Did you put on your bulletproof vest sweetheart?


Is this the next school uniform? As written yesterday, gun violence in US schools has been a problem for decades. Metal detectors have been installed at certain schools since the 1990s. Gun massacres have still occurred. The problem stems from a growing tide of broken homes and kids venting out. The Zero Hour documentary on the Columbine massacre reveals in chilling details how premeditated and well prepared (not to mention preventable) the attack was – propane bombs, pipe bombs, machine guns, pistols and even handgrenades. Perpetrator Eric Harris’s father called up the police on hearing of the shooting fearing his son maybe behind it. The police had received multiple enquiries from concerned parents over death threats Harris had made online to students yet chose to do nothing. Harris and Klebold openly documented their intent in videos and diaries. It is patently clear they wanted revenge for their subjective feelings of having had their esteem crushed by society, especially by more popular class mates. It is clear there were no role models trying to pull them back from the brink.

Still the ‘banning guns will solve it all’ solutions still avoid dealing with the real problem. The psychology of kids lost in a world where they feel outcasts. Feelings of rejection, loss and trodden on self esteem are shown to be time and time again to be a leading factor in kids picking up a weapon and seeking to right perceived wrongs. Many American high school kids drive to school. Can we envisage one deciding to drive a car on campus mowing down students at lunch time? Will banning cars be a solution?

What next? Will parents be decking out kids in bulletproof vests and hoping teachers who are incentived to arm themselves in the class room step up if all hell breaks loose? One wonders whether kids like Harris & Klebold would have been deterred by teachers packing heat. Even worse, SWAT snipers at a distance of 500 meters may not be able to determine at the time who are the ‘bad guys’. Even worse, how terrible it would be for a teacher to be tasked with ‘offing’ a student who he or she teaches in remedial maths class. One would hope the motivation of teachers is to want to educate students to get ahead rather than aim at their head. Or have things got so bad in some schools that such a remedy gets leant a sympathetic ear. Having armed security at schools is less and less a rare occurrence.

In 2015, about 3,000,000 teens ages 12 to 17 had had at least one major depressive episode over the year according to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2 million admitted they were experiencing depression in ways that impair daily function. The National Institute of Mental Health reported about 30% of girls and 20% of boys– some 6.3 million teens–have had an anxiety disorder.

A Seattle Children’s Hospital study tracked hashtags people use on Instagram to talk about self-harm. It noted a dramatic increase over the past two years. In 2014 researchers got 1.7 million search results for “#selfharmmm”. By 2015 that number had surged to over 2.4 million.

The American Psychological Association (APA) released a report several years ago during the school year saying that teens report their stress level is higher than levels reported by adults in the past month. Many teens admitted feeling overwhelmed (31%) and depressed or sad (30%) as a result of stress. More than one-third of teens report fatigue or feeling tired (36%).

Sales of antidepressant drugs is expected to be a $17bn industry in the US in 2020, up $3bn from 2015. The National Center of Health Statistics reports the prevalence of teenagers taking such drugs has grown to 13%, in 2015 up from 11% in 2008. 68% of people ages 12 and up said they had been taking their antidepressant for two years or more. A quarter who took antidepressants reported taking them for 10 years or more. Clinical depression affects about 16mn people in the U.S. and is estimated to cost the U.S. about $210 billion a year in productivity loss and health care.

Is this honestly seen as the best way to tackle a mental health crisis? Just dope up teenagers and hope they are comfortably numb so as to not want to do harm to themselves or others? It was shown that Harris had switched antidepressants which could have fueled not quelled his homicidal and suicidal tendencies. This isn’t about guns. It is about ignoring the elephant in the room – stressed out kids with no mentors or role models to coax them out of their problems.

In some respects, schools are only making it worse by pandering to safe spaces and enforcing trigger warnings. Instead of dealing with the psychological problems at source and proactively targeting attention starved kids growing up in broken homes by counselling them in ways to build self esteem and how to get on in the “real” world, the problem will only fester because irrational feelings of hopelessness will get reinforced by ignoring the real issue.

Tranquilizing people with mental issues by molly-coddling them is also the mantra in the world of identity politics. By muzzling people from speaking truths we only build barriers around effective solutions. That regulations around hurting people’s feelings are increasingly being enforced, is it any wonder we are growing a generation of victims who can pin the blame on irrelevant and unrelated things? Healing comes through listening and understanding by open and transparent dialogue. Not by banning it.

Will an hypothetical ban on guns prevent the growing trend of kids growing up in single-parent households (and all of the psychological data which shows clear evidence of a higher rate of delinquency in children) from committing  such terrible acts of violence because they have no access to firearms? Feelings of desperation will only lead them to find other ways of seeking their distorted view of attaining inner peace. More kids will die and at the end the exact same problems will manifest themselves again – what lead to the act? At least in this case, Parkland, Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz survived. Perhaps we will learn much more about the psychological timeline of him if the press can wake up for 5 minutes and stop trying to link the act purely to white supremacy because it fits a narrative.

Hollywood hypocrites exposed by the Weinstein scandal


Most Hollywood celebrities are a hypocritical mob, a claim CM has made countless times. Grandstanding about all of the social injustice in the world but in most cases doing nothing personal about it, Whether it be Leo DiCaprio telling us that climate change is the biggest threat of our time as he flies his eyebrow stylist half way around the world on a private jet to Meryl Streep speaking of her utter disgust at the President and his lack of respect for women. Now we have a thermonuclear scandal within their own ranks  – Harvey Weinstein. His career now appears so sullied, all celebrities can act (being the operative word) as paragons of virtue and exemplary behaviour because he has lost his career-influencing mojo and now serves no purpose. He is a sacrifice.

True to form celebrity double standards come shining through. All of a sudden, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and others come out of their bubble and condemned his actions of which they claim they had no idea. Of course his actions, if proven true are abhorrent. Presumably in all of the drug and alcohol fueled benders that in and out of rehab celebrities – who spend their lives boasting, boosting then denying self made rumors to gain the spotlight – attend, not one of them got a whiff of what was going on? Puhlease. How obvious is it to spot an office romance at your company Christmas party? Doesn’t take an Einstein to work it out.

After all these celebrities are the most switched on of all enlightened beings when patronizing us with their wisdom on politics, refugees to the environment. Many would never let a moment pass to provide their guidance or opinion. Yet, they somehow managed to miss what must have been a pretty obvious behavioural pattern if it has been as widespread over decades as reported. Not one of these up and coming fame seeking stars confided in one of the established Hollywood A-listers that they were pressured to watch him supposedly pleasure himself or presumably participated in sex acts or became victims of rape?

So who has come forward?

ANGELINA JOLIE (1998) Jolie said she rejected Weinstein’s sexual advances in a hotel room during the release of 1998’s Playing by Heart.

GWYNETH PALTROW (1996) Weinstein met 22-year-old Paltrow for what she thought was a work meeting at a Beverly Hills hotel. He suggested they head to his bedroom for massages. She refused.

HEATHER GRAHAM (early 2000s) Graham says Weinstein called her into his office and said he wanted to put her in one of his movies. He mentioned an agreement he had with his wife where he could sleep with whoever he wanted while he was out of town.

MIRA SORVINO (1995) Sorvino said Weinstein “harassed her” and pressured her to have a sexual relationship while she acted in Miramax films, massaged her shoulders and chased her around

ROSETTA ARQUETTE (1990s) Arquette took a business meeting with Weinstein that escalated into her being sexually propositioned.

ASHLEY JUDD (1990s) Judd was summoned to Weinstein’s hotel room to talk about roles in his movies. Instead, Weinstein asked her for a massage, and after she declined, he asked her to watch him shower. “I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times.”

ROSE MCGOWAN (1997) McGowan had reached a $US100,000 settlement with Weinstein after an unwanted encounter in a hotel room during Sundance Film Festival in 1997.

LAUREN SIVAN (2007) Weinstein trapped the journalist in the hallway of a restaurant, tried to kiss her, then blocked her path and masturbated.

TOMI-ANN ROBERTS (1984) Roberts was waiting tables in New York and hoping to start an acting career. Weinstein urged her to audition for him saying she would give a better audition if she were comfortable “getting naked in front of him”.

LOUISE GODBOLD (1990s) Godbold, co-executive director of the non-profit Echo Parenting & Education said during an office tour she got trapped in an empty meeting room, where Weinstein begged for a massage.

LAURA MADDEN (1991) Madden, a former employee of Weinstein’s said he would ask her to give him massages in hotel rooms.

KATHERINE KENDALL (1993) Actress Kendall said Weinstein gave her scripts and invited her to a screening, which turned out to be a solo trip with him. He emerged from the bathroom in a robe, asking for a massage and chased her and asked to at least see her breasts.

LIZA CAMPBELL (1995) The British artist and writer started working with the Weinstein Co in 1995. He invited her to his hotel room and suggested they take a bath together.

JUDITH GODRECHE (1996) Weinstein invited Godreche to breakfast at the Cannes Film Festival in his hotel suite to see the view and discuss her film’s marketing campaign. Instead he asked for a, started “pressing against me and pulling off my sweater”.

ROSE MCGOWAN (1997) McGowan reached a $US100,000 settlement with Weinstein after an encounter in a hotel room during Sundance Film Festival in 1997.

ASIA ARGENTO (1997-1999) The Italian actress was 21 when she met Weinstein, whose company was distributing her film. She said she entered a “consensual” relationship afraid of what would happen if she refused. During the first encounter he forced her legs apart, and performed oral sex on her as she repeatedly told him to stop.

ROMOLA GARAI (2000) The British actress claimed Weinstein had her privately audition for him in a hotel room while he was wearing a bathrobe. “I was only 18. I felt violated by it, it has stayed very clearly in my memory.”

DAWN DUNNING (2003) Dunning met Weinstein when she was waitressing and he offered her a screen test. When she arrived, he was in a bathrobe and said he had contracts for his next three films, but she could only sign them if she would have three-way sex with him.

LUCIA EVANS (2004) Actress Evans said she was forced to perform oral sex on Weinstein. She says she tried to resist but was overpowered.

EMMA DE CAUNES (2010) At Cannes Film Festival, Weinstein told the French actress she would be perfect for an adaptation of a book he had in his hotel room. He emerged from his hotel bathroom naked and demanded that she lie on the bed. She left petrified.

JUSSICA BARTH (2011) Barth met with Weinstein in his hotel room for a business meeting. Instead, the meeting “alternat[ed] between offering to cast her in a film and demanding a naked massage in bed”.

EMILY NESTOR (2014) Nestor was an assistant at Weinstein Company when Weinstein offered to relocate her to the London office so she could be his girlfriend. The two got coffee, which Nestor said was “the most excruciating and uncomfortable hour of my life”.

AMBRA BATTILANA GUTIERREZ (2015) Gutierrez filed sexual assault charges in 2015 after Weinstein grabbed her breast during one of their meetings. The charges were dropped by NYPD, but initially, Gutierrez worked with the police to try and catch Weinstein confessing to the crime on tape.

Are we to believe that these were the only ones affected by his indecent proposals? In all the time she worked with Weinstein, Kidman never came across his lecherous advances? Are we to think that nothing happened just because he is not into redheads? If these shenanigans had been going on for over a decade in Hollywood, one cannot help but think that such a high profile person’s antics weren’t just urban myths by a long shot. If indeed some of these Hollywood stars in the making were true victims of sexual impropriety, surely many of the production crew, managers, other stars and make up artists must have noted changes in their behaviour or manner off set.

Sexual harassment and/or assault are serious crimes. Let us make no bones about this.  Should Weinstein be found guilty in a court of law for his actions then may the book be thrown at him with full force. Not even the best actors can hide the side effects of such despicable behaviour.

Yet, the celebrities who had a chance to expose Weinstein in public since 20 years ago for his supposed actions chose not to. Presumably chasing stardom for multi millions a film ended up more important than raising a red flag and protecting multiple other people from a fate they need not have faced at the risk of their own careers. Hypocrites indeed.

On the flip side as much as we might not like to admit it, it is also not hard to believe that some will gladly sell their souls for fame and fortune. With power comes inevitable corruption and false belief in one’s own infallibility. Perhaps Weinstein thought his elevated status granted him the ability in his own mind (however warped) if a few responded positively to his advances? An intoxicating drug which kept him in a state of continually seeking reconfirmation of his massive ego. That does not excuse any claims about what he did in anyway but I won’t be the least bit surprised if the psychological assessment in any trial confirms this mental state.