To Those Who Want To Ignore Gun Violence And Blame Mental Illness

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David Levêque

This is where you’re doing a real disservice to the American people. More specifically, you are letting down the ones who were involved in the mass shootings and their loved ones. Ignoring the real problem of gun violence and projecting it on to mental illness will accomplish nothing. It will be an utter waste of time because the real issue is being ignored.

How exactly does the president think he’s going to “tackle the mental health issue”? The president, nor anyone else blaming mental illness on gun violence, have provided sufficient, reliable, and valid evidence to back up the claim that “there is a mental health issue” in regards to mass shootings. It is time for government to stop worrying about their own agenda and actually start to work for the American people.

It is never the “time” or the “place” to discuss gun violence. After the Las Vegas Shooting on October 1, 2017, several officials and media outlets were saying it wasn’t the time to discuss gun violence after such a tragic event. So, lawmakers, when exactly would be the ideal time to discuss an issue that has killed and robbed people of a life?

In a 2016 report from the American Psychiatric Association indicates that less than 1% of homicides involve those who are considered to have a severe mental illness. More specifically, the same report suggests that only 3% of violent crimes committed are done by people with a serious mental illness.

Donald Trump wants to call it a mental health issue but in February 2017, he revoked a regulation set in place by Obama that stated those on social security for a mental illness and/or those deemed incapable of handling their own finances to be reported to the national registry.

So, if he really thought there was a mental health issue, why would he sign a bill into law revoking that regulation that would essentially make it more difficult for those with a mental illness to obtain a gun? It’s only when survivors and witnesses of the shooting and grieving parents begging lawmakers to do their job and protect the American people is when he decides to adopt the idea that mental illness is the problem.

Here is the reality of gun violence featuring statistics from multiple sources and links provided to view them.

On average, there are about 13,000 homicides using a gun in the United States

About 62% of deaths involving a firearm are suicides

For every one person killed by a gun, there are 2 more injured

There are about 50 women a month who are killed by their intimate partners using a gun

On average per day, there are 7 children and/or teens killed by guns

There are approximately 96 people in the United States killed by a gun daily

In a study conducted by U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education, school shooters acquired guns used from home or a family member’s home

A lot of the time, perpetrators of school shootings have contemplated suicide or attempted suicide in the past

Since Sandy Hook occurred on December 14, 2012, there have been 239 school shootings nationwide and of those

School shootings since Sandy Hook involved 438 people who were shot and out of the 438, 138 were killed

In my opinion, those are some very troubling statistics. All you are doing by calling it a mental illness issue is putting more people at risk each and every day they walk into their job or school. Since lawmakers are projecting blame on something else, I am going to give a few suggestions for interventions to at least get this long overdue discussion going.

Rather than focusing on mental health, focus on the problem holistically. Policies should be geared toward identifying different risk factors and circumstances that put people at an increased risk of violence

Schools should have resources for students and parents starting early on in grammar school to teach students how to cope with anger, rage, frustration, and the like.

Policies should include all parties involved such as schools, communities, and institutions to collaborate and create a plan of action when reports of possible danger comes from an outside source.

Emphasize, at a very early age, the importance of reporting things that are wrong. People have become afraid to report anything to officials or authority at school because of increased bullying and the possibility of putting themselves in harms way.

So, from here we have two choices: continue to deny the real issue of gun violence and blame it on mental illness or work together as a nation for gun control. I know many people, including myself, don’t want to see another mass shooting but if lawmakers continue to ignore this and focus on mental health as the core of the problem, it will happen again and all efforts put forth for mental health and not gun violence will prove to be a waste of time and more people being robbed of their life. TC mark

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