By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader
No matter how hurtful, we must engage in the painful dialogue on how to neutralize or end rampant gun violence in America. Nothing could be worse than our accepting this outrageous inhumanity as the new normal.
And while everyone is entitled to their [sic] own opinion in this great land of free speech, my thoughts suggest that if you are willing to accept the violent rage pervasive in our nation as merely a reflection of mental illness, you may need a quick check up yourself. Don’t be ridiculous.
Here’s what is worse. If our so-called leadership at every level really thought these horrible tragedies were simply the result of the imbalanced mind, why aren’t we pouring funds and legislation into research and cure of mental illness?
Most of us can recall a time when there were facilities lacing the landscape for the so-called “disturbed.” They are now either closed or underfunded. Why? Because there is no evidence that confirms that Americans care about mental illness. When, during the rambunctious recent national election, was the subject of mental illness articulated? Let me help you. Nowhere.
It’s only being talked about now for two reasons. One is, the administration is trying to avoid like the plague the notion of domestic terrorism. It is critical that they maintain the line of thought that describes terrorism as brown, often bearded, often wearing headdress. The notion that one of the “good old boys,” or that a distraught, privileged white person could “go off” without being insane is something mainstream white America does not want to acknowledge.
You know. It’s like when a person of color steals something and is immediately labeled “thief” while the white person pilfering the same item from the same place in the same manner is categorized as a “kleptomaniac.” One gets therapy while the other gets a permanent record that will inhibit all they try to accomplish for the rest of their lives. Guess which one gets which.
The second reason it is important that a gullible public buys the mental illness line for these men who massacre is to deflect needed attention from the weapon that allowed them to shoot 600 from the 32nd floor of a Vegas hotel, or shoot a five-year-old at point blank range in church.
Far too relaxed gun laws.
Now, some point to the Air Force for not documenting the foreboding track record of the Texas church murderer, Devin Patrick Kelley. No matter how he may have skirted the process, there may have been more check points to prevent this nightmare if those sympathetic to gun ownership were not so inclined to err on the side of regret rather than caution to protect perceived threats to the 2nd Amendment.
I can prove that because the greatest irony of all is that even if you fully accept the argument that mental illness is the real culprit, how do you explain then inhibiting access to weapons with those troubled minds. 45 did just that last February.
Within his first two months as president, 45 repealed without public display an Obama administration gun regulation that prevented certain individuals with mental health conditions from buying firearms. Prior to his overturning the rule on February 28, four Democratic senators and an independent who are up for re-election in 2018, had sided with their Republican colleagues by voting to revoke it.
Newsweek Magazine reported that the Social Security Administration finalized the standing rule in December under President Barack Obama. With the regulation, the SSA was required to identify and report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), individuals who are unable to work because of severe mental impairment and can’t manage their own Social Security financial benefits, and therefore were ineligible to buy guns. The thought was that those certain Social Security recipients could pose a danger to themselves or others.
The repeal was a significant step for gun advocates. The GOP-controlled Senate in mid-February voted in favor of revoking the resolution, 57-43. Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Jon Tester (Montana), along with independent Senator Angus King (Maine), voted with the Republicans. The National Rifle Association applauded the Senate’s decision, calling the previous regulation “Obama’s unconstitutional gun grab.”
So, enough of the double talk. If you don’t want to ban automatic rifles that serve no other purpose than to kill and injure the maximum number of human beings in the shortest amount of time, at least own your role in refusing to even limit who can own these weapons of mass destruction.
Our national leadership bows to its master – the National Rifle Association. They tremble at the thought of incurring their ire any time near an election year. Their political ambition far exceeds their level of outrage at these senseless deaths, or empathy for victims and their families.
These bombastic lawmakers and federal administrators are anxious to offer a moment of silence for the slain and grieving during a moment of their Congressional session; then afterwards, given countless opportunities to raise their voices as a force for change, they instead shamelessly and cowardly choose to REMAIN SILENT.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].