FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up

“He would get mad if things weren’t his way.  But (his mother) always had him in control.”

— a neighbor about the Umpqua, Oregon assassin

I’m not a Scientologist but there are times when I wish all the TV shrinks would zip it up whenever a “mass casualty” incident happens like Roseburg, Oregon’s Umpqua community college massacre.  The therapeutic clichés keep pouring out of their ever-ready mouths, muddying the waters and piling up nonsense.

Here they come so easily spouted: “psychopath”, “sociopath”, “lack of empathy”, “abusive childhood”, “mental health disorder”, “schizophrenic”, “social and sexual reject”, “anxiety and depressive disorder”, “bipolar”, “dissociative disorder”, Donald Trump’s all-purpose “mental illness”, and my own favorite, “sick and twisted”.

Or we can relax with the brilliant diagnosis of forensic psychiatrist on TV Dr. Louis Schlesinger,  “People who commit mass murder are obviously not doing well.”  Thanks, doc.

The above pseudo-medical labels cover about half the U.S. population who at one time in our lives will deserve a psychiatric diagnosis.

The Archie Bunker in me, never far from the surface, says: the gunman in these school shootings is a frustrated punk who got his hands on a weapon.  That’s it.  Nothing fancy.  Chris Harper-Mercer, the Oregon shooter, strolls into a gun shop and slaps down his credit card and in no time, because he doesn’t have a rap sheet and probably it wouldn’t matter, at least 18 people get slammed with Glock or AR15 bullets, and nine die.  Easy as pie.

Once you’re in charge of a weapon reason flies out the window.  I became a different, swaggering person when I carried a military .45 on my hip.  After yet another school massacre the “why?” is almost irrelevant.  Elliott Rodger in Santa Barbara can’t find a date, Robert Flores in Arizona is depressed over flunking out, Seung-Hui Cho shoots 32 people at Virginia Tech because he doesn’t like “rich people”, Dylann Roof  at the Charlestown church massacre out of 100% pure race hatred, Fred Davis at San Diego State fears his professors will reject his graduate thesis, and so on.

Two years ago John Zawahri, “troubled by mental health challenges”, kills five people with a self-made AR15 in and around the Santa Monica school my son attended; Zawahri leaves a long letter nobody can interpret.  They love writing suicide notes that would get them an ‘F’ in class.

Looking for a pattern?  Many multiple school assassins are from “broken” homes, which is easy to do since half of all American marriages end up in divorce, and about a quarter of families are single parent like Laurel Mercer’s.

As night follows day the next cliché rolls out: “gun control”.  A platitude without teeth.  How about making high capacity mags illegal, prison time without parole for gunshop owners, bullet rationing, gun shows banned, a few little things like that?

If Jonathan Swift, the 18th century clergyman-satirist, was alive today he’d also insist on “parent control”, to burn enablers at the stake.  Or at least make them suffer the torment of yet another pseudo-psychological diagnosis.  Who was minding the store when Chris Mercer assembled 14 weapons, including a $700 rifle, plus body armor and high capacity magazines?  Not Laurel Mercer whose Facebook page supports “open carry” laws.   “And when the mood strikes…I sling an AR, Tek-9 or AK over my shoulder, or holster a Glock 21 (not 22), or one of my other handguns, like the Sig Sauer P226, and walk out the door. I find the shotguns are a little too cumbersome to open carry.”  Some mama.

And what about “media control”?  It’s a dead cert that some killings are copycat absorbed from over-the-top televised coverage.  (We know this is true from Mercer’s website.)  Unconstitutionally, why not limit reporting a major incident only to local media but censor to zero national coverage with its inflammatory images.  Whoops, there go the network ratings.

Best of all, the “Australian option”.  After a series of 1980s massacres, the federal government, led by Liberal (i.e. conservative) John Howard and backed by public opinion, cajoled each Australian state government to abide by the 1996 NATIONAL FIREARMS AGREEMENT that restricted almost all civilian guns, including imitations, as “prohibited weapons”.   Licensed guns may hold a maximum of 10 rounds only.  Air pistols were as hard to get as prohibited guns.  All semi-automatics and pump action shotguns were banned.  The laws were accompanied by a buy-back scheme which CUT THE RISK OF DYING BY GUNSHOT BY OVER 50%.   Introducing uniform gun laws, prime minister Howard said, “We do not want the American disease imported into Australia.”

Australia like us has its violent, gun-riddled “wild west” frontier history.   It’s definitely not a non violent nation.  Ever watched a riotous game of “Australian Rules Football”?  No player leaves the ground unless they’re bleeding to death.

Australians still kill one another.  But, mercifully, fewer.

P.S. Want to know exactly how American assassins get their weapons?  Slate’s Christine Cauterucci and Greta Weber did the legwork.

More articles by:

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset

September 26, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Time to Wake Up: the Neoliberal Order is Dying 
David J. Detmer
History Distorted: Sam Wineberg’s Critique of Howard Zinn
Robert Hunziker
An Unforeseen Climate Beast Awakens!
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Many More Women Are There?
Jörg Wiegratz
The Age of Fraud: the Link Between Capitalism and Profiteering by Deception
John Kendall Hawkins
Now There’s a Wall Between Us, Something There’s Been Lost…
William Kaufman
Brett Kavanaugh’s Wayward Penis: A New Twist
Michael Welton
A Wake-Up Call to the Canadian Left
Patrick Irelan
Brett Goes to School 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
All Wars Are Illegal, Let’s Act!
Dean Baker
Robots, China and the Failure of Economics Reporters
Matthew Johnson
Cancel Kavanaugh
Rohullah Naderi – Rustam Ali Seerat
The Option of Self-Defense for Hazaras
September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail