Mental health versus gun control – how did we get to this contentious debate between sanity and weaponry? Is it really one against another, or just a combination of special interests and last resort fixes? Do we as Americans deserve another day of grieving for school children, estranged wives, or dead military workers and students?
Before we can take up the mantle of freedom to carry and buy guns, do we not need to analyze the toll it is taking on our country? The freedom comes with a cost, and as long as it is not our own child or our own father, or perhaps even our own president, is it our intent to put gun freedom over American lives? Let us consider the questions posed as a part of our national analysis.
Special interests: the NRA, gun manufacturers, politically expedient votes by Congressmen and Congresswomen, to name a few. Mental health experts’ demands: better services, restricted access to guns, a way to recognize and identify those who are under the strain of a mental breakdown which may lead to violence.
Maybe there is a compelling reason to allow freedom of access to guns for all citizens. After all, the mentally ill are one of our more vulnerable constituents. Perhaps we are trying to protect our fragile mentally ill as well as our violent mentally ill. The mental health experts are holding their own in the battle between constitutional rights and the rights of those who are suffering from a departure from sanity. For many reasons, mental health workers are not as heavily armed for this kind of battle; mainly political.
Mental health versus gun control. There is a collective wish that it could be that easy to restrict guns, along with a collective sigh of relief that Congress is attempting to improve mental health access and services.
In a democratic society, it is hoped that decisions such as these, which will have a long-term effect on gun safety and the treatment of the mentally ill, would be taken with the utmost seriousness, urgency and bipartisan spirit. The US is growing up and shedding its naiveté toward issues such as mental health versus gun control.
It is a part of our culture that we as Americans believe that our own interests will carry the day. We are liberal or conservative, selfish or unselfish in our motives, and brave and scared at the same time to change the status quo.
The imperative here is to make a bid for both improving mental health services and controlling access to guns. Today’s culture is not of the wild west mentality, so our laws need to be grounded in sanity. The rifles and handguns of yesterday have been replaced by semi-automatic and automatic guns. A greater responsibility lies on gun owners for owning and handling these new weapons.
Who are we to take away the freedoms that our Constitution affords? It is we who must take the responsibility for the outcomes our Constitution affords. This is the only way to say that our countrymen have come to terms with the brave new world.
Do we need to have armed security stand between our school children and the mad gun-slinging teenagers of our age? Can we do nothing but build a fortress around the woes of our young nation? Maybe it will take more killings to bring us around to taking the issues of our day to heart.
Hopefully, we can build a better way for the mentally ill to have access to improved mental health services. Expectantly, we can rely on all our interests to determine how to control gun access, not just the special interests of the few.
Mental health versus gun control. May they ever be considered as part and parcel of our new challenges. May they ever be treated as two separate issues in the decisions we make about each one. May we truly seek the wisdom to make the right decisions.
Editorial by Lisa M Pickering