Gun control, the issue in 2018

Unfortunately, there is been another shooting at a school. The shooter was not a terrorist or gang member. It was another mentally ill student. Parents and students are understandably outraged and want something to be done to stop any more shooting from happening on a campus. They’re calling out to the members of Congress and the President of the United States for laws that would stop such events from happening. I have not had to live through the horror of a losing one of my children. And I don’t expect the parents and loved ones of those that died to be to understand the issues that are in front of them which led to the death of their loved one. This is one of those no-win situations.
My thought is that more regulation of ownership of a gun will not stop young individuals from committing a mass killing events. Even those older shooters seem to have one thing in common with the young shooters. That is the mental illness issue that overshadows the shooters life. Controlling the ownership of a rifle or gun will not keep the organized crime families and gangs from selling the guns to anyone who is willing to pay for the ownership. Just like the prohibition days that tried to stop Americans from drinking alcohol, the control of gun ownership will only help those organized crime families become wealthier as they sell the guns on the street to anyone who has the money to buy them. They will not stop a family member from stealing a gun from a person who bought the gun and is not a danger to others.
I believe that it is the issue of mental illness that needs the most attention. First, there are so many mental illnesses that even trained professionals have a tough time recognizing what the illness is. Then even as a professional, they are bound by the laws about letting the information out to the public. The school administrators are also controlled by laws that do not allow information about a mentally ill person to be presented to the public. Then there is the neighbors and friends of those mental ill people who are afraid to speak out and draw attention to that person. There is no limit to mental illness like there is for alcohol in your body. If you drink and drive and your blood alcohol is over .08 you can be arrested and placed in jail. This is done for the safety of others. But there is no test or limit for mental illness that can be use easily. There is no formula that says that a person that is depressed for more than three days is a public safety issue.
If you call out a person for being mentally ill and is a danger to society, such a declaration has to be confirmed and maybe that person will we put into a facility for three days. If at the end of the three days, they seem to be better and are not a threat to society they are released.
So mental illness professionals and school administrators cannot let the public know if a person has been committed or is receiving treatment for mental illness. If they let that information out they can go to jail. Then there is the parents and friends of the mentally or persons. The parents are less likely to let others know about their child’s illness and the friends of that person are also more likely to protect the mentally ill friend. Many of those shooters who were diagnosed as mentally ill were loners. Few people knew what was going on and they did not feel that the person was a danger to others.
It is hard for somebody’s constitutional right to be taken from them because they are mentally ill. While working on the Los Angeles Police Department I went to many calls where the issue of mental illness played a major part in the violence that one person puts upon another. Many times, it was a family member that was facing a mental issue that was causing the violent and hurt to the ones around them. But as soon as I spoke about having that person put into a mental hospital for evaluation, the families would immediately reject that idea. Some family members felt that it reflected that their family under attack if one of the family members was taken to a mental hospital. Those shooters that were loners were usually vocal about their intentions to hurt others. But without any specific intent or action is nothing that can be done to stop that loner from hurting others. They must perform some kind of action before any intervention by law can happen. Then once they are taken to a mental facility they are held there for three days while mental illness professionals evaluate them. Those people with illnesses recognize what’s going on and change their actions so they can go home.
It is understandable while the parents and friends of those that have died want to blame the government or the school officials for the actions taken their loved one away. But it’s not because something can be fixed by the introduction of the law. A national law did not stop people from drinking nor did it stop them from smoking weed. A national law cannot stop people from bullying others nor do the laws against family violence stop family violence from happening.
There is no test for standard that can handle the many deep and complex issues of mental illness. My only thought on this issue that can address it is that you use the term, “if you see something say something.” But the existing laws will probably stop those professionals who can recognize such illnesses from saying anything.
The current uptick in school shootings is a direct result of mental illness. The accessibility to guns is not the main reason for the killings. It is the person’s mental state.

One thought on “Gun control, the issue in 2018”

  1. I think there is a societal issue playing out here. The lack of any significant deterrent value of current laws and the judicial system. Everything is now negotiable, have been for some time. How many times have the courts given the maximum sentence allowed for the crime committed? 25 years is negotiated down to 10 years and then parole for good behavior reduces it even further. And it happens across the board for crimes at all levels. With respect to a deterrent this reduces the risk and may embolden those that might not commit a crime if the punishment were more significant. As this concept creeps into our society we start loosing respect for the law and our sense of being held accountable for our actions becomes less important than profit and fame. Adding to this decline of society is the loss of the prime moral of considering others before yourself, especially in the younger generations as demonstrated by the multitude of events where an individual being offended by something becomes a national crisis. I guess in summary it comes down to a loss of discipline at all levels and the loss of civil society, considered as a community of citizens linked by common interests and collective activity. Obviously, much more complex than I have commented on. However, in regard to the recurrent mental health issue being the constant in the mass shootings of late, family upbringing and societal pressures are a major influence on how anyone, mentally impaired or not, would make a decision to kill another human being. It comes down to the respect for human life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.