TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Could a bit of Michael McClendon be in all of us?

An unidentified man is reflected in a storefront window that was shot during the shooting spree in Samson, Ala. on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. A gunman went on a shooting spree in two south Alabama towns Tuesday, killing nine people before he shot himself at a metals plant, authorities said. Police are investigating at least four separate shootings, all believed to be done by one gunman, whose name was not released, the Alabama Department of Safety said in a statement. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare) Photo by Jay Hare / Dothan Eagle

An unidentified man is reflected in a storefront window that was shot during the shooting spree in Samson, Ala. on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. Michael McClendon went on a shooting spree in two south Alabama towns Tuesday, killing nine people before he shot himself at a metals plant, authorities said (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare).

Listen up. Some of my friends, who know the daddy's history as a counselor, asked his opinion about Michael McClendon, the man who killed his family members and others in Alabama. Here is a description of what occurred from Hulig News, a daily newspaper in Hickory, North Carolina:

"Among the dead were several relatives of Michael McClendon, including his mother and McClendon himself, but authorities still no motive for the seeming rampage that spread across the small towns of Kinston, Samson and Geneva.

The spree first began in late afternoon in Kinston. Michael McClendon burned down his mother's home, where his mother's body was eventually found. At that point McClendon then went to nearby Samson and shot both his grandparents, aunt and uncle.

The wife and 18-month-old child of a Geneva County sheriff's deputy were then killed; the two had reportedly stopped to visit a neighbor.

Michael McClendon then got into his car and began driving around the tiny town, randomly shooting through the car window. Three more people were shot in this manner.

McLendon ended up at Reliable Metal Products factory in Geneva, where he exchanged shots with police before killing himself."

Background

First, this is a story about guns. When are we going to stop allowing the NRA (the National Rifle Association) to keep guns accessible in this country? When is our federal government going stop enabling the proliferation by allowing guns to be purchased on the spot at gun shows and in parking lots in metropolitan areas all across the country? If you ask them, they say they don't have the personnel, but the real deal is that NRA lobbists have paid off politicians so that they don't make dealing in death a priority. We should not support politicians that get a penny from the NRA or sit silently while people in our communities die from handguns.

Second, this is a story about people. People with guns kill people, usually the people closest to them. When Americans kill, they kill their wives, their best friends (sometimes over things that are trivial or meaningless), and thier "homies" with whom they play ball or hang out.

They kill coworkers, people with whom they spend 8 hours almost every day. And they kill those with whom they have attached so much love, so much companionship, so many hopes and dreams. That's why this is not just a gun issue. It's also about the dynamics of trying to survive or thrive in a country where those with wealth or riches, however ruthlessly acquired, are viewed primarily as winners and those who are not are viewed primarily as losers, however moral, hardworking, and honest they may be.

The rich, the poor

This is a story about how the rich treats the poor. Today, greedy and immoral bankers and mortgage insurers, who are mostly responsible for creating this bad economy, get more money to visit fancy resorts and health spas as many hard working, honest and community-loving Americans struggle. And those under severe stress, those who have lost jobs and homes, or who are about to, are viewed as "losers" unable to take care of family and home-- people not smart (or ruthless) enough to succeed. So the financial crisis on Wall Street hits main street, causing working people to pay more for health insurance, food, clothing, gas-- causing many to lose their jobs and their homes. And guess who is blamed for it? The poor and those made poor by bankers and mortgage insurers. So while the paycheck gets smaller and smaller and the bills get larger and larger, the idea persists in America that, if you cannot keep your head above, if you cannot "swim with the sharks," it's not the deepness of the ocean or the toxidity of the water. You're just unable to swim with the big white boys.

McClendon and the rest of us

This is story about the rich and the poor in Amrica. It is the story of Michael McClendon. Some say his actions were senseless, but I'm not so sure. You see, just because you or the daddy can't fathom committing such acts does not in itself mean that those acts were senseless, at least from McClendon's point of view. He tried to be a cop, but for whatever reason, that didn't work out. So he found a job. He got in trouble with his supervisor and perhps others on the job. He tried to move on.

But what if this "loser" found no job to move on to? What if he realized that, in the very near future, he would not be able to take care of his family? What if the very thought of being a "loser" meant that he may have to humiliate himself and his family by going on welfare?

What if he were so angry at the way he was treated on the job he left a few days earlier, and the previous jobs he had, that it placed him in a psychological state of depression where he fluctuated between anger and sadness? And what if no amount of alcohol or drugs from a pharmacy could adequately medicate this overwhelming pain?

The point here is not to make a victim of McClendon but understand his actions, however painful that may be for us to do. The point is not to make excuses but to seek explanations with an eye toward lessening the the chances that such a tragedy will occur again.

The daddy says we have two choices: We can ignore McClendon's actions as nothing than an aberration from a man who "lost it" or challenge ourselves to better understand how certain populations or classes respond to stress, especially during times of economic crises.

The daddy says, ultimately, we need to ask: Is there a bit of Michael McClendon in all of us?

6 comments:

Vigilante said...

Excellent article MacDaddy. This gun story has multiple levels: personal, political, and economic.

I'm feeling the economic side is not getting the attention it's deserving. The amount of black market heavy arms we're shipping south to Mexico in exchange to the heavy black market drugs Mexico is shipping north have both reach catastrophic levels. Obama is worried about dealing with Bush's failed state in Afghanistan? He's gonna have another failed state just south of our border. Mexico is beginning to look more and more like Talebinstan every day. Meanwhile, the NRA's commercial patrons - gun dealers and makers - are making a "killing".

Big Man said...

Strong post man, and I agree with all of your assessments of the problem.

Shoot, I live in New Orleans, I know exactly what guns do to folks everyday. Little cats down here got AK's like they are pop guns.

MadMike said...

Great analysis Vigil and appreciated, but sad comment Big Man. Unfortunately, as long as the NRA has the power it does little will be done about keeping guns off the street. This is one of the most powerful lobbies in the country and although its primary source of influence has its origins in the Republican party there are also Democrats sleeping with them.

nicki nicki tembo said...

To your query I have to say yes it does exist in all of us, it resides in our base nature. Most however make that part of us submit to our higher self. Therein lies the greatest challenge.

MacDaddy said...

Madmike:

The stuff about guns is one thing. But what do you think about McClendon "losing it?" Do you not see this as happening again/ Happening more and more? If so, don't you think we should do more than pass it off as him being a nut and examine it?

judy said...

I know that out of fear, anger, a sense of injustice, I've done and said things I wish I hadn't. I can't imagine I'd ever shoot anyone, but I also don't keep a gun. When people break (and these times will break more of them), Daddy's right: They shouldn't be armed.