I’ve had at least one Army buddy commit suicide in the last several years.
It’s not something any of us like to think about, but it’s not an uncommon phenomenon. At least 20 veterans take their own lives every day, according to some reporting. Whether you believe that number to be inflated, it doesn’t matter. Veterans die by their own hands, and it’s not hard to imagine why.
Loneliness, nightmares, post traumatic stress, that feeling of being trapped, of being reviled, of being stared at on the street…
And that feeling of desperation isn’t just limited to vets. I was going to blog about “13 Reasons Why,” but I decided against it, because as interesting and well-acted as I found the Netflix series, I don’t like the view of suicide as a revenge fantasy, providing to the victim a scapegoat on whom to blame the pain and the ultimate act, and giving them the supposed satisfaction of being noticed, respected, and even loved in death that they couldn’t achieve in life. I won’t dwell on my issues with the series. I’ll point you to this article written by a licensed clinical social worker instead, which explains some of the issues I had with it.
But I’ve seen this desperation, this feeling of being trapped with no way out, this feeling of constant anxiety, malaise, depression, and outright terror that you will never get better. I’ve seen it in high school friends, and in family members. I’ve heard, “I wish you guys didn’t love me, so I could just kill myself without feeling guilty!” I’ve seen despair so deep, that I thought at any point, blood would start flowing from freshly opened wounds and drown me in its sticky agony.
I’ve told friends that life is a series of ups and downs, and that when you’re at your lowest point, there’s always a chance – however small – that your lifeline will begin to ascend again. But not if you stop it. Not if you end it. Not if you allow the hopelessness and despair to consume you and trick you into believing that this is the only option left.
Yesterday, Bob Owens made such a choice.
For those who don’t know, Bob Owens was editor at bearingarms.com and a fellow Second Amendment advocate and warrior.
He had a wife. He had two daughters. I cannot imagine the agony his family is feeling right now, having lost a husband, a father, and a friend.
The Washington Post wisely closed comments to its story. Scum such as Raw Story (no, I’m not linking to them) gleefully left the comments section open for vicious trolls to joyously roll around in the blood of a fellow human being while they revel in their oh-so-droll and tasteless snark.
In the end the fight to protect the Second Amendment lost a warrior, but a wife lost her world, two daughters lost their dad, and the community of online and real-life friends lost a kindred spirit.
I cannot imagine the desperation and pain Bob must have felt when he made the very final decision to take his own life. I cannot fathom how he thought his family would move on without him. I cannot judge another person’s agony.
I would, however, beg and plead with all of you out there who are experiencing the desperation and pain that is driving you to consider a very final, very irreversible cure to stop, reach out, allow those who care about you to reach for your hand and pull you up. You are not worthless, you are not cowardly, and you are not weak if you ask for help. Turning to another human being and taking the offered hand takes an immeasurable amount of courage. Allowing your lifeline to rise again takes an incalculable amount of will power.
Be stubborn. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Reach out to everyone you can. We will help you.
The world needs you.
Dear Chip –
As an Army veteran, a mother, and a Second Amendment rights advocate I feel a “tremendous responsibility” to address your November 30th letter to your customers in which you “respectfully ask people not to bring firearms into our stores.”
My husband and I will, of course, respect your wishes and never enter any of your stores again. If you don’t value our business (nor our safety concerns about having to leave our defensive tools at home, or worse – in our cars without positive control) enough to keep your politics away from your company, we will certainly oblige by keeping our business away from you and your products.
To be sure, you have every right to make this request. The stores are Levi’s property. I fully understand that, and I accept your choice to only do business with disarmed potential victims. That’s fine. Your property rights are as important as my right to defend myself, so I will abide by your request and never take my gun into your stores again.
But I do want to address some of your claims, so bear with me.
You claim to be a former Army officer and a father. I’m sure, if you have ever deployed to a war zone (probably not, judging by your dates of service), you remember that your firearm has kept you safe in some pretty hazardous situations. That’s why it is interesting to me that as someone who has served his country, you have so little understanding about the safety and security carrying an effective tool of self defense can provide. Actually, maybe it’s not interesting… given that you even fail to capitalize the word, “Army” in your open letter (out of respect, if nothing else), tells me a lot about what you thought of your military service. Four and a half years in the military from 1979 to 1983 should have given you some perspective, but I guess not.
I’m also puzzled that as a father, you prefer to see customers cowering and parents trying desperately to shield their children from those who will undoubtedly ignore your respectful request, rather than armed citizens who are accountable for their own safety and the safety of those around them and are willing to take responsibility for said safety.
You describe how impacted you were by the attacks in Nice, Paris, and Orlando, and yet, you fail to mention that France has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the world, which somehow failed to stop the attacks there, and that the Orlando shooting took place despite the Florida state law that prohibits carrying concealed firearms into an establishment that serves alcohol. This tells me you’re either acting from a place of emotional hysteria, or you intentionally ignore the facts in your effort to genuflect in front of unhinged cowards, whose petty little feelings of dread at seeing a regular citizen carrying a self defense tool are more important to you than the actual safety of your customers.
“It boils down to this,” you claim, “you shouldn’t have to be concerned about your safety while shopping for clothes or trying on a pair of jeans. Simply put, firearms don’t belong in either of those settings. In the end, I believe we have an obligation to our employees and customers to ensure a safe environment and keeping firearms out of our stores and offices will get us one step closer to achieving that reality.”
I agree with you, Chip. You shouldn’t have to be concerned about your safety while shopping, which is why neither my family nor I will ever shop in a Levi Strauss & Company store again. Rather, we will spend our hard-earned money in an establishment that respects our right to defend ourselves, rather than bowing to cowards who soil themselves at the sight of a tool.
As I was scanning my news feed this morning, I read that there was an active shooter incident at Ohio State University. Knowing that initial reports are nearly always wrong, I waited to find out what really happened on the sprawling campus. I was right to do so. The only person who was shot was a “Somali refugee” who plowed his vehicle into a crowd of Ohio State Students, and proceeded to go on a stabbing rampage, injuring at least nine before a police officer ventilated the bastard.
A police officer was on the scene within a minute and killed the assailant. “He engaged the suspect and eliminated the threat,” OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said.
The motive was unknown, but officials said the attack was clearly deliberate and may have been planned in advance.
“This was done on purpose,” Stone said.
While I and a number of news outlets that actually try to be responsible journalists waited for the details to come out, gun grabbing, sniveling fucktards such as Shannon Watts and Sheila Jackson Lee wasted no time calling for more gun control.
The school forbids guns on its campus, so the only recourse for students was to cower and barricade their classrooms.
But that didn’t stop these overly-excited, froth-flecked opponents of your rights from signalling their “concern” for the safety of all involved by screeching about our “lax” gun laws. I suppose if you call completely banning guns on campus “lax,” Shannon the Idiot Bloomberg Fellator Watts™ is right. Most of us with half a functioning brain, however, understand there’s nothing “lax” about a total ban on effective tools of self defense on campus.
It certainly didn’t stop the stabber, identified as 20-year-old Abdul Razak Ali Artan, from using a vehicle and a knife to attack his fellow students.
Note: Unlike other
news clickbait sites, I will refrain from calling this a terrorist attack quite yet until I get more facts, although it does bear the marks. After all, both ISIS and al-Qaida have publicly called for supporters to use vehicles as weapons. (See: Terrorist attack in Nice, France)
The initial reports about the dead slime bag have already been shown to have been wrong. Initially, he was identified as Ali Muhammad. Gateway Pundit immediately jumped in with a helpful photo of the alleged perp, gotten from some guy on Twitter, who ostensibly got the profile picture from Facebook. There are still Internet rumors out there that the car is registered to Muhammad, which would mean Artan either stole it, or Muhammad was an accomplice, which makes me think “terrorist plot” rather than “odd crime of passion” or “mental illness.”
We do know he was in the country legally and lived in Pakistan for a while before coming to the United States. We know he was a student at OSU, that he was in his third year there studying logistics management, and that he was pretty religious, per his own words.
And reports vary as to the type of blade used to slash the victims. One media outlet said Artan wielded a machete.
However, if you want to see world’s stupidest headline, I’ve got the screen cap from the link above, which has since been changed to reflect less stupid.
Are we seriously so desperate to blame guns, that we are willing to publish this fuckery?
To their credit, they did remove the idiot headline shortly after I captured it, but really… What the hell?
In any case, the investigation is ongoing, and updates are rolling in, as more and more details emerge.
How much longer before we hear rumblings of “He was traumatized by Trump’s election and thought he would be deported, prompting him to attack his fellow students”?
But for now, my thoughts are with the victims. Here’s hoping everyone recovers.
UPDATE: It’s interesting to note my prediction of Trump Derangement Syndrome above. I was close. The Daily Beast didn’t disappoint with its “poor, scared Muslim” narrative.
Artan described himself as a pious and scared Muslim in an interview with the Ohio State student newspaper in August.
“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media,” he told The Lantern after transfering from Columbus State Community College. “I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But, I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re going to just have it and it, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. I was kind of scared right now. But I just did it. I relied on God. I went over to the corner and just prayed.”
NBC News’s Pete Williams reported on-air that Artan made a Facebook post lamenting the treatment of Muslims worldwide just before the attack on Monday morning.
Poor, scared, sad, cupcake! He was scared to be a Muslim! It wasn’t his fault, you see. He was just all traumatized because RACISM!
Stand by. The Trump Derangement Syndrome may be coming as a defense yet!
UPDATE 2: Welp… it sure smells like terrorism.
Authorities are investigating an anti-U.S. rant posted on Facebook just minutes before the Ohio State University attack today that is believed to be linked to suspect Abdul Razak Ali Artan, sources told ABC News.
Appearing three minutes before the beginning of the rampage that left 11 people injured, the post reads: “I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”
The post also invokes the name Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical American-born al-Qaeda cleric, describing him as a “hero.” Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 but his propaganda has been linked to several domestic terrorist attacks in the years after his death.
“If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace,” the post reads. “We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims.”
As you all know, I’m not particularly religious. OK, I’m pretty much an atheist. Not that I would reject the notion of a deity if actual scientific proof was presented, but I don’t do faith.
My parents are a bit different. They were never allowed to practice their religion in the USSR, so when they came to the United States, my dad, especially, absorbed all the faith. He wrote about it a while back in a Russian essay. I don’t remember where it was published – probably some Russian publication in Philly – but it was beautifully written. It was a heartfelt description of a journey from someone not allowed to worship anything but the all-powerful state to someone who genuinely took his God into his heart.
Me? It never took. I did go to synagogue as a kid (read: my parents dragged me there). I was bored out of my mind. I didn’t understand the language, and the singing struck me as so much wailing.
My dad always refers to me as Jewish. He calls on Jewish holidays to wish me well, and no matter how much I protest that I’m an atheist, he reminds me that I was born Jewish.
Jewish is not just faith, my dad patiently explains. It’s history. It’s culture. It’s heredity.
I sigh and quit arguing, because ultimately, it’s not worth fighting about. He has his views, and I have mine.
This past weekend, Sarah and I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This wasn’t our first time. I’ve taken the kids there before – the last time was in 2010, when Danny was 13 and Sarah was 15. It was about time we went again.
One of the things I really love about the museum is that it doesn’t just focus on the plight of the Jews. Sure, the extermination of Jews is the museum’s primary focus, but it does not forget the millions of homosexuals, Roma, political opponents, Poles, freemasons, disabled people, and Jehovah’s Witnesses murdered by the Nazis. The museum is dark and quiet. It is understated. It’s filled with history and tragedy. Photographs, films, names, artifacts, history… The exhibit of hundreds and hundreds of shoes confiscated from prisoners at Majdanek in Poland is particularly powerful.
I have always loved the story of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. As Jews were getting deported to the Treblinka death camp in 1942 and 1943, the Jews formed an armed resistance and stood up to the thousands of armed German soldiers an police. There were maybe 750 of them, armed with only a few dozen pistols and hand grenades, and yet they stood up and refused to die on their knees. They decided that if they were going to die, they would go down fighting.
“The Germans had planned to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto in three days,” says the plaque in at the Holocaust Museum, “but the fighters held out for more than a month.”
I read an article in the Huffington Post a few years ago that debated the numerous contentions that had Jews not been deprived of their right to keep and bear arms and defend themselves during the Holocaust, they would not have been systematically exterminated.
Guns could not have made the difference, columnist Michael Moynihan wrote in the Tablet, an online magazine of Jewish culture. The Holocaust was a state-sanctioned outpouring of violence from the German public, so the idea that gun control stood in the way of Jewish survival “vastly overstates the effectiveness of a tiny minority resisting a genocidal machine,” he wrote.
Antony Polonsky, a professor of Holocaust studies at Brandeis University, takes issue with a common corollary: that the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising — in which about 750 Jews took up arms, killed about 25 Nazis and briefly slowed the deportation of Jews to concentration camps — shows that an armed minority can resist its genocidal oppressors.
The uprising was the largest single Jewish revolt against the Nazis. But the Nazis killed thousands of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, and the 50,000 who survived were sent to concentration camps. “The people who participated in it were killed,” said Polonsky.
The record also shows that the Nazis accelerated the liquidation of remaining Jewish ghettos after the uprising.
The answer, to me, is a bit more complex than just “If Jews had guns during the Holocaust…”
Timing, cultural psychology, the Jews insistence on abiding by the appalling laws passed by the Nazis in the 1930s, barring them from government service, boycotts against Jewish businesses, etc. all contributed to the plight of the Jewish people. Jews subsequently were prevented from participating in the political process. Despite all this, there was little actual resistance. The Jews cowered. They left Germany. Despite mounting abuses, the Central Organizations of Jews in Germany, formed to help Jews during the Nazi era, focused on charitable activities and providing legal defense… in a country where no justice was possible.
I think by the time the Jewish people in Germany realized their very lives were at stake, it was too late to take up arms. They were good little citizens, gave up their rights, and tried to work within the system – a system that aimed to destroy them. Had the Jews not allowed that degradation of their rights from the start, perhaps the Holocaust could have been avoided. Who knows?
But what the Huffington Post misses is the point of an armed resistance. It’s the resistance part that’s critical. The arms are the tool. Resistance is the goal.
Dying on your feet.
Drawing your last breath knowing that you did everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Perishing as a proud human being, rather than a cowering animal, herded into a cattle car and carted to your death.
The Germans expected to empty the Warsaw ghetto in days. It took them more than a month.
Would the Huffington Post and the cadre of scholars it quoted have preferred that the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto merely boarded the trains to Treblinka like good little lambs?
Would they have preferred that the Jews simply gave up? Died like law-abiding citizens at the hands of an abusive state?
Would they have preferred the Jews surrendered their lives and dignity because, fighting is a lost cause?
It’s not like their general narrative respects freedom, life, or self-worth. It doesn’t.
These are the same people who flog the tired, false narrative that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect the people’s right to take up arms against an oppressive government as the last bulwark against tyranny, but rather exists to protect the rights of a “militia.”
The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto ultimately died when the Germans burned the ghetto block by block, and because they died in the end, the Huffington Post apparently thinks the rebellion wasn’t worth it.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto finally stood up and resisted.
They took up arms and killed several hundred of their oppressors.
They didn’t go gentle into that good night. They went down fighting for their very lives. They didn’t win, but they died like men.
And perhaps had they had more than just a few guns and grenades between them, they would have succeeded and lived.
Now we’ll never know, will we?