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In the aftermath of yet another tragic shooting in which a (most likely) mentally ill individual got ahold of weapons and took the lives of innocent people, this time mostly young children.  I am dully saddened, angry, shocked, and the related spectrum of emotions… I have become too inured to events like this one.

Some rise up immediately with emotion and seek to lay blame on lack of church, lack of parenting, etc. Some are angry that he shot himself and wish him to still be alive so he could be tortured.  We must move past such medieval reactions, learn what we can and move forward.

I pity the victims, their families, as well as the shooter and what is left of his family.  He must have been stuck in some personal nightmare that we can’t even imagine, sadly he felt compelled to open the door to his private hell in a most horrendous way.  The internal demons that drove him to commit such heinous acts, however, are really secondary to the root whys and hows… such as why he hadn’t received mental health care or received only inadequate care; and how he obtained the firearms that he used. I am much less inclined to assign blame to lack of religion, bad parenting, etc. to seek the more important lessons so that we can go forward and prevent future tragedies.

In the aftermath of this heart-rending event, after far too many, we need to have serious national discussions about reasonable gun control, real access to mental health services, and the lack of recognition/denial of mental illness in this country.  All deserve recognition as vital issues in this country. I am in no way against gun ownership, nor am I against reasonable restrictions. We also need to realize that mental illness is not a failing of the afflicted or their families.

What should come out in the wash are the critical considerations of the aforementioned root causes followed with planning on how to address them and mitigate future harm.
Both sides need to set aside their bickering and shortsighted considerations to work towards the future health of our nation.

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