As the saddness of the recent tragedies at Oregon's Clackamas Town Center and Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School continue to wreak havoc on our psychies and weigh so heavily on our hearts today, the sad truth is ... this isn't about the guns. No, the saddest truth of all is that in this country, it's easier for a mentally challenged person to get access to a gun than it is for them to access the professional help they need.
From my youth, I learned how to handle guns. I leaned how to use them properly and safely and how to store them correctly when not in use. And when my now twenty something sons were boys, I taught them the same. And even though I haven't hunted or used my guns for target or skeet shooting in over a decade, I still own them. So no, I am not anti-gun.
What I am is outraged at the lack of care and support and recognition of the mentally challenged among us. If they were getting the help they so desperately need, I truly believe we could mitigate greatly the suffering and the unbelieveable chaos their actions wreak. And if we, as a society, would take a moment and 'see' what's right in front of us, maybe we could begin the journey to heal them ... and ourselves, as well.
For years, mental health facilities have been closing their doors. Politicians and insurance companies say 'we can't afford it'. Really? Are these 'entitlements' so costly? What's the cost in dollars and in lives of the path we've chosen? Even among the 'sane', madness comes in many forms when we continue to ignore and to 'look the other way' when what is uncomfortable comes face to face with our reality.
Mental illness is uncomfortable. It's inconvenient. And it's an epidemic in America.