5-5: PTSD and NRA Mythology

The Daily Kos recently ran an article entitled:

As We Suspected: NRA’s Myth of Defensive Gun Use Is Largely Just a Myth

Obviously, the article challenges the myth of the title with facts, numerical data. But buried in the piece was an anecdote shared by a health care professional. It reads:

“I took an emergency call from a client recently, older woman with a history of depression and PTSD stemming from molestation as a child. She’s a wreck … and she lapsed into a fairly deep depression. We processed this on the phone and I ended up discussing with her the concept of “self-fulfilling prophecies,” which can be very potent drivers of behavior and attitudes.

I have omitted the specifics of her case because they are irrelevant in this piece. The salient facts as I see them are these:

  • The woman suffered a traumatic experience which has led directly to her PTSD.
  • She is being treated (sounds like talk therapy).
  • She had an episode and sought help.

In this particular instance, the professional’s summary comment was “sometimes stuff happens.” Her dip into depression, this time, was a matter of life’s circumstances and totally unrelated to her diagnosed PTSD. In other words, in her overall life, depression does not necessarily have to be preordained. She does not have to expect that she will be depressed all of the time, even in hard times.

The connection in the article between PTSD and the NRA is that there is also the “self-fulfilling prophecy” mentioned above. Sometimes we “think” something is going to happen and, according to the article, there might be as much as a 33% chance that it will.

In the PTSD case, the woman was facing a situation that could have turned out well or sour for her. A pessimist, she anticipated the worse. When the decision was made, in her mind, it was preordained to go against her, which it did. The anxious depression that followed had nothing to do with PTSD. As the professional told her, “sometimes stuff happens.”

In the NRA case the gobble-de-gook they peddle is presented and challenged this way:

“… I think that the NRA has, in a powerfully and in a hugely unethical manner, encouraged a form of self-fulfilling prophecy for gun advocates who clearly … think guns should be everywhere we go — in case somebody (else) has a gun….

“And the facts show this is just complete nonsense….

“Of the 8,601 total homicides recorded in 2012, just 259 of those deaths were the result of a self-defense scenario … There were 13 states in which zero justifiable firearm deaths were logged that year.”

Yes, there were defensive uses of guns in 2012, but not in numbers that rational people would conclude that we would all be better off if we “carried.”

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