Op-Ed by Live Free Be Strong Public Relations Manager.
As a former political research analyst, my day is full of news on all topics, often disheartening, sometimes laughable, but varied.
A week in February was different, because every articles is about guns. Mental illness. Law. Political parties. I had to read it, but I didn’t have to live it.
I didn’t have to sit in a closet and wonder if I would see my family again, nor did I have to fear for my child’s safety.
Now, the children who lived through a nightmare more severe than any of us could imagine have to face being called liars. Actors. Democratic pawns.
They are accused of “blaming the gun,” and not getting down to the “real issues” of mental health, law enforcement, and stricter consequences for criminals. Many believe the students should switch their focus to something besides the weapon used to murder their friends.
Those individuals offering those opinions are simply exercising their first amendment right. As they have the right to bear arms, they have the right to speak their opinions.
I have the right to disagree.
I also have the right to state the facts.
FACT: 17 people lost their lives in a shooting on February 14th. Another 10 in a shooting in Texas this past week.
FACT: The shooters were able to legally purchase the assault weapon.
FACT: He was receiving mental health treatment, he had medication, and then he stopped for reasons we don’t yet know.
FACT: Mental health treatment tried and failed to fix the problem. Law enforcement failed to do its job.
I am not blaming the gun, the gun was an instrument.
Safety scissors are also an instrument. I was in kindergarten when I was told I wasn’t allowed to take them on a plane. I wanted to do artwork, but because of safety regulations I left them behind.
Alcohol is an instrument. I bought it when I was 21. At 21 I was considered old enough to safely purchase it for myself. I could have bought a gun three years before that.
Medication? Also an instrument. I had to go to multiple doctors before being prescribed low dose sedatives and anxiety medication for more than a 30 day period. I had to pay for those doctors appointments, and for the medication. No one could have forced me to take them or to seek treatment.
GUNS are an instrument. Currently, they are widely used as an instrument of destruction. Last week a gun was the instrument used to kill 10 Texas high school students.
We have changed our regulations for those instruments, why are we unwilling to change regulations when the instrument is a gun?
Banning assault rifles may not fix the problem, but why can’t we try? Why is no effort better than an attempt that may fail, but also may save lives?
Why can’t we recognize that something needs to be different?