By now you’ve no doubt heard of the shootings in Florida. And of all the kerfuffle around firearms and their role in the incident. There are people out to see firearms banned for the role one played, and the thinking appears to be that we have to get rid of them to prevent further events of this type. One problem, that thinking is a crock.
An AR 15 is only a thing, a tool. Side arms and long arms have no volition, no choice in how they are used.We are responsible for their use, and some really can’t be held responsible.
As I understand it the perp has problems. He is, as they say, mentally ill. He had been stressed and has prior to this acted out, what he did in shooting those people is take his behavior to a fatal extreme. What it comes down to is, he had a melt down and people died because of it. He could have used a car, poison, a knife, or crescent wrench. He choose a firearm and as a result was able to kill a number of people. What he used had an impact on how many died, but in the long run it made no real difference in what he did.
The problem really is not that guns are readily available, but that the mentally ill in our society aren’t really be dealt with. You get right down to it, we are being cheap when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill and refusing to actually handle the problem. The meds we provide by themselves are not handling the problem, we need something more.
What we need is an increase in the funding used in treating the mentally ill because what we’re investing now just isn’t enough. In addition, we need to rethink how we handle the mentally ill and to accept that our current handling just plain stinks on ice.
Not everybody, not even an adult, can be treated as a competent, capable individual. Some, for whatever reason, are just not responsible. And we need to stop insisting that one can recover from a mental illness. That’s not how a chronic condition works. A schizophrenic’s schizophrenia can’t be cured, he can’t recover from. Depending on the type and the severity he can learn to deal with it, how to handle his episodes and hallucinations, but not in any real sense end them. My major depression can’t be cured. The severity can be eased and with medication I can deal with it better, but I’ll still be depressed.
Really, what we need to do is to accept that some will always be mentally ill and there’s nothing to really be done about that. The best we can do is to show those who can learn how to better deal with their condition, and to provide them with conditions where they can do that safely.
And further, we need to accept that there will always be some who just can’t handle conditions on the outside, that they will always need in patient care. People who just can’t handle life on the outside and will always need to be watched in a controlled environment.
What happened in that Florida high school is indeed a tragedy. That the shooter saw no alternative than to shoot the students in question is an even bigger one. As long as we ignore the problems so many mentally ill have we will continue to have incidents such as this, it will only be when we start taking responsibility for those who really can’t be responsible for themselves that we’ll have any hope of preventing further events of this sort.
The problem isn’t the guns, the problem is ourselves, and until we start taking us seriously and start dealing with our problems we will continue to have incidents of this sort.
Stop being so damn cheap and start paying what we need to pay to help those who need the help.