Sunday, February 18, 2018

“Gun Violence: Mental Health Matters”

When it comes to guns, there are usually two standard arguments made. We have those who are for stricter gun control laws and those who oppose them. There are some who believe guns are the cause of the problem whereas others say guns are not the issue but rather it’s the individual behind the trigger that is. However, the one common denominator in both of these arguments is that we need to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are mentally impaired. Now the question is, how do we do that? We are taught that we must not openly talk about complications and/or conflicts to one’s own mental health because there will be repercussions of some sort from the masses.

We are our own worst enemy! We know those who are battling demons, whether clinical or circumstantially induced should not be handling deadly instruments that are capable of causing much damage and devastation, but at the same time we make it impossible for people to freely, and willingly open up about said demons. We teach kids that someone who is not happy and upbeat is a grouch; they belong in a disgusting trash can with all the other garbage because they are beneath us. They are not playing with a full deck, the elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor, they are a passenger on the short bus, etc. These are just some expressions we carelessly throw around at the expense of others to belittle their intelligence and to destroy their self-worth.

People aren’t going to come forward and admit they have a problem when the end result is going to be condemnation and ridicule from their peers; they are going to keep that information wrapped up tighter than a mummy. That is why they play hide and seek with their mental issues. How many times have you heard from those close to a perpetrator that they can’t believe they would do something like that? They were quiet, nice and never caused any trouble. That’s because many know how to play the role; they know what’s expected of them when it comes to being a healthy, positive and productive member of society. Their inverted flag is being used as a curtain for the show they are putting on, not being waived as a sign of distress as it should be. Unfortunately most of the time you won’t know there’s a problem until it’s too late, until there are casualties on the battlefield.

There is a stigma attached to mental health in this country. Those who are struggling belong in a padded cell and sporting the latest in straitjacket fashions. They are dangerous, contagious and a bite of flesh away from being a mindless zombie. They eat their checkers, keep time with imaginary friends and should stay away from sharp objects. You get the picture. We make it extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant for people to share their feelings and emotional plights with us, and until it changes, we aren’t going to see any improvements on the home front when it comes to senseless acts of violence, whether it be by guns or other means.

I’m not saying that making it acceptable and safe for people to open up and seek help for their mental deficiencies will solve the problem entirely, but it would definitely help and is a step in the right direction. Before we can figure out if we need to ban guns all together or freely give them out as if they were cars and this the Oprah show, we must tackle the first hurdle in our path, which in this case is mental health. You can’t build a sturdy house without first laying the foundation; otherwise everything comes crashing down around you, leaving nothing but a huge mess.

To quote Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Now with that said, let’s take a different approach to the whole “gun” debate because obviously what we’re doing isn’t working. The only thing changing as a result of our actions and numerous amounts of time bickering back and forth is the body count of those who needlessly lost their lives to an act of senseless violence. Time to work on the people and their mental wellbeing, we need to make it safe to seek help and we need to make sure that help is readily available to those who need it. Something more needs to be done other than making signs or cradling your guns!

We all know that not everyone who commits these heinous acts suffer mentally. There are many examples of monsters in this world, pure evil if you will, and many people behind the triggers who cause this chaos are just that and nothing more. We need to be able to truly decipher between the two, better understand who needs help and who needs to be locked away never to see the light of day. This will not be easy but it’s definitely worth our time and effort. We need to be able to approach those who would appear to need help without judgment and/or condemnation in our hearts, just as those who are willing and able need to be able to approach us without concern that they will be shunned and/or turned away as a result of doing so.

This piece was not written with the hopes of defending any one particular individual, to justify their actions and/or to elicit sympathy for their wrongdoings. This is an attempt to help solve the issues we face as a country when it comes to gun violence. A way to hopeful minimize these situations and to save lives moving forward. This life of ours is a team sport and does not benefit from showboaters and those seeking to take home the MVP trophy, the better we work as a whole, the better the end result will be for all involved.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I sure hope we get moving in the right direction .

  2. The health care system is such a mess in our country. And in order for these mental health issues to be addressed fully, that needs to be taken care of. I don't understand the fear of changing the status quo, even when it's not working. Clearly, people's needs aren't being met. It's incredibly frustrating.

    1. You're absolutely right. It's so hard to believe that in this country we make things more difficult than they need to be, for some crazy reason we seem to enjoy the chaos.

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