August 3, 2012
Exclusive to STR
Dear Naomi Wolf,
I read your article about the Aurora theater shootings.
While I have enjoyed a lot of your work in the past, I must say that I believe you have missed the boat with this one. It seems to run counter to your normal tendencies of questioning government tyranny. It’s also not very realistic.
For one thing, I think you are over-doing it. Yes, 12 people died. But let’s face it, you care no more about these deaths than our Murderer-in-Chief Obama did when he shed his crocodile tears about them. This is normal; we care about those around us. It’s impossible to invest our emotional reserves into everyone on this planet.
Every day in this country, about 7,000 people die (if my calculations are correct — 160,000 per day in the entire world). Admittedly, most die in a manner less newsworthy and spectacular than these twelve, but they were no less important to the people around them. Their lives had just as much value to themselves. Why are these twelve somehow more important than the 7,000 who die daily? Why more important than our own death, which all people must face some day?
Is it that you worry about the American reputation? But why? Isn’t our reputation infinitely more harmed by droning innocents in Pakistan and killing thousands (official government policy) in Iraq and occupying multiple countries for the purpose of installing puppet regimes and plundering oil?
You write, “But surely there can be a balance between Second Amendment rights and rational constraints on the ability of mentally unstable people to accumulate arsenals.” It’s already illegal for crazy people to own guns. Holmes was on no one’s radar screens, even though he was getting some kind of psychiatric care. What filter are you going to devise to capture the rare Holmes, that does not make more difficult legitimate defense? Imagine a woman suffering in a worsening abusive relationship. She’s already in an abnormal mental state due to the long-term stress and punishment. Do you really want to make it harder for her to qualify as “acceptable” (in some heartless bureaucrat’s eyes) for owning a means of defense? Are all people at the level of care Holmes was receiving to be disarmed and made defenseless? Isn’t there a cost in lives to that as well?
There is a reason gun owners call “gun control” by the somewhat less euphemistic term, “victim disarmament.”
You write, “Medication manages such psychotic symptoms,” in advocating more mental health spending. Such trust in government institutions is astounding, given your background. Are you that sure that the same sorts of sociopathic tendencies and empire-building so rampant in our military-industrial complex and in the police state, do not also occur in medical and pharmaceutical institutions? Are you not aware that virtually every mass shooter in recent history was already under medication with psychotropic drugs?
With 270 million guns in this country and sales shooting through the roof (rightly so, given the economic disaster on the horizon), crazy people will always have access to firearms if they want it. That is a given. Gun prohibitionists have not made their case to gun owners, so reductions in that number are not happening voluntarily. And doing it non-voluntarily will enhance the police state you rightly decry and cause huge numbers of deaths in the civil war that would result.
The answers are not more drugs and health care and dependence on self-serving institutions. The answer is more decent, armed people in theaters so the rare Holmes can be taken out if need be, just as happened with other incipient massacres in the past. The answer is to not let yourself be manipulated by scheming politicians over statistically rare events (“hard cases make bad law”). The answer is to stop fearing. “Man up,” so to speak.