Attention! Attention! Ladies and Gentlemen! For your amusement in the center ring we have the vaunted right wing. The party of guns aplenty here to argue their point that this tragedy, while tragic, as tragedy’s are wont to be, was avoidable. We merely need to arm everyone in the nation, because more guns means less bullets? hitting fewer… things? Stuff doesn’t get killed as much by crazy people that fear other bullets…? Crazy people do not shoot gun carrying people? Well there is a point in there somewhere.
On the loving left we have the party of guns must be abolished all together because, before guns no one ever died…? Or guns, yeah, guns left unattended have frequently been caught sneaking out… on their own…. and killing… stuff? No, because people are getting hurt, and though the world is dangerous and always eventually fatal we do not want to acknowledge that right now … so.. we prefer a world with padded corners.
Naturally we have more specific arguments invented for this particular case. I have seen posted the notion that the killer, this time, asked people if they were Christian and if they said yes, he said something about them meeting their maker and shot them. This will be turned into the right wing fantasy of the war on religion when it could easily be the crazy person you see below liked the idea of a catchphrase having watched too many Arnold movies.
The left has countered with “the shooter is a self proclaimed conservative republican.” Which is all well and good if we were to assume being republican was a gateway drug to being a homicidal maniac. Or, if being conservative was in any way related to a normally repressed rage against junior college students in general, or Oregon humans becoming educated in particular. But at best these scenarios are unlikely.
Yet again the bait and switch is on. Talk about anything but the fact that another crazy person shot people. We gloss over that at our own peril. Currently we have a mental health system that has spiraled downward since the 60’s coupled with a free market run prison system that has spiraled upwards since the 70’s. Together this means we do not help crazy people we imprison them. This is not helping our society as a whole one little bit.
Currently, in the case of addiction and mental health, we treat medical conditions as criminal ones to often. The trend over many decades now has been for politicians to garner votes by promising to get tougher on crime, and while this gets you elected quite often, it doesn’t truly address societies ills in a useful manner. Locking up a crazy person merely gives added problems to a system not designed to deal with this particular issue. And when you shut down the mental health system in an attempt to save money you only create an expenditure elsewhere. If we do not fix them on the street we pay for it when we incarcerate them or when they act out by gunning down innocent humans to appease their demons.
I will not be so arrogant as to state I have all of the answers but like many of you I have questions. And because my questions lie in the center where I do not require banning guns, nor do I think it positive to arm everyone, I am probably considered a problem by both sides. I do not feel I am alone though. I think, if we all can agree that crazy people with guns are causing a problem in society, and that we do not need to get rid of guns, that this leaves us with helping crazy people as best we can.
We need to ignore the distractions of the extremes and focus on the real issue; mental health. And no, this isn’t going to stop all death as nothing will. We have been improving our ability to kill each other since before we chucked that first rock. But because we cannot eradicate all death does not mean we shouldn’t try to postpone it for some.