Another mass shooting by another person with emotional issues at the movie theatre in Louisiana. A few weeks before, a church mass shooting by another person with mental health issues. There are so many smart people in America. Isn’t there some way we can fix this? Maybe we can’t.
Why does your right to bear arms dominate over my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? I am not happy when I hear these news stories. I don’t feel safe, and I don’t think our communities feel safe. I want to go see a silly comedy movie and not think about the lovely young women who just died trying to watch it. When the constitution was written, the types of automatic weapons that can accomplish mass homicide were not invented.
Guns. Approximately 30,000 people in the US are killed every year by guns. 19,000 of those are suicides. Who are those guns protecting? We protect the privacy of those with mental health issues and we protect their civil rights and we should. But very few people lose the right to purchase and own weapons. Only convicted felons and those who have been hospitalized for mental health reasons in the last year. Those who have been hospitalized in the last year lose their rights to possess weapons for one year. For someone to be hospitalized who may be having dangerous or paranoid thoughts, they have to actually indicate a plan to act on them before we can get them hospitalized against their will. The psychiatrist who wrote the script “unfit for duty” for the pilot who crashed the plane that killed all those others with him; could he have legally called the airline? No, not unless he knew there was an immediate plan the pilot had in mind. The people who are planning on doing bad things know enough to keep their plans secret. Don’t you think the family of the young man wished he would have gotten treatment for his paranoid and racist ideas? They can’t force him to take his medications or get treatment unless he’s an imminent threat. I hate to think that we’re becoming a society where these mass murders are so common we don’t even react to hearing about them anymore, but that is likely beginning to happen.
Many of the people who commit suicide are acting on a impulsive feeling of hopelessness. Depression is very painful and cruel in that way. It can create a feeling of life never getting any better. 10% of us will experience a major depression in our lifetimes. Life in America is very stressful and competitive and our support systems are dwindling as we become more mobile and disconnected from each other and immersed in technology. Access to a weapon in those situations can result in a fatal decision that hurts many and could be treated and prevented.
I don’t have the solutions and whatever improves these trends won’t be easy to implement if we ever find them. Maybe looking at access to guns won’t really solve anything, I just know that if a rifle wasn’t in the home of the patient of mine who took her own life last week, she wouldn’t be dead right now, and I have a fervent desire to make this life of ours safer and healthier.