• Jena


I really debated whether or not to kick off this week with a post about, I don't know, meditation...goal-setting...yoga...the benefits of drinking green tea wearing an oversized sweater and leggings like I sometimes see in advertisements...But no, I'm going to start off this week by taking a glimpse at the insanity surrounding the Parkland shooting.

Adult people who are in charge of adult things are now suggesting that some of the Parkland students are not actually students at all, but aliens. Oh wait, no. They're not actually students at all- they're crisis actors. Crisis actors are people hired by the government to help stage national tragedies in order to gain the sympathy of the public and sway public opinion so they can get er guuuuns. This idea is nothing new. People were pushing it during the Sandy Hook shooting when little kids were killed, the Pulse shooting when party-goers were killed, and probably during many other massacres (the US has a lot of them). In Sandy Hook, the parents were described as the actors, in Pulse, the party-goers were the actors, and at Parkland, the students aren't even really students- they're ACTORS!

Now I luuuuuuuuuurve conspiracy theories with a passion that most people reserve for reality TV celebrities, but it's gotten to the point where it's just ridiculous. People who want to disparage immigrants and deem themselves as "real Americans" are the same people who are complaining about gun control and insinuating that the government just wants to take our guns so they can put us all in camps. When I was younger, I wondered if this could be true but now I'm wondering how people can actually believe this to be true.

I mean, the government could definitely put people in camps- if you'll recall, they did it to Japanese Americans during World War II and this country definitely made profit off holding Black people in bondage during slavery, but do they really think having guns will prevent them from doing it again? Even armed with AR-15's, will we be able to fend off a rogue government that's armed to the teeth with more powerful weapons and an actual army? Is it really necessary for these people to send death threats to children who are have already been traumatized in a school shooting because they believe these kids are part of a vast conspiracy to take our guns?

We are facing many problems in the US, and it's not just guns. There is a gun problem in this country- that's apparent from all of the people who have been murdered in these mass shootings. BUT I would wager that there are several other problems that we are currently dealing with in the US that are compounding the gun issue:

1.) There is a dearth of resources for the mentally ill here in the US, which is negatively impacting a lot of people. Although I don't subscribe to the "he was mentally ill!" faction that always springs up whenever non-POC murder a bunch of people- since I think calling someone 'mentally ill' when they do bad things is reductive of people who are actually mentally ill and who tend to be victims more often than aggressors- I do think we have an issue with caring for our vulnerable populations.

2.) We also have a nutrition problem and that we are not feeding our children or ourselves very well, which might lead to behavior issues. Our diets tend to be based on trash and sugar and since we aren't raccoons, we are reaping poor health because of it.

3.) We also have a problem with narcissism, lack of empathy, lack of awareness, and lack of social support.

4.) Oh, and we teach boys to show aggression instead of their actual feelings and we both objectify and vilify women and femininity- those factors certainly don't help.

So if you add all those things together, you have an aggressive young man on a diet of sugar and salt who holds a lot of angst and anger towards other people but doesn't know why and who doesn't think he has an actual future, but he does have an automatic weapon and he can make everybody pay. Why can't this become a conspiracy theory, and maybe we can actually end this cycle of violence?

Instead of these inane ideas like, ahem, arming our teachers so they can teach calculus and blow someone's head off before lunch, why don't we look at some other options?* I think the approach will be multi-tiered. It won't be a bunch of government drones marching into our houses to take our guns (aren't these so-called leaders taking campaign donations from the NRA anyway- why would they work against their own interests?) but it should definitely start with evaluating who has access to buying guns and what kinds of guns are available for purchase. We should promote responsible gun-ownership.

We should also help Americans who are suffering from mental illness and start building bridges throughout our communities so no one feels like they've slipped through the cracks. We should do more for equality in this country so we can stop producing the Dylan Roofs and the quasi-Dylan Roofs with badges that attack people of color. We can work on creating healthier, nutritious foods so that we are feeding our brains and our bodies something other than junk. We can help our disillusioned youth. There are so many things that we can do to fix the problems we're having. Honestly, the first step is going to be for all of us to recognize that a problem exists. And maybe logging off Youtube conspiracies for a while.**

*Ok, I wasn't sure if I wanted to add this but: didn't we have some problems with teachers having sex with students and with teachers losing it on their students? How long would it be before Mrs. Crabapple, with her cursory government arms training and a bad attitude, unloads her Glock on her English class? Can't wait to hear "I was scared for my life," and "Tommy moved a little too quickly to retrieve his pencil from his backpack."

**Everyone in every government across the world is a lizard though, that's real.

*Photo is from CNN newscast

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