Here we go again. When will enough be enough? Who has to die at the hands of yet another hysterical gunman to make the issue of gun control something that our lawmakers are actually willing to tackle? Or are we going to keep throwing our hands up, saying, “It is what it is. Can’t stop bad guys with guns. Sending thoughts and prayers.” It’s the American merry-go-round of nightmares, and no one can get off the ride.
When returning to “normal” life in the US means 2 mass shootings in as many weeks, one of which was racially motivated and perhaps even stoked by religious “counseling” for the shooter’s sexual fetishes. The police had the nerve to excuse the Atlanta shooter’s behavior on having a “bad day.” Wow. I can’t think of a single time that I had a bad day, but felt the panacea for it was to go shoot a bunch of people with guns. It’s as if the police had more empathy for the shooter than the 8 people he murdered. Both the Atlanta and Boulder shooters had a history of mental illness but were legally allowed to buy their AR-15’s. We seriously need to rethink who is guiding our legislative bodies.
Yes, I know. The Second Amendment. Blah, blah, blah. But our constitution was written in the time of black powder packing muskets, not AR-15’s. I don’t think our Founding Fathers envisioned such a destructive tool being unleashed on the masses so frequently, nor could they have imagined that in 2021, there would be more guns than people in the US.. The AR-15 is not a toy for the savvy gun enthusiast. It’s a weapon of mass destruction. It’s a symbol of power.
Gun enthusiasm and limits in gun control in the US are closely tied to the Christian Nationalist movement. This movement is also tied to white supremacy, limitations in reproductive rights for women, and pushing for integration of church teachings and whitewashing history into our public schools. There are some churches who even give away guns as prizes. I don’t know when gun ownership became symbolic of one’s faith in Jesus, but something needs to change.
In Boulder, Colorado, the NRA forced a rescinding of their ban on assault rifles just days before the shooting in the grocery store that killed 10 people, allowing the shooter to purchase his AR-15 just four days prior to his rampage.
America: where you can’t go to school, the movies, church, an outdoor concert, or even the grocery store without needing to be vigilant. My kids have never known a world without shooter drills. Their first time going through one of these was traumatizing. Watching TV last night, I found it disturbing that one of the news magazines ran a segment about how to protect yourself in the grocery store in case of a shooting incident. Hiding behind shelves, peeking around corners, seeking exits when you enter a store, defending yourself with glass jars? When did this become normal? And, sadly, this is what people see when they envision America.
Sure, sure. We also have a massive mental health crisis in this country, but no one is really addressing that, either. There’s still a stigma surrounding mental health care. Those in crisis are more likely to get “help” from a police officer and are 16 times more likely to get shot than the average encounter with police. We should send a mental healthcare professional instead. And even if you do seek help before it becomes critical, who can afford counseling that insurance doesn’t cover? There aren’t even enough available beds to help manage those in crisis. Our prison system is our back-up, and is composed of 15-20% inmates with severe mental health issues. As I mentioned earlier, both the Atlanta and Boulder shooters had documented mental health problems. Despite this fact, there were no regulations in place to stop either of them from being able to legally access a gun.
We need sensible gun control laws. We need them now. Honestly, it’s more difficult to get a driver’s license or vote than it is to buy a gun in the US. Contact your state lawmakers and tell them you want change. Don’t know how to reach them? Find out here.
Certainly the fear of gun violence is the fringe worry of many Americans, including school age children. The anxiety this can cause can really take a toll on our mental health and overall wellness. Do you think it’s time for sensible gun control laws in America? Do you think we need to improve access to mental health services? As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.