Gun Control, Mental Illness, Shootings, and Blame

I don’t typically write two posts in a day. I don’t typically stare at my computer screen, unable to think about anything else other than the horror that’s the news right now, either. I’m stunned. Shocked that anyone could do what someone did today. And in my shock, I just have to get some thoughts down. Somehow get some of the awful that’s in my head out into the open, so that I can look at it and hopefully somehow manage to deal with it better than I am right now.

I have no idea where this post will go. I have thoughts zooming all over the place right now. But there are some things–some reactions I’m having to how other people are reacting–that I just have to voice. What’s the point in having a blog if I don’t respond to something like this? Usually, my blog is here for others to read and (hopefully) enjoy. Tonight, it’s here for me. Blunt opinions ahead, folks. I don’t want to get in an argument. These are the things I personally believe right now. Frankly, I don’t really care at the moment  to hear about how I’m wrong or misguided. That can happen on another day. When the emotions aren’t as raw. That said, here we go:

When something like this happens, we all want someone to blame. It used to be, blame stopped with the perpetrator. With the man behind the trigger. These days? We’re all so worried about “understanding” everybody and every little nuance of a motivation. Clearly the man had to be mentally ill to do what he did. I’m not arguing that. But there are a lot of mentally ill people out there. Almost none of them kill 20 elementary school children. That’s because mentally ill or not, people recognize the difference between right and wrong. Yes, I try to be sympathetic, but in cases like this . . . most of the blame has to go to the guy pulling the trigger.

But I recognize it’s not all limited to that. There’s more than enough blame to go around.

  • Gun control, or the lack thereof. Don’t give me any of that crap about how we shouldn’t politicize events like this. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Aurora. Newtown. Kids are dead today, and if any of you try to convince me that gun control wouldn’t have helped alleviate some of those horrors. I hear about people arguing that this wouldn’t happen if teachers were bringing guns with them to school, and I just shudder. I am not a fan of guns. Any guns. Hunting is one thing, but this obsession with owning guns, with shooting guns, with having multiple guns . . . it makes me nervous, squeamish, and more than a little sick. Of course, I realize that gun nuts are frothing at the mouth already as soon as they read that. I honestly don’t care. Let them froth. Getting guns should be difficult. It should require a background check. It should require registration. It should require a waiting period. There should be limits on the types of guns you can own, the types of bullets you can buy. The number of guns you can have. The same holds true for body armor. Register for its use. Keep a database of who owns what. If someone has a bunch of guns and body armor, I think we need to keep an eye on them. At least be aware they’re out there.
  • A legal system that takes forever to get anything done. Could someone explain to me what’s happening with the Aurora Joker nutcase? How is he not tried, found guilty, and executed by now? The death penalty’s in force in Colorado, and what’s the point of having it if not for cases like that? Instead, we all wring our hands and worry about prisoners’ rights and fair treatment and . . . I just wonder what about the victims. What about their rights? What about their treatment? Maybe if justice were swifter, people would be slower to commit these crimes.
  • Video games–Violent video games. I’m a gamer. You all know that. But this non-stop obsession with first person shooters, being played by millions of children for millions of hours . . . It should stop. Yes, plenty of people can play them and not recreate them. But for some people, I personally believe it leads to violent tendencies. Violent fantasies. It’s like violence porn. Which leads me to my next point:
  • Glorification of violence in general. Violent movies. Slasher films with gruesome depictions of pain and torture. Again, I’m not saying that anyone who watches those is going to turn into a killer. But I do believe some people who watch them will get ideas. Will be inspired. And that leads me to: 
  • Parental responsibility. It’s one thing if you’re eighteen or older and watching these movies or playing these games. But if you’re 14? 12? 10? 8? I’m very uncomfortable about the ease of access children have to this kind of media. If you’ve been shooting people in a game since you were 10, it’s not a stretch to believe you’re more violent than you would have been if you hadn’t. My kids are disappointed I won’t let them play some things or watch some things. But that’s my job as a parent. I wish more parents would step up to the plate and follow suit. You’re not supposed to be your kid’s best friend. You’re supposed to be their parent.
  • Mental illness–People who are mentally ill have trouble gaining access to treatment. That shouldn’t be the case. Incidents like this prove that. Our health care system needs to be streamlined, and we need to catch people like this before they ruin so many lives, including their own.
I’m written out. I’m still numb. And I don’t fancy going back and seeing what people are discussing on Facebook or Twitter at the moment. What it comes down to for me is that days like today should not happen, and yet they keep happening. When that’s the case, what that means (for me) is that we need to make some changes. We need to figure out what we as a nation need to do to keep days like today from happening again. The solution is not to have us all carry around more guns. We’ve had decades of that option, and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere.
Folks, the zombie apocalypse you all like to joke about preparing for? It ain’t coming. So those fifty shotguns and 5,000 rounds of ammo for your assault rifle? Not really necessary.
I’m upset. I’m angry. I’m emotional, and I realize this isn’t the time to be making final decisions about anything. But it is the time to recognize things have to start changing.
And that’s all I have in me to write tonight.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *