Mental health and how that relates to gun violence needs a new story.
One commonly held answer to gun violence is more mental health services and access to them. American culture has a long way to go before “mental health” is socially acceptable.
I look forward to the day when Americans throw as much money at mental health services as we do to, say, cancer cures. I’m one who believes my own observations. I find it interesting that if a person gets cancer, they get all jazzed up and create organizations, help raise millions of dollars through walks and pink shirt sales, not just once, not occasionally, but all the time. About all I see or hear about mental health issues are “pass it on” facebook posts about asking suicidal people to call a hotline.
As a fundraiser myself, I’m amazed at how successful the cancer industrial complex is at growing and maintaining its donor base.
I also was the development director for a domestic violence prevention organization. Being one of very few straight men in that field, was an eyeopener for me.
Over the years I’ve raised a lot of money for a vastly diverse number of causes. Violence prevention was by far the most difficult, yet the most rewarding for me.
My observation, the cultural barrier is a dominant society that values men more than women and children.
Cancer cells don’t talk back, they have no faces. Cancer cells kill everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or shoe size – one size fits all.
Gender based violence is 85 percent more likely to be committed by a male, regardless of whether a victim is a man or woman. Of the recent mass murderer events – I lose track of the numbers – 100 percent were committed by men.
It’s no wonder the mental health industry has a tough time gaining traction. “He was an orphan” the newscaster says of the shooter. “He was a problem child” the next talking head reports.
When was the last time you read, “Those ovarian cancer tumors, they had troubled lives” or “If only that breast cancer cell grew up in a better part of the body” – cancer has no face, it’s easy to say “We want to stomp out cancer in our lifetime.” There are no nonprofits out there advocating for more cancer.
When bad guys are turned into victims, it’s not so easy to say “We want to stomp out men who, for whatever reasons, kill people with guns,” and raise money and supporters around that. There happen to be many nonprofits that do advocate for men to buy guns and kill people (women and girls buy guns, but they don’t go shooting up schools).
Violence is a problem we men have to own. If you’re a second amendment zealot, it doesn’t matter. If your kid was murdered in Parkland, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is, while men are more likely to commit violent acts, the vast majority of us don’t. What men have in common, we want a safe community where we can live, work and play.
The conversations should be around how pro-gun advocates and anti-gun advocates can keep us all safe.
With 300 million firearms in American homes today, talk of banning gun and ammo is a nonstarter, at best.
What about a new market driven story that deters gun sales?
The “more good guys with guns” sales pitch is effective. After every mass shooting, gun sales spike.
My sales idea is to treat gun purchases like some states treat abortion procedure sales. Abortion surgery can’t be outlawed, but cultural impediments can be put in the way.
After a gun purchaser puts in for a background check and a thorough mental health screening, then a three day waiting period prospective buyers have to watch a video.
INT. SCHOOL CLASSROOM, DAY
ALARM BELLS clang, general chaos and disorder ensues. Distraught TEACHERS wielding hand guns step around student bodies strewn on the floor.
CLOSE UP: Bloody blobs of dead student protoplasm oozesout of multiple gunshot wounds onto school room floors.
CUT TO: sobbing little kids with blood stained shirts trembling in shock waiting in the cordoned off parking lot.
CUT TO: a montage of moms crying behind the wheels of their vans and SUVs rushing to the school.
CUT TO: a mom in a dimly lit morgue.
CLOSE UP: The medical examiner lifts the shroud covering the face of a lifeless body.
FADE TO BLACK