I write this with the expectation that I will lose some friends

It is not my hope that I will lose them, but it will happen. My hope would be that this strikes constructive discussion and even possibly unite people.

I have been angry lately at all the people who react to a tragedy like the shooting with an immediate strengthening of their resolve to oppose any move for gun control. Your response is immediately to say that it can’t possibly be a problem with the supply of guns in this country. And if that is not the problem then fine, if the prevalence of guns and the easy access to them is not the problem, then there are other issues that can be looked at as well. However, the same people I see knee jerk to anti-gun control are the same people who would oppose tax increases or regulations in another area.

If the issue is not guns but mental health, because it is becoming very clear that there was something wrong with the shooter and it was quite clear to people who had daily interactions with him. Who knows if this could have been helped if the shooter would have been under the care of a doctor. Whether that simply been that he was in regular therapy sessions, or the more likely option that he was in a care center helping him with his illness and at the same time keeping him away from the public. This would have prevented this shooting. However we don’t know if the family was even seeking help. If they were, then having affordable healthcare options can ensure that no one does not seek the help because they can’t afford it. If they didn’t seek the help and/or they could afford the help, then they obviously didn’t get it. If people are unwilling to seek help because either they feel they can handle it on their own or there is some sort of pride issue, then the only solution to this is education. We need to remove the stigma of mental illness being something to be shameful about, and we also need to educate people of the seriousness of these mental illnesses. Healthcare options and education both cost money. Are you willing to spend it?

What if the issue is not mental illness, what if it is not gun control either. I have heard many calls for arming teachers. Let me first say that I 100% oppose this course of action, but that is a discussion for another time. Why don’t we discuss this as if it was an option that I do agree with. Simply putting a gun in the hands (or more appropriate, belt holsters) of every teacher is not enough. As anyone who handles these weapons on a regular basis knows you need to be taught a healthy respect for them, you need to be taught how to maintain them, you need to be taught how to keep them secure as not to lose control of them, and most importantly you need to be taught how to shoot them. That final one is the most important as if those teachers at Sandy Hook had guns then they would have needed to ensure not only that they were accurate to stop the assault, but also accurate as to not hit a single child. This will require training, and lots of it, It takes 2 weeks at least of full time training to turn recruits into soldiers who can take down 22 out of 40 targets in a controlled shooting range. Imagine if we put every teacher through gun training, and let’s say it is only one week of full time training per teacher. I can’t even guess as to how much that would cost for teacher wages, trainers wages, ammunition, and any other incidentals that would be needed (textbooks, targets, facility rental, etc). I truly hope that your answer to this is not to make the teachers pay for it. Do you realize how little we pay teachers? I sure do, every day while I sit beside my wife as she plans lessons, grades papers, reads up on new teaching strategies and does various other things to ensure she is giving those children the best education she can give them. And she does all of this in the hours that she does not have the children in her classroom. If we leave the teachers to pay for it, some if not most of them will not be able to, and we are stuck with no solvency. Would you be willing to pay for that?

Perhaps you don’t want to pay, you don’t want to have stricter regulations, you don’t want to give up any of your freedoms or money to attempt to prevent these situations in the future. While I disagree with that opinion, we are lucky that we live in a country where opinions are heard and can be held without fear. But can you look at someone who just lost a love one and say “I am not willing to try anything to prevent things like this from happening because my money and my freedom are worth more than your loved one to me”. If that is not your sentiment, if you do feel like you want to do something to prevent these things, what are you willing to do, what would you advocate? How can you help prevent these things? Let’s not focus on what we don’t want to do, let’s not focus on what we don’t want to give up, let’s focus on what we will do.

I hope we can move forward to prevent these tragedies instead of letting this further separate us as fellow Americans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *