The routine seems all too familiar, though this time it has proven different. After yet another tragic shooting, the politicization immediately set in. There were proposals to ban automatic weapons, to ban bump stocks. The same cries that all but fall short of calling for a full repeal of legal gun ownership.
We’ve witnessed these same calls to disarm countless times in the aftermath of events that shock the national consciousness. Typically, lawful gun owners and those who acknowledge the importance of a citizenry capable of protecting themselves from all comers take a sane, reasonable approach in the face of fanaticism.
It’s a well-worn saying that has born true since its inception: guns don’t kill people, people do.
This hard truth is truer than ever as it applies to the case of Nikolas Cruz and Parkland, FL, high school. Cruz exhibited several red flags, displaying an overt desire to cause blood-soaked mayhem at his former school in a manner that well-intentioned authorities usually only dream of.
If all the bad guys drew attention to their malevolent plans in the manner that Nikolas Cruz did, the world would be an exponentially safer place.
Yet. It was an agency run by people that chose not to adequately monitor or take significant action against a person who was obviously mentally ill and equipped with the intention to do massive harm. He wasn’t prevented from buying the weapons – of which he now reportedly purchased 10 in the past year alone – that would be used in the Parkland shooting. He wasn’t tracked, brought in for questioning, or charged with making terroristic threats.
As is often the case, it was people who dropped the ball. From Nikolas Cruz to those tasked with preventing people like him from doing what he did, people are the reason that such a tragic event was able to unfold.
Yet, once again, it is the weapon that the people hold in their hands as their sanity-deficient minds take over their bodily functions which is coming under fire. And, unlike most instances in the past, it appears that a Republican president is going to lead the charge to restrict gun owners’ abilities to modify their arms, despite those guns so obviously not being the crux of the problem.
Forget the fact that intentionally deceptive mass shooting statistics are used in leading the charge against bump stocks – which, by the way, only came into the public lexicon post-Vegas – and guns in general. Forget that we consistently ignore the thousands of deaths perpetrated annually by handguns in cities like Chicago, instead acting as if higher caliber weapons were the real problem. Forget the recency bias and impulse-driven hysteria that is manipulated by politicians in the wake of these mass shooting events, so obviously a tool to manipulate public sentiment.
Because, after all, there is a very real issue at hand. But that issue is not about gun control. And, the biggest issue isn’t even about investigative and protective agencies just doing their jobs in preemptively detaining a person who professed to wanting to be a ‘professional school shooter’.
The issue, and the elephant in the room that is plaguing America and most developed nations, is the immense deficit of mental peace and purpose that is, in fact, the real cause of these events.
So why is it that in the wake of the Parkland high school shooting, there’s been little to no talk in the press media about substantive action toward addressing mental health in America and the world as a whole? No discussion about chronic felons and the homeless who can’t hold down a job due to mental illness? Or the immensely damaging effect that social media and other technologies continue to have on young and old people alike, though primarily on the youth?
Why is it that we are fundamentally ignoring the cause of these mass shootings?
Perhaps it’s because guns fall within the parameters of political agenda. Or, like most problems, because the symptom is far easier and convenient to deal with than the cause.
Whatever the reason, the President’s insistence that Attorney General Jeff Sessions take action on bump stocks is going to do little besides piss off his base and further divide a control that currently sees eye-to-foot. It will increase skepticism of big government and lead many to further question the motives of politicians, especially considering that their political actions come in the wake of dead children.
And, most importantly, it isn’t going to solve the issue of mentally unstable people the world over getting their hands on guns.
Sure, it would have helped if Nikolas Cruz had used a lower-caliber weapon. And, it also would have been nice if authorities stopped him before he had the chance to inflict carnage on his former high school classmates. But ultimately, Cruz was a mentally ill, potentially insane young person. Gun or not, he should not have been free to roam amidst the sane.
So, will somebody please tell me why we are talking about guns, again?