Nation, we have some problems.
I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to write about the latest mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. The words, however, had a different idea and I found the following overflowing the mental dam.
I’m a firm believer in there being a time and a place for responsible gun ownership. I grew up in a house where there was a gun. I knew it was not a toy; guns were, and are, tools. I also grew up out in a rural area and that gun protected our livestock, and me, a few times from feral dogs. I attended, and passed, Hunter’s Safety Education so I knew the safe and proper way to use a gun, as well as a bow and arrow.
As a nation, we have to attend Driver’s Education and practice driving with an instructor, before we are allowed to take an exam where we could potentially earn our Driver’s License. A prospective Hunter must take a Hunter’s Safety Education course and pass an exam before they can earn a piece of paper that allows them to hunt. Lawyers and Doctors go through years of schooling and have to pass numerous exams before they are allowed to call themselves Lawyers and Doctors.
To buy a gun, we do not, as a nation, require anyone to attend any sort of education course, nor have to pass any exam other than a background check before handing over their money for a weapon. The background check is all well and good if they haven’t done anything, but how many gun buyers have intentions of committing crimes with their newly acquired firearm?
I saw more than one person write how mental health exams should be given to anyone looking to purchase a gun. But I ask, where would it end? Would you require mental health exams for Driver’s Licenses or vehicle purchases? How about for buying a set of kitchen knives at The Pottery Barn? Picking up a shovel at the hardware store? Buying replacement bed pillows from Target? All of those things can, and have, been used to kill other people.
Now, there are stories coming out blaming the “lack of God” and prayer in public schools as the reason for all of these tragedies. Pushing religion of any denomination has NO PLACE in public school systems. If you want your child brought up in the ways of your chosen creed, YOU teach them those values; you can even send them to a parochial school of your choice to reinforce those values. I will repeat, because it bears repeating, religion of any denomination has absolutely no place in public schools.
We have a great many “broken” things in our country. We have broken politics. We have broken mass transit. We have broken social policies. We have broken (and overabundant) laws. We have broken families who leave raising their children to everyone else but the parents themselves; I’m not talking single-parents either, I’m talking about those “hands off” parents who shove their kids in front of the Televisions. We have a broken health care system and most importantly – a very broken mental health care system. We’re taught the signs of heart attack and stroke, but do we know the signs for which to watch for depression or schizophrenia?
Do we need more laws? Maybe, but I doubt that very much.
While laws that actually worked would be helpful, more importantly, we need education. We need to know the signs of failing mental health in our loved ones. We need a system that will help us instead of saying “… unless they are a danger to themselves or someone else there is nothing you can do”. We need to get those who so desperately need help, the help they need.
If you aren’t a hunter, don’t have to protect your family and livestock from large predators or feral dogs because you’re in a rural area, aren’t in the military or law enforcement – why do you need a gun?
Dear Readers, should you choose to comment on this very touchy subject, please keep it topical, courteous and not inflammatory. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, whether you agree with them or not.