I’m not in the best frame of mind these days and really shouldn’t do this to myself, but if you want to get depressed about this fucked-up country we live in, go to GoFundMe.com and search the term “shooting.”
What you learn there, and actually learn more quickly when we’re in a rare lull between mass shootings, as opposed to still mopping the blood from the floor from the last one, is that there are two kinds of victims of these things. There are the ones we carry out in body bags, and the ones left behind, and it’s these unfortunates we collect money for. That they survive is only the first step in a recovery that may not fully happen. They’re maimed, some seriously, left paraplegic or quadriplegic or in chronic pain forever. They have post-traumatic stress equal to that of any veteran of a war zone, because that’s what they are, with the added insult that they never enlisted in any army, never were trained for war, and simply had the misfortune of thinking they were going to a movie or to church or to the office Christmas party when they met up with our unique brand of national madness.
We always say life can change in an instant. But no one signed up for that one.
Anyway, dig down in those search results, past the big-goal campaigns, and find out how many of these people are simply…well, fucked seems to fit. Many have no or little or not-worth-shit health insurance to begin with, and are left with thousands in bills for treatment of all kinds, loss of income, whatever you need to make you whole when all you can do is lie on the couch and tremble.
So this story from Slate caught my eye today. It takes note of the infuriating Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, passed in 2005, which shields the firearms industry from any legal liability related to their products — thanks, Washington! The piece suggests a new tax on sellers and manufacturers of guns, to be pooled for the care and treatment of people whose lives are forever changed by them, the people at the center of all those GoFundMes:
Every state already has a crime victim compensation program, although not all victims are eligible and states impose strict caps on payouts. The average cap is $25,000, and most states impose lower limits on specific benefits like counseling. That $25,000 ceiling is much lower than the average jury would award to a victim of negligence, so these programs cannot plug the gap created by the PLCAA. Nor can civil suits against the shooters themselves, who are almost always too poor to pay jury awards. (By contrast, the American firearm industry made about $13.5 billion in revenue in 2015.)
Instead, states should consider the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act as a model. Congress passed the NCVIA in 1986 in response to a raft of lawsuits against vaccine companies. It created a compensation fund for individuals injured by vaccines and was funded by a tax on vaccine sales. A special court now hears claims and awards compensation to victims. In addition, the NCVIA allows victims to maintain their rights to sue manufacturers under traditional tort law.
Sounds good to me. Of course it’ll never happen. America!
And in other massacre-related news, there’s this, which I’m filing under Why I Hate the Internet:
About an hour’s drive from the carnage in Sutherland Springs, five women gathered after sundown outside an emergency room where victims of the morning shooting were still being brought in.
The women knew some of the victims, they said. Several sounded upset because authorities wouldn’t let them see any bodies. One wondered aloud if a victim who had been declared dead by officials that day actually still lived. “We have to get to the bottom of this,” one woman said.
“False flag,” said another, and then another, and another.
The story’s about the proliferation of this “false flag” nonsense so popular in Wingnuttia, the same lunacy that leads some people to harass the Sandy Hook parents who lost their children, and now, to stand outside a hospital and get upset because they’re not allowed into view bodies.
I’m really feeling sour at the moment, if you haven’t figured it out yet. Or as today’s Twitter meme goes:
But what is this week about? Looking back at the same week a year ago. Some good stuff to read on those lines:
Sometimes terrible occurrences can have good results. Something awful happens, but then you become aware of it, and change and things get better. And if there is one thing that is true about Donald Trump, as I’ve said before, he’s a symptom and not a cause. He is the same lying, bullying fraud he has always been, subtle as a brick, obvious as can be.
Nearly half of America voted for him anyway.
That is the terrible part. America elected him. He spread his goods—xenophobia, malice, deceit, delusion, ignorance—and 63 million of us signed on up.
The question now: is Trump our rock bottom? Or are there hells below this one?
From the Boston Globe, a stubborn and hardening rift in York, Pa.:
Tonya Thompson-Morgan has found herself blocking some of her old high school classmates and other Facebook friends. She struggles with the competing emotions of telling her 12-year-old daughter why it’s wrong to say she “hates” Trump, but also why it’s wrong for Trump to call the NFL players she respects “sons of bitches.” When she walked around the York Fair this summer and saw people handing out signs that read “Trump is still my president,” she felt turned away from the only community she’s ever known.
“When can we heal? When is there a healing process?” she says, taking a long pause to compose herself and wipe away tears.
“Unless I turn off the lights, go in my bedroom, shut the door, and turn off the TV, there is no way to escape,” Thompson-Morgan says. “I feel like we eat, sleep, and breathe Trump. Trump for breakfast, Trump for lunch, Trump for dinner, and Trump as a midnight snack.”
(Man, did I identify with that one.)
A final one, non-election related, on Harvey Weinstein’s repulsive behavior as he tried to stop the various investigations into his earlier repulsive behavior.
OK, then. Night is settling in and after a trip to the dog park, the day seems less grim. Time to wind it up with a little leftover soup. A good Wednesday to all, and let’s discuss the election results from around the country as they become available.