A New Year - Lets Have a New Discussion
I said I was going to wait until after the holidays were
over to comment on Sandy Hook, so here it goes.
It is long, but please bear with me.
Of course, the public discourse now is on gun control–
should we enact more gun control measures? – should we ban assault weapons
again? There are points on each side and
they make some sense – sometimes nonsense – but they are opinions and in the realm
of public discourse the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech,
regardless whether or not the speaker actually has any merit.
Speaking of Constitutional Amendments, do you think that
pointing out for the thousandth time that the “the right of the people to keep and bear
arms, shall not be infringed” pertains to “A well regulated militia, being
necessary to the security of a free state”? That in the 209 years from the time George
Washington banned private gun ownership in certain areas of Pennsylvania during
the Whiskey Rebellion in 1791 to the landmark decision of 2010 that no Supreme
Court ever ruled that Amendment II guaranteed private gun ownership? Probably not…it hasn’t worked the other times….
Anyway back to the merits of arguments I currently see in
the pages of Facebook and other web sites, some are laughable on their
face. Some think that posting armed
guards at each school is the answer, but one question…who is going to pay for
these new security measures, and why is it that the people I see advocating for
this solution are the same ones who want to cut government spending???
The worst has to be arming the students/teachers. Don’t teachers have enough trouble trying to
teach kids the necessary skills of reading, writing and arithmetic? I mean, come on….do you really think that the
answer to gun violence is more guns, especially in the schools? Are you nuts?
Which brings me to my point in this rant. What happened at Sandy Hook was a catastrophe
of epic proportions which happened by combining very effective weaponry with a
person who was clearly insane. We are
talking about documented insanity recognized by multiple people. So, why are we only talking about one aspect
of this tragedy and not the other? Why
are we only talking about gun control?
Why aren’t we talking about how we are treating mental illness in this
The reason is pretty simple…it is the same reason that many
in this country blame the poor for our current economic troubles – they are an
easy target. It is because the insane
don’t have billions to throw at media campaigns or to pay lobbyists or to
contribute to political campaigns. They
don’t write long dissertations to be published in newspapers or make slick
videos to post on YouTube. They don’t
own media outlets – newspapers, radio stations or television networks – or have
well groomed, well spoken and well paid spokespeople like Ann Coulter, Sean
Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly, Chris Wallace or Rush Limbaugh.
That is why, when our country started it’s debate in the
late 1970s about the importance of corporate profits and investor returns
versus the value of social programs, the first victim was the funding of mental
health treatment. The result was massive
cuts in mental health programs and the closing of many if not most psychiatric
hospitals. The effect is that we now
have basically the same form of treatment for people like Adam Lanza, Jared
Loughner, James Holmes and Seung-Hui Cho as we do the bored housewife looking
for her Cymbalta refill.
So, how about this, fellow Americans….how about instead of
talking about whether or not those not in a well regulated militia should have
access and the right to own a weapon which can empty a 30-round magazines in 45
seconds (or so) and be reloaded with another in less than five seconds, let’s
talk about the bigger picture – taking care of Americans. All Americans. American people.
Let’s decide that in 2013 we are going to talk about how to
best care for insane Americans, poor Americans, sick Americans, indebted
Americans, unemployed Americans, and working Americans who are paying over half
of their income in taxes. Let’s not
worry about millionaire or billionaire Americans or American corporations for a
while….we have been doing that for over 30 years, and look at where we
are. The truth is that they will take
care of themselves very well without our help.
They have for centuries, and they will continue to do so.
It is Americans taking care of Americans and working
together for the common good while ensuring the rights of the individual which
made this country great. If we want to
continue with our greatness, then THIS is what we must do.
Let’s not just talk about why the dangerously insane have
access to guns, but why they have access to elementary schools. Let’s talk about why with the massive
advances in mental health treatment, these people were not getting the
treatment they needed to keep from being a menace to society and killing people
– and then let’s resolve to do something about it.
Don’t ask how or who is going to pay for it. We are Americans, we can make it happen. If we have enough money to post armed guards
in every classroom, we have enough money to treat the criminally insane.
It is a new year, so let’s have a new discussion. Let’s decide to put Americans first, to
protect our children, to take care of each other and to make this country
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