Severely Mentally Ill? Get a gun!
By JT Thompson
Today’s mass shooting in ________ took ___ lives and injured ___ others. Authorities recovered ___ assault weapons, ___ semi-automatic rifles and ___ handguns at the scene. Fill in the blanks… the script is always the same, only the details are different.
America leads the world in guns with 101 guns for every 100 citizens. And we shoot and kill each other 34,000 times a year… another American shot to death every 16 minutes. Just since October 1, we have had 4 mass shootings, killing 90 and sending 512 to hospitals.
After the Las Vegas concert massacre, President Trump said the shooter was “a very sick man… a very demented person.”
After the Southerland Springs church massacre, Trump claimed “it wasn’t a gun problem… it was a mental health problem.”
Why, then (for God’s sake) did Trump, sign into law H.J. Res. 40, which removed the ban on selling firearms to those who have been legally ajudicated as severely mentally ill?
And if Trump believes mental illness is the root problem, why did he also slash federal funding for mental illness in 2018?
Trump is dead wrong, according to Michael Stone (Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University and author of “The Anatomy of Evil.”) In his clinical study of 360 mass murders in the last century, Stone showed that “IT IS A GUN ISSUE… there are very few mass murderers who are certifiably crazy.” Blaming mass killings on ‘mental health’ is not only medically untrue, it is politically disingenuous… a “fig leaf,” to make it appear that Trump is doing something about gun violence… when he isn’t taking ANY action about guns OR mental illness.
Americans will eventually have ENOUGH and demand action. Republicans continue to block action on gun laws, saying ‘we just need to enforce existing laws.’ But they also passed H.J. Res. 40; which gutted those existing background check laws, allowing the severely mentally ill to again purchase firearms. Anyone with eyes can see that is the absolute worst action.
So what should we be doing? My suggestion will take decades to see results, but it may be the only lasting solution: teach our children (what we have always taught throughout America’s history) that violence is obscene… and that violence is NEVER an acceptable response. Our social rules and judicial system are founded on that premise.
Instead, we tell children that what’s actually obscene is sex, and their bodies are nasty things they should be ashamed of. And we let children compete in virtual worlds of ‘entertainment violence’, from movies to video games. The more you kill, the more you win! And the violence they experience is devoid of real world consequences… there are no widows, orphans or funerals. It’s no surprise that so many of us kill each other with such ease and frequency. Gun violence is our entertainment!
We could learn from other countries that have successfully reduced gun violence by implementing common-sense background checks and cooling-off waiting periods. They have also instituted gun buy-back programs taking thousands of war weapons off the streets. They provide the mentally ill easy access to treatment. And they limit the violence that young people have access to. We have to be 18 to buy alcohol or cigarettes… why is there no limit on obtaining media that turns mass shootings into a game and numbs young minds to real world violence?
I don’t have the answers; but as a nation, we should demand our leaders come up with some. Dancing around the issues to avoid doing anything is no longer an option. We must DEMAND that both parties take meaningful action to curb gun violence and mass shootings. Stop obstructing long-overdue political discussions, and stop shifting the blame with circular smokescreens that only yield ever-higher body counts.
Either that or just get used to weekly mass shootings and 34,000 gun deaths a year.