The Ballard Talisman

It’s time to bite the bullet

Leo Rauf

Leo Rauf

Staff Editorial

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Our country has reached a point where mass shootings have become an almost weekly norm. We’ve been waiting to end the national conversation on gun violence until we’ve found a solution that pleases all. The rising death toll is made even more tragic by the fact that a feasible solution is in sight.

Rage, depression and violent shootings go hand in hand. Jaylen Fryberg, who killed four classmates and injured a fifth at Marysville-Pilchuck High School last year, was motivated by a recent breakup. Elliot Rodger killed four and injured 16 in 2014 after uploading a video where he described his anger after facing rejection from women. When someone is in an unstable state of mind, the last thing they should have access to is a gun.

It’s painful to realize that the mother of Adam Lanza, the man who shot and killed 26 in Sandy Hook, Massachusetts in 2012, believed that taking her son to a shooting range would help him cope with his psychological issues. It’s true that not everyone uses guns improperly and that guns don’t kill people, people do. But the sole purpose of a gun is to commit acts of violence. Yes, some of those acts of violence may be in self defense, or in the context of hunting, but more often we see guns used with harmful intentions.

In fact, this easy accessibility to guns — even for those with psychological conditions that can lead to irrational acts — is precisely the environment that preempts the daily carnage that has become part of the American news cycle.

It should not be this easy to give people the ability to cause harm unto others. While cracking down on the laws surrounding the purchase of firearms is one part of the solution to this issue, the failing mental health care system in our nation must be addressed as well. Reforming this system will take years of political cooperation, but a glaringly obvious first step is instating mandatory psychological exams before purchasing a gun. The fact that a person’s psychological state is not taken into consideration when they try to obtain a weapon speaks volumes about the source of excessive violence in our country.

An end to this issue is not something that can be reached overnight, but it’s embarrassing that we are still unable to move toward a solution after so much loss of life. It’s high time that we took some kind of measure to protect civilians and prevent future tragedies.

 

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It’s time to bite the bullet