No way to prevent this says only nation where this regularly happens

07 Nov

For those who don’t get the title reference, here’s latest instance via The Onion, who posts this same story way too often.

Sutherland Springs, TX. Happens yet again.

I’m very disappointed, if not outright angry, at the Presidential reponse that “This isn’t a guns situation”, but rather “Mental health is your problem here.” Plus, you know, “thoughts and prayers”. I think the White House also said “it’s too soon to talk about gun control” again (they did).

Of course, by the time it supposedly “is time” to do so, another shooting incident will take over the national stage again.

I agree with The New York Times and nearly everybody else. It’s time. Let’s talk policy and change rather than thoughts and prayers please.

I think it’s time to talk about things, and get some commonsense restrictions in place. I don’t think the US has the wherewithal to go with the Australian solution (although Australia’s got a lot in common with America’s rural regions), particularly given the weird gun culture that’s prevalent here, but we have to do something; I don’t think the “guns vs. vehicles” argument in terms of education, licensing, registration, and insurance is perfect, but it’s not a bad place to start, really.

Really, though, the thing that strikes me most about this particular situation (along with all the others) is the whole “mental health” thing – yes, it’s a mental health issue. Not that the current administration is doing anything to make preventing problems or providing treatment for such things a priority.

Having grown up with it, I understand gun culture. I actually enjoyed shooting sports and hunting when I partook in my youth. That said, I never felt the need to really dive in and by the unrestricted gun nut/NRA line (and it’s not an accident I conflate the NRA with gun nuts here). Commonsense restrictions make sense, especially when you’re considering mental health. As someone with a mental health diagnosis (depression, with treatment) and have seen, first-hand and personally, how guns and mental health issues can lead to tragedy, I want no part of owning guns or having them around in my life anymore. The risk for me having an incident like the one I allude to above (for those who don’t know, my dad, who also had depression, committed suicide with a gun he owned while I was in college) is minimal given the steps I’ve taken in my life, but it’s a risk I can effectively bring down to zero by not having guns around. I’m not particularly worried about personal protection, the main argument for owning guns (the “good guy with the gun” fallacy), as simply having a gun present immediately increases the chances of an incident tremendously. Other flavors of mental health can lead to the kinds of mass shootings we see with all too much regularity just as easily. Something’s gotta be done, and taking steps to limit or prevent people with at least certain kinds of mental health issues from obtaining firearms feels like a good, non-controversial step.

As I’m fond of saying, no situation has ever been made more calm and reasonable with the addition of a firearm. Some sense of regulation (as is referenced in the first part of the poorly constructed Second Amendment) is something this nation needs.

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