#NotOneMore – My Three Suggestions For Compromise with Gun Control

10378075_10204080320587467_3968595729990942602_nSometimes I feel like I’m stuck in an Orwellian novel. Seriously. Every few years, people are continually grieving for the senseless loss of a loved one. We see how it could have been prevented, but no one seems able to stop it. We know that mental illness and guns don’t mix… why hasn’t America been able to move forward?

My nephew (through my hubby) is a student at UCSB. He lives in the neighborhood (just a few blocks from) where the recent attack happened. One of the students killed had been his roommate last year. Needless to say, my nephew is quite shaken.

For those who whine about their 2nd Amendment rights…

So I majored in English Literature, not political science or even history. But I’m still an American and this is how I see it:

When the founding fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment, they weren’t thinking about high-powered rifles, people who collect guns to engage in sports, or even a police force in every town. They were thinking of an American’s right to hunt for food and gather a militia if necessary. In that day, a local police department for the general protection of the people was not common, and there were no high-speed cars, helicopters, or even telephones to alert first-responders and bring them in a timely manner.

And they certainly weren’t thinking about massacres carried out by a single, crazed gunman.

Seriously. Think about it.

Do you think if the people creating these massacres had the flintlock-style gun, that they’d be able to kill more than one or two (if they’re incredibly lucky) people? It’s a lot easier to run away from someone with one shot at a time, than someone armed to the teeth with legally obtained, modern weaponry.

I totally respect the 2nd Amendment. I don’t think taking guns away from people is the answer at all. But you know what else the founding fathers said? They also said that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can we pursue happiness if our government can’t keep those who are insane from getting their hands on a ridiculous amount of weapons and ammo? As Americans, we are given the opportunity to pursue an education, an opportunity which is not afforded in many parts of the world. Quite a lot of these shootings seem to happen in schools, thus denying the rights that our founding fathers intended for us.

Seems simple to me.

If you were one of the movie goers in Aurora, CO and you had an arsenal to rival that gunman’s, what would have been the point? You wouldn’t have had it with you. You were there to simply watch a movie, not be literally ready for the zombie apocalypse.

Bad things happen. People do horrible things. We won’t always know why. But if it had been harder for these civilians to amass the amount of weapons they did, we might have seen lower numbers for dead and injured in Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, UCSB… and so many others.

The people who caused these atrocities were certainly not right in the head. They probably would have hurt and killed people anyway. But perhaps it didn’t have to be quite so intensely tragic.

So…I was gonna…

I remember lots of these kinds of bumper stickers shortly after 9/11. Image attributed to Mark L. Pearcy via Wikimedia Commons.

When I originally created this blog post, I had something here that my hubby pointed out was too over the top, and he was right. I sometimes tend to be a bit dramatic, so I’ve changed it.

The NRA are not terrorists. But I had tried to argue how it felt as if they were. So instead, I’ll explain why I reached that conclusion. It kind of falls in line with a theme in The Stone of Kings anyway.

Remember the morning of 9/11? It was a normal day, like any other. We went about our own business – pursuing our happiness. But suddenly our world was ripped apart by several unprovoked attacks by people who wanted to destroy us because we didn’t fall in line with their ideologies. They disagree with our way of life and so our lives are unimportant and (to them) worth losing.

Now think of the victims of these shooting sprees. They weren’t engaging in high risk behavior. They weren’t walking around the “wrong” end of town. They were going about their business – pursuing their happiness. Most of them were simply attending school. And then, in an unprovoked attack, their family’s worlds are ripped apart by something that could have been prevented.

Then in the midst of this latest grief, we see a mouthpiece like Joe the Plummer. He shows himself to be as unfeeling as Bin Laden was. Gun control doesn’t fall in line with his ideologies. Apparently, he doesn’t agree 100% with anything proposed, so those lives were unimportant and (to him) worth losing.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

The thing is, I don’t think that anyone should take his guns away from him.

For fifteen years, since Columbine, we’ve known that guns should not be in the hands of certain people with mental health issues. So why is it still legal for them to buy guns???

Why?

I’m a busy stay-at-home mom. I tried looking for where the NRA is helping to keep guns out of the hands of those with an at-risk diagnosis. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough – I am busy after all. All I found was a little blip in this article about how the “NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said federal resources are needed to ensure the mentally [ill] can be institutionalized, and therefore given no chance to buy a weapon.” But all I ever read about is how the NRA puts a stop to any solution proposed.

LaPierre’s words aren’t very comforting for grieving families.

Suppose our presidents had said, “Well, the people behind 9/11 should be stopped, but we can’t agree on how to do it, so we’re just going to leave it alone. But we’re sorry for the loss of American lives.”

Actions speak louder than words. #NotOneMore

I spent hours looking for answers since Thursday and really couldn’t find any. So I’m going to start calling around today to ask my politicians (both republican and democrat) about what the deal is. I’m getting tired of not being able to find the answers on my own.

If the NRA really want a solution, they need to propose something they can agree to. Institutionalization is not a necessity for many of these people. Not everyone with Asperger’s Syndrome, for example, needs to be institutionalized and I think it’s ridiculous to imply it. I also think it’s important to point out that Asperger’s (which is under the Autism spectrum) is NOT a mental illness. Despite the fact that two of these gunman were diagnosed with it, most people with the diagnosis do not show this kind of aggression.

To try to figure this out, I wrote the NRA the following letter. But because I’m not a member, I’m not a priority. I have no idea if they’ll get back to me at all (this letter was sent last Thursday), so if anyone else has an answer for me, I’d appreciate being pointed in another direction.

I’m an author and blogger, https://sheaford.wordpress.com/ My theme is being open-minded and fair. I happen to support the 2nd Amendment. But I feel that there need to be measures taken to keep guns away from those with mental disabilities, such as the ones committing the massacres such as Sandy Hook, UCSB, Aurora, CO, etc. I’m currently working on a blog post about this problem and how people like Joe the Plummer make the NRA look like a bunch of unfeeling terrorists who care nothing for slaughtered innocents.

I would really appreciate information about what the NRA proposes to do to help fix this problem. It seems to be in the best interests of the NRA to push for it, since the common denominator in these massacres is mental illness or poorly managed autism. It seems common sense to me to keep guns out of these kinds of hands. But every time I see a push for this kind of thing, the NRA seems to put a stop to it.

I’ll also be contacting my Congressman, Gus Bilirakis, about this issue.

Thank you for your time.

I’ve also contacted Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, but didn’t know at the time I wrote the NRA, that I should. I had a lousy Civics teacher in high school, which is probably one of the reasons I’m so frustrated. 😉

Solution #1 – Funnel NRA Money into Programs to Help Treat Mental Health Problems

This is my favorite solution because it seems to be a win-win to me. The NRA needs to put their money where their mouth is. They say they want it harder for those with mental health issues to get guns, so come on! Help the cause! Why can’t we use all this money for increased mental health screening and treatment? If someone is diagnosed with the kind of mental health issue that makes them at-risk for becoming one of these types of gunman, then they need to be cleared by a doctor before they are allowed to buy a gun.

It feels like these universal background checks are what is stalling everything. As much as I support the idea, maybe we just need to think smaller. Just check for a diagnosis that is of a kind like the people who commit these mass killings. All I’m concerned with at this point is keeping guns away from people who we know do not always think rationally. Just prevent the senseless massacres for a start. Then work from there.

Columbine happened fifteen years ago. Even though those kids bought their guns illegally, we knew then that mental illness and guns don’t mix. Why haven’t things changed?

Why isn’t this common sense? Or am I the one who is insane?

However, we also need to be careful that this doesn’t happen. How discouraging for parents who prevent their child from becoming a mass murderer, only to find that their child is not going to get the treatment that they truly need!

Solution #2 – A Watch List

If it continues that people are allowed to buy these kinds of weapons and armor, then they ought to be on a watch list. If that bothers you, then you are probably doing something illegal and need to be stopped anyway. If you’re not doing anything illegal, then why should it matter? Seriously? Isn’t it worth it so that you can send your six-year-old to school without being worried that he could be killed with his classmates and teachers?

Solution #3 – Secure the Excess Weapons

This one might be a stretch because of the cost. But it’s just a suggestion – an idea to be explored.

We are allowed to keep a gun for protection. Then, for those who have collections and shoot for sporting events and such, why can’t those guns be locked up in a secure location? Such as where the sporting events, or whatever, take place? If it’s inconvenient, well, at least you get to keep your guns. I’d rather you be inconvenienced than for me to grieve because one of my nieces or nephews wanted to attend college.

Not everyone is going to agree 100% with any solution proposed. But that’s to be expected. We’re human, not robots. We have to understand that not everyone is going to like everything about how we fix this broken part of our society. But I would hope that we can at least agree that it needs to be fixed. I strongly urge you to contact your local congressmen and let them know how you feel about this issue. I did.

And please don’t forget that the key word is COMPROMISE.

Do you agree with me? Do you have any solutions of your own? Why do you think we are having so much trouble compromising? Do you have any evidence that the NRA are doing more than talking and blocking? Please share!

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2 Comments

Filed under Writing

2 responses to “#NotOneMore – My Three Suggestions For Compromise with Gun Control

  1. Shea, thank you so much for having the courage to write this blog, and for the other actions you have taken regarding this controversial subject. I hope everyone will give more thought to the points you’ve raised. I would add one other factor to the discussion: the need to explore the impact violent media, especially interactive video games, has on developing minds.

    • Thank you! 🙂

      Violent media, whew! That’s an extra slippery slope that I wish I had more ideas on. But I can’t deny that it’s a factor in these attacks.

      Thanks for your contribution! 🙂

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