The shocking deaths of twenty children in Newtown Connecticut have not yet taught us what we need to learn. Let us change that outcome.
The media and political leaders of all stripes have jumped onto the gun-banning bandwagon, and I can’t say I blame them; however, although we do need to address many issues regarding firearms, these are not issues that can be addressed without further polarization and delays.
There is a more significant issue than banning firearms, and it is an issue that can be approached quickly and with little disagreement on any side. It is an issue that has been a significant factor in all of these mass shootings; in fact, I’m amazed that virtually no one seems inclined to address something that is so politically friendly and can have so much impact on preventing these situations from recurring.
We can all agree that the shooters in virtually all mass shootings in recent times have been insane; in fact, the instinctive reaction of many of us, when we heard the news, was, “What has another crazy done now?” or “How did a guy who was obviously insane get a gun?”
We can all also agree that the proliferation of weapons, particularly assault weapons is a Pandora’s box that has opened, and probably cannot be closed in the foreseeable future.
Surely we can all agree, on the other hand, that we have to treat the issue of insane people with guns; and that means that we have to deal with some serious mental health issues.
Here are just a few of the issues that we have to deal with:
1. We have to put serious money into researching mental health issues.
2. We have to find ways of making certain that mentally ill people who should be medicated will be medicated, and if in fact, the solution involves installing subcutaneous medication dispensers, so be it.
3. We have to make it impossible for people with certain types of mental illness to have access to firearms.
4. We must have specialized facilities for dealing with people with dangerous mental illnesses: prisons and homes are not adequate.
5. The prison system as it is is not equipped to deal with mental illness — that must change: either we don’t send the mentally ill to prison, or we change prisons to accommodate them as places for treatment and to satisfy public safety.
6. Ultimately, we have to develop actual cures for mental illness.
The subject is larger than this. It involves homelessness, PTSD, poverty, custodial issues, self-determination of the mentally incapable and more. Discuss.