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It Is About Guns, Not Mental Health

February 16, 2018

It rubs at my common sense to hear otherwise sound people try to spin gun violence as an issue not about deadly weapons, but rather mental health.  That is not a sound conclusion.   Eugene Robinson addresses the matter in a must-read column today in The Washington Post.

Don’t tell me the issue is mental health. Save the nonsense about “good guys” with weapons somehow being the answer. The truth is this: There would have been no tragic shooting Wednesday in Parkland, Fla. , if a troubled young man had not gotten his hands on a military-style assault rifle and as much ammunition as he wanted.

It was obvious that a tragedy might be coming. Yet, as a society, we refused to take the steps that could have prevented it.

How many alienated and disturbed young men are out there, rattling around peaceful suburbs such as Parkland? Many thousands, surely. Some will get the help they need; some won’t. Most will never act on their violent urges; some will.

It is impossible to imagine a mental-health system with the scope, authority and resources necessary to prevent every Parkland or Newtown or Columbine. In Cruz’s case, in fact, the existing system worked: He got professional help. School administrators knew he could pose a threat. According to news reports, a tipster even tried to alert the FBI that Cruz wanted to be “a professional school shooter.”

With no criminal record or anything else in his past that would raise an official red flag, he sailed through a background check.

Apologists for the National Rifle Association will cynically use this circumstance to argue against a common-sense measure that 4 out of 5 Americans support: universal background checks for gun purchases. That wouldn’t have stopped the Parkland massacre, they will claim — diverting attention from the fact that universal checks could have prevented some mass shootings in the past and would surely prevent some in the future.

At the heart of the matter, though, lies the gun.

There are disturbed individuals like Cruz in countries around the world, but only the United States suffers mass shootings so regularly that they have almost become routine. Why? Because you can’t shoot up a school or a nightclub or a country music concert the way it was done in Parkland, Orlando and Las Vegas if you don’t have access to weapons of war that were designed for the battlefield.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2018 12:14 PM

    Yes, lets start with logic and facts. The Parkland shooter used an AR-15 semi-automatic style weapon during the massacre. The highly deadly military-inspired rifle has been the weapon used by several mass shooters. The AR-15 was most notably used during the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. that claimed 27 lives. Given his mental state he should NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO BUY ANY GUN. A more aggressive background check–of the type even 80% of NRA members agree would be a good idea to enact–would have made a difference at the time this assault weapon was used. Yes–ASSAULT WEAPON—I get the idea that manufactures of their slimy products want to have a different connotation to their greed–but we both know there is no way to pick crap up by the clean end—and that is what gun manufactures attempt to do. As a former law enforcement office I am sincerely at a loss as to how you stand on this topic. I know many police locally and they are nowhere near your thinking as they wonder at each call how many weapons might there be and how much ammo.

  2. smokey3 permalink
    February 17, 2018 6:34 PM

    To start with some logic and fact – it wasn’t an assault rifle. and, contrary to the article that says there would have been no shooting if the shooter could not have gotten this gun… he could have used any number of guns instead of that one. If there are a large number of alienated and disturbed young men out there – as the author suggests – that would send the problem right back to mental heallth, and NOT GUNS! I agree they need help – but will they get any if the libs keep blaming a gun – which is a tool, that has to be operated by those sick young men? He is correct in stating that society has refused to take steps to fix the real problem and instead has chosen to beat up on guns, the NRA, and the owners of 350 million guns that were not used to harm anyone today. And Wanted to be a “Professional School Shooter” would more properly have been stated “Professional School Killer”, as that is the end result of what he wanted to do. Of course “Killer” wouldn’t have played well with the anti-gun nuts… Representative Trey Gowdy said it best – Show me a law that will stop these shootings (Already against thousands of laws) and I will do my best to get it passed! Society blames the drunken drivers when they kill with automobiles, but blame guns instead of the “drivers/” Sounds to me like there are some “adults” that are in need of having somebody take a good look at their logic! Maybe they are led by nancy pelosi? Think about it!

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