May 26, 2022
Dear MindSite News readers,
We’re heartbroken over the mass murders at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, along with the mass shootings at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store and a church in Southern California, all in a two-week span. And we know that, as has occurred after so many other massacres, some people will raise the specter of mental illness and talk about this as a “mental health problem.” To be sure, the mental health system of this country has massive failings. But the horror of mass shootings and daily gun violence are a failure of public policy and protection, not mental illness. Our leaders are failing to protect us, the most basic job they have.
Although mental illness may play a part in the actions of some killers, the Steinberg Institute noted in a powerful statement that “other countries with similar rates of mental illness aren’t facing carnage in classrooms, in houses of worship, and in grocery stores. What is unique to the U.S. is access to guns” – including military assault weapons in the hands of 18-year-olds.
As Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in an impassioned plea for gun control, “We can’t get numb to this.” To stop this intolerable cycle of violence, we must screen, treat and heal childhood trauma, along with early treatment of mental illness. We must also demand the passage of sensible gun laws – those that could have helped protect the innocent children and teachers in Uvalde and their inconsolable families – and remove politicians who stand in the way of enacting such basic public health and mental health protections.
–Diana Hembree and Rob Waters, Editors
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