Friday, January 25, 2013

Living in Denial (the Nile)

Image Credit: David Schenfeld on Flickr
I want to make a point today that will be unpopular.  After the Sandy Hook elementary shootings, people focused on gun control as the answer to the question, "How do we stop this from happening again?"  But the truth is, gun control is not the issue but it is easier to blame guns for the damage than to admit that we as a society screwed up, and those 26 deaths were the consequences.

Humans have the tendency to divide the world into Us vs Them, and we Americans lump anyone with a mental health issue as Them.  We ignore Them; we pay extraordinary amounts of money to keep Them in prison; we donate food to homeless shelters for Them.  But we don't want to talk about Them.  We don't want to pay for therapy for Them, even if that would be cheaper than prison.  We don't want to talk about Them or even acknowledge that anyone who is Them might be a wonderful human being with regular issues, just like Us.

Then we react with horror when one of Them responds to our treatment of Them with violence.  But instead of accepting our responsibilities in the matter, we look for anything else to blame.  In this case, the blame is falling on guns.

I find this annoying, to say the least.  When a person runs a stop sign and causes a car accident, we don't blame the car or the stop sign.  We hold the person accountable for their actions.  When a kid spills a glass of milk, we don't blame the milk for spilling or the glass for being unstable.  We hold the kid responsible for the accident and have the kid clean up the mess.  So why do we blame guns when a person chooses to shot other people?

Because it's easier to blame the gun than the person.  Because we want to live like Egyptian crocodiles and pretend that getting rid of guns will solve all the ills of the nation.

Image Credit: David Shenfeld on Flickr
I am here to tell you that more gun laws will not solve anything.  It won't stop violence, mass deaths, or even run of the mill crime.  And focusing so much time, attention, and money on gun control means that there is less time, attention, and money around to solve the real problem - mental illness.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely agree that the first step is to solve mental illness, but (and I say this as a gun owner; hubby hunts sometimes), I also don't think that assault weapons need to be in the hands of the masses.

    ReplyDelete

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