Crazy for the Gun

gun shadowAlthough I am not a psych nurse, being more comfortable with diabetes than delusions, all nurses see mental illness up close and personal. Mental illness is neither uncommon nor separate from physical illness. People with conditions like schizophrenia are not necessarily acting much different from the rest of us, especially if they are getting effective treatment. Whether we know it or not, all of us know people who are dealing with serious mental health challenges.

People who are truly disengaged from reality may do things that are self-injurious and have no gain or rationale that others can understand.

In my urban neighborhood there are people who wander our streets in their own purgatory. A family member is lost to us, out of contact. Mental illness causes immense suffering and it’s a shame that it’s used as a slur or a joke.

It’s a disgrace that so many influential voices are using a cowardly attack on the mentally ill to avoid admitting that we all have a social disease. Worse, they prefer to deny and spread it around rather than come clean and seek a cure.

Different cultures have different kinds of crazy. During the European witchcraft hysteria of the 1400′s a book was published that warned men about penis-stealing witches- a belief that got a lot of women killed. Insane by our standards, but not in that society. Is The Hammer of Witches really so different from The Turner Diaries , a book that inspired racist mass-murderer Timothy McVeigh?

Does mental illness explain a pattern of crime where the perpetrators dress up, shout slogans and for the most part target the same kinds of people repeatedly? Does it explain why so many violent men seem to believe they are part of a community of right-thinking patriots? Does it excuse our leaders for failing to demand that anyone who wants to own a lethal weapon owes the rest of us some accountability?

Mental illness may explain the derelict masturbating in public on a park bench, but it does not explain the serial rapist. The kind of premeditated violence driven by hateful ideas is not only sick individuals and will not be solved by locking them up after the damage is done. There will only be more to replace them.

What is needed is a clear assessment of the cultural delusions that enable bigotry to hide in plain sight. A friend described the latest mass killer-

“I never heard him say anything, but just he had that kind of Southern pride, I guess some would say. Strong conservative beliefs,” he said. “He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that. You don’t really think of it like that.”

South Carolina still flies the Confederate flag at the statehouse. The governor expresses her regrets with care not to offend her supporters invested in denial about racism and guns.

America is gun-crazy. Every child grows up watching hundreds of dramas where guns bring power and respect, the bad guys are eventually out-shot and other ways to resolve conflict are ignored or disparaged. They don’t see the damage, the wounds that don’t heal, the bereavement that is never outlived. Nurses see that but it’s not entertaining and there’s no happy ending.

Mass shootings boost gun sales, fear is good for the industry.

A gun carries the magic power of every movie cowboy and TV hero. Having one demands a high level of responsibility and good judgment, or else the gun owner is no longer the ‘good man’ but a menace. In spite of this, any attempt to ‘well regulate’ our self-appointed militia is met with outrage. In the wake of many decades of political assassinations it’s an act of physical courage to stand up to the most extreme of the gun lobby.

Only 21 years old, and given one moment to turn away from atrocity-

Roof, 21, has told police that he “almost didn’t go through with it because everyone was so nice to him,” sources told NBC News.
And yet he decided he had to “go through with his mission.”

Why? Who gave him his mission? Who armed him? He had his problems but he was not some lost soul wandering aimlessly and hallucinating. He had a script and he was armed. The adults in his life enabled him to get a lethal weapon and no one thought his indoctrination into racism was a problem. When America is racist and gun crazy, how will we even know who is a threat? The problem is in plain sight but requires letting go of delusion.

Easier to blame mental illness and the disempowered people who struggle with it.

Image from Good Magazine.

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Tarot Daily Dot Decoder, May 14, 2015

statehouse dawnToday I arrive at age 60. Feels kind of strange, like too many lives behind me. It’s always been one day at a time but that feels more real now.

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Tarot Daily Dot Decoder, April 21, 2015

crocus bee copy

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Tarot Daily Dot Decoder, April 8, 2015

providence industrial roof photoshop

Wake up, Providence, it’s a sunny day. At least part of the day.

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Joy and Grief

People in my circle of friends are celebrating births, 4 babies in a week. Yesterday a little girl was run over by a bus- one awful moment of everything going wrong.

I drive up Smith St. every day to go to work, would have been there at that time if I had not stayed home sick. Life is conditional, so much out of our control. Perhaps it was wrongdoing, perhaps purely accident. Anyone who is a parent, who crosses a street, who gets behind the wheel can imagine themselves in this place.

Rain is falling on the corner, people will bring flowers, we share the grief, no one knows what the next moment will bring.

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Tarot Daily Dot Decoder, March 25, 2015


For what promises to be a warmer day, with the fierce North wind retreating and the South wind moving in, a poem from Greenhaven.

Invocation to the Sun in Glory
by Elizabeth Barrette

Sun Prince come,
Lord of the Waxing Year,
God of the Golden Ray!

Now we lay the sacred feast,
Now we sing the hymns of old,
Now we dance the ancient ways.

Apollo, Tammuz, Belos, Lugh –
Turn Your fair face towards us
And crown us with flowers.
Strike the harp
And play a merry tune.
Shower Your blessings on field and flock

And on all Your followers here.

He is come!
Behold the Sun in Glory!

Brighter days come first, eventually warmth returns. It’s been a long Winter, welcome Spring.

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Tarot Daily Dot Decoder, March 19, 2015

vernal eqinox 15

The March equinox happens at the same moment across the world but is converted to local time. In 2015, it falls on March 20 at 6:45 P.M.

That’s from
The Old Farmer’s Almanac
which is predicting warmer and drier than usual for South of Boston. I so want to believe, but I’ve given up on March and most of April. It’s supposed to snow on the first day of Spring.

The Moon Said This ~ A Poem
March 5, 2015 by Jenya T. Beachy

The moon said this

When she called me out

Out to where she could see me with her one bright eye

When she called me out

For forgetting our date

For not bringing flowers

For not telling her how beautiful she is

When she called me out

For inattention to her trickling silver over the Earth, touching her sister with fingers of light

For ignorance of her fine chorus of crickets, making a song of longing for each other

For insensitivity to her awakening tiny heartbeats in the grass of the night

The moon said this

When She called me out:

I forgive you

She said:

I forgive you

Jenya can be found at the Urban Pagan Homestead, where all the city witches hang out.

Image of constellations comes from Bob Moler, astronomer extraordinaire.

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Tarot Daily Dot Decoder, March 12, 2015

hummingbird feeder

Last year this conceptual landscape sculpture got started a little late. I think the artist imagined that vines and flowers would surge over the white scaffold like a green wave, but it was just some plants.

Might happen this summer, though, the framework is still there under the snow. Tonight is going to be below freezing, but Spring is inevitable and unstoppable.

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Tarot Daily Dot Decoder, March 10, 2015

comix 4

Playing with my tablet last night and downloaded the Amazon app. I might delete it, it’s just a shopping catalog and what I have on my Kindle is better for shopping for books. I pulled up ‘daily deal books’ and that’s how I found the new genre, ‘billionaire romance’. Virgins and billionaires are giving vampires a run for their money, or blood or whatever. Easy to see why bloodsucking capitalists and vampires are so interchangeable. I’m kind of torn between recognizing the futility of arguing with fantasy- and who am I to presume? But junk culture contains many true reflections of who we are.

Is better junk, wilder dreams the answer?

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Tarot Daily Dot Decoder, February 28, 2015

2 of wands

Today is the last day of the snowiest February on record, on the cusp of March. The Siberian Express is still running, and you don’t have to be a meteorologist to predict a late, chilly Spring and a cool Summer. At least people who wilt in the heat will enjoy fresh breezes in July.

The II of Wands is a card of enterprise and confidence. From Sally Gearhart and Susan Rennie, ‘A Feminist Tarot’-

A privileged woman with the power that position and expertise bestow upon her. The cold patriarchal mountains are not far away but neither is the water of emotionality. Both roses of desire and lilies of pure thought are common decorations in her home. She has the courage and confidence which come from learning and achieved status.

Audre Lorde said, ‘The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.’ A wise warning to all of us who work within a tilted and flawed system. On the other hand, you must use the tools you have.

Mahaghosananda said, ‘step by step’.

As we prepare for tomorrow’s snowstorm it almost requires an act of faith to believe that we’ll soon be walking barefoot in the sun on the very same ground that today is buried under piles of frozen white. But that’s how Spring happens, advance and retreat, step by step.

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