I am just going to get on my soapbox and chat away.  This topic has been on Facebook, MSN, and every newspaper in the US (and probably many media sources overseas), for years, but most recently it seems to have taken a shot of that 5-hour energy drink because I am seeing it everywhere I turn. The topic I am referring to is gun control. Whether you are for or against gun control, please read this entry in its entirety before jumping to conclusions or sticking to a particular stance.

Now, I know what you are are talking to your computer screen saying, "but, Larry, your blog is about your son who has Asperger's and not about gun control. This makes no sense and you shouldn't be talking about that sort of thing here!"  That might be true, but this is my blog and I can cry if I want to!  Okay, back to being serious...just give me a chance to explain my logic...and I think you will discover how gun control relates to Aspies.

If you know me, you know that I do not care for or follow politics. I do not believe there is an absolute right or wrong way to do something.  Some see that as accepting and some see that as non-committal.  You can pick which one you think it is. But, I do, wholeheartedly, believe our politicians (and many citizens) would rather put a Band-Aid on a splintered femur just to say they did something to help the problem. Yeah, you wasted time, money, and resources and guess what, that broken femur is still broken and hurts like hell when you move it. Why not address the problem at its root? If you don't, the problem keeps coming back.

Here's one, one day I was driving down the highway with my son.  We were on our way to school, the traffic was bad, but I was still traveling at or around the speed limit.  I suddenly heard what appeared to be a massive "clank" followed by a "bang" then a rhythmic "clop...clop...clop...clop."  I looked in my rear-view mirror and noticed some type of automotive part flopping around the asphalt, bouncing forward trying desperately to catch up to no avail. When it realized the attempt to reunite with its other family members was futile, it lay slumped in despair, hugging the yellow line for comfort, only to be squashed by an 18-wheeler going 70 mph.

The "clop...clop...clop...clop" carried on and would not go away.  There must be a serious problem, I thought. The noise is not going away, the part clearly came from my car, but I am still moving forward so it can't be that bad. The constant noise then became irritating.  I need to fix this problem, I thought, and quickly. At this time, I discovered the solution...I turned up the radio loud enough where I no longer heard that dreadful "clop...clop...clop...clop." Problem solved!

Pretty silly, isn't it.  I solved the problem by pretending the clopping sound wasn't there and replaced it with the radio.  I put a Band-Aid on the problem. Guess what, it didn't fix a damn thing.

But, Larry, how does this relate to gun control?  Glad you asked. But first, let's look at these mass-shootings and where the gun violence is coming from. In Connecticut (Sandy Hook), the shooter was an Aspie, or at the very least, had mental health issues that were noticed in previous years but, apparently, were not correctly treated.  In the Navy Yard shootings, the gunman was previously released from the Navy after showing patterns of misbehavior aka potential behavioral health issues. In 2012, a gunman whose lawyers described him as having a mental illness, shot over 80 people, killing 12, in a theater. Obviously this is just a sampling of many other events such as these, but the similarities should be obvious - they all had some sort of mental / behavioral health issue.

It has been reported that 75% of all gun related deaths are gang related. I'm just guessing on this one, but, I don't think any of the guns used by gangs are registered. Okay, maybe a handful might be registered, but do you really think gun control will affect gangs? Yeah, probably not.

Australia put into place a strict gun control policy that eliminated private gun ownership.  The idea was to curb violent crimes and gun related crimes in the country. I believe in facts, so what I am about to write needs a disclaimer - I did not take the time to verify the following information and cannot validate its accuracy nor do I know when the information was first published; however, from the time the gun ban started until the time of the news report in Australia, armed robbery had risen 69%, assault with a gun went up 28%, gun related murders went up 19% and home invasions increased by 21%. Hmmm, that one didn't turn out the way they had planned, did it?  The real question is, where did the criminals get all of these guns if they were banned?  Clearly, "eliminating" guns did not work. 

So, by now you probably think I am against gun control.  Well, yes, but that is NOT the issue here.  Applying gun control is putting a Band-Aid on a much more serious issue.  The real issue is mental health. While we are putting all of our time, effort, and money into debating the gun control issues, the mental health issues get put aside.

In addition, there is the term "slippery slope"  If every gun, registered or not, magically disappeared today, do you think the killings would stop? No, because knives, baseball bats, iron poles, swords, arrows, and so on still exist, as do the mental health issues. Does this mean we should ban knives, too? Would that mean I would have to turn in my 14 inch chopping knife that I use for meal prep?  Hmmm, no more baseball bats? The problem is not the weapon.  The weapon is a tool at rest at all times until someone uses that tool. The problem, therefore, is the user. Fix the disease, not the symptom.

We do not put Band-Aids on broken limbs and turning up the radio will not fix a car problem. If a problem itself is not addressed, the problem will never go away. Tools are not the problem, the user is the problem.  Fix the user and the rest will follow.

Disclaimer...(Yes, its a repeat of the last one...but the blog above is new!) First, let me say that I am not a specialist in Asperger's Syndrome, nor do I play one on TV. What I write or say are strictly my own personal observations and beliefs, so please do not sue me because I said something that made you do something that caused a misdiagnosis, or created a problem, or made you do something stupid. Have accountability, go see a professional, and leave my finances alone...besides, you really wouldn't get much anyway, so its probably not worth your time to call the lawyer on the back of the phone book to see if you have a case. Spend that time more wisely, like figuring out how to subscribe to my blog...and don't ask me about that because I'm not even sure how it works! Seriously, though, if some of the things I say seem like they sound very familiar in your family, set up an appointment with a true professional. While you are waiting for their callback, please, continue reading and leave a note!