I'm angry tonight, and I don't know how not to be.
This week alone, in Portland, a 7 year old and an 11 year old tried to steal a woman's car at gunpoint, a high school student tried to sell a rifle to another student at school, and a shooter with an assault rifle fired dozens of rounds at the mall, killing two people and critically injuring a third. That all happened here, locally. All of it occurred on this same week that ended with 20 kids being killed at a school shooting in Connecticut.
Two things need to happen in this country.
#1: We need to have an honest discussion about gun control, including the responsibility of law-abiding gun owners to keep their guns secure. I'm not against gun ownership, but I strongly oppose having guns within reach of a kid's (or any non-owner's) fingertips. I grew up in a house where my dad locked his porn, but his gun was loaded and kept in a storage closet we all used. You don't want to know why I can say with certainty that it was loaded. Not all gun owners are that foolish (putting it kindly), but too many are. As a society, we stress neither the need for security of guns nor the responsibilities that come with gun ownership.
#2: We need to prioritize health care with the understanding that mental health is as essential as physical health and must be emphasized rather than stigmatized.
Two things will prevent any of this from happening: the NRA and the Republican Party.
And that's why I'm angry. I'm angry because we'll have this same conversation again - probably soon - after the next mass shooting. In fact, this the second time we're having it this very week. But we're not 'really' having the discussion about guns and mental health today, are we? A few of us are ranting, others are shrugging and most are hoping this whole problem will go away. But it won't.
The United States is the number one most violent nation in terms of gun violence among affluent countries. It's time we started asking why. The United States is the 17th most violent nation in terms of gun violence among all countries, beaten only by places like El Salvador and South Africa. It's time we started asking why.
It's time for an honest discussion about guns and the United States of America.
I have not much more to say other than that I wholeheartedly agree.::::: | December 15, 2012 11:49 AM