Gun Control or Mental Healthcare?

Zack Crow
Staff Writer

Considering recent school shootings, particularly the Valentine’s Day Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Parkland, Florida, many have started protesting to show their disappointment in current gun laws.

For those who lost friends and family members in the shooting, this is a so-called time of “revolution” and “change.”

To that I ask, what exactly needs to “change?”

For as long as our nation has existed, citizens have graciously reserved the right to bear arms; a right given to the people by the second amendment of the United States Constitution.

Our 242-year-old republic is established on the principle of the people being able to defend themselves against any kind of threat, both foreign and domestic.

When there are calls to take away guns or heavily restrict them, it appears the calls are for a change in the Constitution. This is something Abraham Lincoln warned against during a speech in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1856.

He said, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

It is humorous to think that the same people who are speaking out about wanting to change portions of the Constitution are using a constitutional right to do so.

While this protest may be something most people don’t exactly side with, one could argue the students who are participating in the rallies are brave in standing up for something they believe in; it just doesn’t exactly make sense why they are protesting this particular issue.

When looking at the whole debate of gun control, we should take our attention off what gun or weapon the perpetrator used.

Instead, the person who took part in the gruesome events should be examined thoroughly for any mental disabilities that could have led to the certain behavior.

If you look at the Aurora, Colorado, shooter James Holmes’ mental health record, you will come across a diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and schizotypal disorder.

Sadly, these disorders weren’t noticed until after the deadly 2012 shooting.

Take another shooter, for example: Dylan Roof. He murdered nine church goers in Charleston, South Carolina, and records show he may have suffered from autism.

The list of mass murderers who suffer from mental health disorders can go on and on.

The underlying truth behind these shootings isn’t always the weapon used to do so.

Today, we live in a society in which it is legal for people to possess and carry firearms with the proper training to do so.

What makes our society so dangerous, though, is ignoring simple signs that could lead to destructive behavior.

Until we the people admit that we have a mental health problem instead of the easy-to-blame gun problem, we won’t see a proper change that many are calling for.

No one wants to see innocent people murdered for no reason.

If there is any way we could prevent these horrible acts from happening, it must start with further behavioral health examinations and screenings—not gun control.

Sometimes, we fail to give those who need the proper treatment what they desperately need.

We as a society must take a stand to help where we can and not sit back and blame it on something that truly isn’t the problem.

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