BY STEVE DUNN
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Last Sunday, the worst mass shooting in Texas history occurred at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland TX as 28 people were brutally murdered by a gunman. This was not the first time this happened; in fact, in the past two years “houses of worship” have become soft targets for this type of criminal.
It was ironic that many people who are absolutely obsessed with fighting the terrorist threat from radical Islam were not even using the word “terror” in this instance. Christopher Kline, a friend of mine from Virginia, posted this comment on Facebook:
“Why is it that following a mass shooting of innocent people we hear from elected officials that we should not politicize what occurred with a discussion regarding gun policy but within hours of a terrorist attack on innocent people we hear about the need for increased vetting, the need to end visa programs, etc.? Why is it okay to politicize the death of innocent Americans in one situation and not another? This applies to elected officials at all levels!”
I suspect that Chris has hit the nail right on the head. Americans — far too many — so dearly love their right to own guns that I suspect they fear letting any discussion follow a line that might lead to questioning that right in the extremes with which it is defended. In fact, one person responded to Chris with the comment “Guns are not the issue.”
No, they are not the ONLY issue – but the access to assault weapons and automatic ones ARE part of the overall issue. The violence in America, promoted in our entertainment, video games, and political diatribes are part of the issue. The failure for the government both nationally and locally to invest in mental health that could identify and keep guns away from those who are mentally disturbed is part of the issue. Yes, people kill people. Mentally ill and untreated people kill people with guns.
If the NRA and other pro-gun citizens would invest even half of the dollars that they invest in fighting gun control, marketing weapons and ammunition of increasingly deadly force, and other things that add to the gun culture–if they would invest these dollars in mental health, then we might begin to turn the tide on mass shootings like Texas, Charleston, Virginia Tech, Newtown, and Colorado Walmarts.
At the very least they might begin to convince some of us who are increasingly fed up with this nation’s out-of-control gun violence to be more open to their “right to bear arms.” If this doesn’t stop, you will find more and more people who will even want to take guns away from sportsmen (a position with which I disagree). (Although the question still lingers in my mind–why does a sportsman need a weapon with which he could wage war to kill a deer or a rabbit for food?)
Some of you will insist on responding to me in a predictable manner and sadly, your responses will too often simply repeat the gun lobby line or question my patriotism. And this will mean that too many will not even bother to mention the merits of my suggestion that we must get serious about mental healthcare instead of living with the increasing insanity of our out-of-control gun violence. But I post this in hopes that some of you will enter into that dialogue about mental healthcare and now to fund it.
© 2017 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at email@example.com