This week our nation witnessed another unspeakable tragedy. I usually don’t take up political topics on my blog because I think everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and who am I to try to change them. But after the school shooting this week in Florida, I feel the need to speak up and say something.
There is a lot of chatter about gun control and how it would help to solve the problem. There is also an equal amount of chatter about mental health issues and the need to be more forthcoming about them, treating the person before something tragic happens.
I think each side is right and wrong. This is not just an issue about guns or mental health. It is about humanity and our ability to see the deeper issue. We have legislative bodies, both State and Federal who are not willing to bring up the topic of gun control, and we have a stigma associated with mental health issues that people are afraid to approach.
Let’s tackle the mental health issue first. Mental health is something that everyone at some point in there life has to deal with either with a loved one or with yourself. Mental Health America is just one organization that is trying to help people understand the issue better.
After a simple search, I was able to find a screening tool that anyone could use. If you’re curious then click on the link and take a test. There are several to choose from, I choose the depression screening to see what a screening was like. It was a simple questionnaire. I choose the answers that fit me the best in the last two weeks. Before my results there are a series of short optional questions that help them conduct their research. I choose not to answer them, but if I take it again I will.
My results were I have a minimal depression. There were two questions I could answer with other than “No, this is not me”. While I know I’m not depressed right now, there have been times in my life where I’m sure I was, but didn’t know what to do about it. With all the information available on the web or through other means, there is not reason to ask or seek help.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help. The following are links to several website that can lead to help:
Mental Health Association of America: Mental Health America
The No Stigmas Project
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Institute of Mental Health
National Council for Behavioral Health
National Mental Health Organization
American Mental Health Counselors Association
National Association for Rural Mental Health
All the above organizations tackle multiple types of mental health issues including, eating disorders to children’s anxiety. Please take the time to look.
Ok, on to the next issue, gun control. I know before I even get a few sentences written, someone out there will say “It’s my second amendment right to own a gun.” I agree it is your right to own a gun. It is also your right to protect yourself, go hunting, and shot for sport. I’m not advocating to take any of those issues away, but is there a justification for my gun is bigger than your gun?
You can quote the NRA and other public groups that support guns for everyone, but it is when the gun is used to target innocent people that we start to question, “why do we need guns?”
I have to say that my husband’s family and mine have a history of being gun owners. We have chosen not to own guns in our house, but if my husband said he would like to own one, I would not object. I would require a gun safe, lessons for him, myself, and the kids (if necessary). There would be a change to how we allow our kids to roam the house depending on where the gun was kept. There would be precautions in place to prevent a tragedy in our house.
As for the shooting that took place this week, I cannot say if either of these issues are the root of the problem. The gunman had access to guns, in fact, I’ve heard reports that he owned them legally. There are also reports of his troubled childhood, but nothing that leads to a reason, yet.
When it comes to understanding these tragedies we, as a country, must take the time to figure out what we can do to prevent this from happening. Do I think there needs to be more emphasis on mental health issues, YES! Do I also think there needs to be a discussion about gun regulations, YES! But, I don’t not think this is the only two issues at play here. We have to change as society. We have to be understanding, forgiving, hard working, set boundaries, and be willing to stand up for what is right, even if it is hard and not what we would normally do.
Let’s think outside the box. Find solutions that work for everyone and not just one group of people. We are talking about our future and future generations. They deserve our best, and right now…where are we?
I would love to hear what your ideas are on some of these issues. I know I’m asking for sparks to be thrown on to a tender box, but the conversation has to start somewhere. I know I don’t have the answers, but as a group, we may come up with some solutions together. All I ask is that you are respectful to the ideas and comments provided by other people.