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Yesterday was a horrible, terrifying day for families at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. So was April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO; July 20, 2012 in Aurora, CO at the Century 16 movie theater; August 5, 2012 at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin; December 11, 2012 at a mall in Happy Valley Oregon... and so on, and so on... we can add in more dates as they come, because they will.

My sadness (which is still there) has succumbed to major anger about this situation.  I am so sick of this country hiding behind the 2nd Amendment and acting as if we want all guns taken away.  THE NRA HAS BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS IN THE WORST WAY AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED.  I could care less if people own guns and use them/care for them responsibly. That is NOT the issue.  This is a multi-layered issue - it is not just about guns - in my mind, it is about untreated, undiagnosed mental illness colliding with violence and the access and freedom that these people have to guns.

 As one psychologist said yesterday, we have failed our mentally ill community miserably.  I totally agree.  This is not just about guns - but the fact that there are so many mentally ill people in our country that are not getting the proper treatment; their families are not educated enough to help them or are in denial of their children's problems; and when certain people of that community reach a tipping point in their lives, then they are now turning to guns to lash out.  And we can thank our government and the NRA for protecting their freedom to use these guns.

This extreme type of mental illness that we are seeing in these shooters does not happen overnight.  These young men did not just "snap" as many people think.  It takes YEARS and YEARS for it to build up - and without proper diagnosis, medication and treatment, we are seeing the consequences of no or minimal actions taken to help these people.  That is certainly where the gun issue comes in, as I do believe that there are certain people in our country that should not have access to guns!  How can anyone disagree with that?  Do we need our "freedom" so bad that we are willing to let it kill our children?  Should we turn our schools, and movie theater and malls into prisons, where you have to be strip-searched to enter?

They have now discovered 5 guns - not 3 as we originally heard-  at the school that Adam Lanza brought with him: 4 pistols and one rifle.  The first 3 that were found,  "are highly lethal weapons manufactured for combat and to stop criminals..... (and they) are the two most popular firearms used by law enforcement" said Ronald Scott, a firearms expert.  Yes, they were legally registered (as far as I've heard) to his mother, but why in the world did he have access to these, particulary with the family's supposed knowledge that he was a disturbed individual! His mother can never answer these questions, but in general it is FAR TOO EASY for disturbed people with an irrational and murderous agenda to get ahold of automatic weapons.  This was premediated, as most of the recent shooting massacres have been.

And I'm also sick of politicians, telling us that this is not the time to discuss it.  Really? How many more innocent people have to die before our government takes action.  This is NOT a partisan issue in my eyes. I don't care how difficult a discussion this has to be! I don't care how hard the NRA is going to lobby against ANY sane legislation! I DON'T want to hear that our 2nd Amendment rights are going to be stripped away from us!  Any sane person who is even half-way paying attention to this issue knows this is not true!  This country has been brain-washed for too long and succumbed to fear mongering, that this is a slippery slope issue - IT IS NOT!! Hunters, gun enthusiasts, people that want to have guns for self-defense or other rational reasons - HAVE YOUR FRICKIN' GUNS!  I AM NOT LOOKING TO TAKE THEM AWAY FROM YOU!  But the mentally ill people that are out there with psychosis and delusions and are not being treated have NO business having any kind of access to guns!  Since when does anyone think that gun access to mentally ill people should trump the deaths of 20 young, innocent children!

As I've read in the NY Times, "gun violence is uniquely an American problem compared to other industialized countries."  WE AS A NATION NEED TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION NOW - NOT TOMORROW, NOT NEXT WEEK, NOT NEXT MONTH, NOT UNTIL THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION COMES IN - BUT NOW!  Until then, we can expect more of the same senseless, horrific carnage happening in our communities.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Making this about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Garrett, ladybug53, sboucher

    mental health is extremely unhelpful - the issue here is easy access to guns - end of story.

    Mental health is a massively important issue - but it is not this issue. By doing this you are doing the other sides work for them.

    •  No. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1

      I absolutely reject that, and clearly, so do a lot of others, if my Facebook and Twitter pages of dialog on this are any indication.  And my "friends" and "followers" are from across the political spectrum.

      Forget the national dialog being set by the likes of cable pundits--this is not just about guns and the ridiculously-easy access to same by anyone with enough cash.

      Reasonable people are going to have this discussion, and it should be had.  

      It must be had. Now.

      It is time to #Occupy Media.

      by lunachickie on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 04:23:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  mental illness & gun violence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Boris49

      I could not disagree with you more.  You are simplifying a very complicated issue, which is why our country is in the state it is in.  There are completely responsible gun owners out there - millions of them - who respect guns, teach their children about gun education, and use their guns in responsible ways.  These people would never use their guns to harm anyone, except for cases of self-defense.  Have any of these responsible gun owners that I am referring to been responsible for a single one of the massacres that have occurred across the country?  I think not!  

      If you look at virtually every profile of one of the young men that has taken guns to kill and maim people in public venues, they are very similar.  Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooter: diagnosed with depression in high school and now with schizophrenia. The Columbine shooters: Eric Harris - diagnosed as a psychopath and Dylan Klebold as a manic-depressive.  James Holmes- the Aurora movie theater shooter: either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.  Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter: psychosis/delusional disorder, and on and on and on... Yes, I will absolutely agree with you that mental health is a "massively important issue," and IT IS A VERY MAJOR ISSUE IN ALL OF THESE SHOOTINGS.  Do the research, read what the experts say - to think otherwise is doing a disservice to the mental health community, which is trying to help these kinds of people, and to the countless victims past, present and future, sadly to say. This is precisely how mental illness and violence collide.

  •  Making this about mental health (7+ / 0-)

    ... is extremely helpful.  Thank you for highlighting this important issue.

    Under Reagan, our system for providing services to the mentally ill was gutted.  It is harder than ever before for a family who KNOWS that their family member is dangerously mentally ill to get any help for their family member.   The standard for involuntary commitment is so strict that there is no way to force them into treatment until after they hurt someone. And, even if you could force them into treatment, our health insurance/healthcare system is so screwed up that most families could not afford the treatment.

    My family worked at a State Mental Hospital, and I was actually there, on the day that they opened the doors and told all the severely mentally ill people to leave.

    You will see them today, homeless on the streets, or in prisons.

    Or in schools, shooting people.

    If you can identify and help a mentally ill person, you can stop a disaster before it happens.

    If you take away the guns, and they have compulsions to hurt people, they can come up with other deadly scenarios.

    Yes, guns are one of MANY discussions we need to have about how to prevent these tragedies.

    We also need to talk about
    - mental health care
    - school security and crisis reponse
    - reporting and intervention for persons who have been identified by institutions or families as needing mental health treatment
    - monitoring, reporting, and following up on worrisome posts on the internet.  It needs to be people-powered like rating a comment, or rating spam.  
    - violent videogames, movies and TV shows (legal "violence" porn).  Science has demonstrated that the human brain is WIRED TO MIMIC WHAT IT SEES.  Just think about that for a minute.  Deadly shooting in, deadly shootings out.
    - National Service Ads to reach out to those who are struggling and invite them to come to get help, and then to make sure that the help is there, IMMEDIATELY, when someone comes forward, and that such persons are not penalized for being honest about their illness
    - our high pressure, competitive culture that is putting young people under such intense emotional stress.   Why are our young people cutting, suffering anorexia and bulemia and other stress disorders?    Maybe, just maybe, our push to "leave no child behind" is driving them forward at such a brutal pace that at least some of them are literally killing themselves to escape the whip.  Maybe we need to examine the school environment, and consider if there are as[ects of the design that intrinsically cause subliminal stress (like flourescent lighting).  Maybe we need to re-introduce unstructured time.
    - environmental factors that increase stress -- flourescent lights, crowded spaces, noise, exposure to radio signals, etc.   Are there things in the design of our schools and work spaces that increase subliminal stress that could help to reduce the "pressure cooker" effect?

    There is a lot of soul searching to be done, and snap answers like "outlaw guns" or "build more prisons" is glib, and fails to really get to the heart of the matter.  That might be one area to consider, but it's the tip of the iceberg.  There is much more that we need to think about, that we might need to change.  

    It is yet another shortcut, and it is all the shortcuts that got us where we are today.  

    I guess I should say, "Sorry for the long post", but it felt really good to say it.  

  •  Those NRA monsters (0+ / 0-)

    lobby against sane discussion, let alone sane gun legislation. I am so damned tired of these Washington lobbyists driving our national dialog thanks to their corporate-owned mouthpieces on our airwaves. Completely SICK of it.

    We have to talk about this without being influenced by their shit. I completely agree with you that this is not just about guns, this is about the mentally disturbed who our healthcare system has failed. Miserably. But all you hear is "NO, slippery slope, Second Amendment must not be abridged in any way shape or form", and that's bullshit.

    What does the ACA do in terms of mental healthcare assistance, does anyone know?
     

    It is time to #Occupy Media.

    by lunachickie on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 04:18:12 PM PST

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