Shooting sparks mental health awareness

posted in: Opinion | 0

After the massacre in Las Vegas, Nev. on Oct. 1, Americans are once again pitted against each other in the gun control debate. It is unfortunate we have to keep addressing this issue, but the United States (U.S.) has seen 273 mass shootings since Jan. 1 of this year according to the Gun Violence Archive (CNN).

This statistic defines a mass shooting as an incident in which an active shooter kills four or more people. It seems every time we have a tragedy, such as the one in Las Vegas, we start spouting off on whether we need to heighten gun control legislation or loosen it. However, I would like for the U.S. to look at a different approach.

The U.S. keeps forcing gun control laws and while they are well intended, there is one major fallacy. Anyone can obtain a firearm illegally. I have always been an advocate of gun control, but the events in Las Vegas have made me realize it does not matter whether or not someone obtains a gun legally. Because there is always going to be an underground economy for people to turn to, much like narcotics.

Automatic weapons are banned in all states, yet the shooter in Las Vegas was able to obtain a multiplicity of them. I want to reiterate this is not to push the political agenda of pro-gun legislation, because no citizen needs an automatic weapon, regardless of the poor excuses they may use.

Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Services indicate that one in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression, meaning that 12 million citizens could have issues with radical mental states.

Obviously, not every person with a mental disorder is violent and most are not. However, people who suffer from these illnesses can have intense mood swings. This is especially prevalent with adolescents and young adults. We need to show people who struggle with these disorders there is help they can turn to, because much of their anger is derived from feeling alone in the world. This anger can fuel the belief of radical ideologies that do not make sense in a clear frame of mind.

I have had friends and family members battle these illnesses and many of them are great people, but there are times when dealing with the ignorance of others is not easy. Professionals say that friends and family are very beneficial to those battling these mental issues.

According to the same study, 44 percent of adults with mental disabilities actually benefit more from having close friends around them, than medical treatment. Some may argue mental illness is not a cause of mass shootings and may be right. But what is the harm in caring for another individual and putting emphasis on helping those who struggle battling themselves?

It has become disgusting when one of these tragedies occur and our society immediately points a finger at political parties rather than asking the question “why?” I am not defending the gunman in the Las Vegas shooting, as he committed a blatant act of terrorism. But in a generation of tolerance, we need to focus on what causes the anger inside of the people who commit these crimes so we can lower the ludicrous number of shootings in our country each year.

I am not blaming any type of person for the shootings that have taken place in the last 20 years, but rather than just advocating compassion and understanding to all human-beings in order to better comprehend them, sometimes amidst the loud voices in society, it is the ones who remain silent that hurt the most.


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