Mental Health

My heart weighs heavy with thoughts of the terrible mass killing in Las Vegas this week. I’m still working on my 49 Random Acts of Kindness in honor of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shootings.

As always, the media and social media are quick to blame gun laws, asking for stricter rules and changes to the Constitution. It may not be a popular opinion, but I honestly think the issue is not about the number of guns the man owned. Did he need 42 firearms? I don’t think it matters. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used a rented truck and fertilizer-based bombs to kill 168. More and more we hear about people driving cars into crowds. Heck, September 11th was accomplished with box cutters. My point is that if someone wants to kill, they will find a way.

Yes, I know that access to guns may allow a person to kill more people, but the real issue, in my opinion, is mental health. We don’t do nearly enough in this country to help identify mental health issues and then to take care of them. I’m not talking about lock them away in some institution, but really help. There is still such a stigma around mental health issues that I think people are afraid to seek help. And I think that we are terrible at identifying them until it’s too late. We always hear “they were so nice” or “we never saw it coming”.

I don’t have an easy answer. I’m afraid that by focusing on taking away guns, we won’t focus on the real issue – what it is inside a person that allows them to think “I am going to kill people today”. I just know that all killers have one thing in common – something that is not a weapon. They have some sort of mental issue. And until we take care of that, I’m afraid we’re going to continue to see killings like those in Las Vegas.

 

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