Whenever one turns on the news, the network is consonantly focused on a negative event and its ramifications. It may seem as if news outlets are always covering a tragedy in the form of gun violence.
In the wake of the tragic shooting in Roseburg, Oregon along with tragic recent events involving gun violence, many have called on Washington for increased gun control. Although I do not disagree with increased protocol when it comes to who and who does not obtain a gun, it is not the main issue. Many of the guns used to commit crimes are often unregistered to the person acting inhumanely.
The FBI reports that, between 2000 and 2013, there were 160 incidents involving an active shooter in America. At an average of 11.4 per year, the latter half of that time period showed an average of 16.4, indicating an obvious trend northward (FBI – Active Shooters). It is important to understand the definition of an active shooter. In the report mentioned previously, this term is defined as, “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” Implicit in this definition is that the subject’s criminal actions involve the use of firearms.
With the age of increasing technology, there is also an increasing trend of tech usage. With this, people often feel more connected to others. However, the communication and interaction many people receive is not personal; it is not face-to-face. As a result of more connectivity, people often feel more isolated. One can personally experience this in everyday life. Nearly everywhere we go, someone is looking down at their phone, engaged in an activity that relatively has no benefit in the current situation. Some people even find it hard to drive, travel from one place to another, without being engaged in their isolating lifestyle under the mask of inter-connectivity.
Along with the feeling of isolation comes the likelihood of mental health problems. It has long been said that a gun does not kill people, people kill people. Likewise, in many recent cases, individuals who committed these heinous crimes were not stable mentally.
The problem with the system we are currently in is the lack of assistance for those who are not stable mentally. Recent studies on the East Coast have shown that, in Maryland alone, nearly 16% of the inmates have been diagnosed with mental illnesses (Mental Health – Maryland). The same study reports that those of decreased mental health are much more likely to end up in prison, not getting the help that they need. Where do they go when released? Mental institutions?
Worse. Inmates in these cases are going to serve out sentences only to be released back to society. Often times, it is hard to identify those with mental health problems just by looking at them. Many believe that there needs to be an increase in mental health screenings at a young age. With these screenings, many issues can be caught and treated before these people end up in society; issues that will eventually surface and may very well lead them to put others in harm.
Gun control is a relative, though different, topic. The real prevention is mental illness control. With modern medicine, diagnosis, treatment and prevention can go a long way. Society needs to realize the causes before it acts on assumptions.