I regret that I didn't post this earlier; at the time I got it, I was in a schedule crunch, and then I forgot. But I DID remember this morning, WITHOUT being reminded, so: here is a guest column!
First off, hello Padre, thank you for taking the time to read your favorite daughter's discombobulated thoughts!
Second, HELLO, INTERNET WORLD!!!!!! Hello to friends and family, known and unknown, I sincerely pray that this finds you healthy and full of joy!
If you haven't already read Papa's posts (HERE and HERE) on the events in Georgia, you should start there, or at your news outlet of choice, otherwise this may not make much sense. It may not make sense anyway, but I digress.
I grew up in a little town called Woodstock in the state of Georgia. And when I was growing up, it really WAS a little town. It was SAFE, it was SHELTERED, and bad people didn't live there or ever go there. At least, in my kid brain, that's what I thought. And most of it might have even been true. But then, as is known to happen, the Big City just south of us got bigger and bigger, and Woodstock turned into "north Atlanta." Now, that doesn't really matter, EXCEPT that for my kid brain, BAD THINGS DON'T HAPPEN IN WOODSTOCK, AND NO WOODSTOCK RESIDENT WOULD EVER DO ANYTHING BAD!!!!! My adult brain knows how false that is, because I was a heroin addict in Woodstock, and I did plenty of bad things. Again, I digress.
I heard a snippet of a "news" program the other day, I do apologize, I didn't pay enough attention to know names or stations, but I did see the header "Parlor Shootings in Atlanta" and I was aware that they were interviewing an Asian reporter (the only reason that stuck was I feel like they said something about "thank you for being the voice of your people" and it made me roll my eyes a little bit, again, I didn't really know what happened).
It's a bad day when a 32 year old woman can see something about a shooting on tv and just think "ah crap, another one. Here come the lobbyists for gun control." I had NO context about it. NO IDEA except for "shooting in Atlanta". And then I read Papa's blog post, and looked into it a bit. And my first thought was "Oh no..... He's from Woodstock." It immediately shattered my "small town feel" of my home town. IS THAT IMPORTANT???? Yes and no, but mostly no. People are dead, lives have been changed forever, in the long run it doesn't matter where the suspect received mail at. Yes, only because it shows me that the whole world is hurting. It's not just the big cities. It's not just minorities. The whole entire world is on fire, but instead of trying to do something about it, we want to micromanage issues that are political hot buttons and "sexy" right now. Namely, gun control. Here's the problem..... There have been changes. There have been issues that have been addressed. This VERY young man (he's only 21, that's a BABY) still somehow got his hands on a firearm, walked into several buildings, and took innocent lives.
This is not a gun issue.
Another hot button that we will choose to talk about? Racism. Most of his victims were of Asian descent, and he is a white man, so OBVIOUSLY he was a racist. Now, I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THAT, so I'm not going to say anything about that, but I will say this: this is not a race issue.
And then we're going to go a little bit old school and rehash some hot buttons of years past: Pornography. Ted Bundy blamed it for his crimes, as did countless other serial killers that I don't feel like naming. I'm going to go ahead and pop this bubble right now: Pornography does not make people murder other people. It just doesn't have that power! It can ruin relationships if it's allowed to, sure, but then we're getting into another issue altogether, which is what the suspect has blamed his abhorrent acts on as of now: Addiction. As an alcoholic and an addict, this is something that I understand, at least to a point. The suspect has said that he blames massage parlors and the people who work at them for fueling his sex addiction.
During my sickness, I blamed poor Kroger for selling alcohol because I was an alcoholic and I was GOING to buy booze when I went grocery shopping.
I blamed the people I hung out with for having drugs in their pockets that they would share.
BECAUSE I WAS POWERLESS OVER MY ADDICTIONS AND THE REST OF THE WORLD SHOULD HAVE KNOWN IT.
Oh but we are a selfish lot.
I'm going to bring this up, and I'll put it right back in the box, because it's something I am currently working through so I don't have as much knowledge, wisdom, or understanding as I will, God willing, in the future days, weeks, and months.
The article that I read (from The Patch) stated that the suspect was very active in his church. Keeping in mind that this is a sick individual who needed help BUT I BELIEVE chose not to seek it, bear with me here..... I was brought up in the church and I am unashamed to say that I am a Born Again Christian and I do attend a church that preaches the Word of God. I ALSO have some very deep wounds from "the church" when it comes to sexuality. I believe that we live in a CULTURE where, if you are religious IN ANY CAPACITY, sex is a subject that is off limits. I say in any capacity because THIS IS NOT A CHRISTIAN THING. This is something that is seen in almost EVERY religion around the world, sex is not talked about in a healthy way, and HUMAN SEXUALITY has been DEMONIZED, and as a result, people are going off the deep end because "if I have sexual feelings, then I obviously don't really believe in *enter deity here* and I'm going to *enter bad underworld here* so I might as well be bad because I OBVIOUSLY am hopeless". AND THAT IS A LIE!!!!!!!!!! I'm not going to get into a talk about sex here, but I will say this: SEX IS NOT UNCLEAN. IT DOESN'T DAMN YOU TO HELL. THE CREATOR CREATED YOU AS A SEXUAL BEING, SO STOP THINKING YOU'RE UNLOVEABLE BECAUSE YOU HAVE FEELINGS!!!!!!
Now, that being said. This young man stated he has a sex addiction, and that brings me to my possibly final point: I am curious to know if he sought addiction counseling. I highly doubt he did, and here's why:
1) Counseling is expensive
2) We still hold on to this archaic belief that if we go to a head doctor, there's something wrong with us, people will look down at us, they'll think we're crazy, and they won't want to be around us anymore.
3) Counseling is expensive.
4) Most "regular" people don't even know where to start when it comes to looking for a therapist who is an expert in what we're dealing with, so after a quick webmd check to diagnose ourselves and then getting distracted by other things online, we get frustrated with not being able to find any help and we stop.
5) I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but COUNSELING IS EXPENSIVE.
So we self medicate, which makes us more sick, which makes us that much more unlikely to reach out for help.
All of that to say, yeah, I know what PART of the solution is. Quality, affordable, accessible mental health options. I don't know how it'll happen, because that's not what they're paying me for, but I will say this: I'm a recovering addict and alcoholic. I sought out help. When one thing didn't work, I tried something different. I go to my psychiatrist on a regular basis. I'm on a wait list for a talk therapist. And yes, it's expensive. I wish it wasn't. But I will die if I don't get help.
I leave you with this:
Feeling bad, don't mean doing bad.
Be angry, and sin not.
Do the next right thing.