The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
I awoke to the news of more mass shootings — again. Upon hearing of these most recent ambushes against innocent people, my eyes welled up with tears and my gut tightened with anger, not unlike when I heard the news of the “Congress on Your Corner” shootings that occurred here in January 2011. The mass killings are always a shock, but are becoming a country wide norm.
They are intolerable. And yet, I continue to hear arguments and rhetoric about the Second Amendment. I feel compelled to write about my outrage at the inaction and inability of our elected leaders, to agree, that having the freedom to buy and carry killing machines is just not acceptable.
Depending on age, in order to obtain a driver’s license, one is required to have a course in driver’s education. And everyone is required to be tested. Why? Because driving is a big responsibility. Cars have the potential to kill.
Joining the armed forces includes rigorous ongoing training and evaluations to determine the psychological and physical fitness prior to serving our country. Training that includes using fire arms, and other kinds of warfare weapons. In theory, our men and women are not sent into the fields until deemed fit to do so.
So, why then, is one able to obtain a license for firearms without similar requirements, by qualified instructors? All in the name of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” to protect oneself and property? Background checks just aren’t enough.
I don’t think the authors of the Second Amendment ever imagined the kinds of weaponry that are now available in the 21st century. Do you think that our forefathers even thought about AK-47s, sawed-off shotguns, or semiautomatic rifles?
As a trained, licensed clinical social worker, I was taught that inaction is action. Not taking an action, is an implied statement. So, how are the people of this country supposed to interpret the inaction and inability of our current administration and elected representatives to come to an agreement about banning weapons? It is horrifying that the Second Amendment as it was written, could be interpreted to apply to the kinds of weaponry available in our country today.
Addressing the broken mental health system is only part of the problem and not the solution. The mental health system only works when individuals recognize the need for help and reach out. When they do so, clinicians can do their jobs only with the information that is provided by a client — sometimes not the complete picture.
Health-care providers are required to go through some form of rigorous education during which time we are being evaluated to determine our readiness and ability to provide those we serve, safely, and at times having to make life and death decisions or recommendations. To obtain a license, practical experience and supervision are required.
Usually, those credentials aren’t satisfied until one is in their 20s, 30s or older — an age at which our ability to think first and problem solve, is more completely developed. Why then, are there not similar training requirements in order to be licensed for firearms?
And, finally, for a president of the United States to tweet a reaction and then wait three days before speaking to the country, the victims and their families on television or the radio, is appalling and irresponsible. As a world leader, tweeting is not a universal way of speaking to the country. What message is being sent to the country by an impersonal tweet? This inaction and irresponsibility has got to stop.