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Our View: Deal with the real problem

Managing Editor

Let the knee-jerk reactions begin.
Each time a mass murderer unleashes hell on innocent people in this country, mainstream media and gun control advocates seize the opportunity to shamelessly propagate an agenda that the majority of the country, and certainly the Founding Fathers, would disagree with. The idea is that if a mass murder is committed with a gun, then the U.S. has a gun problem, and the way to solve that problem is to unconstitutionally clamp down on access to guns.
To be clear — we do not have a gun crisis in the United States. We have cultural, social and mental health crises. Guns are accessible and available, in part, because the Founding Fathers recognized that an armed populace is an essential safeguard against government tyranny. To eliminate that safeguard, while not addressing the root causes of the problem of misuse of firearms, does nothing more than allow those problems, the real cause of gun violence, to fester and grow unimpeded.
There is not a casual relationship between access to weapons and the recent shootings in Washington, or those in Aurora or Newtown, or any of the other instances of heinous, deplorable mass killings. It’s true, obviously, that guns were used in those murders but, in the case of the Navy Yard shootings, a civilian model Remington shotgun and a police handgun were used in the incident, according to FBI reports, rather than the so-called “military-style” assault weapons that are commonly derided by anti-gun activists.
In each and every recent case of mass murder in the U.S., it has been revealed that the shooter suffered from serious mental illnesses that went either unnoticed or ignored by the people around them. People whose mental state is what is considered “normal” do not commit mass murder.
Before we, as a society, deal with the perceived problems with the tools a mass murderer uses, we need to deal with the mass murderers themselves.
This requires a shift in our cultural attitudes toward mental health and the treatment of mental health issues. The stigmatization of mental illness needs to stop and viable, innovative treatment techniques must become readily available.
That will take time and effort — two things that seem to be increasingly lacking in our instant-gratification culture. But we aren’t doing our children and grandchildren any favors by not recognizing that taking guns out of American hands is not the solution to a much bigger problem.

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