We do not need stronger gun control laws, what we do need is better Mental Health Care. Laws don’t stop criminals. Laws don’t stop gun violence. An unarmed citizenship allows dictatorships to become a reality, just ask the Jews from WWII.
I remember while I was still in school, Bernie Goetz shot and seriously wounded four men who tried to rob him on the subway. This was not the first time he’d faced attackers trying to rob him and when the first time ended in the attackers getting a slap on the wrist, he got angry. This seems to me to be the start of people taking social injustices into their own hands.
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, advocating for any type of vigilante justice or justifying anyone shooting anyone. However, I should be able to carry a gun in order to protect myself and property from anyone. I can also do a lot of damage with a knife, a bat, a crowbar, a broken glass bottle, etc. If I am wanting to do damage, I will find a way to do it, regardless of the weapon and will get any kind of weapon, illegally or not to do it. That’s just the way people work.
If I want to hurt you badly enough, I will find the means with which to do it. It is that simple.
On the other side of the coin, we have a lot more mental illness springing up all over the place. PTSD is running rapidly through our military, domestic violence sufferers, accident victims and violence survivors. We have bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, ADHD, depression, dementia and OCD that cause our brains to act in a non-normal way. Sometimes they are easily identified and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are controlled with medication, sometimes they are not. The stigma we have placed on mental disorders has people who suffer them hiding in shame.
I remember when I was 13 years old and suffered from chronic ear infections (and still do to this day) my pediatrician told my parents it was psychosomatic (all in my mind) and my father freaked out fearing they’d stick this in my medical records, stigmatizing me for life as someone with a mental disorder. Crazy, right? True!
We, as a society, need to tear off the Band-Aid that hides people in a closet of shame for being sick. We do not choose to be this way, it just happens. Whether it is because of trauma, chemical imbalance, birth/DNA or whatever the reason, mental illnesses are no different than having cancer, influenza, Lupus, arthritis, liver disease, etc. It is out of the person’s hands and is no more controllable than the sun rising and setting.
I suffer PTSD. I also take Cymbalta for it. I will never be able to come off of this drug; because of it. Without this drug, I can’t go out in public, I suffer in anxiety in crowds, I have uncontrollable episodes of rage and violence, incredible bouts of fear, my mind likes to cycle into madness and my fight or flight response is in overdrive. I am not ashamed of my PTSD; because it shows the world that I survived what could have destroyed me. I have had four traumatic instances in my life that have caused me to be at this point in my life and each one could have easily destroyed a weaker person. I think of it as a badge of honor, not a stigma of shame. I wish others could feel the same about themselves.
I don’t want to see another school shooting. I don’t want to see another Oklahoma City bombing. I don’t want to see another Washington Sniper or Las Vegas Shooter. I want to see mental health care given a priority. I want the stigma removed from it. I want us to live in a better, more caring world.
Taking our guns away will not stop the violence. Those who wish to do harm will find a way. We need to wake up and help our fellow humans to be better humans. Wake up, people!!! We are turning into our own worse nightmare and if we’re not careful, we may wake up imprisoned by the very people who want to use violence against us.
Walking out for gun violence is not going to solve anything and most who walk out will only do it to get out of class. Addressing the underlying issue will go a lot further than unarming our citizens.
Whatever you decide to do, be safe while doing it.