Dear 2nd amendment advocates and pro-gun politicians:
I wanted to take a quick second to talk about something we both agree on. Yes, I know it’s amazing that there is anything we both agree on, but in a time for unity in this country, I did find something. The mental health system in this country is broken. Your spokesman Wayne LaPierre said it many times that guns weren’t the problem and fixing our broken mental health system in this country is what needs to be a priority. We definitely don’t agree on the first part, but we do agree on the 2nd part. Quick note – LaPierre used the word “lunatic” repeatedly to describe the mentally ill in this country – step one might be to stop using the word “lunatics” to describe our mentally ill. A little sensitivity training might go a long way.
Anyway, not to get off track. We both agree that our mental health system in this country needs an overhaul. There was a report released from the Committee on Population that compared US life expectancy rates to those of other similar nations. We ranked #16 in life expectancy versus other nations:
The USA ranks at or near the bottom in nine key areas of health: low birth weight; injuries and homicides; teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections; HIV and AIDS; drug-related deaths; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; chronic lung disease; and general disability.
From the Committee on Population: The result is that the life expectancy for men in the United States ranked the lowest among the 17 countries reviewed, at 75.6 years, while the life expectancy for US women ranked second lowest at 80.7 years. The countries reviewed included Canada, Japan, Australia, and much of Western Europe.
So…injuries and homicide was listed. We all know LaPierre’s famous statement, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I’m still waiting on my bumper sticker by the way. What is interesting in this report is injuries – intentional injuries specifically – a.k.a. suicide.
The number one way that men commit suicide – GUNS – handguns to be specific.
Now we will never if the men who committed mass shootings were suicidal and decided to kill innocent lives as part of their suicidal mission, but what we do know is that suicide in this country is reducing our male life expectancy. We do know that men are four times more likely than women to have successful suicide attempts. We do know that handguns play a major role in suicide. We do know that in domestic violence death can be linked to homicide of the victim and suicide of the murderer.
To ignore these statistics is to be irresponsible to the commitment to “overhaul our mental health system”. To ignore this is to ignore the big elephant in the room. To get into someone’s head who is mentally ill to find what the triggers are, get them adequate counseling and monitor their medication to prevent further tragedies and suicides is one difficult if not almost impossible task unless effective mind reading is a new medical advancement. Reducing the number of guns that get into the hands of people with mental illness is something that is very possible and a very good start.
Millions of lives depend on solutions like these. You can’t ignore statistics.
Thanks for keeping all options on the table to help solve this American crisis.
Yours in keeping people alive,