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This is a Mental Health Issue

I remember when I learned about Columbine.  I was sitting in my living room, about 15 years old, in High school myself, when Total Request Live with Carson Daily was interrupted for breaking news.  I sat there in shock, horror and awe.

As I finished through high school, shootings weren’t common, but they were a thing.  As I’ve gotten older and become a parent, I’ve always worried.

But I also always figured I had until at least my kids were in middle school before I had to lose sleep over it with my own babies in mind.

Friday’s news changed that.

I watched my twitter stream in horror, shock and awe.  I clicked news page after news page, from my chair at work, hurting that I couldn’t wrap my arms around my babies then and there, refusing to ever let go.

And then I got angry.  Sure I’m angry at the shooter, but I’m also angry at some of the reactions I’ve seen.  Mothers, fathers, self proclaimed experts calling for this and that.  Gun control.  GUN CONTROL!  Their child’s safety is far more important than your access to guns.  Yes, yes it is, but…

Alright, I am all for gun control and regulation.  I don’t know the current laws, but I’d actually be pleased to hear that with my list of mental issues I’m banned from every purchasing one.  I have been locked away for being suicidal after all.  Twice.

But this isn’t a gun control issue.  Say there were no guns ever.  There would still be knives, swords, crowbars, etc.

Clique but: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  And this kid wanted to kill.

This kid killed his mother who taught at the school.  I’m no shrink but with the majority of his victims being her students, if I had to give a guess I’d say this is a mental issue stemming from jealously of perceived, “She loves them more than me!”  She wasn’t even in the school at the time.  He went out of his way.  He had a grudge against those children.  Those 5-10 year-olds.  They didn’t have it coming but he sure thought they did.

The real issue.  The real reform needed isn’t gun control, it’s mental health reform.

Too many view mental health help as a luxury, a privilege, and a bartering tool on the floor of our nation’s capital.  But that only works if ignored mental health issues and cries for help don’t lead to senseless, mass, tragic violence.

Mental health reform starts with having therapy, just someone to talk to when stressed, or sad, being a common practice.  Yes I think everyone should have a therapist, even if they don’t visit them even monthly.  And these visits should maybe even enforced when there is a clear sign that someone might actually need it.  It can’t be a matter of can someone afford it.  It can’t hold stigma.  It can’t be viewed as something to vote on or barter over.

When you ignore mental health issues you later read about them in the news.  You see it on live TV.  You lose people all too early in movie theaters, shopping malls, and now apparently elementary schools.

Can every shooting be avoided?  No.  There are crimes of passion.  There is no predicting for Ned walking in on his wife Nancy in bed with his best friend Jim.

However, you can’t tell me that the people behind these horrendous crimes don’t have issues beyond having access to too many guns.

When you barter with mental health, you barter with lives.

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