This is really a time for our country to think. When so many children and adults are murdered so easily, in such a sacred place, it can spark alot of emotion.
There will be a conversation on gun control. We don’t know who will lead it, but the sense is that we need reasonable assurances of safety, and we haven’t had it yet. But I don’t want to focus on guns today because I don’t want to miss the mark.
The mark is mental health. A tragedy like this has created an opportunity to put in place functional gun regulations. It’s an opportunity that many of us have been waiting for for some time. Yet, I had to ask myself which is more important here. A national debate on guns or a national debate on mental health? Which is a symptom and which is a root cause of massacres like this? Which will have a lasting effect on violence in America?
Like it or not, we do have to choose where the energy from a tragedy like this goes. As much as some don’t like it pointed out, the idea that stricter gun regulations won’t stop violence of this sort has some merit. How could it if we don’t adequately address mental illness in America? Mental health is an overwhelming issue and the solutions are not so easily identified. The gun issue is relatively straightforward once you get past the rhetoric. That’s why we don’t want to talk about mental health. It’s not easy.
Restructuring how we deal with our mentally ill is going to be a huge undertaking. Make no mistake, it’s going to take alot more resources than gun regulation. Yet all of our energy is spent on the gun aspect.
Soon the urgency of Connecticut will die down. The will of the American people will wane. We will turn our attention back to Kim Kardashian and Honey Boo Boo. This is the nature of us. Just think of Gabby Giffords and Auroro, Colorado. They seem like a distant memory already.
As impassioned as many of us are about guns on our streets, we have to tack into the wind. We have to change this debate now, or we will have lost the key moment to change. Take a moment and ask yourself what is most important here.
We need a national debate on mental health in this country now. For whenever a root cause has been dealt with it affects all of it’s branches in the process.