The debate over gun control needs a new direction.
While society is constantly languishing on whether guns are made too available to
consumers, it fails to delve into any other problems regarding gun safety and
management, violence prevention and mental illness awareness.
Everyone knows the whole “meth isn’t legal, but people still get their hands on it”
argument when it comes to whether or not to ban guns for certain people or areas of
the country. Frankly, that argument just plays further into the web of confusion that
leads to even further misunderstanding of root cause and effect.
Students in high school learn about drugs and alcohol; how not to abuse them and
what adverse effects they can have on your life and the lives of those around you,
but when was the last time a gun safety class was taught in class as a curriculum
It would seem that with the reported consistency of school shootings by students,
more emphasis would be placed on informing the youth of, not only, gun safety, but
awareness as well.
But even if classes, presentations or campfire discussions occur, a deeper issue
remains; mental illness takes many forms and stems from even more origin points.
In an Alfred University study, more than 85 percent of people agreed, when asked
why shootings occur, that bullying and revenge were leading causes.
Why then, aren’t there more faculties in place to help intercept at-risk children
before they snap, wreaking carnage and havoc on innocents?
Why is it that the conversation has not shifted to the arena of school kids?
Since 1999, there have been 262 school shootings, according to a Westword.com
article detailing school shootings since the Columbine High School massacre.
While that number should be shocking enough, consider this: in a report from
Quartz.com on a study conducted by the Academy for Critical Incident Analysis at
Jay College on school shootings in 37 countries spanning 250 years, it was found
the US has virtually the same number of shootings on its own, as the other 36
countries in the study, combined.
And as much as it may seem satirical, a recent post from theonion.com stated
over 50 percent of the nation’s granite was engraved with the names of victims of
An obvious turn toward the serious, the post makes sense. What kind of world am
I living in where access to a hospital, therapist, out-reach program or just plain kind
words ate limited to those with means, but purchasing a gun at Wal-Mart is
What results from the fissure of what makes sense and what has become
acceptable is that people in desperate need of medical intervention do not receive it.
Not only do those needing help not receive it, but proper screening, mandated
psychological thresholds and educational venues on firearms are so lax that it seems
easier to lash out as your only recourse. Hasn’t that been what our society has fostered;
a habitat of violence and a lack of compassion or courage to confront and combat an
issue that shouldn’t exist?
I want to be clear; I am not supporting any shooter in any capacity.
If anything, I pity them. There are some people who are legitimately insane, and
some who intentionally inflict grievous harm to others. The latter is just as helpless
as the former, as our pro-gun society has failed both somewhere along the line.
I do, however, blame the infrastructure in place for not helping before horrific
actions are realized.
The real reason for the lack of interest in preventative care is the financial cost.
The government, private and public companies, including heath insurers, are
seemingly not willing to absorb the cost of mental heath insurance.
If it means that a bearer of firearms would need to purchase supplemental mental
health insurance prior to purchase, then so be it. I think the benefits to society
would outweigh the cost, especially if the ones paying for it are the end users.
Any mention of youth awareness of guns and gun safety with attention to avenues
for proper mental support is a step in the necessary direction if our society has any
hope of ridding ourselves of the devastation of losing our children.
They are, after all, our future.