Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

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,



2 thoughts on “Attention #NRA and politicians – idea to overhaul mental health you can’t ignore

  1. Lynn Fisher says:

    Hi Amy,

    I was listening to you on Darla Jaye’s show tonight and I finally decided I have to respond.

    I’ve found that most people that aren’t familiar with guns tend to be a little uneasy around them and don’t see the need for anyone to own one. I got the feeling that you are one of those people by the comments you made. In fact I beleive you said something to the effect that you would be happy if there weren’t any guns. Aside from your feelings, the fact that there are millions upon millions of guns here in the US should say something about gun ownership. Most are responsible people who use them for what they enjoy. I’m sure you enjoy certain things that you wouldn’t appreciate being regulated in such a way as to make it difficult for you to enjoy your pastime as well. Every time there is a mass killing that makes the headlines we have the anti-gun people trying to take advantage of the situation and doing all they can to ban guns. Thirty five years ago I did research for a gun control debate in high school and the outcome was no different then than it will be tomorrow. Regulate guns all you want and the innocent will pay the price and the people who shouldn’t have one will get one by one means or another.

    You mentioned that maybe if your gun is stolen you should be held accountable if it is used to murder someone. My guns are locked up in a safe and very secure. As careful as I am I’m sure someone with the know how could manage to acquire them some how. People like you put the fear in me that we would regulate the people in such a way that innocent people would pay the price for those who are devious enough to kill another no matter how they decide to do it. I once worked at a place where an individual would sneak out for lunch before the predesignated time. Once she was caught at it we ALL had to clock out and back in for lunch. She was never reprimanded but all the rest of us paid for what she did. Do you call that justice or a solution to the problem? I always ate my lunch at my work bench and now I had to take 5 minutes out of my 30 minute lunch period to walk all the way to the front of the shop to clock out for lunch and then back again to clock back in. She still did what she wanted and that’s how gun control will work as well. I don’t think you like guns so lets say you like your car. Someone steals your car and runs over a policeman what you you think if I were a politician and had passed a law that in essence said you were responcible for the policemans death and that you were to be incarcerated for 30 years? Would you like that? My opinion is that knee-jerk reactions to these issues will only punish the wrong people. Punishing innocent people as a way to get rid of guns is plain irresponsible but any means to an end is how some people feel and I’m sorry to say you sounded like one of them.

    Mental health issues have been connected to a lot of the suicides and school killings. In fact if you are going to kill someone whether it is with a gun or something else you have to have some kind of mental issue. So why not address that? The money you would spend on more gun controls would be better spent on better research and help for the mentally ill. The money you would be spending would help more people and help prevent more suicides and school killings than any gun control you can dream up. I have lived with someone for 30 years that has delt with mental health issues and I can tell you from where I stand that it is not a pretty thing to behold. That’s the number one reason why my guns are locked up. I would prefer any day to have a physical illness over a mental illness. Mental illness isn’t black and white like a hip replacement or even heart surgery. Many medications are narcotics and just as evil as what people are buying on the street. What works for one person can cause another to commit suicide so I recommend spending the money where it would do the most good and not punish those who are good citizens.

    I personally have known four men who have committed suicide and only one used a gun. The one who did use a gun wasn’t on any type of medication nor did he need any. He was an upstanding person in his community and the police were coming to get him and he was too proud to serve time in prison and the gun was his easy way out. If he hadn’t of had a gun I’m postive beyond a doubt that he would have found another quick way to do it as I can think of several.

    You mentioned Walmart shouldn’t be selling guns. I also got the feeling that you don’t like gun shows. I don’t care for knitting shows but I’m not interested in banning them. Gun shows, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and all the rest have to comply with Federal regulations concerning gun control. Back ground checks are done at all of them so why the bias? The media has made much to do about gun shows and I just don’t get it. The media has also been very conniving when it comes to its articles on guns. Sixty Minutes did one on semi automatic guns and in reality they used a fully automatic gun in their story. How dishonest is that? Fully automatic guns are prohibited like you can’t beleive so their story was a complete lie.

    While you were on Darla’s show a fella called in and made mention about cars killing more people than guns. You said that guns were designed to kill and cars weren’t. Going by the statistics that you like to promote it is pretty clear that cars DO kill many thousands more civilians than do guns. So, it would be my estimation that there must be a design flaw in the cars. You know, I have a shovel that has killed more snakes and mice than any of my guns ever have and the advertisement on that shovel never said anything about it being designed to do anything other than being used for digging a hole. I’m guessing that if you disliked cars as much as you dislike guns then your opinion would be different. Both guns and cars are just tools and how each is used is determined by the operator. I think it would be quite easy to run over a group of kids at a bus stop with a car and in the event that I wanted to committ suicide my choice would be to sit in my car in the garage while the garage was closed up. Lets regulate cars. You know they have a lot more moving parts that can malfunction and there you go, you have an accident. But it probably could have been prevented by better maintenance which you are responsible for or it could have more design controls that would make the car so expensive that you couldn’t afford one. Is that something you are interested in? As you know it’s already against the law to operate a car under the influence of a multitude of things but it happens anyway.

    My whole point of this rambling is that the gun can be regulated to death but it wont die as it isn’t a living thing but the people using them are and if there are people using them that are unfit then lets help those people and not punish everyone else. When the government decides to cut costs who is one of the first to get “cut”….it’s mental health and those poor people are left to suffer while billions are spent chasing drug dealers and running idiotic schemes such as the one on our southern border where the Feds let guns go across the border into Mexico in which one was used to kill one of our own border agents. Our government wastes so much money on unbeleivable things and it’s all billions of dollars under the bridge so why not get smart and use the money in ways that can benefit the unfortunate which would cut down on these deaths that you are writting about? Same as the drug wars, what if we did a better job of keeping people off of street drugs and then the drug dealing would have to slow down wouldn’t it? Another mental health issue isn’t it?

    By the way Wayne LaPierre is correct guns aren’t the problem. The gun in the forest doesn’t make a sound but the moment a person takes control of it and what ever that person desides to do with it is the outcome. The gun has no say in the matter. Like wise, your car isn’t responsible for what kind of driver that you are.

    Mr. Fisher

    P.S. I would rather be shot to death by a gun than beat to death by a ball bat.

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