Guns and Mental Health

Is mental health a determining factor in shootings? Of course. But how are we going to go about addressing it?

We can’t force anyone to seek the benefits from mental health treatment. No, you have to persuade, you have to entice, you have to educate about the great healing possibilities that it offers.

Let us imagine an advertisement attempting to reach a possible shooter. “Dear sir, if you have a lot of guns and are piling up on ammunition and knives, you may be very angry about something that went wrong in your life. There is no point in giving your pain to others that have nothing to do with your own. Why hurt them? Why hurt the innocent? They have their pain to deal with, like every human being has. So please come to your neighborhood mental health center and ask to speak to a therapist. We will do what we can to help you find peace in your heart and not ruin your life. Please come see us.”

Will the person seeing or hearing such advertisement pick up the phone right away and make an appointment or go straight to the address listed?

No.

The person will take their time thinking about it, if he does at all, or will likely say, “It’s probably a ruse, a trick to take away my guns. Anyway, I can’t imagine anyone being able to help me with all this misery that I’ve been going through all of my life.”

But mental health treatment can help the person heal if they show up. If he shows up and stays in his seat, stays in the room and interacts with the person sitting across. And it will take time. Time. Which is what we don’t have.

To get us the precious time we need to reach these troubled souls we must put limits on gun purchases.

To get us the time we need to treat our fellow Americans seething with murderous rage we need restrictions on access to guns.

We need limits and restrictions on gun purchases until we find ways to educate our citizenry, ways to instill in them that no one should give their pain to others, that each person has to learn to process their own distress, and until we do so, having free access to guns is a prescription for endless suffering.

Yes, mental health is an issue. But are you willing to consent to every prospective gun owner getting a mental health screening?

I don’t think so.

So we need time. 

To all gun lovers in the land, please give us that precious time, and you will be acting responsibly to prevent the cowardly slaughter of our fellow citizens.

Where is the Rage?

In our darkest hour

Where is the rage?

In our darkest hour

Where is the rage in those

With the power to restrict access to guns,

Where is the rage?

Are they waiting for a brother to be struck,

For a daughter to be killed

For a son to be hit?

Where is the rage?

Are they waiting for the NRA to give them permission

To raise their voices?

Where is the rage?

Are they waiting for the gun lobby to scream

Because it was their dearest kin

That was cowardly shot?

Are they waiting for the donors to their campaigns

To be the victims?

Where is the rage?

If in the darkest of hours

You have not found it,

Then you’re not fit to lead,

If you have the power to help restrict access

To the guns killing our daughters and sons,

Our sisters and brothers,

Our mothers and fathers,

If you have that power and you shield it

From the rage that fills the hearts of the nation,

Then you’re not worthy of calling yourself a leader

And you should resign,

You should step aside

To make room for those whose hearts beat

With the rest of the nation’s hearts.

If you are not burning with rage

At the senseless murdering and wounding

Of our fellow Americans,

Then please step aside,

Please let others who have not lost their courage

Step front and do what must be done

To stop the bleeding in our land.

In our darkest hour,

If your heart is not filled with rage,

Then it is not in you to lead,

If your heart is not filled with rage

Then move out of the way

So that others who have the courage

Can do what must be done.