Tragedy Archive

Don’t believe me?  I have a copy of the US Constitution sitting right here.  It does mention guns, but certainly not assault weapons of that caliber.  Oh wait, they didn’t have assault weapons of that caliber back then.  Back when our founding fathers were giving you the right to own a gun they used the musket and its attached bayonet, the rifle, and the pistol.  Now, muskets, of the three, were faster than the rifle to load, and about as fast as the pistol, but I don’t have the exact numbers on the pistol, so we’ll go with the generous numbers of the musket.  Muskets could be fired as fast as every 15 seconds, or 45 shots per minute.  The AR-15 shoots 25 rounds in 2.5 seconds.  Then you have to reload, which takes, I don’t know a minute or two, depends on if you’re going into this super prepared or not, and then another 25 rounds in 2.5 seconds.  Without calculating reloading, that’s 600 rounds per minute.  That technology… do you think the founding fathers were nodding yes to that when they gave us the right to own guns?  If they had the weaponry back then that we have today, they would have started with gun control.  But 200 years ago people weren’t taking 600 rounds a minute into schools and taverns with the intent of causing harm for the sake of causing harm.  Because that’s what this is about.  This isn’t about taking your hunting rifle away from you.  This isn’t even about taking your pistol away from you.  This is about taking deadly massive shooting assault weapons out of the hand of the general public.  Because owning an AR-15 Assault Rifle isn’t a civil right.




There is also a conversation to be had about who should be allowed to own guns but frankly, I’m to heart sick for it.  I will say this, though.  If access to mental health care was as easy as access to guns in the US, this might have been a happier month.

Be the first to comment

No Return

Posted May 15, 2013 By kmarrs

When I was a freshman in high school, so roughly 15, I had an online friend, whom was depressed.  Suicidal.  I knew this.

One night I sat and read his plan as he typed it to me over ICQ or Yahoo, whatever we were using at the time.  This was 15 years ago.  I read his anguish and what he intended to do about it.  I knew it was coming that night, that hour.  So I started him talking.  Anything to keep him talking.  I gained ground, and I lost it.  I’d gain more, but I’d lose twice as much.  That’s what it’s like when someone isn’t just wishing life away but putting a plan into motion.

I kept him going for an hour or so.  Maybe it was far less.  Maybe it was more like 3.  This was half my life ago and in moments like this, time doesn’t progress normally anyway.  But we talked a lifetime away as I kept him talking right up until he couldn’t type anymore.  And I continued to type to him knowing full well it was too late, he was at that point of no return.  He was already gone.

I had it confirmed, I don’t even know how much later, by his younger brother.

My life was never the same after that night.

I suppose that’s why, so many years later, I can’t just walk away.  It may not be my personal problem, but it’s someone’s problem.  Someone’s friend.  Someone’s son or daughter.  The love of someone’s life, whether they can see it or not.  And maybe for whatever reason, they can’t be the one there keeping them talking.

But I’d like to think that if I hadn’t been available on that fateful night, someone else would have been.  Maybe they could have done better, maybe I got further than anyone could have.  Just as long as he wasn’t alone in his final moments, even if I was an ocean away.

And so no, I can’t walk away.  It doesn’t matter if you are a total stranger.  Someone who knows you and loves you will always be grateful for the heart I put into gaining ground in keeping your life intact.

I told my father the day after it happened.  Knowing full well he was gone, did we have any means of confirming it?  But this person I cried for the night before was an ocean away, and I didn’t even know for sure where.  Technology was much the same then in the sense of talking to people around the world, but unlike today, there was no Facebook or twitter making it possible to narrow down where a lost life might be found so police could be called.

I still think of him time to time.  I don’t remember his name.  Too many years have passed and I’m not good with that aspect  of my memory.  Yet I will never forget, until my own dying days, that feeling I was left with when all was said and done.

And if in my life I can prevent that feeling for anyone else, then I will fight to make it so.

Because you don’t have to love someone to feel that hole of a life lost.

You’d be surprised who can care about you and how.

And no one is better off when anyone is gone.

5 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

The Good Outnumber You

Posted April 16, 2013 By kmarrs

I wasn’t going to post today.  But sometimes life just needs commenting on.  So here, with only this as comment, is something I can stand behind.  Regular programming tomorrow.


Be the first to comment

Words of Another

Posted December 20, 2012 By kmarrs

My husband shared with me recently, something a friend of his had written and posted on Facebook that he had been moved by.  After reading it I agreed that I too was moved.  Traci’s message being my message, my message being Traci’s message.  So here are Traci’s words, directly off her wall, in all their eloquence, posted here with her consent.  Sometimes just knowing people with mental health issues is enough to allow you to know how rough we have it.

I had been staying away from the school shooting conversation. It’s too much…too tragic…too many emotions to try to muddle through to argue.

But yesterday, I heard sensible people, normally very compassionate and understanding, say terribly insensitive things in response to the tragedy. The discussion was about the mentally ill and even though “they were terrible, they should throw people like him into old fashioned asylums.”

Now I know people are looking to place blame. Moreover, I think they are wanting to see someone suffer to bring some kind balance their idea of justice. But I want to talk about mental illness and why situations like these are extremely dangerous to the mental illness community.

When we as a society look at such tragedy, we want a reason, an explanation that is easy to understand. We want something that we can fix so that there is a sense that this type of sadness can be prevented. But when I read the multitude of articles written about closer scrutiny on persons living with mental illness it clearly illustrates a great lack of understanding of those people’s lives.

From the very few articles I’ve been able to find, the shooter from the Sandy Hook Elementary school had no official diagnosis of mental illness. I omit his name, because I want to avoid glorifying this man by such a dreadful act.
From Huffington Post’s Dr. Harold Koplewicz’s article posted 12/17:

“Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped extensive speculation that [he] had Asperger’s disorder, or a personality disorder, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder. Much has been made of the reports that [he] was a smart but quiet kid who carried a briefcase to class instead of a backpack and felt at home with computers, perhaps more so than with his peers. By themselves these traits do not indicate any diagnosis at all, although we have been quick to dissect them in the search for meaning.”

Let me make this abundantly clear, for someone to do what he did, one has to be unbalanced. Your understanding of reality and what is right and wrong have to, in some way, become detached. That break in reality has to be there to do such a terrible thing. But that kind of mental break is not my reason for posting.

To turn the blame away from the person themselves onto an entire community of people with chemical imbalances is staggeringly dangerous. Every morning, thousands of people wake, go throughout their days, work, study, and live productive lives. They experience joy and sadness and confusion and beauty and they work to maintain balance in their lives.

The shooter last week, according to quotes from those who knew him, showed little warning signs aside from social awkwardness. So could this have been detected or prevented? For the average mental health consumer, finding assistance when they need it is often difficult. Our psychologists, therapists and counselors are often overbooked. For a person in need, to see a mental health professional can take weeks. The best option for many who are without a therapist is to have themselves admitted into an inpatient clinic. And having the foresight to get help when it is desperate can be a challenge.

So then what can we do to help our friends and loved ones? We aren’t helpless.

Well first off, listening can be an invaluable gift to someone in need. Being there to listen and let someone vent or have a safe place to come and explain what they are going through can be the support they need to get through a tough patch, Also, being conscious of their needs, their moods and being able to communicate if you notice a change.

Additionally, education can empower you to inform yourself about mental illness, the signs and concerns to be mindful of to help avoid any tragedy. Many advocacy groups and websites offer classes and provide booklets to help explain mental illness in easy to understand format.

But most importantly, knowing what resources are available can save lives. Advocacy groups and support channels are out there, not only for the consumers of mental healthcare, but also for their support and family members. – NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness has a great number of resources for individuals and their families. – The website for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, the number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – National Institute of Mental Illness
Please be open to reaching out to people instead of fear. Open your arms and hearts, give support instead of anger and you could save the life of someone you love and who knows how many else.

Traci, I’d like to thank you for not only what you had to say, but for allowing me to borrow your words and post them here for my community.

Be the first to comment


Posted December 15, 2012 By kmarrs

This is what Morgan Freeman has to say about the shooting on Friday.  He has it so very right. (Edit: turns out it isn’t Mr. Freeman. All very right.)

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.”

In so many cases this is the truth.

We all can name Osama Bin Laden.  We could all pick him out of a lineup, if he hadn’t been found.  Name one of his victims.  Sure many people can.  Many people are related to one.  But that many are not the majority.

Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Columbine, Aurora, The Unabomber, Jeffrey Dahmer, Jack the Ripper

Name one victim for each, off the top of your head.  Using Google is cheating.

But the men behind the horror?  Are men of legend.  Not positive legend, mind you.  But still, legend.

And going back to what I posted earlier and Mr. Freeman finished with, tell me about the mental health of everyone named above.

Be the first to comment

This is a Mental Health Issue

Posted December 15, 2012 By kmarrs

I remember when I learned about Columbine.  I was sitting in my living room, about 15 years old, in High school myself, when Total Request Live with Carson Daily was interrupted for breaking news.  I sat there in shock, horror and awe.

As I finished through high school, shootings weren’t common, but they were a thing.  As I’ve gotten older and become a parent, I’ve always worried.

But I also always figured I had until at least my kids were in middle school before I had to lose sleep over it with my own babies in mind.

Friday’s news changed that.

I watched my twitter stream in horror, shock and awe.  I clicked news page after news page, from my chair at work, hurting that I couldn’t wrap my arms around my babies then and there, refusing to ever let go.

And then I got angry.  Sure I’m angry at the shooter, but I’m also angry at some of the reactions I’ve seen.  Mothers, fathers, self proclaimed experts calling for this and that.  Gun control.  GUN CONTROL!  Their child’s safety is far more important than your access to guns.  Yes, yes it is, but…

Alright, I am all for gun control and regulation.  I don’t know the current laws, but I’d actually be pleased to hear that with my list of mental issues I’m banned from every purchasing one.  I have been locked away for being suicidal after all.  Twice.

But this isn’t a gun control issue.  Say there were no guns ever.  There would still be knives, swords, crowbars, etc.

Clique but: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  And this kid wanted to kill.

This kid killed his mother who taught at the school.  I’m no shrink but with the majority of his victims being her students, if I had to give a guess I’d say this is a mental issue stemming from jealously of perceived, “She loves them more than me!”  She wasn’t even in the school at the time.  He went out of his way.  He had a grudge against those children.  Those 5-10 year-olds.  They didn’t have it coming but he sure thought they did.

The real issue.  The real reform needed isn’t gun control, it’s mental health reform.

Too many view mental health help as a luxury, a privilege, and a bartering tool on the floor of our nation’s capital.  But that only works if ignored mental health issues and cries for help don’t lead to senseless, mass, tragic violence.

Mental health reform starts with having therapy, just someone to talk to when stressed, or sad, being a common practice.  Yes I think everyone should have a therapist, even if they don’t visit them even monthly.  And these visits should maybe even enforced when there is a clear sign that someone might actually need it.  It can’t be a matter of can someone afford it.  It can’t hold stigma.  It can’t be viewed as something to vote on or barter over.

When you ignore mental health issues you later read about them in the news.  You see it on live TV.  You lose people all too early in movie theaters, shopping malls, and now apparently elementary schools.

Can every shooting be avoided?  No.  There are crimes of passion.  There is no predicting for Ned walking in on his wife Nancy in bed with his best friend Jim.

However, you can’t tell me that the people behind these horrendous crimes don’t have issues beyond having access to too many guns.

When you barter with mental health, you barter with lives.

Be the first to comment