Gun Violence, Gaslighting, and Masking -- 05/31/22 Updates
Dr. Parks' update on gun violence, gaslighting, issues, and solutions
So many unanswered questions.
In the recent gun violence and murder of vulnerable and innocent children, anger and questioning come after the shock and grief. Were we misled, gaslighted? Who is the blame? Why again, who is responsible or who was irresponsible? Why is our country the world's leader in possession of deadly firearms, with little regulation or safety requirements? Another mass shooting has occurred, this time of nineteen innocent and vulnerable elementary school children and two adults killed by an 18-year-old with a military-like assault gun. How do the murderers and perpetrators of gun violence slip through all detection and become so twisted and radicalized to carry out their horrendous actions as in recent mass shootings?
The dark shadow of gun violence darkens the spirit. It hangs heavily over our society more than ever, growing each year, especially since the pandemic. The heart-wrenching toll of gun violence appears daily in the news, on social media, and in the personal accounts of families about the losses of their loved ones. Unfortunately, I return to the subject in this article that I have written about before, compelled by the continuing tragedy of the climbing death rate from gun violence, mass shootings, and the related mental health burden on our society and victims.
Gaslighting is an expression for using contrived narratives to deceive, gain psychological control, or manipulate another person or group for the perpetrator's benefit. Individuals or groups can deliberately and systematically influence others with misleading information to control and influence. This deliberate and adverse behavior toward susceptible others occurs in personal and professional relationships, marketing schemes, and political movements. The goal is usually to gain power and advantage for selfish motives.
The term gained popularity from a 1944 movie, Gaslight. The word denotes the attempt to gain control or power over others with vulnerability to manipulation. A malcontent individual that succeeds with their efforts often has greater power or advantage. A mild form would be a sales pitch to persuade buyers to purchase perhaps an unneeded product for the seller's profit. At its more extreme, there is a fear of significant danger or losses if the false presentation of the other is ignored or challenged.
Abusive, sinister, or catastrophic events occur when a personality-disordered individual with extreme narcissism or psychopathy adapts gaslighting as a tool for self-gain, power, and dominance. A more dangerous form of gaslighting is seen in propagandizing groups of people for political gain and power at the expense of the victims or those duped. There are always potentially severe consequences when this is allowed or occurs, such as losses of security, property, personal freedom, or life itself.
Gaslighting has become more insidious with the advances in modern communications, social media, advertising, and propaganda tactics. With wealth more concentrated in the hands of fewer individuals, big businesses, and corporations, the voters will get manipulated to support the gaslighter’s or influencer's profit and growth motives. There is the risk of the extreme wealth abusing power by sponsoring politicians that dominate and subvert our democracy and political process.
Read more for a continued in-depth discussion on the rise in gun deaths from mass shootings, paralysis in making change, and social, political, and mental health-related factors — find clarity and sensible solutions.
Thoughts, Curiosities, & Tips
The great American dinner conversation: “to mask or not mask,” or “masking, not me!” Dr. Parks reviews an article in The New York Times Newsletter, The Morning
Why Masks Work, but Mandates Haven’t; Why haven’t Covid mask mandates made much difference? By David Leonhardt May 31, 2022
I thought the article by Leonhardt was an eye-opener for all those mystified about what is needed and practical with the new exceptionally contagious omicron variant that spreads so easily and is still potentially deadly to those immune-compromised. Being fully vaccinated and boosted can make a difference, but not always if a person’s system is significantly immune-compromised.
So, what to do? First, mandates don’t seem to work to get people to mask up properly. A lot has to do with the confusion about whether it is needed. Also, the confused messaging and reporting on the subject have not helped either. People are tired of masking now and listen to people who support that it is unnecessary and that the new variant is not as threatening as the older ones.
With the current political divisions, mandates are unlikely to be effective anyway, even when needed. Many children and adults will allow masks to slip below their noses or take off periodically at social gatherings or when eating or drinking. To properly mask, the mask itself has to be medical grade as a KN95 or N95 mask that tightly covers most of the face seen and used in the hospitals.
It comes down to knowing if you are at-risk and immune-compromised. It is critical to avoid crowded spaces, especially indoors, and at-risk and compromised with such a contagious variant. When necessary to be in a higher risk situation, wear a medical-grade mask and only be in a potentially difficult environment for as short a time as required.
As medical doctors, we were well trained in masking and gowning when we had to go into areas where we had to protect ourselves from highly contagious diseases or from spreading anything that we might carry to a patient. Be prudent and medically up to date to know your vulnerability and risk. Take care of yourself as far as voiding dangerous activity and properly following safe masking procedures for your health and longevity.
Appreciate your interest. Please share and send your comments or questions. Thanks, Ron Parks, MD