Yesterday, there were two very sad stories dealing with guns and mental health. The first was the ten-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings; the second was the suicide of Steven “tWitch” Boss.
Anniversary of Sandy Hook
Ten years ago, on December 14, 2012, a 20 year old kid named Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, and then went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed 27 more people, including 5 teachers and administrators and 22 kids (almost all of them in the 4th grade). Obama was President at the time. I remember thinking that if this doesn’t produce some actual gun reform, nothing ever will.
And nothing ever did.
In the aftermath of the shooting, nothing happened. No gun laws were changed. Nothing was done to protect students and teachers and schools. Instead, we got ludicrous ideas from NRA apologists, like that we should be “arming teachers” (as if they were a branch of law enforcement).
The solution is simple: ban the private sale of assault weapons.
We had a ban before, and it worked. It was allowed to expire, and things have been much worse ever since.
Republicans identify the completely unregulated sale of firearms with their political “freedoms.” In the United States, we now have 120 guns for every 100 people, which is more than any other country in the world. In fact, the next closest is Yemen (that’s right, Yemen!) — where they only happen to be fighting a civil war — where there are about 52 guns per one hundred people in the population.
Gun ownership has actually declined since the 1970s, but now there are far more guns in fewer hands: a study in 2017 showed that about half of US guns are owned by about 3% of the population. (That was before Americans launched a new gun-buying spree after 2020, based on the alleged fear that liberals were going to come and get their guns.)
I always laugh, by the way, when commentators intone about a school shooter that they “appeared” to have mental health problems.
The fucker just shot up a school!
You don’t shoot up a school if you don’t have mental health problems.
Or shoot up a black church or a Jewish temple or a gay nightclub.
Have you ever noticed that no black gunman shoots up an all-white church, no lone Jewish gunman shoots up a Christian church, no gay person shoots up a straight nightclub.
That shit only happens on one side of the ideological spectrum.
Steven “tWitch” Boss
Also yesterday came the news that Steven “tWitch” Boss — perhaps best known as the “dancing DJ” on the Ellen Degenris show — had committed suicide at the age of 40.
I don’t watch the Ellen show, but I had gotten to know Boss a few years earlier when he was one of the featured competitors on So You Think You Can Dance, Season 3. The man was a hell of a dancer.
Since then, his career trajectory appeared to be upward, especially his stint on the Ellen show. He married fellow dancer Allison Holker, and they had two kids. He also adopted Holker’s daughter. He was, according to her, the “the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans.”
But he wasn’t a good enough husband and father to stay alive for his family.
The moral of the story here is, once again, that you just don’t know what someone else is living through. Here’s a guy who appeared to have it all. He was very talented, very charming, and seemed to be completely at ease in front of the camera and in his life.
And now he’s dead.
I don’t know anything about the personal demons that must have haunted Steven “tWitch” Boss. I’m just very sad for him and his family. Maybe he couldn’t figure out what he would do as a follow up to the Ellen show. Maybe he was in over his head financially. Maybe he had a chemical depression. The man obviously had resources, so he could have gone to counseling. Maybe he was in counseling. Maybe he was on medication. Who knows?
All I know is that he decided to end his own life, but at least he didn’t decide to take out a school, or a church, or a temple, or a grocery store along the way. He just made life a lot tougher for his family, but he didn’t hurt anyone else.
Maybe we should have made it tougher for him to commit suicide by making it harder for him to acquire the gun he used to kill himself.