Tom is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, single father, and long time resident of Oak Creek, who writes regularly about human interaction and perception as it relates to social issues, value fulfillment, and introspection. Tom encourages and challenges the reader to engage new perspectives; believing that through open and honest evaluation of all sides of a debate, conflicting parties can communicate with greater efficacy and more productive outcomes.
The past week has seen a tragic event turn into political partisanship, denial and once again some misguided or insensitive rhetoric from the polemic few in our society. There seems to be so little trust in one another, that we fear making logical compromises.
This week I have twice reiterated my opinion that the need for solutions to the violence that took place in Connecticut must include a combination of media reform, reevaluation of our mental healthcare, and yes, gun control.
To deny that all three play a part in this violence is to deny that fire needs oxygen, fuel and a spark (or heat source) to exist. The gun does not fire by itself, yes. But, people do not put bullets into other people without a gun. And, the media romances the entire story for those stone-washed with chronic mental illness that goes ignored or underestimated by those closest to them.
They go hand-in-hand. All three of these pieces need to be addressed. In the reverse of my fire analogy, if you remove only one of the ingredients, this fire does not go out. All three need mitigation to some extent in order to lessen the potential for catastrophe.
Still, many want to argue that this is entirely an issue of mental health. I don’t believe anyone can dispute this part of the problem. But, it is not the only problem.
A huge challenge facing resolution is the unwillingness to compromise. Most of those citing only the mental health aspect refuse to acknowledge any responsibility with regards to gun control.
How are we to trust that they will be willing to compromise with improving the social well-being and mental health of those suffering in society, when most of those pontificating about gun rights are the same ones strongly opposed to stronger socialized consciousness around healthcare and continue to say that society is not the blame, the individual is?
That entire attitude is almost textbook Machiavellianism.
While I hope they are sincere, I fear they are not. I fear that many who claim to now be on board with improving the social stigmas and treatment of mental health are only going to retract that viewpoint when they know their assault rifles are safe.
Sadly, I believe that many who want to focus only on the issue of mental health are more concerned about the security of those assault rifles than they are about the safety of more children.
There are more guns in the United States than in any other country in the world.
Some will argue that is why we are free and safe; I challenge those people to make that argument to the families of the victims of Aurora or Newtown. Or tragically, the next incident that happens if we remain sitting on our hands.
It’s time for logical and comprehensive solutions appropriate to today, not the 18th century. We must be sensible, not paranoid.