This year is coming to an end, and something that’s happened repeatedly throughout the year in the United States is mass shootings.
It started with Parkland, Florida, when a former student brought a gun and started shooting inside of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, leaving 17 people dead. Shortly after that, in May, there was another mass shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, at Santa Fe High School, leaving 10 people dead. A couple of weeks ago there was another in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at a Jewish synagogue, where 11 more innocent lives were taken. Just this past Wednesday night, another mass shooting occurred in Thousand Oaks, California, killing 12 people and injuring many more at a bar.
It is not possible to know every reason why the killings took place, especially because some of the gunmen shot and killed themselves immediately after, but it’s worth it to give serious consideration to the state of their mental health.
According to a Los Angeles Times article by Grant Duwe and Michael Rocque, “at least 59% of the 185 public mass shootings that took place in the United States from 1900 through 2017 were carried out by people who had either been diagnosed with a mental disorder or demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to the attack.” That is more than half, and as we look at research and the times today, mental illness is increasing among the population.
All of these mass shootings have led to calls of gun control, and whether or not there should be stricter restrictions on guns in the U.S. Every time another shooting happens, people understandably get extremely upset and push for more gun control. The multiple shootings led people across the country to think about their opinions on gun control and whether or not it would be effective in stopping the mass shootings that have been occurring all too often.
People started protesting; they wanted more gun control. They wanted assault rifles to be banned. They had ideas that they believed would stop the mass shootings, when in fact, they were missing the point. Guns are not the problem, it’s the people using them, most of who are not in their right mindset. Guns don’t pull their own triggers, people do. What they should have been demanding is help for mentally ill people.
While we believe there is a problem with gun violence in our country, we at Scroll do not believe that the problems with these killings are guns themselves. We believe that although guns are weapons, they are not all bad. What is bad is when someone who intends to kill innocent people gets a hold of them.
What we do believe is that mass shootings are generally linked to the shooter being mentally ill. There should be restrictions on guns, just not for everyone. While we don’t believe that banning assault rifles will solve the problem, making it harder for mentally ill people to get guns could help prevent shootings, along with having laws that help mentally unstable people get medication and counseling.
If assault rifles were banned, what would that do? One argument is that it may just lessen the chances of another mass shooting, but that is not the case, it may only lessen the chance of a shooting with that specific weapon. There are other weapons that could be used for the same purpose, doing the same thing.
On the other hand, banning assault rifles to make them illegal for mentally ill and impaired people to own might help. When people are mentally ill, they act in ways they normally wouldn’t, and in ways that people being in the right state of mind do not act, sometimes resulting in the harm of others. Banning assault rifles from the mentally ill would not completely prevent these shootings, but the chances of one happening would decrease.
Let’s start thinking about guns in a positive light, rather than in a negative. A lot of good can be done with guns. Although guns have been known to take innocent lives, they have also been known to save innocent lives.
Back in March, a gunman came into a high school in Maryland, and shot and killed a girl and injured another boy in the process. The school resource officer was armed and shot at the shooter. If the resource officer would not have been armed, the gunman could have killed more people, but because he had the gun, he was able to protect other students at the school.
We have guns for several reasons, one being self-defense. As we can tell by all the shootings that are happening, guns are typically the the most available, go to weapon. When using a gun in self-defense, you don’t have to make direct contact with the victim as you would if you were just using another weapon such as a knife. Lives can be taken in minutes or seconds, and lives can be saved in minutes or seconds.
Guns can be used for good or for bad, the choice is up to the people. In the world we live in today, there are so many dangers, so many criminals, and we need a way to protect ourselves. The answer to this problem is not to take guns away from everyone.
The people claiming the country needs more gun control for everyone are missing the actual problem. The problem has not been, is not and never will be the guns themselves, the problem is the people using them to kill innocent people.
There is no absolute way to predict who may be a killer or measure someone’s mental health, but it should still be something to consider, as guns themselves are clearly not the problem, it’s the people using them.
It’s obvious that something needs to change in our country, but that doesn’t mean that banning guns will solve the problem. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year, and approximately one in five youth experience a severe form of a mental illness at some point in their life. The numbers are on the rise, and this is a problem that needs to be looked into.
Please, when another mass shooting happens, before jumping to the conclusion of banning guns, try to consider the fact that it could be a problem other than guns. Think of the positive things a gun can be used for, we are lucky enough to have the right to bear arms. Let’s appreciate it.