Frank Zappa astutely stated many years ago that the number one issue we have in the United States is mental health.
Given what happened in Uvalde, Texas yesterday, he couldn’t have been more correct.
If we can view what happened in Uvalde as a mental health issue, then we have a chance to fix things.
If we can fix the stability of the family structure by re-industrializing America to the point where average Americans have an opportunity to make real money, not Starbucks barista money, which is a pittance, then we have a chance to fix things.
Economically disadvantaged families lead to increased divorce, drug use, vagrancy, homelessness, violence, prostitution, and general criminality.
The best welfare program is a steady well-paying job.
If we can decrease the influence of social media where young children bully other children in public causing much distress and anger, then we have a chance to fix things.
If we can decrease the number of violent video games like Mortal Kombat and Call of Duty – and others – that teach young children to resolve issues by killing and kicking ass, then we have a chance to fix things.
If we can encourage children to limit screen time while participating in outdoor activities, then we have a chance to fix things. Computer life is de-personalizing. It teaches us that other people are not really human. Outdoor life in which children have to communicate with real live people, teaches us to respect each other to a greater degree.
Conflict resolution skills are essential in promoting civic collegiality.
If we can relieve ourselves of this idiotic superstar culture, in which idealized but imperfect Hollywood celebrities are held up as demigods, then we have a chance to fix things. As we can see in the current Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are still at their core real people with human problems. Yet their most rabid followers seem not to see this.
If we can decrease the number of superstar movies in which fictional characters solve all the problems of the day, then we have a chance to fix things. No child or adult can match up to the standards of Superman. We don’t come from Krypton. We bleed, and we die.
Additionally, the superstar movie and its attendant culture promotes less self-reliance, greater helplessness, and more of the notion that we need a savior to rescue us. Children need to be taught the skills to solve their own problems as well as the mindset that they are competent enough to solve their own problems (and society’s as well) without the aid of supermen from wealthy enclaves that claim special and superior powers of intellect.
If we can stop the incessant standardized testing of children and its attendant GPA-SAT ranking system which plots children out on an impersonal industrial grid then we have a chance to fix things. Mathematical scoring, which only looks at a small aspect of a person’s life, devalues children, especially those who do not fare as well in this narrow area. Children are not Hershey Kisses moving down a conveyor belt.
If we can stop teachers, educators and school systems from spouting slogans like no excuses, and failure is not an option, then we have a chance to fix things. Failure must always be an option. If failure is not an option, then children will seek to rescue their lives by slaughtering as many people as possible in order to find an instant way into the news. Mass murder is a convenient and all too easy way of letting everybody know that you exist.
If we can decrease society’s demand that young children be sexual smoothies by the age of fifteen, then we have a chance of fixing things. Kids should be allowed to develop organically at their own pace. They need to understand that it’s okay for them to be who they are. They don’t need to be constantly reminded that they’re not.
If we can decrease the exposure of young children to money-focused shows like Shark Tank, in which billionaires impress upon young people their narrow value system of net worth as the overarching determinant of human value, then we have a chance to fix things.
Young people do not need to be constantly exposed to young, beautiful, fabulously wealthy, sexy, jet-set Hollywood celebrities scooting about in their Lamborghinis in San Tropez and toney areas of Hollywood. They do not need to be reading about the Kardashians and Taylor Swift. They should not be conditioned to attend picture shoots of the latest “it” stars.
They need to see their own lives as a viable and better option than living vicariously through the imaginary life of Dua Lipa.
If we can return to the past by promoting healthier values while limiting some of the destructive influences that have crept into society in the last seventy years, then we have a chance to fix things.
We can go along way toward improving mental health which, as Frank Zappa pointed out many years ago, is our number one issue.
Archer Crosley, MD
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