The Gun Control debate is getting a lot of attention. There have been two mass shootings in recent history so everyone is focused on prevention – and rightfully so. No one wants to hear about another school shooting. No one.
With all this attention on Guns I can’t help but feel like we are missing something. Something important. There’s a bigger issue at hand – one that isn’t sexy and doesn’t generate the controversy needed to sell ads. It’s mental health.
Mental Health and Gun Control
What did both of the shooters from Aurora and Newtown have in common? They were both mentally unhealthy. In fact, over half of gun related homicides are suicides. Another giant chunk of gun related homicide is criminal on criminal shootings. So why are we so focused on Gun Control when the clear problem is a cultural and mental health problem.
What’s wrong with our culture? What is driving people to choose death over another day at work or with their family? Maybe it has something to do with the pressure we put on each other to meet these unobtainable expectations. Maybe it’s our haste to diagnose someone with ADD or ADHD and put them on medication instead of dealing with a hyper kid. Maybe it’s both.
What Japan taught me about America
About a year ago I took a trip to Japan – the former suicide capitol of the world. The work culture there is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. People were like zombies, consumers of production, on the train commuting to and from work. Some people look miserable – no life in their eyes. Production and dedication to work are their priorities.
In one of the most wealthy nations on earth – where money and all that shines is what matters – people are miserable. I suddenly saw in Japan all the things I could never see in myself as an American.
Media Spin and Real Questions
I wonder what else we as Americans are failing to see about ourselves. What is the root of our own self inflicted mental health disease. Why did two young men decide killing a handful of random strangers was a better option than their own lives. What’s going on here and why aren’t we asking these questions. Instead we turn toward the media to blame guns.
A fun way to debate is to draw heavily on stats. One popular stat is that England had only 39 gun related homicides compared to our 11,000 or so. However, when you look at our total homicide rate per person, our crime rates, and account for suicide – Great Britain is arguably worse off than we are. If the ultimate goal was to reduce violence and crime what did Gun Control ultimately solve? Nothing.
Don’t blame our lifestyle. Don’t blame the pop culture indoctrination. Take care not to look to closely at the way we perceive our own self image – the way the media told us we should look. Don’t examine the medications we are feeding our children because some of us are too lazy to parent. If we start asking too many questions, good questions, the media can’t sell Pfizer and Victoria Secret ads.
In the end it’s all about revenue – that’s why the media feeds us Gun Control.