By Sam Duval - Cofer
The topic of this blog post is death. Sorry for the somber subject of discussion. However, I wanted to know more about the phenomenon that links us as human beings more than anything else. More than the air in our lungs, or the beats that rattle our hearts, it’s the silence that overtakes all of that at the end. Today, I discovered I lost a friend. Not too sure how to deal, when you’ve lost someone that’s meant a lot to you that you never realized meant a lot to you until they were irrevocably gone…vanished from existence and all your left with is this transcendental feeling of where did they go and can I go to? Why are you leaving me here? Have these questions ever crossed your mind?
To keep my mind from getting stuck, I wrote these words of remembrance to honor my friend. Hoping it would bring me some solace, some comfort, some understanding.
ODE TO KEITH
What’s in a friend?
A friend is one who makes you smile;
Who makes you laugh?
Who stays in your heart,
And defends on your behalf.
They don’t tickle your fancy
No, not one bit
They give you the Truth
Even when you don’t ask for it
They inspire you to do better
And be better
To continue on with all your might
If you fall, dust yourself off
FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Your special skills
Cannot go unnoticed
You’re a trailblazer, a gem,
a diamond in the rough, the flotus
How will we ever go on
Without your unique, quirky charm?
You came and went so quickly
And broke down all alarms
We shed our tears,
And said our goodbyes
Now all we have left are great memories,
Smiles, laughs, and good time highs.
Goodbye Keith Andrew Granit RIP
By Travis Bright
In the Midwest United States there has been a lot of tornadoes that have torn through and it is moving eastward. There has also been three dozen wildfires in Oklahoma. There were also powerlines pulled down due to the winds. We are also supposed to be getting at least six inches of snow tomorrow.
By Kerri Zeblisky
I read this interesting article on gun violence from Huffington post on February 21. Josh Horwitz, who is the Executive Director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. It was very informative on how we can stop gun violence without blaming people who live with mental illness. He first stated that in the past that anyone with mental illness should be prohibited from ever owning firearms. He then changed his views when the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre happened and admitted that much of what he thought on mental illness turned out to be wrong.
Josh looked into research for his facts on mental illness and found evidence based research for his facts. He found out in his research that many people living with mental illness do not use guns for violence and that mentally ill people are most likely to be victims of violence rather than the perpetrators. He also found out that the gun violence prevention movement focuses less on suicide prevention because nearly 2/3 of all gun related deaths are from suicide. I believe if you want to prevent gun violence it should include all gun violence since the biggest part of it is self-inflicted (as in suicide).
Also the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a rule that prohibits those who live with mental illness that have a representative payee to not be able to own a gun. This is misleading because I have a representative payee. A representative payee is put in place for the reason of poor spending or money management only! It doesn’t speak to the character or habits of the person with a representative payee. It tells us nothing if said person is violent or not. Thankfully congress did vote to repeal this rule. The issue with this bill is that mental illness isn’t a precursor to violence, it just feeds into the myth that all people who live with mental illness are violent.
Thankfully in California they have a policy that prevents dangerous people from owning or possessing firearms without stigmatizing people with mental illness. The policy is Gun Violence Restraining Order or GVRO. The GVRO allows family or law enforcement officials to petition a judge to temporary remove firearms from an individual in crisis. It’s more effective because it focuses on behavioral risk factors then just mental health alone. It gives loved ones the tools and ability to get help for a family member in a crisis.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) found the former SSA law troubling. Not for the reason that they want to end discrimination or stigmatizing those with mental illness, but because in the end they want everyone to be allowed to own firearms no matter who they are. It doesn’t matter who they are even if they have a history of violence or how they got their weapons. The NRA and congress doesn’t care about protecting the rights of people with mental illness because they want to exploit them. Controversially, they will be quick to point out when a gun tragedy occurs to blame it on people with mental illness. At the same time they want every citizen to be able to have access to firearms. The NRA and congress don’t care to look at the hard facts on gun violence. They need to look at individuals with a history of violence or those with substance abuse.
So bringing it back to Horwitz, we need to create effective data-driven laws. This doesn’t mean we use mental illness as a scapegoat. We are quick to point out the immigration ban, but we need to treat mental illness the same way. Religion or national origin isn’t an indicator to violence. Just as people don’t get to choose to be mentally ill or choose where they are born.
Blog posts are written by Shore House members and staff.