Thousand Oaks. One Inconvenient Truth.
West Coast, Best Coast?
It’s only been a few days since the midterm elections occured, and we’ve got another mass shooting on our hands.
A gunman, 28 year old Ian David Long, entered the Thousand Oaks bar in California and opened fire, killing 12 people along with himself. This incident has joined others like Sandy Hook, Parkland and Pulse as some of the worst mass shootings.
The gun control debate, which has already been a fierce and rather unproductive one, is only set to rage even harder now. But I’d like to take the time to point something out.
The shooter, who used a legally purchased gun, has had multiple instances wherein his mental ability to appropriately handle a firearm has been questioned. As an ex-marine, the likelihood of him having psychological conditions like PTSD is much higher. This is likely the cause of various incidents preceding the shooting, including a domestic disturbance call in April, wherein he was discharged by mental health specialists.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Gun control is something that is of utmost importance. As a young student myself, I feel the woes of the students who have lost their lives or those of their loved ones to those who have obtained a gun but who are incapable of using it. However, California, a deep blue state, has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Movements such as March For Our Lives have had strong support here, and obtaining a gun is no easy task. Most individuals here support initiatives to restrict the sales of firearms. Yet, a mass shooting has taken place here.
What many individuals forget is that this incident involves two key things. The shooting, and the shooter. Mass shootings, contrary to the intense levels of dramatization news channels like Fox and CNN conduct, are actually a miniscule minority of gun related deaths. Roughly 2/3rds of all shootings in the US are suicides. The self inflicted death of mentally compromised individuals who weren’t able to receive help in time. In the chaos, ferocity, and jargon of how to handle the gun, we forget about the shooter. We forget that mental illness plays a huge role in shootings.
Gun control is an important aspect. But it isn’t enough. Marching the streets isn’t enough. Abusing and criticizing politicians isn’t enough. Entering unproductive discourse in an attempt to preserve one’s ego isn’t enough. Making new hashtags isn’t enough. Many people say, “If there were no gun, there would be no shooting.”. Consider this, “If there were no shooter, there would be no shooting.”. If the resources to treat and aid mentally compromised individuals were there, there would be no shooting. If mental health could be elevated to the same level of public conversation as gun control, there would no mass shootings.
Bottom line being, keep guns out of the hands of those incapable of weilding it. Treat those individuals to become productive, healthy members of society. Shootings such as this don’t happen because someone with a gun walked in there. They happen because, someone, somewhere, had gone through events that have negatively affected their mental health and their conscience and weren’t treated for it. And, unfortunately, where there is a will, there is a way.
We will win the war on mass shootings the day we treat shooters as individuals with mental health problems rather than cold blooded killers.
Welcome to America, the land of hopes and dreams
May God Bless These United States of America