I have one thing in common with President O'bama ( well 2 actually, we're both left handed)...I am tired and upset with the number of mass shootings. I am also tired of the killings of people-private citizens, police, innocent victims. I empathise with all of the loved ones who have lost someone to gun violence. What truly upsets me though is how people are reacting and what they feel the problem is.
One of the first things President O'bama said yesterday after the killings in Oregon is that we need to step up gun control (paraphrased). REALLY, is that what is needed? NO.
Since 1993 there have been 45 mass shootings, 24 of those incidents the guns were purchased legally. I did a little more research on mass killing since 1993. I chose this as my beginning point because this is when the Brady bill was enacted. This bill was enacted because of the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan which severely injured James Brady. And is to this day one of the strongest gun bills enacted in the past 20 years.
As I mentioned, since 1993 there have been 45 mass shootings. From Dec 1993 to Dec 1999 there were 14 such shootings. The most severe being Columbine H.S. where 39 people were either killed or injured. From 2000 to 2009 there were 20 shootings. The most severe happening at VA Tech where 56 people were either killed or injured. And in 2010 to the present there have been 21 such shootings. The most severe being Aurora, Co where 70 people were either killed or injured. The latest being yesterday (10/1/15) in Roseburg, OR. .For decades the number of mass shootings has gone up and so has the number of victims. Obviously there is a heinous pattern occurring. I don't think I am going out on a limb saying this pattern needs to stop!
Now is this happening because there are more guns or easier access to guns. I don't believe so. I believe how society-ourselves- in our actions and inactions and in our way of being not to hurt others feelings and that things are "unfair", we have lowered the bar in what we accept as human decency, and acceptable behavior in all aspects of our society.
The two things all of these incidents have in common is guns and mentally challenged and/or very disturbed people. More specifically mentally challenge and/or very disturbed men. And they are men of varied races-white, black, Asian, Native Americans, and Latinos. Now is the problem gun control or understanding how mental health and societal issues are affecting the young men of this country?
Now most people are focusing on the guns. Last I checked it is not very hard to control a gun. Unless there is some type of human interaction with a weapon the weapon just lies there. I have never heard of or witnessed a gun loading and firing itself. It may be a bit sarcastic and over said but it is true. "Guns don't kill people- People kill people". Guns are just the weapon of choice. So for me it isn't the issue of guns but how guns are being used.
Let's just say for argument sake that we can get every gun out of the hands of mentally disturbed individuals. You still have mentally disturbed individuals. If they feel killing is the answer they will just choose another weapon to use. The real issue then should be to understanding the cause of why people are so disturbed that they feel gun violence and/ or death is the answer to their problems.
So do I believe Mental health is part of the issue- yes. Do I believe Societal health is part of the issue-yes. I believe teaching and having respect for ourselves and others is an issue; teaching and understanding consequences for actions is an issue; teaching and understanding accountability and responsibility is an issue. Having society stop ignoring the 500lb gorilla in the middle of the room-that we as individuals, as a society and as a nation need to take a serious look-ACCOUNTABILITY- over the past 2 decades and longer to see how we have lowered the bar and in turn lowered our demands for human decency, respect and accountability.
Can gun laws be improved sure but no matter how good a law or "process" is people who do not value right vs wrong or value others will find ways to circumvent the laws and processes. Let's create a culture that allows for and creates the want and need for respect, decency and accountability.Death and violence is a result...lets take a serious look at the problem!
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