Gun Control, Mental Health and Other Broken Things

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.

About The Amusing Muse

Deep thinker whose mind operates at warped speed. Philosopher pondering the big (and little) things in life. Storyteller. Office Ninja. Model. Teller of bad jokes. User of big words.
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5 Responses to Gun Control, Mental Health and Other Broken Things

  1. We need to open our eyes and reconnect with our fellow human beings. For so long we have turned a blind eye and a closed mouth. “It’s non of my business” and that’s true until that business walks into your child’s school with an assault rifle.
    My son took an interest in hunting. We sent him to the classes and acted responsibly. My family had a huge issue with his interest and so did I to an extent. Last year he got his first deer, this year, “I’m really not into hunting anymore.”

    • I honestly think there is a major disconnect between the current US population and their food. It’s created a wide ocean of ignorance and while those younger than myself might know that shoot-em-up games aren’t real, they have no knowledge of what it truly means to end another creatures life – even though it will sustain you. I’ve had many, many people ask about butchering chickens and rabits, etc., and the first thing I tell them after they’ve gushed enthusiastic about their curiosity is: “Taking the life of another being, even though you know you are doing it to sustain yourself, is one of the most difficult things a person may ever have to do. It’s not comical. It’s not giddy. It’s gut-wrenching.”

      I could, obviously, go on and on with all different reasons for why I think that this latest shooting occurred, but this issue is multi-faceted and complicated. It won’t be solved overnight.

      Regarding your sons fascination with hunting. I point to what I wrote above. It could very well have been that he had a curiosity and fascination due to the disconnect between animals in the fields and food on the table. What would it take to have to “do it yourself”? The mystery was gone after that deer. Not altogether a bad thing, and he’s probably better for the knowledge if it.

      • I couldn’t agree more. My husband spent his Summers on their family’s small farm. They raised animals to eat. This city slicker, who never put a name or a face onto her food had a hard time enjoying Rocco’s bacon, however I got over it once I had a better understanding and realized how delicious Rocco could be.
        My son did not enjoy the deer meat and maybe he was actually listening when I said “if you’re not going to use the deer as a food source, its just killing.”

  2. “Corruptisima republica plurimae leges.” Most commonly translated as: “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” It isn’t about laws or controls, it’s about, as you said. Our inability to/lack of political will to dig into and work on societies ills at a base level. We (for Canadians are heading in the same direction – just slower) are a band-aid/reacionist society and have proven that approach just doesn’t work. PRO-action not RE-action!

    • Agreed! I think it has a lot to do (maybe everything) with who is lining the pockets of our elected officials. I believe that things may come to a head, for the better, where we will end up revising our Bills of Rights and the Constitution for modern society, much like they do in Europe. Americans, and I was included in this at one time, are under the impression that those two documents were written “for all time”, but they weren’t – and I think our Founding Fathers would tell people that we’re idiots to NOT revise them.

      There is a long row to hoe ahead of us…

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