Ahhh Facebook. A good place to keep up with old friends, see their pictures/videos of their kids/grandkids, and communicate about political issues in an adult fashion. Which one of those items doesn’t fit in the group? Yup, you guessed it.
Communication about political issues.
These issues usually make the proverbial fists fly. People run to their respective sides and ignore any confounding variable that will make their point null and void. Because communication right? Nope. Folks would rather hold on to their meaningless point in a never-ending debate. Such is life on Facebook. Or, in the real world for that matter. This week’s issue? Guns.
In light of the most recent school shooting (there are WAY too many of these going on), people have taken to social media yet again to post their allegiances on gun control laws. The usual fist flying has commenced. Friendships are irrevocably broken. Families are split in half.
Ok. That’s hyperbole at it’s finest. However, people are pretty serious about this gun issue. I’ve seen memes (the latest hilarious form of kindergarten picture book discussion) for DAYS on my timeline. Each one incites the same discussion, but there is no answer to the problem. Let me be very clear:
I do not have an overwhelming opinion on America’s gun laws.
Alright. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk.
Sandy Hook. Aurora movie theater. Columbine high school. Louisiana movie theater. Chattanooga Navy Reserve. Charleston church shooting. Umpqua Community College. The list goes on. Highly publicized mass shootings that receive national attention only to be forgotten by those who were not directly affected by the incident. Each incidence ignites a firestorm of controversy over gun control laws. The firestorm dies down once the hype over the latest shooting fades, but people remain split on the issue. One thing remains, people keep shooting people in mass fashion.
According to Christopher Ingram of the Washington Post, as of July 24, 2015, there were 204 mass shootings in the first 204 days of the year. That’s a lot going on in, and the year isn’t even over yet. With all of this going on, what are we going to do about it?
Ban guns! Don’t ban guns! Both statements followed by emotional reasons on why their respective side is correct. The more I read people’s opinions on this issue, the more I see people who don’t half know the Bill of Rights screaming about their 2nd Amendment rights. What was interesting to me is one constant factor was repeatedly stated by both sides of this argument. Mentally ill people commit these crimes. Usually this statement is said in passing as the discussion about gun rights carries on. My question is this:
What is the truth about mental illness and gun violence?
Statistics show the good majority of those with mental illnesses are not violent. Stats also say those with mental illnesses are more prone to being victims of violence. Interesting, huh? Another article alluded to mass media using mental illness as an excuse for each mass shooting that occurs.
Instead of being educated on the subject, we bypass readily available information and argue about our rights. Because America, that’s why. If we feel anything is infringing on our right to (insert here), then we raise a ruckus until we are satisfied. That’s the beauty of selfishness. Society kind of really doesn’t care about an issue until the outcome will personally affect their lives. I freshly read a comment on how gun laws should be stricter for those with mental health issues because “I don’t want lunatics running around with assault rifles.” This is America, ladies and gentlemen. What’s sad, and almost funny, is some of these people (I would venture to say the good majority) that own assault weaponry would be receive a clean bill of mental health from a psychology/psychiatrist.
While mental health is highlighted today more than ever before, there is still work to be done in the field. The need to help and understand those with mental illnesses is at an all-time high. The public needs to be educated. This class of people are easy to blame during hard times and just as easy to ignore when everything is good. Through it all, are you praying for said individual?
I’ll let you answer that. All I know is what I read. And what I’m reading is quite selfish if you ask me. But hey, as long as your rights aren’t infringed upon you’re good. Right?
That’s the beauty of selfishness.