Saturday, December 15, 2012

Now is precisely the time

Here are the facts.  The facts too horrible to process, too sickening to see.  Someone killed 27 people yesterday, 20 of whom were between the ages of 6 and 7.  Six and seven.  First graders.  Six and seven fucking years old.  Babies.  First graders.

In China, there was also a school tragedy.  A man wielding a knife stabbed 23 people.  22 of them were children.  Horrific.  But they are all still alive.

There are two things that we need to talk about.  Not just on Facebook.  Not only on my blog (although I'd love to have some dialogue here, too).  But in America.

The first: guns.  Can we finally talk about it in public?  The fact that unfettered access to extended magazines, assault weapons, silencers, body armor... that this is not "a right"?  That when the second amendment to the constitution gave us the "right to bear arms," it was in the context of the rest of the second amendment - the responsibility of a well regulated militia - in the first place.  And in the second place, in compliance with the firearms regulations at the time - that some people were prohibited from owning guns, others were required to do so, and that the government would inspect all of the latter's annually, for example. 

You know that I don't want to make gun ownership illegal.  I'm not a bad shot myself.  But most gun violence is committed with weapons that (a) were legally obtained, and (b) were made with the sole purpose of killing people.  Defend your home, hunt, by all means.  But do you really need 100 rounds a minute to do either of those?

So can we talk about this now?  Because while Wednesday would have been better, today is better than tomorrow.  And it's sure as shit better than the day after the next mass shooting.  We can't remove evil from the streets, but we actually can make it less lethal.

And the second: mental illness.  It's real.  It's nothing to be ashamed about.  It should never be mixed with a Glock (see above).  And it can be treated.  And insurance should cover that treatment.  (Read: Obamacare, not so bad, right?)

I believe that mental illness is every bit as real as the physical.  I think that our society stigmatizes it, makes it seem embarrassing.  Which it is not.  But this is where we need to talk, to educate.  To ensure that the sick get treatment, that the healthy assist those who need help. 

Yeah, I've hugged my kids extra the last two days.  It makes me feel better.  But hugging my kids doesn't make our society better.  Opening the dialogue about both guns and mental health?  Well, that actually might.

1 comment:

georgia said...

Very well said. I just can't imagine feeling this way again which we will if change on all you discussed does not happen....soon!