It’s Not Guns that Kill People, It’s Crazy Mother Fuckers that Do!

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Sorry to be so harsh, but I am so damn tired of hearing everyone talk about gun control or making guns illegal or other such nonsense! For once, can we just talk about what’s really going on and stop skirting around the issue!?!?! The real issue here is mental health and the government’s historical lack of giving a shit about something so important. I firmly believe that if there was more mental health awareness and more funding for proper mental health treatment, there would be a lot less violence in this country.
I’m not saying that there doesn’t need to be stricter gun control laws- actually I think there should be, but my idea of “gun control” goes hand-in-hand with mental health awareness. The problem seems to be, in my opinion, that it is far too easy for mentally ill people to get their hands on guns. My idea of gun control would be to make it mandatory for a potential gun owner to not only have criminal and personal background checks, but to also have an in depth psychological evaluation. This should include a clinical interview and psychological testing. It should also be against the law for someone to own a gun who has a mentally ill person living in their home or in their care. This was the case in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. The crazy bastard who went on the killing rampage used guns that were owned by his mother whom he lived with. For whatever reason, she didn’t have the intelligence to keep her guns locked up and away from her mentally ill son and this led to her and many others’ demise. She shouldn’t have been allowed to keep guns in her house while having a mentally ill person living with her!
Now I’m not naïve enough to believe that increasing gun control laws will keep guns out of the hands of crazy people, but I do believe it will be a good deterrent and it certainly won’t hurt anyone! I will also tell you that I grew up in a home with guns, my father was a supporter of the NRA, and my husband currently owns guns and has them in our home. The difference is, that I, nor are any of my family members are mentally ill. I support the idea of the 2nd Amendment, but it needs to be rewritten and there definitely needs to be some restrictions put into place such as the ones I have suggested here.
I mean let’s look at the 2nd Amendment for a minute; do most people really know what it says? Most of us just know it as the amendment that allows us the right to own guns. Here is how it really reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution) That shit was written in 1791. The Supreme Court has ruled that this can be interpreted as protecting a person’s right to own and carry a firearm, but why should 9 people be allowed to interpret that the way they see fit? It’s 2014 and it’s time to make an official change; one that is written into our Constitution to be upheld for generations. That interpretation was passed down from the 9 justices who sat on the Supreme Court in 2008 and 2010. What’s to say that in 5, 10, or 15 years someone else challenges the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and there are different justices on the Supreme Court who choose to change the interpretation? It seems to be a matter of opinion when really, an important issue like this, needs to have something official and in writing that can’t just be left to interpretation. My suggestions are not in any way fool proof, but I do believe they would certainly help to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people.
I know we have the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in place for when a person wants to purchase a gun, but clearly it’s just not doing the job and needs to be overhauled! The NICS states: “The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is applicable to sales from federally licensed dealers. Sales of firearms by private sellers are allowed to proceed without a background check unless required by state law. These regulations remain in place at gun shows, where no special leniency is granted to licensed sellers, and no additional requirements are placed upon private sellers.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Instant_Criminal_Background_Check_System) Shouldn’t it be required of all states to make it a law that this should apply to private sellers as well? Or maybe we need to make it a national law and stop leaving it up to the individual states. Just because a person is crazy doesn’t mean they aren’t smart. It doesn’t take a genius to look this information up and then roll in to a gun show and purchase an arsenal!
I’m also not stupid enough to think that guns are the only weapons a mentally ill person can use to inflict harm. Knives or explosives, hell even cross bows can be used, and those types of things need to be regulated too, but really we need to start providing proper treatment to mentally ill people! Back in 1927, some crazy dude blew up 38 elementary school children in Bath Township, Michigan. Why did he do this? Because he was bat shit crazy, that’s why! How about Columbine? That happened during a 10 year period when “assault weapons” were banned. Obviously, that didn’t do much to deter the shooters, but again, untreated mental illness was at play. How about Virginia Tech? That guy was as crazy as they come!
Now the media is trying to blame video games, TV shows, and action films among other things. Back in the day, they said comic books and certain novels were to blame for society’s ills. There are great classic books that are still banned in many school districts! Come on people, open your fucking eyes! Sane people who are free from mental illness don’t commit murder; people who are nuts do. People need to be educated about what mental illness is- its signs and symptoms and risk factors. This is the first, and most needed, step in dealing with the violence in today’s society.
The government, on a state and national level, needs to start ponying up some cash to fund much needed mental health programs in schools, hospitals, clinics, and elsewhere in the community. The insurance companies need to stop making it so damn hard to secure mental health treatment, especially an inpatient stay. Do you know how hard it is and how many hoops have to be jumped through in order to get someone a proper inpatient stay? Most insurance companies will give an authorization for a 3 day admission. You can’t do shit for someone in 3 days; not someone whose symptoms or behaviors are serious enough to warrant an inpatient admission! Then there are psychiatric medications and how some of them are so expensive it is cost prohibitive for people to take the medicine(s) they so desperately need. Drug companies shouldn’t be allowed to charge so much for medications and insurance companies shouldn’t be allowed to put so many stipulations on who can and cannot fill a prescription. It shouldn’t be so hard for a mentally ill person to get the treatment they need.
I work as a mental health therapist in a school. I believe that all schools should have a mental health therapist at their disposal. This is the easiest way to reach kids because they are there! I’m never at the mercy of the parent, wondering if they will bring the kid in for his/her appointment or not, as I would be if I worked in an outpatient clinic. I just walk to the kid’s classroom and take him/her with me to my office for a session. I’m also able to get to kids when they are young and before things get too out of control. This is essential! Treat them while they are young, get them the help they need early on, and hopefully help prevent another Columbine or Newtown.
It shouldn’t take a tragedy for people to realize how important mental health treatment is. I bet if a politician’s family member were a victim of the Newtown shooting we’d be hearing a hell of a lot more about increasing mental health funding! It also shouldn’t have taken another school shooting for so many schools around the nation to be beefing up their security and safety measures. I can tell you at my school we did a code red drill on the Monday after the Connecticut tragedy. Before that, I didn’t even know what a code red was! We then had loud speakers put in all of the hallways. Previously, loud speakers were only in the classrooms so if you were in the hallway you were unable to hear if an announcement was being made. Common sense would tell you that you should be able to hear announcements from anywhere in the building, but it took a major school shooting to get something done. I am a contractual employee with the school system. So I am employed by an outside agency and I am placed in my school. I have been doing this job for the past 8 years and only just last year was made to go get an identification badge from the school system. I wonder why that is?
This country needs to stop reacting and start preventing. We need to get our priorities straight and start committing money to things that really matter! Okay, I’ll get down off my soap box now (at least for a little while).

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