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Nine




The most informative thing I'll ever write

Here's a thing on guns!
In 2011, 323 people in America were killed with rifles (assault or otherwise, the FBI doesn't specify) while 1,694 were killed by knives and 728 were beaten to death with fists and feets. Handguns were responsible for 49% of all US murders in 2011. I'm beginning to think we'd be safer if we only had assault rifles. Handguns killed around 6,200 people in the US in 2011.
 
Gun murders are down 50% in 20 years, another 20% in just the last 8 years, and lower than at any point in the last 40 years.
 
On the down side, nearly two-thirds of gun-related deaths are suicides. Having a gun in the home significantly raises the suicide risk, because shooting yourself is a lot easier than slitting your wrists. Instant, and no looking back or changing your mind once it's done.
A Harvard study of firearm suicides looked at the 15 states with the most guns (39 million people, 47% gun ownership) Vs the 6 states with the fewest guns (40 million people, 15% gun ownership) - the states with the most guns had 9,749 gun suicides as opposed to 2,606 in the states with the fewest guns.
In total, 14,809 suicides in the states with the most guns and 8,056 suicides in the states with the fewest guns.

To see guns as a problem isn't totally wrong, but it may be short-sighted and a failure to see the bigger picture.
To see assault rifles as a problem is...utterly unfounded.
Not viewing guns as a symptom of a greater problem is as foolish and short-sighted as thinking guns are the entirety of the problem.

The problem is obvious. It's staring us in the face and it afflicts everyone in one way or another. Be it directly or indirectly, you've seen it, faced it, and most likely ignored it completely because it's so very difficult to understand.
Mental illness is the problem. Mental illness is the entirety of the problem. Guns are a symptom of that. So are scars on kids' arms, diaries they leave behind, things they say, things they write, the way they act. Guns are a final symptom of a problem that has been ignored because it's happening right in front of plenty of people who choose to ignore it rather than face the reality that a friend or a loved one is mentally ill. Parents don't want to admit their children are mentally ill. Wives don't want to admit their husbands are mentally ill. We ignore the coworker who seems a little bit "unbalanced" or "off-kilter" or "just not quite himself lately."
It's a lack of humanity that leads to this. There are symptoms before anyone picks up a gun, either to turn it on himself or to harm others. Those symptoms are evident at some point to someone - but no one did anything about it.

You can look at mass shootings in history. Adam Lanza showed symptoms to the people close to him. So did James Holmes. Charles Whitman sought medical help before murdering his wife, mother, and 15 other people while injuring another 32 at the University of Texas in 1966. His own doctor thought nothing of his headaches and violent mood swings. His suicide note requested they examine his brain to see what was wrong with him. They found a tumor compromising a part of the brain involved in emotional regulation.

There's a discussion we should be having, but we aren't. We're busy arguing extremes with opposite extremes.

On one side, you have people who make money off the firearms industry. On the other side, you have people who've been deeply, personally victimized by crimes involving guns. I mean Gabrielle Giffords and the parents of the Newtown children. Clearly, the people who stand to make the money from the guns are not the ones to listen to. Neither are the people who've been directly and permanently scarred by gun violence. Neither of these parties can view the debate objectively. One side has a very large monetary stake while the other side has an even larger emotional stake.

It's right now that the 90% of us in the middle need to stop watching politicians play this game in the senate and the house and eventually the supreme court. We need to hold accountable our senators and congressmen. We need to force them into have the discussion we need to have and address the state of mental health in America.
Not only that, we need to hold accountable every political commentator trying to treat this like sports. If it's somebody on Fox News acting like Jim Rome or somebody on MSNBC acting like Skip Bayless, or some talk radio host putting on a Smith & Wesson hat and perpetuating the problem every day of his life - this is something we can easily impact. We can hold these people accountable. We can call bulls&*t on their bulls&*t and tell them this isn't Around the Horn. This is high-stakes real-life and it even outweighs football.
We can strong-arm them into not treating this like a football game where one team wears red and the other wears blue. It wouldn't be hard to do. Just start asking the question. Instead of picking a side on Facebook, ask the question. Instead of regurgitating what pundits say on TV, ask the question. Call them, write them, tweet them, facebook them. Just ask the question. They'll be forced to answer it because we'll just keep asking us.

This gun control issue is, effectively, like going to the emergency room after being shot. You're bleeding to death. The doctor is concerned your blood pressure is low. It's low because...you're bleeding to death. Rather than stop the bleeding, he gives you something for the blood pressure. You're still going to bleed to death.
I like to think you'd call your doctor out on that one. Someone standing there would. One of the nurses. Your family. An EMT. Someone with some sense.
That's what they're doing to us, and we just nod along because who are we to question our doctor? We're the ones who will bleed to death if we don't ask that question.
You're being lied to and you know it. You're being misled and you know it. Do you want to pick a side to fight on when no one is right, or do you want to stand in the middle, with 90% of your fellow Americans, and steer this ship in the right direction? All you have to do is ask that question. I'm going to. Every chance I get. Anybody who bothers to listen.

This goes for people on either side of the argument. There is a clear problem. It's obvious what it is. If you're pro-gun, your side of things refuses to acknowledge that problem. By doing so, the NRA is doing you a disservice and failing to be basically socially responsible.
If you oppose guns, you can hopefully see they are a symptom of a much larger problem we should deal with before we continue this debate. Failing to address a problem as large as the mental health crisis in America is also a complete lack of basic social responsibility.

Clearly guns are not the whole problem. Susan Smith didn't have a gun. Neither did Andrea Yates. That video of the lady in Texas running over her husband, then backing up over him, then running over him, then repeating that a few more times? She was not driving a gun.
Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, Dennis Rader, even Lizzie Borden - none of them were known for using firearms, but you know them all for brutally murdering people.
The Manson Family used guns, but they preferred to stab, cut, bludgeon, beat, and brutalize people in a far more personally physical manner.
Chris Benoit didn't have a gun. He strangled his wife to death with an electrical cord and killed his son with a wrestling hold before hanging himself with the cables on his Bowflex.
The Unabomber never shot anybody.
No one at the Boston Marathon was shot.

Mental illness will find a way. A gun is a highly effective tool. Modern-day pistols and rifles and shotguns are all real genuine marvels of engineering and design. They're highly functional, incredibly reliable tools. They're an unfortunately easily accessed, easily accessed tool that can be dangerous in any hands. But even without guns, mental illness has always found a way and it always will.
The gun conversation needs to continue. It needs to be a conversation, though. This shouting match will get us nowhere. No one will be happy. We'll all just hate each other a little bit more.
Joining together, though, and addressing mental health in America is the kind of thing that shows us how much we have in common with the people we disagree with. It gets us talking rather than arguing and that's the key to it all.

Start with, "Why aren't we doing anything about this?" "What about mental illness?" "Isn't mental health the real issue we're facing?"
Once those questions can't be ignored, we move on to the next round. "Why do these people feel like outcasts?" "Why are these people so deeply depressed and disconnected?" "How can we help these people?"
Before you know it...progress! Let's just try it and see. I guarantee it won't be any worse than what we've been doing.

I got some of this valuable information and some of these awesome statistics from a couple of fantastic sources you can view for further reading:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/means-matter/risk/
http://www.cracked.com/article_20396_5-mind-blowing-facts-nobody-told-you-about-guns.html

http://bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbse&sid=31



Tags :  
Topics : Social Issues
Social :
Locations : NewtownTexas
People : Adam LanzaCharles WhitmanGabrielle GiffordsJames HolmesJim Rome




 
04/17/2013 10:30PM
The most informative thing I'll ever write
Please Enter Your Comments Below
04/18/2013 7:48AM
you're a freaking genius
Nine, maybe you should start by sending this letter to everyone in Congress?? BEST thing I've read in a long time. Thanks for being who you are, Nine :)
04/18/2013 7:51AM
Truth
The truth is, this not about gun control, this is about people control. Look at Nazi Germany. It started with guns are "evil". Then the national gun register. Now they knew who owned guns. Then came gun confiscation. We all know how that ended.
04/18/2013 10:25AM
Woha
Nine all I can say is wow! Didn't know you had it in ya!! (:
04/18/2013 1:50PM
Well Said
This is pretty much what I've been saying all along. My guns never crawl out and attack people. People attack people (with guns, knives, cars, rocks, whatever is handy), so we need to deal with the people. Instead the gov't closes mental health facilities and turns the people out with a handful of medicine and say "take care." And that's it. Treating the headache will NOT take care of the tumor in the brain. Thanks for the reasonable well thought out piece.
05/06/2013 11:17AM
My Thing Is
My thing is that I was raised in a house with guns. My father was former military. His idea was if we teach our children how to properly use and maintain our firearms. His philosophy was if you teach kids about them, they loose their curiosity about them and they don't go messing with them not knowing what they're doing and not hurting themselves or someone else. My problem with this new bills that Gov. Hailey has signed is that most of the time mental illness is used after the crime has been committed so is it really mental illness or just a cop-out to use as a defense strategy. It's easy for us to say that people who commit mass murders such as the Boston bombing or school shootings are without a doubt unstable individuals. When we had prayer in school, things were nowhere near as bad. The government has taken God and prayer out of schools and then complains about the effects of their decisions. I don't believe in forcing religion on anyone but it just seems like people had more of a sense of right and wrong and not so many people had to be medicated for "bi-polar" disorder or depression. Guns don't kill people. People kill people. I don't think it's right to take away my right to own a gun just because there are a few loose cannons out there and then give them a loop-hole in the judicial system to get by with it. They created these monsters and they now want everyone else to pay for it.
05/06/2013 11:30AM
Government Reform
Instead of electing these same idiots to office and then complaining about the job that they're doing year after year, STOP voting them in. They work for the taxpayers. If this keeps up, before long, the whole constitution will be changed completely or just ignored all together. I believe in my right to bear arms. I believe that every person has the right to defend themselves, their families, as well as their property with whatever means neccessary. It's a shame that it has come down to this. We are repeating history but the only difference is that the times and technology has changed and the subject of the start of it is completely different. What people don't understand is that it's not just one man making all of these decisions but its congress as a whole and they must remember that they must be voted into office each election and if it were me, I believe I would choose not to put any of them back in office for trying to enfringe on my civil liberties in my own home.
06/10/2013 11:23AM
We LISTEN TO 9!
Thankyou for taking the time to help point out problems, I know as a country of truly caring individuals that we really can make things better. Proper solutions should cancel out "THATS JUST THE WAY IT IS."
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