The splitting of hairs and semantic wrangling that has gone on in the wake of this tragedy (and others) has really disheartened and dismayed me. How
do we define the "worst" mass shootings ever? 20 dead children isn't bad enough to warrant a fundamental change on some level, because there have been
"worse" sprees? I mean... really? I just can't look at it in that light, personally. No, I believe fundamental change is clearly warranted.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm neither on the strict gun control side of the debate, or on the "the second amendment gives us the right to keep and bear
arms, period" side of it. My best friend was killed by someone with a gun when we were teenagers. I have never liked guns or wanted to be around guns,
consequently. However, there are a multitude of people passionate about guns who have never harmed a fly. Good people. People I know and respect. So I
cannot in good conscience simply give carte blanche to my government to take people's guns, either. Likewise, there are plenty of people with mental
issues (hell, I'm one of them) who also wouldn't ever hurt anyone. Again, good people, and people I know and respect. So we cannot start aggressively
scapegoating the mentally ill in a blanket fashion either, in my opinion. But those points aside, I also don't think that's the heart of the debate we
should really be having at the end of the day, anyway (part
of it to be sure, but not ultimately the crux of it.)
Guns have always been there. Mental illness has always been there. Yet these kinds of shootings have proliferated and become more frequent in the 21st
century and in the years just prior. I think before we become impassioned, indignant, and dig into self righteous positions, we need to rigorously and
soberly ask ourselves the simple question: why? What is the nexus between guns and mental health, the grey area where the two meet, that
allows these incidents to happen with such appalling regularity in today's America?
I don't know what the answer to that question is. Does
anyone? I mean, really? With credible certainty, rather than speculation based upon emotion?
Until and unless we answer that, we won't know where to place our energy, effort, and calls for change, and everyone's bluster, anger, tears, demands,
partisanship, and ideologies will be for naught. Nothing will change if we don't identify the real problem, and I haven't seen anyone adequately do
that to my satisfaction. We're dealing with an as yet undefined, amorphous, unidentified set of circumstances and threats that we cannot rush headlong
into trying to regulate or control without some very fundamental and serious questions being answered. If we do, and haven't answered those questions,
then we run the risk of turning either gun owners or mental health - or both - into scapegoats.
If both have always been with us and yet this issue is an emerging problem in terms of its new frequency and severity, then clearly some new, as yet
unquantified factor is in play. We must identify what that is, and deal with that in a comprehensive, specific manner. What we must not
my opinion, is rush to judgment and end up hurting people without actually changing anything for the better. (But we must also refrain from simply
doing nothing or downplaying the seriousness of these horrible tragedies.)
Balance and rational, critical examination is required. Along with some modicum of respect and empathy for one another, I dare say. Just my opinion.
edit on 12/23/2012 by AceWombat04 because: Typos