Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mental Health and Gun Control

Yesterday was a terrible, terrible day. I usually don't write about stuff like this, but this particular event has really gotten to me. The fact that so many of the victims are 5 years old is just making it impossible for me to put it out of my mind. We would like to live in a world where these kinds of things don't happen, barring that, we would like to reduce the incidence as much as possible. As far as I can tell, there are two ways we can work toward this goal, gun control, and better overall mental health.

Let's start with gun control, as for me, it is the first thing that comes to mind. I am of the opinion that fewer guns is better. The harder it is to get a gun, the more difficult it will be for people to get their hands on guns, and therefore the harder it will be for things like this to happen. Some people might argue that the kind of people who want to shoot up a school will get their hands on guns anyway. That might be true, I don't know, I bet for some people this would be true, for others maybe more difficulty in acquiring firearms would stop one of these tragedies.

Some would argue that if everyone had a gun, this kind of thing wouldn't happen because the potential shooter would know that they would get quickly taken down. This argument seems completely silly to me. How many shots could the person get off before you could process what was going on, get out your gun, and shoot him back? I'm guessing quite a few...unless you are constantly at the ready to pull your gun out and start shooting a potential maniac. But if people all over the place have that mentality, how many accidents are we going to have? This seems like no solution to me. But regardless of your position, this is a conversation we need to be having, as John Stewart recently pointed out, the people who like their guns seem to want to stifle this conversation altogether. That is just unacceptable.

But my thinking here really does go toward preventing these types of things from happening. And we do live in reality, even if we had extremely strict gun control laws, people who really want guns could probably get their hands on them given how many are out there already. Furthermore, even if I could snap my fingers and make all of the guns in the world disappear (I would do this in a second if I could, btw) tragedies like this could still happen. So what can we do?

We need to be better as a nation with mental health issues. For a great many people in this country, simply going to a therapist is looked down upon. This stigma needs to go away. People should be applauded for working through their issues, not denigrated for it. I think everyone should go to a therapist occasionally, just to work things out a bit. Like an annual check up kind of thing. Just a normal part of life, everyone has issues, everyone would benefit from such a thing. A lot of people should probably go monthly or weekly, but if everyone else went on occasion and could understand the benefits, maybe they wouldn't look down so much on others who go more often.

Now I'm not trying to say that this particular shooter was mentally ill, I'm not going to say he had any particular condition or that he should have been medicated. Those things might be true, but I'm not sure if there is any way for us to know. But I would be a lot of money that he could have used someone to talk to. And I think there is a very real possibility that if he had gone to counseling, one way or another it would have led to a different result than him shooting up an elementary school. And as much as I hate guns (and I am in favor of gun control laws), getting more people into counseling seems like it would be a much more effective solution than gun control.


  1. I am also in favor of Gun control but i would say that all the shooters are not mentally sick

  2. I wouldn't say all shooters are mentally ill. But I do think that everyone would benefit from counseling, and trying to keep everyone in better mental health is probably our best chance at preventing more of these tragedies


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