Article written by :: (RSS)

Lauredhel is an Australian woman and mother with a disability. She blogs about disability and accessibility, social and reproductive justice, gender, freedom from violence, the uses and misuses of language, medical science, otters, gardening, and cooking.

This author has written 1598 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about Lauredhel »

25 responses to “Otterday! And Open Thread.”

  1. tigtog

    Am feeling rather overwhelmed by the news of the school shooting in Connecticut. According to my twitter feed the MSM is interviewing child survivors on live TV – how dare they exploit their trauma like that?

  2. tigtog

    Also the predictable rush to blame it on mental illness – when it’s known that 9 out of 10 murderers are sane. Anger management issues are a behavioural problem that can often respond to counselling which certainly should be more widely available, but it’s not what most people mean when they talk about ‘mental illness’. I’m also horrified to hear the media jump on reports that the shooter’s brother described him as having Aspergers – as if people on the autistic spectrum are not already demonised enough.

    P.S. the difference between the knife attacks in China resulting in no deaths (stabbing’s horrific, but at least they’re still alive) and the gun attacks in Connecticut resulting in 27 deaths is stark. I’ve never been more grateful than now for the ban on automatic weapons here following the Port Arthur massacre. Gotta give Howard some credit for pushing that through.

  3. angharad

    Ack! I have missed that news. I came home late from the office Christmas party and spent the evening in the bath. Now I don’t know if I want to go and look at the ABC website or not….

  4. mimbles

    Reading quotes from the kids felt like a kick in the guts, I’m even sadder that I wasn’t surprised there were reporters who would go there.

    Today was supposed to be the end of year singing concert for the music school Ms14, Mr11 and I go to, but it got cancelled because not enough of the students were going to be around. I’m a little bit disappointed but it does mean we suddenly have a day with no commitments. The plan for the day is therefore clean all the things, take stuff to the tip and do more baking.

  5. Megpie71

    I just wish the media wouldn’t keep on about it being “the worst” – I can’t help but think for a certain section of the population, this sort of reporting gives them a target to aim for, leading to bigger and badder atrocities with each resulting iteration.

  6. Chris

    I too was appalled to see quotes from 5-10 year olds. Did they have parental permission when they interviewed them?

    Megpie71 – I suspect that anyone influenced in that manner is already well on the road to committing mass murder. They’d just have to go to wikipedia to look up that information.

  7. tigtog
  8. Jo

    I too was shocked to hear of the shooting this morning, and all the kids interviewed. But mainly that politicians still can’t get their act together and start putting restrictions on guns. :(

    In more happy news, today is Christmas cookie baking day in my house. Well, for me. I am making them to give to uni friends and lecturers as a thank you for this year. The whole house smells wonderful!

  9. Megpie71

    Jo: apparently “it’s not the right time” to talk about gun control in the USA. None of those who are saying it isn’t the right time are willing to point out when the right time would be, strangely enough…

    Chris: agreed, they could look up the facts and figures on Wikipedia. But what I was objecting to was the media circus about the whole business. Each such atrocity has to be reported as the “biggest” or the “worst” or the “most gruesome” or whatever – as though the event can’t be horrible on its own without some kind of superlative attached. People died because some over-entitled nincompoop decided his life needed a superlative attached to it, and this was the easiest one he could get.

    I hope we never find out his name. I really do hope that. A person who does such things to escape anonymity doesn’t deserve anything more than going down into death the anonymous nobody he was before he picked up the gun. Let’s remember the victims, and place their names on the memorial. But let his name be forgotten.

  10. Schmeedle

    And when people start talking gun control in the comments sections, other people say banning abortion should be a higher priority than banning automatic weapons because it kills more people. It makes me so angry, and sad.

  11. Chris

    Having seen some of the video on tonight’s news and I’m not feeling quite as critical as original towards the media for interviewing the children. They were all accompanied by (what looked like) their parents. It wasn’t the case of the media intruding into a crowd of unsupervised children. I find it really difficult to understand why a parent would want (or at least consent) to their child being interviewed on national television after experiencing an event like this.

  12. tigtog

    Chris, I suppose it’s at least partly the increasing record-the-moment aspect of general popular culture playing into the willingness of some parents to allow their children to be interviewed by the MSM. It still seems unwise to me.

  13. Tom

    Australia is relatively small compared to the USA so it was easier for the shock of Port Arthur to resonate across the nation. It will be harder for this to affect as many people, especially in the southern and mid-western states where the gun culture is strongest. Australia’s gun lobby doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence of the NRA, too.

  14. SunlessNick

    Also the predictable rush to blame it on mental illness – when it’s known that 9 out of 10 murderers are sane.

    Much as I hate mentally ill people being demonised, I do wonder whether that statistic holds for spree killers rather than murderers in general.

    But Aspergers being to blame? Fuck that noise.

  15. Emily

    There was a shooting in Dunblane in Scotland which resulted in a tightening up of UK gun laws as well. It is difficult but possible with sufficient political will and public outrage.

  16. Chris

    SunlessNick – I think the aspergers has been reported because people will be wondering if he has been a target of a lot of bullying/ostracism like Klebold and Harris were, rather than it being the cause itself.

  17. Helen

    For your entertainment, this Thread O’Doom between two well known Melbourne theatre critics. Mansplaining 101! Woodhead: Do you like the cuteness of him? Bless!

    In other news, I’m aghast at my failure to contribute to HAT and my own blog lately, and trying to overcome the work-and-family tsunami that’s behind it.

  18. tigtog

    Helen, that Thread O’Doom is glorious in the most awful way. I hear you on the work-and-family-tsunami, too.

    In other news, Malcolm Turnbull had a fine moment on Twitter (credit where credit’s due, even though I think he generally gets more credit than he deserves):

  19. Chris

    tigtog – best response ever! Unfortunately Murdoch will probably spin Fox’s non-compliance as evidence of editorial independence of his media empire….

  20. tigtog

    Chris, quite right. Expanding on the ramifications is probably more a Media Circus thread zone though.

  21. Chris

    Also the predictable rush to blame it on mental illness – when it’s known that 9 out of 10 murderers are sane. Anger management issues are a behavioural problem that can often respond to counselling which certainly should be more widely available, but it’s not what most people mean when they talk about ‘mental illness’.

    I agree its too early to know whether mental illness was a factor or not. However this article is one written by a mother obviously concerned that her son will do something horrific one day. I wonder if mental health treatment for children is significantly better in Australia?

  22. tigtog

    Chris, that particular article on HuffPo has been the subject of some criticism and questioning itself, with some of the questioners being more cynical than others. I’m pretty horrified that she’s casting her son in the role of a potential mass murderer on fucking HuffPo, when a major reason she can write that about him is that he hasn’t actually killed anybody at all!

    I get that she’s worried about him and having the same why-why-why emotional response to the Sandy Hook massacre as the rest of us, but I really think she’s done the wrong thing by her son here.

  23. tigtog

    I wonder if mental health treatment for children is significantly better in Australia?

    Remember that seeking mental health care is voluntary. All the treatment available can’t do any good if the family doesn’t seek help. The Lanzas appear to have been fairly affluent in one of those small towns that has many affluent residents and thus generally good access to health services. We don’t know whether Adam had a history of mental health care treatment or not, but if he didn’t then I doubt it’s because his family couldn’t get access to it.

    I’m sure it’s far more relevant that the mother was a gun enthusiast and allegedly also a doomsday survivalist, so that guns and practising for hostile situations where guns would be needed was a background environment in that home. Without guns always around and regular talk of needing guns one day to survive against their neighbours during the apocalypse, then perhaps taking weapons out on a killing-spree simply would not have been the way that Adam responded to whatever set him off that day.

  24. Chris

    tigtog – I’m surprised she didn’t write anonymously, but perhaps was concerned that it would be taken seriously if it was anonymous. She comes across to me as genuinely concerned for his future and the situation she describes is very bad. I can understand why people find it horrifying to see her write about she thinks her son could be a future mass murderer – but what if she genuinely sees that potential because of the current behaviour of her child?

    The Lanzas appear to have been fairly affluent in one of those small towns that has many affluent residents and thus generally good access to health services. We don’t know whether Adam had a history of mental health care treatment or not, but if he didn’t then I doubt it’s because his family couldn’t get access to it.

    I guess it will come out in the investigation, but not only are the issues around access and then quality but also social acceptance of seeking help for mental illnesses. And from what has come out so far the ability for schools to manage students who don’t fit the norm rather than have parents resort to home schooling.

    Without guns always around and regular talk of needing guns one day to survive against their neighbours during the apocalypse, then perhaps taking weapons out on a killing-spree simply would not have been the way that Adam responded to whatever set him off that day.

    That may well be true and there will be people pushing the violent movies/videogames angle for similar reasons too. My view on this is that guns and the gun culture greatly amplify existing problems – which is reason enough for gun control laws, but these sorts of situations always have multiple causes.

  25. Alien Tea

    Dear colleagues who are anti-refugee,

    Calling refugees “camel herders” and claiming that you will catch syphillis from using the same toilet as them is pretty much just proving your own racism, and therefore all your arguments about the issue are completely invalid.

    I am distraught to be working with you and wishing I could quit.

    No respect or regards,

    Alien Tea.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.