Ever since the tragedy in Newtown, the gun control debate has intensified to an unbearable cacophony. I’ve tried to stay out of it much like I tried to stay out of the election. There are already too many people spewing too much bile for the opinions of one insignificant hillbilly to make much difference either way. For the record, I’m for responsible adults having the right to own as many guns of whatever size and type they want. I’ve seen the kinds of weapons criminals carry, and responsible, law-abiding citizens of this country should have the ability to protect themselves and their families from people who would do them harm. But the purpose of this post isn’t to argue about guns. Larry Correia and Sam Harris do a far better job of spelling out the fallacies of gun control than I can. For me, the parts of this debate that’s being missed, the crucial parts, are the underlying causes of mass violence.
First and foremost, our mental health system is a deplorable sham. It’s simply inaccessible to many of us, mostly because of costs but also because of the attitudes and behaviors of many within the profession. Since my shotput accident in 1989, I’ve battled depression. Most of the time, I overcome it and function well. However, back in 2003, I fell into a deep depression that nearly crippled me. I recognized that I needed help and sought out a professional. First, getting in the door was tedious and challenging. Just getting face to face with a therapist was nearly more of an obstacle than I was able to overcome. Then, when I finally did get to see someone, I was greeted by an incompetent person who laughed when I explained the accident. No, really, she laughed at a person in the depths of a crippling depression. Here I was fully aware of my condition, actively seeking help, and stifled by the so-called professionals who were supposed to be there to help. Fortunately for me, I already knew enough about depression to look elsewhere for assistance, but imagine for a moment if I had been slightly more despondent or more unhinged. I easily could’ve slipped off the edge and done something horrific. That’s just one example of the absurd state of our mental health system. Those of you, our president included, who are so vehement that guns are the issue, why are you not equally looking at mental health, or more accurately the lack of it, as a culprit?
Also, why isn’t anybody talking about the problems in our society that create such deep feelings of disenfranchisement and alienation that people feel compelled to murder strangers? Is it just simpler to point at guns and say they are the problem than to dig for the root causes? I know plenty of people who own guns who’ve never even aimed them at another person, so I find it hard to believe that the weapon itself is the issue. What pushes a young man to walk into a school and murder over two dozen people, most of them under the age of seven? What drove him to that point of disassociation? Is it economic inequality? Is it the failure of inclusion (that’s another post for another day)? Is it the endless bombardment of propaganda that we’re exposed to daily? These are the questions we should be focusing on more than whether or not lawful citizens should be allowed to own a rifle. Why isn’t the president asking these questions at least as much as looking at guns? It seems to me if economic inequality is a culprit, he would then at least have some leverage for his economic agenda.
We’re already a polarized populace. After the election, hundreds of thousands of citizens signed petitions to secede from the union. If the president pushes for more gun control in this climate, his actions could ignite a powder keg, literally. I’d much rather see the left asking the deeper, harder questions right now than using Newtown to push a political agenda that 1) doesn’t work and 2) might spark a civil war. Just as the Bush administration dropped the ball after 9/11 by telling us to go shopping, the Obama administration has dropped the ball after this tragedy by focusing on guns instead of the underlying causes, and this time, things could get bloody and ugly rather quickly.