Gun control: the solution or just a temporary remedy

On December 14, 2012 the United States of America yet again marked a day in history that will forever live in the mind of it's citizens. Not for the many notable events that we can contribute to these Americas but because of our country's darker side.

The Sandy Hook shootings shook our country and in fact the world, to its core. These were very young victims that we can all agree did not deserve to loose their life in such a tragic manner. The innocence of a child should never be expected to end with the child's life itself.

America is often attributed with responding quickly and efficiently to such violence or terrorist acts. Many times our reaction is a trigger response and not necessarily one that is thought through. That horrific and tragic event, as have too many similar ones since then, has resulted in a strong demand for "Gun control". However, like many similar responses, quick may not always be effective and only addresses the surface of the problem. A "bandaid" if you will. A superficial effort that usually gives us a temporary remedy at best. If history has taught us anything, it should be that as they say about the "definition of insanity", solving the same problem in the same manner repeatedly will yield the SAME problem as yes...history "repeats itself".

I suggest that while an immediate response for the safety of our people is paramount to a step in the right direction it will not ultimately address the true problem and therefore not the end goal.

Those that fervently fight to protect the Second Ammendment would always protest that "Guns don't kill people, people do." I, who am against assault weapons, can actually agree with this argument. No, guns in itself do not kill. Of course! However, those that are apt to use guns, use them to kill. There in lays the rub. It is this "John Wayne" mentality that is the problem.

Not only do we idolize those that solve problems with violence but we equate this form of resolution with power and control. Additionally, we seem to be a society that seeks instant gratification. Hence our quick remedies and superficial resolution the very thing that may in the end destroy us.

As a therapist that often work with men who use violence in their relationships or women and adolescents that end up court mandated to see me for their us of violence, I address the need for, and in fact our society's, need for power and control that result in violence. To many, the people I work to teach, heal, "fix" are deviant. I ask, are they really? A simple definition of deviance is an action that goes against social norms. Is the use of power and control through violence really so far from what our country's norm?

Here, we could stop to examine how our idolization of American heroes like those that John Wayne portrayed who sought to over-power and control the "indians" or oppressed people but I believe the ills we need to examine go further than this.

Power, Control and Violence

In looking at the subject of this article which is the effectiveness of resolving violence with gun control it would be useful to look to the shooters in such tragic events.

In the Sandy Hook shootings it is speculated that Adam Lanza sought to emulate similar mass shootings such as the Norway Massacre in 2011 where 77 lost their lives. One has to wonder what would drive a person to seek notoriety by committing such a heinous and public crime, affecting so many people. To say it was a "cry for help" or desire for recognition would again only consider that which is ostensible.

I contend that it is in the feeling of lack of control and import that a person would go to such extreme. Every town for gun safety contends that there have been at least 94 additional school shootings since Sandy Hook.

Guns are not only responsible for mass killings in schools and other public places like those events we have seen occur in theaters such as a recent (2012) mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater but in such small venues like the work place. Since the infamous incident in 1986 which coined the term "going postal" when post workers return to the job places killing managers and co-workers the term Workplace Violence is actually a thing.

If not with "gun control" and in looking at what actually kills, how might these events be prevented? Certainly we can address, as I suggested before, our country's use of violence to gain control and how we model that to our children and citizens in general. I believe that this would consist of a whole culture turning on a dime on an age old (and primitive) use of power, which would take generations if experience is our litmus test.

What I believe we can do is learn from those individuals and what we know about the human psyche. Although many may believe that this is a greater challenge, I believe that as a society we can identify the commonality in all these events. I am speaking of mental health and our society's reluctance to take a real look at it.

Charleston Church Shooting - Prayer
Charleston Church Shooting - Prayer

Racially motivated killings also seem to be more prevalent in the last few years, such as the Charlestown Church shooting on June 17, 2015. Here Dylann Roof suggested his motive for killing Sen. Clemente Pinckney and 8 others, was his believe in White Supremacy. In all the aforementioned cases there were more than guns as the common denominator.

If not with "gun control" and in looking at what actually kills, how might these events be prevented? Certainly we can address, as I suggested before, our country's use of violence to gain control and how we model that to our children and citizens in general. I believe that this would consist of a whole culture turning on a dime on an age old (and primitive) use of power, which would take generations if experience is our litmus test.

What I believe we can do is learn from those individuals and what we know about the human psyche. Although many may believe that this is a greater challenge, I believe that as a society we can identify the commonality in all these events. I am speaking of mental health and our society's reluctance to take a real look at it.

It has been reported that there has been yet another shooting on a college campus, this time in Oregon. The rate in which these horrific events in frightening, again, not surprising to me and perhaps other clinicians that opine on the situation in this country.

I mentioned Mental Health knowing that the readers might react in one of two ways. Some would inquire and reflect on this being the answer to these incidents, others may feel that mentioning this is an attempt to come up with excuses for people behaving criminally, while still others would want to look the other way because it hits too close to home. However, I belief that many would at least agree that there are people out in our community that are "ticking time bombs".

Historically, we have treated mental health as something the "goes wrong" with certain people. This is a safe stance as one can pretends it is something that happens to "the other guy". If you look at most of the cases cited, along with others too numerous to include in this article, you can conclude that most of the perpetrators are troubled young adults that show no indication of committing such crimes.

Many are quite, introverted and not threatening in the least. So what happens to these people that results in such heinous crimes? I have mentioned before in previous blogs that we are too quick to stigmatize these individuals and wonder what is wrong with THEM. What we should be asking is "What happened to them".

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Comments 8 comments

gregas profile image

gregas 14 months ago from Corona, California.

It shouldn't even be called gun control. It should be called gun responsibility. Greg


EveyRiv profile image

EveyRiv 14 months ago from Foxboro, Mass. Author

I agree, for that is the issue isn't it? Additionally, those with mental health issues should not be given such a responsibility and for that to occur we MUST start paying attention.


bradmasterOCcal profile image

bradmasterOCcal 14 months ago from Orange County California

Gun control or gun responsibility won't work any better than drug control or drug responsibility, or Alcohol C or R.

Government cannot change human nature, or solve social issues, or run a business.

The expertise of government is TAXATION, and not Accomplishments.

What are the Accomplishments of the federal government outside TAXATION?


gregas profile image

gregas 14 months ago from Corona, California.

When it comes to the term "gun control" automatically people think someone is tring to take their guns away. That isn't true.


EveyRiv profile image

EveyRiv 14 months ago from Foxboro, Mass. Author

Brad,

I am not referring to the accomplishments of the Government but of it's people.

Moreover, I do believe that WE (society) can solve social issues and affect human nature if our taxes were allocated to do so. I for one pay plenty of taxes and would be all for the individual working citizen being able to designate my taxes to where I believe they belong.


EveyRiv profile image

EveyRiv 14 months ago from Foxboro, Mass. Author

I agree Gregas. That is the automatic response of many. While I can understand their concern, I also believe that our refusal to give up anything for the good of the whole is part of our problem.


bradmasterOCcal profile image

bradmasterOCcal 14 months ago from Orange County California

EvivRiz

Unfortunately, it is the people that have made the government what it is today by voting for their party, and not for the best candidate.

Sadly, people are the problem, it is human nature.


EveyRiv profile image

EveyRiv 14 months ago from Foxboro, Mass. Author

A sad outlook on life my friend.

It's really just semantics as the "best candidates" would be people too which cancels out your final statement. But, I get your point.

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