On guns, media, mental health
The News-Review ran a story recently about State Representative Dennis Richardson, whose solution to the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school is to arm teachers to save lives. Fortunately, the Medford Police Chief disputes this, stating it isn’t a teacher’s job to make deadly force decisions. We must show our children that violence doesn’t solve anything; it only creates more violence.
We are long overdue in this country for a frank and honest discussion of violence, gun regulation, and the lack of health care for those who suffer mental illness. Violence in media, frequently targeted to young audiences, is depicted as glorious with little or no consequences.
America tops the list of developed nations for violent gun deaths. We have a big problem with guns and it’s not “the right to bear arms.” It’s the fact that almost anyone can buy any type of weapon, legally or illegally, without much trouble. It’s the fact that there is a severe lack of any type of meaningful mental health care for individuals who suffer from devastating mental illness. It’s the media hyping these tragic incidences for better ratings until we become numb at the incessant assault on our senses.
It pains me to say that I think what will happen in the next few days or weeks after Sandy Hook is what has always happened. We express outrage and sadness at the taking of innocent lives in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. Then we forget. Nothing changes, except, of course, for those communities and families directly affected by such senseless actions. They must bear life without a cherished loved one.
How many more innocent children, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers must be slaughtered before America stands up to the violence and finally says, “Enough”?