This is not a time to discuss gun ownership. This is not a time to scream about how all guns should be banned or how a gun should be placed in the hands of every teacher across America. This is not a time to plaster our media with the same video clips and the name of the murderer.
We need to talk about motivation.
We need to talk about what motivates an individual to commit a deadly act of violence. What connections are made or broken that drive an individual to attack innocent students? We are long overdue to move past the stigma of discussing mental illness. Ban anything and everything you want. Put cameras and security guards and data mining software across all social media. For what? Take a look back through history and you’ll notice that this will not solve a thing. We cannot understand the root cause of behavior by taking away the tools associated with it. We have to understand the behavior itself.
Are these individuals born with a defect that causes their reaction to unhappiness, sadness, or embarrassment to result in violence? Are these individuals conditioned in childhood to accept that the correct reaction to a displeasing situation is violence? We don’t know because we would rather scream at each other for a few days after each incident while lobbyists, media companies, and politicians profit from our arguments.
The deflective argument of “that won’t solve it” is a waste of time. No solution to this problem of violence is instant or all encompassing. Even beginning the conversation about the association between acts of violence and mental health will have a positive effect. Stop thinking about this issue as an attack on your weapons or a massive conspiracy. Think about this: if we can save ONE life by just starting the conversation it will have been worth it. I know it is daunting but take the time to exit your news and social media bubble and think about what is going on here.
We are choosing to avoid this topic and it is literally killing our children. Place yourself in the shoes of a student in a school attack. Does it help if you imagine their horror? Try to imagine how it felt for a 6-year-old watching their classmate bleed to death on the floor? How about being the child that had their small body ripped apart by a piece of metal? What about being the 14-year-old that watched their Coach act as a human shield just to protect you and your classmates? These people are not statistics. They are not a blip on the news. They are sure as hell not the means for you to further your self-serving agenda. We owe them the respect of making them the last victims and not just the victims this week.
We have to accept the responsibility that our society contains human beings that are broken. This doesn’t mean America is less than great. This doesn’t mean that we have all failed. The acknowledgement does mean that we have a serious issue that is deeper than whether or not an average citizen can own a weapon. We must take the effort to examine what causes these violent attacks to keep occurring. This is no longer an issue that can take the back burner. We can’t ignore it nor can we honestly say that individuals with mental health issues can have the exact same experience in life as someone without.
There is no hatred in analyzing this behavior and restricting the ownership of deadly weapons to individuals that can be proven mentally stable. And this is just a first step. The issue of gun violence in this country is incredibly complex and does not have an easy 1-2-3 solution. But any action taken to understand the mental deficiency that drives an individual to commit mass murder is a step forward. Simply acknowledging that the primary motivation for the action originates within the brain as a desire to do harm, regardless of the weapon available, can begin the shift of the entire country’s mindset.
Innocent people keep dying and we are arguing like children. Step up and get your shit together.