About Me

My Photo
My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A quick reaction to Newtown

As somebody trained in sociology of mental health, people might be surprised that I'm NOT on the "it's all about mental health" bandwagon in the wake of the Newtown shooting. WHY? Because severe mental illness occurs at similar rates across cultures. But gun ownership and access to guns do not. And there is a nearly linear relationship between ease of gun access (more guns available) and gun deaths. 

So, let's keep the focus where it belongs: on GUN CONTROL rather than on the shooter's alleged mental health status. 

Of course most of these mass murderers have a history of mental health issues. No surprise there. But to focus on that truly distracts from where the problem lies. We need strict gun regulation, and there ARE a number of reasonable steps we could take that would result in, using Obama's words, "meaningful action."


I care deeply about access to mental health treatment, about early and effective treatment, and I have compassion for all those who suffer.  But to make Newtown a story about mental health is a dangerous distraction from the all-too-often-neglected issue of gun regulation and America's odd fascination with both killing machines and its bizarre attachment to a Constitutional amendment whose composers surely never anticipated people having access to the weapons available today.


I wish there were something helpful to say to the victims' families.  Their pain haunts me.  And my heart goes out to them. 

I promise to build on this post later, and supply you with needed data.  I just wanted to say what is on my mind now, because I've been so horrified by what happened yesterday in Newtown and have been equally horrified by some of the responses I've been reading in articles and in social media.  

Our hearts belong with the victims and their families; our energies should be devoted to getting guns off streets and getting all types of semi-automatic, war-grade weapons out of all civilians' hands.  Nobody, short of soldiers *on duty* or police officers *on duty*, needs access to the types of weapons used yesterday in Newtown. 

1 comment:

Politeness is always appreciated.