Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960

 

By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

School shootings bring up questions about mental health, guns

 

January 7, 2013



Twenty young lives and six adult lives were lost only a few short weeks ago in one of the worst school shootings in American history.

The actions of one deranged killer has changed the lives of hundreds of family members and friends of the victims and the shooter, forever. It has even changed the hearts of many in this country.

As a mother, all I could think about is how those parents were going to cope. How would they tell their other children? How can you bury your child and then move on with life? How is this community going to heal?

As an American, however, my thoughts did not immediately go to gun control, as it seems it has with many politicians. My mind raced to the mental health of the shooter and how this country deals with mental health issues.

I understand that no one has confirmed one way or the other whether or not this young man had been diagnosed with some sort of mental illness but let’s get real. No one goes out and shoots their mother and 20 small children, more if he could have gotten away with it, without having some sort of mental health issue.

But what can we do? We can’t lock up anyone who we think might have a mental health issue or “just doesn’t look right” and we can’t take away their right to own a gun either.

Jumping to gun control isn’t the answer either. More people are killed by automobiles each year than with guns but we don’t take away people’s cars or even consider taking them off the road.

People are killing other people!

Taking away any American's right to own a gun takes away their civil rights and it has been proven that tightening gun controls only increases violent crime. This happened in both Britain and Australia. (You can read more about this in The Wall Street Journal on December 26, 2012.)

Just two days after the Newtown, Conn. shootings a man walked into a movie theater in Texas and started shooting when an off-duty law enforcement officer shot and wounded the shooter stopping anyone from getting hurt. This police officer—with a gun—saved many lives and I’m sure all of those in the theater would argue that a gun actually saved their lives that day.

Everyone needs to slow down and take a deep breath before rushing to make laws that may only be more harmful in the end. If a human being wants to kill people bad enough they will find a gun to do it with whether guns are banned or not.

“It may be satisfying to ‘do something.’ But two things ought to be kept in mind. First, liberty is never more in peril than when politicians sense that the people want them to do something — anything.” Sheldon Richman from the Future of Freedom Foundation wrote in an Op-ed. “Second, a false sense of security is worse than no security at all. Legislating in the heat of emotion will not prevent future attacks, but it will do irreparable harm to innocent people.”

 

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