Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gun Control

Well, I'm writing about this because, really, who can't?  I don't know all of the details of the shooting in Connecticut yesterday.  I understand that 20 children and 8 adults were killed.  I'm not even going to go online and check those numbers.  Because the numbers don't matter:  1 would be horrific.  28 in unimaginable.

I don't know who did it.  I understand it was a minor who stole his mother's guns.  It doesn't matter who it was.  It doesn't matter where the guns came from. 

The issue is still the same.  The same as it was in a theatre in Colorado, on a corner in Chicago.  It was the same at Columbine. 

Gun Control.  I'm sorry folks, but this is NOT the issue.  It would help if the Americans had better gun control laws, but it's not the real issue.  Because, like the saying goes, it's not guns that kill people.  It's people who kill people.

And, let's be frank, it's mentally ill people who kill people. 

So the real issues are the American culture of violence, the culture of irrational freedoms, and lack of health care, in particular, mental health care.  And a lack of understanding and education where mental health is concerned.  I'd say especially a lack of understanding of childhood and adolescent mental health care. 

But don't mess with my health care, don't force me to have health care, don't take my money away so someone else can have access to health care.  No ... don't do that.  Don't take away my freedom to pay for the health care I want.  And the freedom of the poor to not be able to afford any.  Don't mess with that.

Let me be frank.  You can't have it both ways.  You can't have all the freedom you want (especially where guns are concerned), you can't have a culture awash in violent crime, violent news coverage, violent video games and movies, you can't have a culture that praises celebrities more than anyone else (especially when those celebrities are ridiculous personalities like Honey Boo-boo and Snookie), you can't have a culture where people are free to do whatever the hell they want ... and avoid situations like mass shootings at schools.  It doesn't work that way.  In the American effort to have a culture of "freedom" - in particular, in this case, to be able to watch whatever media they want (and therefore have children exposed to it), and to have the freedom to own guns and pay for their own health care (at least those who can afford it), Americans have created a country where these things can and will happen.

Violence is everywhere and children get exposed.  Disadvantaged children who won't have access to mental health care may get more exposed than other kids because their parents don't or can't care, are not available to be watching out for their kids, don't know any better and aren't educated enough to know they should care.

You need to control health care, limit children's exposure to violence, emotionally and financially support families, stop making news based on ratings, stop promoting this over-the-top American culture if you want to stop the over-the-top insane behaviour. 

But because of the Capitalist belief that the system will support what it can support, and the Capitalist belief that you should strive to have lots of money and stuff, you have ended up with a culture devoid of heart - a culture devoid of morality in a lot of ways (and I'm not talking religious morality - I'm talking about basic human morality - taking care of the disadvantaged, supporting the poor instead of ignoring and resenting them).  The American general population  gets exposed not to a wide range of entertainment and education that help people develop as a human beings, but only to those things that the majority support without critical thought - those things that will bring in the most money. 

You can't have it all.  The trade off to having so many "freedoms" turns out to be these crazy, unacceptable behaviours.  You cannot have your cake and eat it too.  It does not work that way.

You must start young - with good education, nutrition, health care and support to our children and their parents - money needs to be funnelled into programs to support these areas.  Or you end up with innocent people (in this case very innocent children) being killed.

It's not simply gun control ...   But restricting access to guns would help.

(As a P.S. - I know a lot of really wonderful Americans who are as concerned about their country as I am - I really am talking about the American Culture, not any individuals that I know and respect - believe me, there's lots of stuff happening here in Canada that I'd like to change!)

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