In the aftermath of the Newtown shooting tragedy, I am hearing and seeing a lot of social media about needing to provide more mental health support to stop incidents like that. Well, talk about a crazy argument, pun doubly intended! And I didn’t pun because I’m insensitive to those needing mental health. Rather, the argument of better mental health support for gun violence in America is that ludicrous!
Mental health support is a necessary part of health care, yes. It’s a neglected part of health care, yes. It’s even taboo in many circles, yes. However, when it comes to gun violence, it’s a “red herring” argument so off-based it’s crazy.
There are lots of people with mental health problems in countries around the world. Some of these countries have a lot of guns like in America, Switzerland, for example. Yet, among the first world countries where there’s not anarchy, civil war, drug war, or some free for all hostile fend for yourself living condition, none have the gun related homicide rate per capita as America. (see list)
Why is that? Are Americans that much more mentally unstable than the rest of the first world??? Are they more stressed out???
Answering “yes” to the second question might be a funny joke, but why would you really think that? Health statistics among countries aren’t reliable to compare due to different classifications, insufficient diagnoses, and such. But what would make you think Americans are that much more mentally unstable than the rest of the first world citizens?
And why would citizens in the world’s biggest economy be the most stressed? People are after the American dream not because it provides the most stressful life, you know!
The real problem is the availability of guns in America. When people snap, and they do all over the world, they sometimes reach for what they have to express it. If all they have around them is their fists, they might punch in a wall or punch a person. If no one is there to stop them and they can find a kitchen knife, or something common like that which can be used as a weapon, they may go stab someone. They may even kill with that weapon. But when they can find multiple pistols and assault weapons lying around that fire fast and easily, they can go on rampages like the killer at Newtown did, or Virginia Tech, or Aurora, or Columbine, and on and on.
Liza Long, the Anarchist Soccer Mom, who wrote a viral blog about fearing for her life from her son’s violent outbreaks, is alive because her son didn’t have access to guns. He fought with is fists and bit, and threatened her with knives, because that’s all he could get his hands on, being 13 years old now. What do you think might have happened if she had guns in the house? She said on CNN she did not. Yet, she was still arguing for mental health support! He needs it, but it’s not the answer to gun violence!
Of course, anyone who commits heinous crimes like this is going to be labelled mentally unstable and identified as suffering from lack of mental health support. But how many people are you going to keep from losing it in order to prevent something like some of these tragedies? Could you have really determined that all of these mass shooting killers would have done it beforehand? Do you really think it is that simple?
If you think it’s that simple, why do you think in each case, people who knew the killers were shocked they were able to pull off such horrific acts of killing?
And how many people do you think you’ll have to screen just to identify every one of these potential killers? And do you think they’d turn up to get screen or accept their diagnosis?
Seriously, think about it!
It’s easier to keep guns out of reach of the people who might use them with better gun control, and limiting assault weapons. I’m not saying take all the guns away, or that you’ll stop incidents like Newtown, or that achieving better gun control would be easy. What I’m saying is you’ll have a far bigger impact by better gun control than better mental health support. There are too many guns already around to prevent more mass shootings from taking place, and there are also too many mentally unstable people to prevent it, either. Just make it harder for the mentally unstable, or in their moment of mental instability, to get access to the guns. And you can identify the guns a lot simpler than the mentally unstable!
You can control gun access a lot easier than mentally unstable, or mentally unstable moments any one of us may have!