#ElPaso. #Dayton. A fucking garlic festival. It's been a (yet another) bloody week in America. And yet despite the death toll, the @GOP is once again deflecting the conversations we NEED to have about guns and white nationalism to video games and mental illness.
As a combat veteran, someone who loves video games, and someone suffering from mental illness, I have a LOT to say about this. So buckle the fuck up. I don't have time to fucking sugar coat anything.
I'm a former Marine. I saw some pretty nasty fuckin' shit in Fallujah '04. We all did. I earned my combat action ribbon through numerous firefights and patrols in Fallujah, Mahmoudiyah, Zaidan, and Ramadi. Almost died for it.
I'm also not an "anti-gun vet". I'm a "pro-sensible gun control, anti-fucking irresponsible fools like Kaitlin Bennett owning guns" vet. I wrote an article for
@Polygon about firearms you should read: polygon.com/2018/3/21/1713…
I'm also an expert marksman, like any Marine worth his salt. Here I am at the range, displaying proper form and range safety protocol (headshot was because Vicki challenged me). As you can see, I know my way around weapons, and I will speak as such.
I'm also someone keenly familiar with mental illness. I've suffered from severe generalized anxiety my entire life. I also suffer from OCD and I've struggled with PTSD. From guns to mental health, I know what the hell I'm talking about.

Let's address guns first.
There's an estimated 640 million civilian-owned guns worldwide. The U.S. accounts for almost HALF. That's roughly 89 guns per people. The second closest? Yemen, which is in a perpetual state of civil war and unrest.

55 guns per person.

This is a fact.
The U.S. makes up less than 5% of the world population, but guess what? We account for 31% of global mass shooters. There are more public mass shootings in America than in any other country in the world.

This is a fact.
The gun homicide rate is 25 times higher here than in countries with comparable income. In the U.S., civilians are 50 times more likely to be killed by gunfire than people in the UK. We have one of the highest rates of death by firearm in the developed world.

This is a fact.
And look, when I say we worship guns, I mean literally. Look at this fucking shit. In what world is this considered normal, perfectly healthy behavior?

This is a fact.
Australia banned guns in 1996. They haven't had a single mass shooting since. I'm not saying we ban them all. I'm saying we treat guns as what they are: instruments of death which should be difficult as fucking hell to obtain.
After all, that is the sole purpose of a gun. To end life. Whether human or animal, a gun's sole function is to deal death. That's not something to fuck around with or play fast and loose over.
It's not an artifact. It's not a status symbol. It's not something to make you feel badass or powerful. It's not something for a spoiled, privileged child to pose with on Twitter, especially when you clearly don't respect the weapon or it's purpose for being.
Look at that picture a few posts up one more time. Take a good, hard look. The @GOP constantly tells you "the Democrats took God out". But, we didn't. You did. Just look. It's right there.

You worship death now.

That is a fact.

Now let's talk about mental health.
Because there's the stigma that mental illness causes gun violence. That's bullshit. The mentally ill are far more likely to be victims. Again, let's look at actual numbers.
Those with mental illness account for less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides, including mass shootings. Also, the mentally ill account for just 3-5% of overall violence in the US, much lower than the prevalence of mental illness in the overall population of the country.
1 in 4 people in the U.S. deal with some form of mental illness, be it GAD, bipolar disorder, depressions, PTSD, etc. Go out on the street and count em up. Every fourth person suffers. I am too familiar with this pain, and I am painfully familiar with how stigmatized they are.
Roughly 40 million adults in the United States suffer like I do, yet only 39% of them recieve treatment. That's much less than half. Most of them live within a prison of misery, constantly feeling alone and vilified by a society that doesn't (or refuses) to understand them.
I suffer from mental illness and I am not ashamed. I am not violent, nor am I a danger to society. Neither are you, if you're one of us. Don't let anyone say otherwise. It's bad enough that we have to live with this, and this tired stigma hanging over our heads isn't helping.
If you DON'T suffer from mental illness, it's time to understand your loved ones who do. Because I guarantee you have them, even if you don't know it. It's time to show empathy and care, not fear and pointed fingers. Get them help. Get them treatment. They're suffering.
If YOU suffer from mental illness like I do, take care of yourself. Talk to a licensed therapist. Talk to a suicide counselor. Get into CBT. Get medication. Find ways to practice self-care. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to me, because I care deeply about you.
Enough stigmatization. Your mentally ill loved ones need your care and compassion. WE need your care and compassion, not fear and judgment.

There.

Is.

Nothing.

Wrong.

With.

Us.

I promise :)

It's ok to not be ok, everyone.
It's not video games. Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia etc. All filled with video games. This shit doesn't happen there. Know what they're NOT full of? Guns. Look at this fucking picture again and tell me we don't have a problem with firearms. LOOK AT THIS SHIT.
No good guy with a fucking gun prevents massacres, they only stop the body count from getting higher. To PREVENT massacres we need sensible fucking gun legislation. We need to stop blaming games and the mentally ill. We aren't the fucking problem. Stop putting this shit on us.
I'm probably just screaming into the wind. At this point I don't really think the country can recover from what the GOP has done to us. We're on the verge of being a failed fucking state.

Are we beyond saving?
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