I've been debating whether or not to write about the Sandy Hook shooting. My commentary is probably not needed*, and if you've kept up with me on Facebook or twitter over the weekend you know full well how I feel about our desperate need for stricter gun control (background checks, assault weapons ban, mandatory safety training... are these things really so much to ask?), and for a better mental health care system (not to prevent mass shootings because I don't think it will, but because it is the moral, humane thing to do).
Like everyone else, I was shocked and heartbroken when I heard the news last week. Like everyone else, I shed many tears thinking of those children and adults-- the ones who died, and the ones who are now trying to deal with the trauma of witnessing such an act. Like everyone else, I am anxiously waiting to see if this will be the catalyst for our leaders to enact needed change.
But I also wonder why we are not as outraged by the adults and children killed by guns every single day-- about 30,000 every year. As everyone points the finger at mental illness and how we need better mental health care to stop "the crazies who shoot people up"**, I wonder why no one pays attention to the fact that over half of all gun deaths are suicides. Or how about the several hundred who die every year from accidental gun shots? Are these numbers too large, too abstract to garner as much attention?
There is so much more that can be said, but others have already said it better than I could so I will instead leave you with these links. I hope this can be the beginning of long-lasting discussions and change instead of letting these issues fall away again once the media attention fades (until the next shooting, anyway).
Violence and Mental Illness
Facts about Mental Illness and Violence
Musings on Mass Shootings: The Second Amendment
The Inconvenient Truth about Mental Health and Gun Control (I don't necessarily agree with everything in this post, but she has some good points and it's nice to see someone lay out concrete steps we could consider)
More Guns, More Mass Shootings
White House petition to address gun control
Inspirational Card Decks for Families of Sandy Hook
* yet here I am giving it anyway...
** note how when a brown man goes on a killing spree we call it terrorism and blame his (assumed) religion, when a white man does the same we call it mental illness and blame his mother.