Friday, October 2, 2015

On Mass Shootings: Scapegoats and the Manipulation of the Public

On Mass Shootings: Scapegoats and the Manipulation of the Public

Part One: Fearing for Neurodivergence

I sit in a coffee shop. The headlines on the newspaper stand are all the UCC mass shooting. I am afraid to go near them. I am afraid to move like I usually do. I am afraid to twitch and jiggle my legs and duck my head like I usually do.

I worry about other people with disabilities and mental illnesses that will look too “weird” and “suspicious” in public today. I fear the police for them, especially if they are of color. Apart from the police, there are other looming threats against people who are visibly neurodivergent. We have a psychiatric system built on the recognition of “weird” and “suspicious” behaviors. Our behaviors are pathologized. Our behaviors scare people.

Really, what appears so dangerous to the public as the unexplained and sometimes disruptive?

Sit... listen... imagine what it would be like if people blamed people who shared a major characteristic with you for every mass shooting, en masse. Imagine.

Part Two: Excuses

So many of the mass shooters that make the media are white. Many openly publish manifestos on their blogs or whatever platform they choose. Then everyone blames mental illness/neurodivergence. It is easier to blame us for society's mishaps than to admit the problem is racism, misogyny, or what have you. It is easier to take a marginalized population, many of whom are vulnerable, and exploit us and try to get more of us locked away and stripped of rights than to address the virulent culture of racism and misogyny. (I'm looking at the media... and laypeople... and President Obama... and Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA).

Someone I know said they are “far less afraid of mental illness than violent, narcissistic entitlement.” The root of mass shootings is societal ills rather than mental illnesses. Mass shooters shoot out of a massive sense of entitlement which society creates. Then society blames us. There are differences between belief systems that enable someone to shoot ten people than mental illness.

Part Three: The Murphy Bill's False Solutions

The Murphy Bill took advantage of Sandy Hook. It took advantage of a fearful society and exploited them and us mentally ill folks.

I will post a transcription of the Autistic Self Advocacy's document on the Murphy Bill, along with an image of the document below, and I urge to you write/call to your Congresspeople against this, and spread the word. On October 7, 2015, there will be a social media push against the Murphy Bill.

"Why Your Member of Congress Should Oppose HR. 3717 
*Note: now HR 2646

After the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced HR. 3717, legislation designed to take advantage of media associations inaccurately linking mental health and violent crime to rollback civil rights protections of people with psychiatric disabilities. It is intended to completely change the current state of mental health services to make it easier to forcibly treat people with psychiatric disabilities, expand institutionalization and reduce privacy rights and legal protections. Here are some talking points you can use when speaking with your congressional offices about why they should oppose HR. 3717:
The bill would reduce privacy protections for both people with mental illnesses and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The bill allows disclosure of confidential psychological and psychiatric information to family and caregivers in additional circumstances to those already defined in current privacy laws. Right now, doctors and therapists can give confidential health and mental health information to family and caregivers in emergency situations or if they have permission from the person getting treatment. The bill would allow doctors and therapists to give confidential health and mental health information to family and caregivers even without permission and without emergency circumstances.
The bill also allows for greater influence from family and caregivers, including forcing involuntary medication and institutionalization.
The bill will provide federal government funding for more institutionalization. This will mean less money is available for other community-based services. The bill will also cut the budget for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s community integration projects to a little over a third of what it is now.
The bill would also require all states to create programs that allow judges to order people to take psychiatric medications that they do not want to take. The best way to help people get mental health treatment is to make it available and give people support, not to get the courts involved.
Legal Protections
The bill takes away many legal protections available to people with mental illnesses through the Protection and Advocacy program, which is the largest and most accessible program for legal services for people with disabilities. Over 80% of the funds for Protection and Advocacy for people with psychiatric disabilities would be taken away.
The bill establishes an unnecessary assistant secretary position to oversee the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration which would be financially supported by a portion of the budget allocated to supports for people with mental illnesses.”