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Are Recent Mass Shootings a Gun Control Issue Or a Mental Health Issue?

Newtown, CT
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

The funerals have started in Newtown, Connecticut and we are left with so many unanswered questions about how something like this could ever happen in our society and as often as they do. This morning on the show, I posed a question to Leslie about whether this is a gun control issue or mental health issue, or a combination of both. Gun control is now once again THE topic, but I think it’s important to note that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Leslie made an excellent point by saying there has to be some measure of gun control to ensure that guns don’t get into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. I totally agree with that, but I don’t necessarily believe gun control is the solution. Evil will always find a way and guns can be obtained almost as easily illegally as legally.

I was watching a very interesting segment on 60 Minutes last night and they were interviewing two men who have been carefully studying mass shootings for years. They said in almost all of the cases they have looked at, including those leading up to Sandy Hook Elementary, there were almost always signs, if not not outright admissions by the potential shooters of what was to come. To me, that speaks directly to the mental health side of all of this. The problem is we either aren’t listening, or what we are hearing is so unfathomable, we write it off thinking there is no way they could be seriously thinking along those lines.

I would like to keep names out of this so as not to give them any credit, but take for example, the movie theater shooter in Aurora, Colorado; there seems to be quite a bit of evidence indicating  that he made his intentions known, or at the very least was feeling like he was at the end of his rope and was going act. I heard one expert say that he did everything short of taking out an ad as to his intentions, but nobody listened for whatever reason.

It is still way too early in the investigation at Sandy Hook, but clearly the shooter had some very serious issues that bubbled over to the point of no return. Did somebody in his family miss something or were they just not able to grasp the depth of his trouble? We may not ever know the answer, but I think we seriously need to look beyond just gun control and look very hard at the mental health side of this.

None of us wants to think that somebody very close to us could be capable of such extreme and incomprehensible behavior, but I think it’s time to get real about things we see people doing and hearing what they say. Some of these people are crying out for help and we need to pay closer attention to things that just seem out of place and out of the norm. Please say a prayer for all of the victims and their families that we can somehow find the strength to move forward and may God bless us all.

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