This will help stop the violence…

I think the real issue is not too many guns but a lack of mental health care.  Let me explain.  It shocked me to find out that, generally speaking, the cities with the strictest gun control laws have the most crime and the cities with the most guns have the lowest crime.  Internationally, when comparing countries, the same principle plays out.  Conclusion? When the people bear arms there is less crime.

So if gun control will not stop “crazy” (President Obama’s word) gunmen what do we do?

The mentally ill must be offered treatment.  And, as you consider paying for that last statement, realize that one of those receiving treatment just might eventually be you.

Half of the people in the United States will experience their own mental illness in their lifetime.  That is 150 million people.  Yet voting for funding to meet this challenge isn’t popular.  Ignorance, fear of the unknown, stigma, blame all contribute to distort the perception of the disease and its treatment.  Medication and behavior therapies can dramatically help a dramatic number of sufferers of mental illness.  And it costs much less than paying for the prison stays many, many sufferers of mental illness are forced to endure.  It costs less than hospitalization.  And, if you value human life, it costs less than suicide or homicide.

But that is just the start.  Because when you treat mental illness you rescue someone from a prison of intense psychological and sometimes physical suffering.  You release the person to be what God intended them to be.  They can even stop costing taxpayers and start becoming taxpayers and actually start paying back those who funded their rescue.

Since getting the correct meds and taking them starting in 1985 I have worked for 23 years as an Advertising Designer.  I have given back in taxes and charitable giving, roughly between $150,000 and $200,000 during that 23 year period (adjusted to 2008 dollars).

I have also had the privilege to marry my beautiful wife and adopt out of foster care the two boys I love.  So much beauty can happen when someone who is mentally ill gets the right treatment.  Financially it goes from negative to positive.  And, humanly, it goes from a living death, to the light of life.

 

Jesus is healing my racism

What is “race”?  Is it possible to define one race from another?  What attributes would you use?  Are the attributes of one race possible to be found in a different race?  If those of different races can have children then aren’t we all part of the same gene pool?  If we are all part of the same gene pool then aren’t the attributes that define race arbitrary?  For example why is it that skin color is used to define different races but eye color is not?

I am guilty of prejudging people, of prejudice.  I have looked at people with mental illness labels as if they were less than me somehow.  I have believed that those with a developmental disability are less than me somehow.  I have looked at people with different skin color, language, height, weight, culture as less than me somehow.  I have even believed that some people with different attributes than me were better than me somehow.  I have allowed my fears and ignorance about others different from me to influence my perception and conclusions about them.  Fortunately there is help for me, and His Name is Jesus.

Jesus said to me in the Bible to love God with all that I am, and love all people in the same way I love myself.  I couldn’t do that until I received God’s love for me.  I have hated myself much of my life.  I have also loved myself, but in a self-serving way.  Trying to feel better about myself I despised others.  This was not a reflection on them.  This was the result of my rejecting Jesus’ love for me.  It wasn’t until I humbled myself, asked forgiveness, and actually believed what God said, that God loved me, that I experienced His love and healing.  And now I can love God and other people, not perfectly, but hopefully in increasing measure each day.

It took going "crazy" to discover what real sanity was

I am grateful to God for the mental illness He gave me.  (But I would never want to repeat it).  Looking back I was “crazier” when I was “sane” and sane now that I’m mentally ill.

Let me unpack that.

Before mental illness I wanted to be a aerospace engineer.  I wanted to impress people with how smart I was.  I wanted fame, fortune, power and pleasure.  I had bought the whole commercial-driven American media world-view.

Most of the girls in my high school graduation class wanted to be social workers it seemed.  I thought they were crazy.  Helping people seemed like a colossal, boring, unrewarding waste of time.

It was at this point that God publicly invaded my private world.  God told me I was a sinner, but I didn’t believe Him.  What I didn’t know was that I was in love with myself, looked down on everyone else, and thought the world should serve me.   That’s when God gave me mental illness.  And my life and the lies I told myself, about myself, fell with a great crash.  God humbled me.  I couldn’t get much “lower” in superficial stereo-typed status than being intermittently locked up in mental hospitals.

For the next ten years I fought God and the meds.  At the end of ten years God gave me the wisdom to take the meds.  Then He sent Bonnie, who knew and loved Jesus, to tell me Jesus loved me.  I wasn’t interested.  Then Bonnie told me that if I rejected the love of Jesus, the only thing left for me was hell.

That got my attention.

I chose to turn around and follow Jesus.

He forgave me, loved me and gave me a heart that cared about other people.  Now I am a Certified Peer Support Specialist working with others who themselves deal with mental illness.  I encourage, give hope, and care.  And I love it.  It took most of my life to discover my life’s work.  And it took going “crazy” to discover what real sanity is.