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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sandy Hook, Arguing with Crazy people, and three factors we can change to prevent another massacre:

Ever since Sandy Hook happened I've been trying to make sense of the tragedy, getting as much information as I can. And the one thing I can say overall is...

I'm irritated.

I'm irritated because we had another mostly preventable massacre of our children.

I'm irritated because I spent the last few days fighting with people who insist that we don't have gun problem.

I'm irritated because both the right and left are to blame for allowing this to happen.

I'm irritated because the right only blames mental health, video games, and violent movies.

I'm irritated because the left only blames assault rifles and high capacity magazines.

I'm irritated that it took this long for any politician to have the balls to even start having this discussion in the first place.

I'm irritated with the argument that because criminals will find a way to get guns, why should we bother with any regulation.

I'm irritated that people still equate gun control with the notion that it means banning all guns.


I'm irritated that one day I will fear my future children going to school because someone will be able to legally purchase a high powered weapon and kill them and then themselves because they were mentally disturbed.

All of these things have been chafing me the entire weekend and beyond. I hear the same arguments from people. "Criminals will get guns anyway so regulation wont work." or, "It's my right to have a gun, the constitution says so." or "More guns will make us safer." and my favorite stupid comment of the day "You liberals want to ban our guns're communists and hate freedom!"

I've come to the conclusion that no matter how many facts and statistics and good arguments I present, the people who make these arguments will not listen. They will cling to their fears and delusions despite the fact that owning a gun in the home makes you more likely to be killed by it. Nancy Lanza is a prime example, as well as that three year old who found his uncles gun and accidentally killed himself with it. Or how about suicide, people with guns in the home are more likely to commit suicide with it than defend their homes. On and on, over and over with the lies, with the anecdotes, the NRA posters on Facebook saying "Guns don't kill people"

Maybe not, but it sure makes it a lot easier!

Every time I ask this simple question; Is your right to acquire a weapon without a background check or waiting period more important than our children's lives.

Is not having a minor inconvenience in your day when you go to get a weapon worth being able to save the lives of the most innocent among us?

Do our second amendment rights overshadow the right to life for someone else?

Is it worth waiting a little a longer to get a gun and having to pass a background check and a mental health screening knowing that this will help prevent crazy people from getting a hold of a weapon?

It is to me, as a responsible gun owner I am more than willing to go through a background check and mental health screenings to get a gun. And I don't need an assault rifle with a 30 round magazine. No one does.

Which brings me to the crazies convinced that the U.N. is going to take over and that they need their guns to fight the government.

Fight the government...a government that has drones, tanks, choppers, hellfire missiles, etc. The most powerful military on Earth, and hillbillies think them and their semi automatic bushmasters can make a dent against it.

Talk about a delusion.

Another thing that bothers me is the fact that both sides are not looking at the entire issue. We do have a gun problem as the left says, but we also have a mental health problem as the right says, but what neither say is that we also have a poverty problem.

It's really a complex issue.

But I see three factors that can be addressed in order to prevent another Sandy Hook tragedy:

The first and simplest fix is to prevent certain kinds of guns from getting into certain peoples hands through sensible regulation.

Next we increase funding for mental health services and expand the health care law to include funding for treatments of many common mental illnesses and personality disorders.

And then we go after poverty and the massive amount of income inequality in this country. As income inequality rises so does violent crime. That's a big problem and a big factor on why there is so much violence in our culture today. People are stressed out, working longer hours for less pay, producing more but gaining less. Less money means that people will avoid the doctor for things like depression and anxiety. We also have to look at depression caused by factors like unemployment, and divorce. Divorce rates are linked with disagreements on finances, and divorce is the number one cause of suicide in U.S. cities.

People who keep a gun in their home are almost twice as likely to die in a gun-related homicide and 16 times more likely to use a gun to commit suicide than people without a gun in their home.7

The common theme is between all of these factors is the gun. Currently there are 88 guns for every 100 people per capita, the highest in the world.

The prevalence of guns isn't the only issue, but it's one of the biggest parts of the culture of violence in America. Now many pundits, especially on the right point the finger at violent video games and movies. Calling them murder simulators.

But in reality human beings have had a long history of killing each other, and that was way back before video games and movies. So this argument is simply a way to point the finger away from the three majors factors that are part of the gun violence problem.

As an avid gamer and someone who knows many in the gaming community, we can all attest to the fact that violent video games do not create violent people.

Gun violence is usually the result of mental illness, financial problems, emotional distress, and access to cheap, easy to acquire weapons.

If we focus on these factors then maybe we can actually do something to prevent another Sandy Hook, Columbine, Tuscon Arizona, Virginia Tech, etc. We just have to acknowledge all of the factors and be willing to do something about it.

Come on America, time to get our heads out of our asses and do something.

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