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Mental Health, Gun Control, Economy: Let’s Kibitz

Mental Health, Gun Control, Economy: Let’s Kibitz

Mental Health, Gun Control, Economy. These factors all relate to our community health. Whenever a tragedy like last week’s (July 20, 2012) mass-shooting occurs, the seeds of a conversation about the causes start within our society.

The conversation is then stomped and eradicated by powerful lobbyists, or so it seems. The media always mentions the National Rifle Association (NRA) as the giant foot with the claw-like soul.

Actually, the NRA does the mentioning themselves. Then arsenal-toting bloggers mobilize to poison the conversation’s growth. Remember the hoodie targets after the Trayvon Martin case? Man, that kid was just a kid. Not funny. Very bad taste.

So the seed of the mental health, gun control, economy relationship conversation has sprouted again. I’m going to try and water it a little. Here’s my take.

Mental Health, Gun Control, Economy

  • One of the arguments used by gun control opponents is the line that has now become a nauseous cliché: Guns don’t kill people, people do.
  • This argument suggests that all people/animals/beer cans would have been butchered anyway, just by a different means.
  • I’ll discuss this in greater detail, mostly in the gun control section. For now, however; let’s assume that their argument is correct. Let’s discuss mental health.

Mental Health: Gun Lobby Could Help Finance Health Care

So gun lobbyists demand that the solution of death by guns has nothing to do with guns, but the shooter. Therefore, we should address shooter issues. Of course, the gun control, mental health, economy issue is intertwined, so it won’t be completely separate. As far as I can tell, when things go wrong as far as wrongful death of people/animals/beer cans, that would mean addressing mental health issues that could lead to the violence, of which there is a variety. There are so many it’s overwhelming; probably thousands of types.

However, mental health benefits are always on the chopping block of economic policy. It’s a conundrum. Our governments on all levels (local, state, and national) have dwindling funds at their disposal. Several levels of government HAVE to balance their budget: no debt allowed. So they have to eliminate services, all of which are essential to somebody. This exacerbates the mental health, gun control, economy imbalance.

But people with mental health problems need help. Some unaided problems don’t lead to violence; some do. We really only need one person to create a lot of carnage, especially if they have a stockpile of weapons with which to handily do so.

Perhaps a solution would be for various gun lobbyists to help finance mental health care. They obviously have a lot of money, what with all the political power they wield. It would be an incredibly progressive and proactive act. It would really give them positive press.

Now let’s kibitz about the next facet of mental health, gun control, economy: gun control itself.

Gun Control: The Argument Against It Has Not Sold Me. It is Irrational.

That’s right, you heard me NRA. Yeah, I’m talking to you.

Every argument I’ve heard against mental health screenings to make it more difficult to obtain weapons to kill people and beer cans is totally wack. Mental health, gun control, economy are all interrelated.

The second amendment keeps coming up. I’m all for the second amendment. It is my understanding that it means that people should be able to have firearms to defend themselves and their country in time of crisis. I’ve always been under the impression that it stemmed from the fact that locals could defend themselves from the British (at the time their own country) when they attacked during the Revolutionary War. That seems reasonable. As an archaeologist, I like the fact that it originates from a past event. Well, I guess it was a current event at the time; but still. They learned from the past and present (better than us now).

The stomping out of the conversation about gun control by the lobbyists seems to both violate the spirit of the FIRST AMENDMENT (Freedom of Speech), and lack the spirit of the second amendment (albeit my own interpretation).

  1. Freedom of Speech: By making it impossible for Congress or the country to discuss gun control, you (the NRA) are messing with the rest of the country’s freedom of speech and our first amendment. Cut it out.
  2. Right to Bear Arms: As mentioned above, the right to bear arms stems from the right to defend yourself, neighbor and country; not to blow away a bunch of people you don’t know in some public place (which seems to happen quite a bit these days), or execute a bunch of beer cans in a rock quarry. Cut it out once again.

We need to make it difficult for people, who are apt to use weapons for murder (mass or otherwise), to obtain them. I realize that some people may get them illegally. However, if it was harder; less of this would happen. Trust me. If you applied the same logic to recycling, we wouldn’t have a worldwide garbage dump problem.

And about the whole “Guns don’t kill people, people do” argument? It certainly simplifies the issue, even beyond mental health, gun control, economy. The cliché is true in SOME cases, but not in others:

  1. That gunman in Colorado probably wouldn’t have been able to kill anyone, or maybe just one or two people (and injuring far fewer) had he not only not had a gun, but a semi-automatic weapon. Theater-goers could have tackled him before reloading a simple gun, or possibly before attacking a first victim.
  2. Guns have gone off on their own, killing people.
  3. Kids have gotten into gun cabinets (locked or no), and shot other kids, sometimes killing them. A friend of mine shot his brother as a kid (fortunately the brother survived). They were just playing.
So the “Guns don’t kill people, people do” argument is total bunk.
Now for the last portion of mental health, gun control, economy: the economy part.

Economy: It All Comes Down To This

Mental health, gun control, economy. The economy is in the dumps. This doesn’t help our societal mental health. It certainly enhances the chances of stressed people snapping. We aren’t providing enough aid to people, who need it to get back on their feet. We aren’t providing enough services to people with mental health or other issues. We aren’t providing enough infrastructure assistance.

Everything is falling apart.

Excellent NRA Opportunity

I mean that in a not-grim way. This is an excellent opportunity for people and groups who have extra to give extra. They can lead the discussion of mental health, gun control, economy. This includes those with big lobbying bucks and power. In this case, I’m talking to you NRA.

Now I know that the NRA does some good works. They give thousands of dollars in scholarships ($19,500 in 2005 and $15,000 in 2012) according to the NRA website. They don’t have to give any money out. However, compared to numerous organizations, that sum is pretty paltry.

Perhaps they could funnel money (lots of it) to causes that would diminish gun violence (such as mental health programs and economy-boosting programs). This would both boost and widen their fan base. Not only that, it would really boost our society. As mentioned earlier, they could lead the discussion on mental health, gun control, economy.

Some might argue that they wouldn’t want a special interest group owning them, which they would probably do if giving money to these causes. Okay. Let me hone my suggestion. Perhaps the NRA could produce work of their own helping these causes. I don’t mean studies. As a special interest group, it wouldn’t mean much. This actually isn’t against the NRA, a study just means more if it is done by a non-political or partisan organization. I mean that maybe they could do actual ground work: open clinics, whathaveyou. It might be a start.

I sincerely believe that these things are a function of the government. However, right now we seem to live in a society where people believe that government shouldn’t do anything but enable the oil industry. So we’ve got to do something.

I appreciate that they are defending the second amendment to the United States Constitution, and that is admirable. But it has gotten out of hand and transformed into an abuse of the argument. In fact, it is making the second amendment look bad. Add a little polish and shine to the second amendment gun lobbyists. There’s are several noble reasons for the second amendment. None of them include placing multiple automatic weapons into the hands of people who need a different kind of outlet or for those who conduct beer can massacres in gravel quarries.

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Mental Health, Gun Control, Economy: Let’s Kibitz by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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One Comment

  1. That’s very true. I’m just at a loss with all the budget, then services, cuts. Any ideas are welcome.


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