Dialogue is beginning again regarding mass shootings/killings in America. Of course the NRA has weighed in, advocating putting armed guards in schools and making our schools like prisons with locked doors and bars.
Others are saying we need to put God “back” in the public schools. I believe this has nothing to do with God in our schools. I personally don’t want public schools teaching my children religion. I think that is my job, to decide where and how my child learns spirituality and values. After watching the news closely and listening to family and friends of the dead children and adults, and to survivors, I believe that God is very much in their lives. They seem to be very grounded, spiritual, emotionally healthy people.
This is not an issue of God in the public schools. This is a complex issue, including the availability of assault weapons, and mental health care and the mentally ill in America.
The NRA simply urges more people to arm themselves, and arm the schools and teachers. I, for one, will not live in a country where most people are walking around armed, or where the schools and grocery stores have armed guards; where most of our buildings are fortified and have steel doors and bars on the windows. The architects and urban planners, instead of talking about building green, sustainable and for beauty and the health of the urban community by being progressive, will instead be teaching how to build prisons, fortified buildings. The thought of this horrifies me. There is NO reason for people to be able to get assault weapons.
There are lots of mentally ill, emotionally unhealthy people in this society. If we don’t treat them, they often get worse, and their children suffer also, possibly becoming emotionally unhealthy also. It is a vicious cycle. The thought of more guns being available to emotionally unhealthy people makes me shake my head. The thought of more depressed people having access to guns scares me. About one of every ten Americans are now on antidepressants (which is not good). The thought of these people having guns scares me. The thought of children being around guns in schools terrifies me. The message that I want to give our children, so that they will be emotionally healthy, is that we are going to get rid of assault weapons within the general public, and that we, us adults, are going to value mental health treatment in this country(value people).
We have lots of mental illness in this country. Mental health care should be a high priority for leaders and policy developers. When budgets are suffering many politicians immediately cut mental health care budgets, close mental health hospitals, such as Governor Jindal in Louisiana. They don’t set priorities. They just cut across the board without thinking about unintended consequences for this society. Mental health care should be a priority in this country. It is different from general health care: care for our bodies. Although it is tragic personally and for my family when I am not physically healthy and cannot get good health care, the lack of mental health care causes far-reaching consequences for society. Some mentally ill people do become unstable and dangerous to this society. We cannot ignore the mentally ill and we also must focus on prevention: teach Parenting, provide support groups for parents, especially those with mentally ill children. Schools must also train teachers to ID children who possibly are mentally/emotionally ill, or possibly abused/neglected. Teachers are mandated by law to report suspected abuse/neglect to authorities. This is prevention as well as dealing with present problems. We must support teachers in this role.
This society cannot focus on knee-jerk opinions, and must focus on underlying causes of far-reaching, serious problems. We must listen to professional experts and those affected by problems, and not groups like the NRA. These groups have singular purposes and suggest bandaids, not comprehensive approaches.
Finally, mental health care is a policy issue, values issue, as we citizens must pay taxes to pay for mental health care for those who cannot afford it. Most of us have some sort of coverage under our health care policies, but it is almost always severely lacking in how much care you can get, and with whom, and you still have to pay for copays, so many people do not make it a priority.
The problems and stigmas associated with mental illness and mental health care are as old as dirt. Many people do not get care because of stigmas, and don’t want people to know, such as employers. We must begin to value mental health as much as we value physical health, and not overly use bandaids such as drugs. It is likely that the killer’s mother knew that her son was severely troubled but was alone, and felt alone in dealing with it. The father was not there. She needed help and her son needed treatment.
Speaking regarding “Women’s Issues”, or social issues, most children with autism, about four out of 5,are males. Also most of those with Asperger syndrome are males. It is thought that the killer had these afflictions. Most of these mass murders are committed by males. Experts and leaders need to also discuss what is going on with males in this society. There is a lot we need to talk about and address. Putting more assault weapons into the hands of males, and around children, is not the answer.
NRA members don’t want the government in their lives. They don’t want to pay taxes for mental health care, training teachers, training parents. They want us to arm ourselves with very dangerous guns instead. Look out if one of them thinks you are threatening them, or they have anger, rage problems, or emotional problems, or don’t want you in their yards…