Mental Health Versus Gun Control

mental healthMental 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

The Standard
Wisconsin State Journal
Huffington Post

5 Responses to "Mental Health Versus Gun Control"

  1. Doug   January 7, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Calm down Vadim.
    I think the writer is suggesting that someone with a mental illness is often construed as likely to shoot another if given a gun. Mental illness is a broad term that isn’t limited to schizophrenia but includes depression, eating disorders, and alcoholism. So taking guns away from the mentally ill would be repealing the 2nd amendment and would probably be the writer’s position, but the article was more about focusing on improving mental health and making it a separate issue.

  2. Ko I   January 7, 2014 at 4:48 am

    Semi-automatic means one, and only one round per single pull of the trigger. I.E. as fast as a modern revolver.
    Fully-automatic, meaning more than one round per single pull of the trigger, is nowhere near readily available to the civilian market. The cost alone, as a result of the Hughes Amendment, means that legally acquired full-autos are extremely rarely used in crimes. There have been two, to my knowledge, since the 1930s: one suicide, one drug dealing cop.
    Yes, it does make sense to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illnesses that would make them poor judges of rational and reasonable uses of them. It also makes sense to keep such people better monitored so that they don’t use any of the million other tools with which they could do harm to society.
    This article is written as if the problem is the gun, and not the mental illness. This is a falsehood.

  3. Ronald73   January 6, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    This “editorial” reads as though it was written by a naive person. I would guess the writer has never had to defend herself against deadly force. Some people get only one chance to save their own life and/or the lives of loved ones. Being inside your own home, behind locked doors, is proving to be inadequate protection in the past few decades. Having a 5 shot revolver when 4 or more thugs break into your home is not sufficient because studies have shown that most shots miss their mark, even when fired by police.

  4. Vadim   January 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    What exactly are you suggesting? Repeal the 2A?
    Are you implying that now Americans are less mature as a nation than 200 years ago to be able to responsibly own arms?

  5. Hexaflouride   January 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    “May we truly seek the wisdom to make the right decisions…”.

    I would hope this liberal report ‘gets wise’ too.


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