Another senseless mass shooting, where for a few days, perhaps weeks, people will argue, discuss and voice their heated opinions on gun control and mental health, which means little to nothing to the families of the dead.

They are living a hell so tragic no one can begin to comprehend.
What about the uncomfortable taboo topic? The killer. He’s pure evil, insane and that’s it. End of story, right?
Don’t dare talk about him or I’ll block you on Facebook.
That’s the brutal reality of where this tragedy really begins and ends.

A troubled boy, isolated, mentally disturbed and alone with only his building paranoid delusions, hate and rage turns to the Internet and social media for company. The dark web where the deranged fuel his hatred. Before you dismiss me, you must understand something. What if instead of expelling him from society and his community we offered access to social workers, educators to help him instead?

Please understand I am in a unique position to try and explain the mentally disturbed. I never wanted to be a voice for the shunned or misunderstood.

I am like him, but I am not. I’m the mentally insane. You see I am lucky. I not alone with my illness, I have family and community all around. When I get paranoid, which I sometimes do, or when I get too dark or too manic my loved ones help talk me off the ledge. I’m med compliant, and hyper-vigilant when it comes to my stability. Here’s where it gets tricky; it does not always work. Sometimes the illness wins, my brain goes apeshit, haywire and I have to fight to return to sanity.

We had guns in my home once; my loved ones and I had the common sense to remove them for my safety. And everyone around me. I do not expect you to empathize with the killer(s), I say killers because this nation has a disturbing multitude of mass shootings. Anyone who walks into a school, concert, or church who guns down children is deranged. Every other day someone dies by a bullet. We’ve endured so much pain since Columbine, Sandy Hook and most recently in this advanced country how could we possibly not do something?

Here’s the thing, I have unfortunate family members suffering from mental illness, whose families and friends have given up on them. They are completely alone with their insanity and anguish in a world you cannot begin to ever understand with minds they cannot control. That makes me so goddamn fucking furious, I do not want to hear their pathetic explanations.

They simply gave up on a loved one’s life. Gave up on a human being. I get it, it’s exhausting, and no “fun” to be around a crazy person but fuck you. It could’ve easily have been you and not me in their place.

To the fucked-up underpaid, overworked, dysfunctional “system,” to the educators, social workers, therapists, and psychiatrists you need to do better. You must do better, plain and simple. To the mothers and fathers, you need to take away the smartphones and interact with your children, pay attention to what’s happening around them, who their friends are and who might need extra help. Local politicians, you need to act, and not react.

Wake up and stop hurling accusations of hatred at one other, offer an ear and a voice to anyone who might need a hand.
The futile government is not our last hope; we must be the agents of change.

I have lost friends over the course of my disease. I have felt isolated, despondent and alone. I have felt rage and paranoia.
I have been delusional. Because I have been shown love, and empathy I’m doing okay. Someone has always been there to advocate for me when I am unable. When no one was listening; I learned early how to advocate for myself. I am blessed. My family loves me exactly as I am, and my mother bears the heavy weight on the days I cannot.

I am not a violent person thank God, sane or crazy. I am not a killer; I am not alone with my crazy. I have put into place protections against myself. No assault weapons in my home, or easy access. No guns, no discussion.

Yet there is nothing stopping me from walking into Bass Pro or a gun show and purchasing a weapon of mass destruction. I’d liked to think I could never hurt a soul, but I cannot say with absolute certainty that my mind won’t betray me. I am the person you meet who looks and sounds perfectly normal, who can carry on a conversation with ease, while my mind is moving at lightning speed a thousand steps forward working hard from veering off the tracks.

Judge me if you feel the need to, but do not dismiss my story. If for the simple reason it might spare another mothers’ child’s precious life.

What a judgmental, ugly, cruel world we live in. Don’t count on greed, the NRA, or Trump’s evil administration to save you, your children or your loved ones from the barrel of an assault weapon, and cruel fate.

Gun sense, mental health care, community, and empathy are common sense core values we should all agree on. The only call to arms I’d like to see are open arms, open minds, affirmative, positive action, empathy and open hearts.

Photo Credit: Lulu_Sunset Flickr via Compfight cc

Jacqueline Cioffa

A retired, international model, and celebrity makeup artist. Co-Author of Model Citi Zen, the guide. Founder of http://modelcitizenmakeup.blogspot.com/. Author of numerous prose pieces in various literary magazines. Most recently published in Little Episodes Brainstorms the anthology, among esteemed artists Sadie Frost, Melvin Burgess and Todd Swift.

3 thoughts on “A Call To Arms

  1. Mary Rowen Reply

    Love you, Jackie. If more people were willing to speak openly about these issues, the stigma of mental illness could be lifted. Thank you for lifting us up with your words of hope and love.

  2. Kim Sisto RobinsonKim Sisto Robinson Reply

    ** The only call to arms I’d like to see are open arms, open minds, affirmative, positive action, empathy and open hearts.**

    Such passion from your post, Jacqueline. I literally feel your words gushing from my computer.

    Too many layers to peel back all at once.

    I’m so proud to see our kids out there trying to make a difference. I am HOPING they can change & transform what the world!

    Xxx from Duluth.

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