Nine killed and 20 more wounded. Not two weeks ago, we learned that a student at a small community college walked onto his campus with the intent to kill as many as he could. Since then there has been an outpouring of support as we poke and prod into what caused such a vicious attack. We have learned that the shooter was mentally troubled, and also that he had a stockpile of 13 guns which he used to kill his fellow students. 13 guns. If we have regulations in place that are supposed to screen out those not fit to buy and own a firearm, then doesn’t it follow that the regulations have clearly failed?
In lieu of action, the NRA funded Republicans in Congress have again dusted off the tired old line that “guns don’t kill people, crazy people kill people.” While technically true in regards to mass shootings like the one in Oregon, arguing that only the mentally ill commit murder is ignorant. If you have ever had Dr. Decker in the Criminal Justice Department for a class, you will have heard him say at least once during one of his classes that murder is a result of “a gun too close, and a hospital too far.” Murder is not a crime that only those “mentally deranged” individuals commit; murder is a crime that anyone and everyone commits, given the right circumstances.
The FBI compiled a list of all reported homicides that took place in America during 2011. 12,664 people were murdered that year, with 8,583 of those killed having been shot and killed by a firearm. Of those 8,583 who were killed by a firearm, 1,948 people were killed as a result of tempers flaring during an argument. There is no premeditation, no thought behind what the soon-to-be-killers are doing — just the release of anger through the barrel of a gun.
But maybe the NRA is onto something and it is only those suffering from mental illness that kill, so we should do something about that, right? If you’re going to lament that “crazies” kill people and guns don’t, then why not treat the problem by funding mental health care? Nope, creating any kind of legislative solution to our gun problem would be bad for business, for if the NRA can’t blame the mentally ill, then who do they blame? The call to treat the mentally ill is an empty promise from the Republican Party. Look here in Iowa at Governor Branstad, who has closed two of the four mental health facilities in a state where there is a constitutional mandate for four to be open. Furthermore, where are the funding bills from the Republican controlled Congress to increase funding towards mental health facilities? There are none, because they don’t care. Money from the NRA is all they care about, not American lives.
Look. Countries all around the world have mentally ill people, but only America has a mass murder problem. We don’t fund measures that could help people recover from the sickness in their mind, we don’t create solutions to our very real gun problems, and we instead sit on our hands and say “stuff happens.” Nine are dead, 20 are wounded, and nothing is being done to stop such a tragedy from happening again.