I watched President Obama’s speech regarding his impending Executive Order(s) dealing with Gun Control. There were aspects that I thought were powerful and other moments where I felt he was missing the target. Now, before all the anti-gun control folks start patting me on the back, hold on just a minute. I have to apply and reapply for a license to drive a car. I have to go through comprehensive testing to drive a bus or motorcycle. I have to show my drivers license and sign my name at the pharmacy to purchase an over the counter medicine for my stuffy head. I cannot even buy prescription glasses for myself without a recent eye exam. I think all of those restrictions are reasonable, by the way. I think it is absolutely nuts that I can anonymously purchase a firearm at a gun show or online! Not to mention some of the ridiculous weaponry available that are far beyond hunting and self defense. I am not for taking away all guns, but I am for being reasonble. Anyway, I am now a little off point.
Let me begin by what the President got right. In his speech, he promised more money for Mental Healthcare. I think this was great. Not only do we need Mental Healthcare more available for individuals and families, we need to remove the stigma of Mental Healthcare from our society. Mental Health issues should not be viewed any different than Physical Health issues. A person suffering from an anxiety disorder should not have a different stigma attached to him or her than a person suffering from Parkinson’s. I hope the President’s support of Mental Healthcare will be a big step toward bringing Mental Health from the shadows of the medical profession and into the mainstream. I hope that visiting your psychiatrist will be no more shocking than visiting your podiatrist.
The majority of individuals that I know that are taking psychiatric medication had their prescription written by a General Practitioner. Why? Because visiting a “Shrink” is unacceptable. It means you’re crazy or worse. What should be surprising is having psychiatric medicines prescribed by a GP. A person would never have a cancer prescription or congestive heart failure medications written by a GP. He or she would visit an oncologist or cardiologist respectively. We need to give more access to Mental Healthcare and remove the stigma of seeking Mental Healthcare. I hope this direction from our President will move us toward a more healthy view of Mental Health. I believe this could help our country.
I also love the President’s call for gun technology to prevent accidental firing. Obama stated, “A child cannot open a bottle of aspirin. They shouldn’t be able to fire a gun.” I may not have ever agreed with the President more. Do you know how many toddlers shoot themselves or someone else? It averaged to once a week last year! That is scary. A toddler should not have the ability to fire a loaded gun even if it is not on safety.
Finally, I am glad the President sought to close loopholes of existing gun control laws. By using the term “show” rather than store, you can get around the background checks. Also, background checks do not apply to gun sales by individuals. After a few clicks and google searches, I found plenty of websites that help facilitate these sales that lack background checks. I will sleep less comfortable tonight. Here is more information on the ease of getting around background checks.
Where I was most disappointed with the President’s speech was his focus on the symptoms of the gun violence problem, instead of the causes of gun violence. Outside of the President’s emphasis on Mental Healthcare, he did not address any of the causes of gun violence. The Mental Healthcare aspect is, at most, a small part of the gun violence problem. The gun violence problem goes far beyond the mentally ill. Also, the mentally ill are much more likely to be victims of violence than a perpetrator.
The President focused on making guns more difficult for violent people to obtain. Again, that is dealing with a symptom, not the cause. Let’s try to raise up generations of non-violent people. Let’s work with children, teenagers, and young adults to lead them down a path away from violence and more constructive ways of dealing with conflict. One gun in a room with ten violent people and someone will get hurt. One hundred guns in a room with ten non-violent people and no one gets hurt. We have to attack the causes that lead people down a path of violence.
What is that path? I will once again pull out my soap box on education. I have written on America’s great need for educational emphasis on multiple occasions. Here is my article on the Charleston Shooting and the Second Republican Presidential Debate. We have to equip our children to overcome their situations, their violent tendencies, and give them every opportunity to succeed without threats or fighting.
Why is the violent drug culture so prevalent in inner cities? Because it is the easiest way for inner city families to make money and support themselves. If inner city kids could receive an impeccable education that equips them to make money, succeed in life, get a calm peaceful job, they would choose that life in a heartbeat over a job where they could be shot at any moment by a rival drug dealer.
Why are so many rural workers filled with rage and violence? I’m thinking of the Oregon militia stand off still going on as I am typing this. It is because they feel trapped on the local farm or local mill job that is going no where fast because their education did not equip them for any other life. They would have chosen a life to give them happiness if they were equipped through their education to do so.
Education lowers crime. That is a fact. Education lowers the need for dependence on governmental aid programs. That is also a fact. Our country will continue to have these complex problems until we wake up and stop saying our children are our greatest responsibility, and start educating them like they are our greatest responsibility.
I would vote for any Presidential candidate that stated, “We are going to raise taxes for education because we must stop the sinful job we have been doing as a nation, and we must invest in our children and our future.”
Thanks for reading, Preachers Jesse