Uvalde -Texas 5/24 ‘No Kids at Risk’

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But they were. On that sad morning, just 4 days ago, the gunman crashed his truck into a ditch next to the school, two people from a funeral home across the street came out to see what was happening, were shot at but not hurt, then called 911.
An offsite officer assigned to the school, upon hearing the call, made his way back but didn’t spot the gunman.
Even though the gunman kept firing his weapon.
A teacher propped open a door – then left it open as he went back in to call 911.
That would be the door the gunman would use to go into the building.
Officers arrived. Lots of them. Two got shot at and grazed by the bullets.
Then the officers froze.
They had to call for back up, their commander is reported to have said, for they needed more equipment. Shields. Whatever.
And as they waited they soothed themselves by repeating ‘No kids at risk’.
Meanwhile more desperate 911 calls from inside the school were being made.
Shots being fired.
Wait.
Right. For back up and equipment.
More wait.
And then 21 people were killed. 19 children and 2 teachers.
Only then, the officers went in and killed the gunman. He probably had run out of ammunition.
Yesterday evening I read the sad timeline of events. Thank you to the authorities for putting it out. We needed to know.
In an adjoining article, fleshed out details of the response to the attack were presented.
And nowhere was there mention of the word fear. Nowhere.
But fear had flooded the place, ever since the moment the gunman crashed his truck into the ditch, ever since the first 911 call went out and the gunman started firing round after round.
The offsite officer returning to the school had missed the gunman because of fear.
The officers who’d entered the school and were shot at, stopped the pursuit because of fear.
The commander who put the officer response on hold did so because of fear.
Fear had paralyzed them all.
But you can’t say ‘No kids at risk’ unless you’re absolutely sure they are not at risk.
Otherwise it’s you inventing stuff to quiet the fear in your heart.
In the days following, school walkouts have happened across the nation in protest.
Bills in congress to deter the harm from guns were proposed and voted down.
And in a National Rifle Association meeting, all the participants agreed that it was profoundly sad to see 21 lives cut short. But no gun controls. Absolutely not.
I am sure that at no time during that meeting, the word fear was mentioned.
And yet it is fear that drives the gun owner to be so enamored of his weapons.
So enamored that they don’t see the bleeding of our nation.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net medium.com anchor.fm buzzsprout apple and google podcasts

Guns and Mental Health

Is mental health a determining factor in shootings? Of course. But how are we going to go about addressing it?

We can’t force anyone to seek the benefits from mental health treatment. No, you have to persuade, you have to entice, you have to educate about the great healing possibilities that it offers.

Let us imagine an advertisement attempting to reach a possible shooter. “Dear sir, if you have a lot of guns and are piling up on ammunition and knives, you may be very angry about something that went wrong in your life. There is no point in giving your pain to others that have nothing to do with your own. Why hurt them? Why hurt the innocent? They have their pain to deal with, like every human being has. So please come to your neighborhood mental health center and ask to speak to a therapist. We will do what we can to help you find peace in your heart and not ruin your life. Please come see us.”

Will the person seeing or hearing such advertisement pick up the phone right away and make an appointment or go straight to the address listed?

No.

The person will take their time thinking about it, if he does at all, or will likely say, “It’s probably a ruse, a trick to take away my guns. Anyway, I can’t imagine anyone being able to help me with all this misery that I’ve been going through all of my life.”

But mental health treatment can help the person heal if they show up. If he shows up and stays in his seat, stays in the room and interacts with the person sitting across. And it will take time. Time. Which is what we don’t have.

To get us the precious time we need to reach these troubled souls we must put limits on gun purchases.

To get us the time we need to treat our fellow Americans seething with murderous rage we need restrictions on access to guns.

We need limits and restrictions on gun purchases until we find ways to educate our citizenry, ways to instill in them that no one should give their pain to others, that each person has to learn to process their own distress, and until we do so, having free access to guns is a prescription for endless suffering.

Yes, mental health is an issue. But are you willing to consent to every prospective gun owner getting a mental health screening?

I don’t think so.

So we need time. 

To all gun lovers in the land, please give us that precious time, and you will be acting responsibly to prevent the cowardly slaughter of our fellow citizens.

The White House is Empty.

After a short truce declared at the end of June, Trump decided to further raise tariffs in his ill-conceived plan to beat China regardless of the softening of the world economy. Last week the Federal Reserve Bank cut the interest rate in an effort to limit the damage the tariffs have been inflicting on our own economy. Then this last weekend we were struck by two back to back mass shootings, first in El Paso, Texas and then in Dayton, Ohio.

A deep malaise has seized the nation and yet, at this critical moment, we are, in effect, leaderless. There is no one in charge at the White House, no one with vision or moral courage.

The trade war with China was a bad idea from the start. There are plenty of other ways to address our differences but not at the expense of imperiling our economies. Furthermore, we will not beat China in a trade war, and we will not because they will endure more suffering than us.

But listen to one of the president’s advisers talk on the radio and one sees a common denominator: the effort to demonize. The adviser, Peter Navarro, spoke the other day as if the one objective driving China’s existence was to subjugate Americans, to get us down on our knees and beg for mercy. There was rage in the man’s voice as he spoke of Chinese soldiers devoted to hacking our systems, and of China’s massive shipments of the drug fentanyl to poison our hearts and minds. China, the devil incarnate. As if we were known for being helpless.

Not willing to back off, over the weekend China fought back against Trump’s raise in tariffs by devaluing their currency which will make their exports cheaper.

The financial markets, in turn, sensing the deep malaise, the uncertainty, the lack of perspective in the White House, the void of leadership, have responded with a sharp drop in the Dow.  

We will not win a trade war with China but a short sighted president with profound personal flaws keeps beating that drum in a vain attempt to deflect personal scrutiny. And as he does so he continues to undermine what had been an economy with steady growth.

This is the same man who rose to his position by way of inciting hate, demonizing immigrants and Muslims, and who has thus empowered those blinded by their hate.

Our president, himself filled with hate and unable or unwilling to defuse it, has by his example, given license to others who have weaker defenses against their unexamined impulses.

And so, no matter how many proclamations and tweets and executive orders come from the White House, if one takes a moment to sift through it all, it is clear that the Oval Office has been empty. There is no one there. Sure, someone goes in and out, sits at the desk and walks around, meets with foreign leaders and makes lots of noises, but there’s no one there with the brain needed to lead us. And because of it we are drifting dangerously, without a moral and intellectual compass to lead us into the future.