Gun Violence is Larger Than Legislation
Sandy Hook Elementary as of December 14, 2012, has become a place of incomprehensible tragedy. The pain and the scars have run so deep that there is now talk of demolishing the elementary school where 20 children and six adults were shot and murdered by gunman Adam Lanza. There are no words that can ever possibly express or make understood the things felt in that town that would bring people to such extremes as destroying a building because the memories are simply too painful to bare.
— GunRightsAcrAmerica (@GRAAmerica) August 14, 2014
Prevention of similar future tragedies has become a major national concern. The debate has quickly and sadly become diminished as only fuel for both sides of a long-standing debate on gun-control in America.
One side of the argument is that more control over guns would mean less access to firearms for people with possible ill-intentions. The other side says that crazed homicidal people will or at least could, obtain fire arms regardless of control and the best way to stop them is to have non crazed people with guns to shoot back.
The fact that the argument even exists and, especially that it is potentially so important and so relevant is hard to make sense of. It’s understandable that certain things could have opposing sides but, why everything that needs voting on in congress? In exchange of an oppositional argument, I offer this alternative perspective.
Although there is some debate as to whether or not mass shootings are actually on the rise, an article from Citizens Crime Commission entitled “Mass Shooting Incidents in America (1984-2012)” outlines 30 shootings that haven taken place between 1984 and 2012 and, whether that constitutes “epidemic” proportions or not is irrelevant as to whether or not it constitutes action. These mass shootings are indicative of unidentified conditions within our world, society, and culture that as of yet, for unknown reasons, promote homicidal and suicidal behavior and, tendencies within some members of our communities.
Homicidal, as well as, suicidal ideation and behavior are not things we as humans are entirely unfamiliar with dealing with. In fact hospitals and mental health facilities alike have protocol for just such cases. An article entitled “Managing Suicide Attempts: Guidelines for the Primary Care Physician” from the U.S. National Library of Medicine states about dealing with a patient who is exhibiting suicidal behavior or ideation, “All sharp objects, belts, drugs, and medical equipment should be isolated from the patient.” Due to the patients unstable and unpredictable state the protocol requires removing the patient’s access to things that could allow them to potentially harm themselves or others. Often these protocols go so far as removing the patient’s shoe-laces. For the sake of this argument it is important to note however that limiting the patient’s access to objects that could be harmful doesn’t ultimately solve the underlying issues creating the behaviors and is only a preventative measure while the underlying issues are treated.
Comparing the United States to a mental patient may seem a little far-fetched and obviously the complexities of national and social concerns would likely far surpass those of an individual but, that doesn’t mean the underlying principles of dealing with the same life-threating behavior would be much different. Simply stated, removing the ease of access to harmful or, potentially harmful objects (fire-arms), no matter if intent is self-inflicted or otherwise, doesn’t remove the desire to do so, the desire to do so ultimately being the real problem.
The gun-debate in its entirety seems to allow us some lens to look through while we witness and attempt to understand these incomprehensible tragedies. However, it’s important to recognize that although it is important to decide whether or not to take away the patients shoe-laces, limiting access to potentially harmful objects is only the tip of the iceberg of much larger, systemic issues.
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