April 6, 2021

I saw this commercial on Morning Joe this morning, and was happy to see it on the highest-rated cable show in that time slot. Because I saw it five minutes after I read this infuriating story in the Washington Post.

"Six family members shot to death in Texas after brothers formed murder-suicide pact, police said" was the headline.

Two suicidal brothers who struggled with depression and anxiety decided (as happens often) that they should kill the entire family so they didn't have to deal with the aftermath of their deaths.

Farhan wrote that he had suffered from depression since the 9th grade and had repeatedly harmed himself. His family had tried to help him, but he said that his mental health issues had recently worsened. He had been studying computer science at the University of Texas at Austin, he wrote, but was expelled from his dorms in the winter after telling a roommate that he planned to kill his family.

He moved home, where Tanvir, whom he described as “depressed and socially anxious,” was staying.

Eventually, the pair decided to kill their family and then themselves, he wrote. “Instead of having to deal with the aftermath of my suicide, I could just do them a favor and take them with me,” the note reads.

The pair bought guns, he wrote, adding that “gun control in the U.S. is a joke” because the pair lied when asked if they were suffering from mental illness. Police did not confirm how many guns were used in the shooting, adding that Tanvir was able to legally purchase a gun “recently,” KXAS reported.

You can't prevent every purchase of guns by someone who's mentally ill, but it does seem like someone who'd recently been kicked out of his state university dorm for threatening to do the very thing he went on to do should have been flagged. In a rational world, I mean.

We don't get to have rational discussions about gun safety because of the NRA. Most people don't know the risk of suicide and homicide is higher from having a gun in the house, simply because the NRA takes up so much of the space with their crazy conspiracy theories about fighting government oppression.

And they dominate legislative discussions by virtue of their large political donations. Despite their corruption, they're a trusted voice. If this commercial makes a dozen people rethink their positions, that's progress.

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