Monday, February 04, 2013

Of Men And Mice

I was perusing a few stories of a few routine gun deaths and commentary in American news this weekend. This first one, from Texas, is tragic and infuriating:
Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL who became known as the deadliest U.S. sniper, was one of two men murdered on Saturday afternoon at a gun range in Erath County....Eddie Routh, 25, is in custody in connection with the shootings.
Investigators said Routh, a former Marine and expert marksman who is said to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, is believed to have turned his weapon on Kyle and the second victim, killing them both at point-blank range about 3:30 p.m..... Kyle had been actively helping other military veterans recover from PTSD....This was in Texas. This was on a gun range. Chris Kyle died even though he had 160 confirmed kills as a sniper in Iraq. To state the obvious, why wasn't a bad man with a gun -- or, more precisely, a profoundly troubled man with a gun -- stopped by a good man with a gun? Why is it a "good" idea for a veteran with war-related PTSD to be shooting, even as recreation, and possibly as therapy? Are guns supposed to be like "therapy dogs"? I guess in Texas, if not the rest of the USA, the pro gun NRA would scream "Fuck Yes!"
Any efforts to tighten access to guns by people with mental and emotional problems have been unalterably opposed by the Gun Owners of America, precisely because they targeted PTSD (GOA called
the last such law the"Veterans Disarmament Act"), while the NRA supported the most recently law but worked to weaken it. And for all the NRA's post-Newtown talk about mental illness, you can bet your bottom dollar that the NRA will weaken any new bill as well.

Meanwhile, stop me if you've heard this one before, two Rhode Island gun absolutist guys are sitting in a bar in Providence, well actually it's an Italian Restaurant. The The Washington Post profiles the pair: Rob Farago, a prominent gun blogger, and David Kenik, who makes self-defense videos. Part of the Post's reporting takes place over a couple of meals in Providence:
... the two men choose chairs that let them face the entrance.

"Look at the way Robert and I are facing," Kenik says. "Crime happens everywhere. There's no place to feel safe."
"That's your opinion," Farago says, distancing himself a bit.
"It's in the back of my mind," Kenik says.Don't imagine that Farago is much less paranoid than Kenik. Here's Farago on another day, after a sushi lunch:
Exiting the restaurant, he poses a question: What business in this little commercial area would criminals most likely target? The jewelry store, obviously. That's situational awareness.
Standing on the patio at Starbucks, he tells a story. A while back, he was right in this spot when the alarm went off across the street at the Bank of America branch office. Amazingly, people ignored it. They kept walking up to the bank to use the ATM. They didn't seem to register the alarm at all.
Farago reckoned that, if a gunman emerged from the bank, he'd take cover inside the Starbucks, putting a brick wall between himself and the shooter.
"If I have incoming fire, I've got a plan ready to go," he says.
There was no gunman. Just a false alarm.
But what's my point? The point is that Farago is another just another American psycho who has given himself self induced PTSD He lives in his own imaginary very dangerous fantasy world. He is prepared to defend himself, if absolutely necessary, with his Glock. Even though he's never had any reason.The Post gives us Farago's background -- ex-CNN producer and cameraman, ex-car blogger, ex-freelance writer. Neither of the armed gun absolutists in the Post piece ever served in the military. Their clearly dangerous paranoia is truly self induced.  Let's give this a name:Self Inflicted Trauma Stress Disorder  or SITSD. Now ask your self, the guy who killed Kyle was a Vet with a real PTSD, Farago is suffering from a self induced trauma and is clearly armed and dangerous. This is a contagious mental pestilence. How sick is that?

To put this is context. I am not a physically imposing fellow. I weigh about 141 pounds...don't laugh...I do 80 push ups everyday and obsessive ab crunches...I lived in The Lower East Side of Manhattan for years in the late 70's, the 80's and until 2000. I was a musician and also moved bands with my pick up truck almost every night in the late 70's through the mid 80's. Let me tell you, back then, that was one tough area! It was the kind of place that would have freaked-out most Heartland 'Murkans, if they ended up there when they got lost.
EVERY night was Halloween!
A few clubs I played in hired Hells Angels as security.
But even they never had guns. Or a knife.  Just your typical big tatted-up tough looking SOB. Oh, maybe there was a Louisville slugger with arms reach...I worked the streets and walked in the early hours and I never felt the need to have a knife or a gun
And yeah, I got mugged twice. The second time by some kids at 4 am on St. Marks Place in the rain. One kid had a knife, but I had the bands receipts in my pocket and hell if I was going to give them up. The kid with the knife ended up in a garbage can with his buddies howling in laughter! There was some adrenaline induced genius that took over my brain in that case...But, I can move pretty fast when I mustl.....
Did I move out of NY City out of fear? HELL NO! Did I start carrying a gun when I went out? Nope. No knife, either. Did I feel the need to keep a gun in my apartments? No. I did have some chef's knives - for cooking, though, not self-defense.
What I want to know is, why I shouldn't think that the people who feel the need to be armed 24X7, even when they're in line at their local Chik-fil-A, aren't pussies.
I don't mean to use the term "pussy" in any anti feminist derogatory way -- it's just the best word to describe the fear and hate-filled cowards who need a gun wherever they go, and who have mental issues, and probably sexual ones, too.
So I'm asking - why shouldn't I think that gun right wing nuts are Pussies?
This enquiring mind wants to know.


bj said...

Man you are SOOO right! I remember the Lower East Side from 1971 and early '72. We went to "The City" every weekend when I was taking AIT and stationed at Ft. Monmouth, NJ, it was dangerous fer shure .... but we didn't werry about getting ... fuckin' ... SHOT! Yeah, you might take an ass whuppin' or at the werst get CUT ... but NObody dreamed we might get shot! Well, by anyone other than NY's Finest ... and they were reasonable about things. FEAR is what controls right wing gun nuts to cling so tightly to their weapons. Add a dash of PTSD (real or self induced) and you have what happened to Chris Kyle. IMHO, though ... that fear doesn't make 'em pussies, though, ... it makes 'em very DANGEROUS! Reckon what that stressed out Vet in Midland City Al. was skeerd of when he shot that bus driver and abducted that kid?

microdot said...

I loved your comment BJ...I can tell you a great story about coming home about three AM one morning in 1979, the air smelled so noce,,,it was so quiet and calm. I was working for the Harris Poll night shift...I was reveling in the early summer scent of the spice bushes in the East Village View apartment complex between Ist Ave and Ave A...if you know the East Village, that's where East 5th St gets disjointed... My block was between Ave A and B...I lived on the corner of Ave B and East 5th for 25 years. But that night was particularly sweet to quiet, so calm....East 5th between A and B...which is a little cul de sac...was a hotbed of the heroin business. My life was dealing every day with the dealers, and the customers...many of whom were people I had to deal with on a professional owners, fellow musicians and (sob) people who I really considered friends.

So I saunter down East Fifth Street, enjoying a rare early summer scented night and go up to my aprartment...the top floor on Ave B and East 5th...I was sharing it with my buddy, unlock the door, and go to turn on the light...and voices start hissing..."hey man, don't turn on the lights! get down!" It was 3 am or so and my buddy John and his friend, Bob from Florida were still awake....It seemed that there had been a major shoot out with a Dominican Heroin Dealing Gang and one of their agents...who I knew...who had absconded with over 50.000 bucks of daily profits...they were blasting on the roof tops and shooting windows...the cops wouldn't even get was over when I got home...the perpetrator, actually got away with the money and his family intact...that;s just pone of my stories from the naked city.....

bj said...

"There are eight million stories .. in The Naked City ... this has been one of them!" And a GOOD'ern, too! I don't remember that SPOT, exactly ... but The Village(Greenwich) was where WE went to ... uhhh ... sell blood to purchase medications, as well. Never got ripped off, never had a problem and fer SHURE, never heard gunfire! Great story!

steven barbour said...

Pat, I enjoyed reading.g your blog regarding this topic. Only thing I can say is that times have changed, A lot since the era you wrote about. You have known me since I was a small child and I have neared witness to this change as it happened. Crimes in general are more violent and rampant than they used to be. People are dealing with bad economic times and when people are down and.out they usually result to dramatic courses of action. Couple that with an over abundance of abusers trying to do whatever it takes to get their next fix too.

Growing up my dad never owned any guns or weapons so I wasn't raised "That way", I learned to fight my battles like a true man would, and have no problem admitting I wasn't always on the winning sides of those said altercations either. But as a father myself now, in this day in age, I do have a personal assault rifle and a pistol. Label me however you seem fit but I for one will be ready to defend myself, my family and homestead if I should have to. I think most people own their Weapons out of fear of becoming a victim anymore. In the world we live in now it it too dangerous to just Knuckle Up with someone with fear of being stabbed or shot.

As for what happened to my fellow veteran, that was just a tragic event. Chris was trying to help this fellow soldier who was suffering and had shown signs of doing harm. What a civilian wouldn't know is that soldiers try to help each other out. Yes they were at a range and were shooting, but I for one know that there is no better relief of stress than being at the range with your battle buddies, talking, hashing issues out and putting lead down range. I know from experience. I took suffer/suffered fro. PTSD. I wouldn't allow the VA to diagnose me with it for it would keep me from further deployments. I'm sure that had a lot to do with the demise of my marriage as well. Some things can't be saved though.

When it comes to the crazy ass people who are shooting up schools and such, they have underlying issues that have been in play for long before they snap. These are issues that have been ignored or looked over for a deal of time. And just like an animal that is backed into a corner and feels threatened, they lash out too.

microdot said...

Steve, I tried to tell you how much I appreciated your comment. I tried to show the diference between an unavoidable, tragic event and something that to me is social phenomena, the exploitation and cultivation of paranoia for profit.
The world I describe, NYC in the early 80's was much more palpably dangerous than most inner city neighborhoods in America today. The cops would not even come onto my block....but I refuse to play into the paranoia meme. I never needed a gun, I don't need a gun. You might feel that you need guns, but I don't have a problem with that. That's not what this post was about. It's the idiot, manic paranoiac plague that seems to be spreading in America...people who have to carry guns on the street just to go into a mall and the paranoid insanity that festers with the obsession. Yes, there are crazy dudes who plan out mass murders...and commit them with the freedom of no back ground checks and the ease of acquiring arsenals. We know that, but then there are the dudes who snap and kill someone who pisses them off in a fast food llne or a jerk like Farago in my piece who feels he himself is the thin red line....a tragic asshole if you ask me, a fucking timebomb of self induced paranoid fear ticking. I think in many ways, our opinions are in line with each other...