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In Reality

The topic of the week amongst many of our patients who visited the office was gun control and its relationship to school shootings. There is a severe divide between those who believe gun control is needed to stop the current cultural insanity of school shootings and those who think that gun control is unnecessary to control these individuals who take innocent lives for their agendas. News reporters make matters worse; the news media is making the public believe that the divide is related to political agendas instead of individual choice.

I heard many points of view. One stood out: Democrats allow people to kill unborn babies who have now grown to allow mentally disturbed people to kill innocent men, women, and children. To make matters worse, they want to take our guns away, so we can’t protect ourselves against these crazy, mentally deranged people. We can’t let these liberals get into power. They will continue to destroy our country.

I sat and listened. I understood the logic. Somehow, I felt misunderstood because I am a Democrat (fiscally moderate and socially left-leaning Democrat). I do not support gun control measures that have been put forth by those with extreme political agendas, those politicians who pander to those with severe views. On the other hand, I believe the president of the NRA has gone a bit too far also. Now is a time to mourn, not push political agendas.

No matter how one looks at our current societal dilemma, elective abortions are not associated with mentally ill killing innocent people, although many extreme Christian right groups seem to lump them together. Who do I consider mentally ill? I regard terrorists sick mentally as well as paranoid schizophrenics, people with rage disorders and recalcitrant PTSD, militant extremists associated with many socially driven causes, as well as felons with active and inactive criminal records and ex-prisoners. A young white supremacist entering a black church with the intention of killing innocent people is mentally ill. A black man coming to a white church with the plan of killing innocent people to avenge his neighbor’s death, an eye for an eye, is mentally ill. Animal rights activists who choose to kill researchers who experiment on animals are mentally ill. I think you get my point.

There are all sorts of mentally ill people who roam our country with the same protections and freedoms that remotely healthy people enjoy. How do we decide who is mentally disturbed and make a list of them? How do we connect that decision to a database that is open to purveyors of firearms but not the public? How do we assure those who get labeled mentally ill but are not, have a mechanism to remove their name from the list? And how do we keep our seemingly increasingly fascist political leaders from abusing the system for their gain? Is every union leader or minister who is passionate about worker or civil rights a mentally ill person? Who makes the decisions? A panel of judges appointed by a State Governor? A group of judges selected by a City or County Mayor? How do we trust that medical records protected by HIPPA, will be used exclusively by individuals with integrity to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill? Does anyone reading this blog know that they are probably not on the terrorist watch list, even though they have shared divisive political views on Facebook or Twitter? You know whom I am speaking of; thousands of Americans everywhere. If you talk metaphorically, are you considered mentally ill?

Several political agencies outside the United States are fueling the gun control issue. It appears that the Russians are involved in spreading propaganda via social media to create more division between sides. These reports are being made public by independent watch groups monitoring social media and its role in America’s views. I am not sure what our options are, but it is clear the answers to solving this problem will take years to unfold. Most of our citizens do not agree about the way for our government should proceed. Future discussions about his issue will more than likely lead to nowhere.

We should not lose sight that there are many issues on which our nation can probably compromise. I believe we should stop attaching separate social problems to create an illusion of a string of events to provide proof for vilifying a political party or social group. If a white supremacist group decides to bomb an abortion clinic to stop elective abortions, one should not create a connection between conservative Christian groups and white supremacy, i.e., we should not conclude that all conservative Christians are white supremacists. If they are, they are surely in the extreme minority of the conservative Evangelical Christian movement.

In a political sense, I recognize that extreme positions are needed to move the pendulum of governance one way or another. I also acknowledge that extreme positions can separate the closest relationships in families, businesses, places of worship, non-profit charities, and many other social organizations. Humans have an incredible insatiable desire to be correct no matter what the cost. In the wake of tragedy, sorrow, sadness or fear, our politicians must carefully execute decisions; for the desire to be just may lead to injustice, and the desire to be right may lead to something wrong due to ignorance and an emotional attachment to a set of facts that are just, not correct.

I long for no more killing; whether a perpetrator uses guns, knives, baseball bats, chainsaws, ice blocks, tire wrenches, tree limbs, lamps, or any other object used in a senseless murder, especially mass murder. I doubt this most recent incident will be the last one we hear of in the near or remote future.

Doc

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