This must be what going mad feels like.

So yeah, gun violence again. Now, this is not something I would normally comment on here. I do not generally like to get into that kind of dialogue. There are way too many opinions, emotions, and variables involved for me to make any sort of reasonable statement. BUT, twice this week I have had to listen to news reports about gun violence; one occurrence on a MILITARY INSTALLATION in WASHINGTON D.C. …and the other in my home town. Neither have anything to do with the other, except perhaps for the possibility that a HIGH POWERED MILITARY STYLE ASSAULT RIFLE may or may not have been involved.

OK, I said I was not going to comment, and actually what really got me thinking about this topic is a sideline news item that I overheard earlier in the week. It would seem, if memory serves, that some public entities in Colorado (a place that not only has experience with the gun violence issue, but has also other more pressing if not soggy concerns at the moment) have been holding personnel training sessions on how to spot a disgruntled fellow employee or more specifically, someone suffering from mental illness, that everyone should keep an eye on so that they do not do something crazy…

There are so many things about that that I do not know how to handle… this emphasis on “mental health” as a deciding factor in how to manage gun laws for one. It just seems so, well, crazy. BUT there I go again getting distracted. What I am really wanting to address here is the soundbytes that I heard from the aforementioned training sessions where they were describing some symptoms everyone should look out for in their fellow employees behavior patterns; closing their office doors more often, avoiding eye contact, eating lunch alone, being generally unsociable… I got flashes of the team from Criminal Minds profiling the late 30s, early 40s white male that has recently experienced a series of dramatic life changes…. Uh oh.

So last night I spent about an hour sitting behind some trees on a small knoll in a camouflage wool sweater holding only a rifle and a pair of field glasses. I currently own five firearms, and lately I have been a bit quiet. I have been closing my office door at work more often and generally avoiding too much social contact. I typically eat lunch alone at my desk and often walk with my head down. During an encounter with a friend yesterday it was mentioned that my last blog post was “damned depressing”.

So yeah, there is that.

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No, THIS must be what going mad feels like.

In my last post I mentioned dealing with a lot of change. It has been keeping me in a funk of sorts. I have been trying to figure out my behaviors and reactions and chalk a lot of it up to my Introvert nature. I have been around a LOT of people in the past few months, many whom I have either never or only recently met. Not only that, but many are new family and so I have had to be on best behavior, which is not really that hard, but sustaining it can be a bit draining. SO having returned home at this particular time of year, with everything that is and has been going on, I am feeling the desire to do one of three things. Crawl in a hole and hide, go walk or sit quietly in the woods to “recharge”, or drink lots of really good beer. It would seem that I am trying to do a combination of all three.

You see, it is the end of September and I am sure that means a whole lot of things to a whole lot of people…or not. One of the more prominent things it means to me is that it is Oktoberfest season! And Oktoberfest means beer. My favorite beer and lots of it. Or not. This time of year is often hard to balance… or hard to maintain balance, depending on which path one takes I suppose. I would love to be celebrating the season side by side with my brother, dressed in lederhosen, steins in one hand and brats in the other. Unfortunately the last time I tried to call him I got only a cryptic message about unsecured phone lines, alluding to his ever increasing and seemingly irrational fear of all things government. Oh yeah, I may have mentioned before that I am a government employee and one potentially facing an unanticipated “vacation” because the “powers that be” continue to act like idiot school children… Anyway, I have had many days/nights of great fun drinking beer with my brother and really miss doing that now. Alas.

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It is also harvest season (not uncoincidentally – is that a word?) as well as hunting season. BUT, in the ‘banks, it is also nearing the end of autumn. The waning of the summer as we lose roughly an hour of sunlight per week… the steady race towards the winter solstice. So, what all do we have to deal with? Let me break it down for you…

1.) Crawl in a hole… This often manifests as my above mentioned behavior at work (I am trying to keep a handle on the home version). Door has been closed, eyes down, avoid most social interaction…

2.) Sit in the woods… I went out “hunting” last night with some friends. The moment I had the chance I found a spot to sit by myself to “wait for the moose to come by” while the others scouted ahead I took it and it was glorious!

3.) Drink lots of really good beer… there are now two breweries in town. The one has an Oktoberfest that I know I like, the other taps their first ever version tomorrow… I am sure you can see the dilemma.

So, madness abounds. I am torn in three directions and according to public opinion the three are a recipe for disaster. Self imposed isolation, guns, and beer. Good grief, what is an overwhelmed, beer drinking, pacifist introvert to do?

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One thought on “This must be what going mad feels like.

  1. I am reminded, of all things, of the top-notch medical diagnosis in “Kindergarten Cop” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaTO8_KNcuo). Here are a few symptoms, a few things you could describe about yourself or that others could describe about you. Now, are you a danger to society? It’s all a little bit witchhunty (is THAT a word?), because it seems to me that the symptoms are about as nonspecific and inconclusive as you could get – the mental health equivalent of a sneeze. But, let’s imagine for a moment that the non-eye-contact, door-closing, lunch-alone-eating person is statistically more likely to “go postal,” as they used to say. How much more likely? Again, my hunch is, not that much more likely. If your average Joe or Jane is, let’s say, 0.5% likely to perpetrate gun violence, and our non-eye-contact friend is 100% more likely, that still only brings the probability up to 1% likely. And it misses the guy or gal who is 0.5% likely to do the same thing … EVEN THOUGH S/HE MAKES EYE CONTACT. George Carlin springs to mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeo_Ypmba70 (excuse the expletives).

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