Mental Health Care to Stop Mass Shootings

Tyler Macdowell

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With the most recent school shooting coming over Valentine’s Day in Florida, the nation is facing yet another tragedy at the hands of gun violence. First and foremost, my condolences go out to all of those affected by not only the Florida shooting but all of those affected by the 1,624 shootings in the last 1,870 days. Yes, you read that right. The United States holds 5% of the global population but holds 31% of the world’s mass shooters. These statistics, unfortunately, are too extreme to be ignored any longer and the government is currently working on a bipartisan bill they hope will prevent future atrocity. 

Sadly, a bipartisan bill in a Congress more divided than ever seems unlikely. Since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 there have been over 100 gun control bills proposed and they have never been passed; there are currently two bills awaiting voting on capitol hill. Both have remained stagnant in the senate since their proposal. Millions of people have voted that banning guns or passing very strict gun laws will prevent these kinds of tragedies but that would specifically infringe on the second amendment rights our founding fathers set in place for us to protect ourselves against tyranny and injustice. 

The real concern everyone needs to be worried about is the extreme mental health issue we are facing in our society. The statistics taken in case studies of the perpetrators all show that most of these people have struggled with alienation and depression in the past. All but two of these shootings were carried out by a single individual who was not planning on surviving the event. The fact that a person had the sole objective of killing as many people as they could before ending their own life has nothing to do with which type of trigger they pulled. If a person is motivated to kill people and will do anything, including give up their own life to do so, they will be able to accomplish that. 

It doesn’t matter how many types of guns we ban; a motivated person can always google “how to make a bomb” and get plenty of results. Most of the time, these people show many signs before they commit the act. In the cases studied all 5 of the shooters said they told one of their peers they were going to do it but were never taken seriously. In the recent shooting the FBI had record of Nikolas Cruz (shooter) saying that he was going to do it. We haven’t taken this seriously enough and there were many early signs that went ignored that could have saved lives. 

Many people are claiming these desires to kill people can be traced to violence seen in pop culture such as video games, music and movies. The problem with that statement is that I, along with many other people, have played Call of Duty and seen Terminator thousands of times and yet have never had any sort of urge to kill another person. The stigma that gun violence has been influenced by society is absurd. 

There are many arguments on what should be done to stop these mass shootings, but the answer is not such an easy one. There is so much that goes into it. We can’t ban guns because that is directly failing to follow the guiding principles that directed our country to success for the past 242 years. We can’t blame pop culture because there is no evidence to base that claim. 

Mental health is such a foggy area, but it is clearly the place we need to start. Focusing on the threats and taking depression and alienation more seriously is what we need to do. We don’t need to focus on which guns we need to get rid of or how many metal detectors we need to add. The amount of mass shootings in the country is disappointing. It’s hard to see such a successful and prosperous country that I am proud to call home letting its citizens down by not being able to provide safety and security at such a basic place as public school. We need to make a change.    of quarre^���9