By James B. Ewers Jr.
Teen Mentoring Committee of Ohio,
Shootings of any kind are bad. They shame us, they embarrass us and they injure us. Oftentimes, they kill us.
Guns have the consequences of life and death. During these days and times, they are causing too many deaths. It seems almost daily someone is being killed because by gun violence. Our society is suffering mightily because of it. Families once whole are now being torn apart because of this cycle of doom and gloom.
Using guns and not thoughtful ways of talking has become how we settle disagreements. Plainly stated, we shoot each other instead of talk to each other. We are spiraling down each day. Is this the way of the future?
Critics of gun control are still waging a battle against reasonable proposals and solutions. They point to mental health as to why gun violence is out of control.
Their position is to point to every mass shooting and say mental illness is the cause. Many of us in the public square disagree with this line of thinking.
Did Dylann Roof suffer from mental illness when he shot those nine black people in Charleston South Carolina? Let us remember they were attending a church service.
Did Payton S. Gendron have some type of mental strife when he killed ten black people in Buffalo New York? They were shopping at a grocery store.
What about hate as a reason for these shootings?
According to reports, 19.86% of adults in America are experiencing some type of mental illness. This means approximately 50 million people have mental health challenges.
I, along with many others, believe it is irresponsible to say that every time a person gets injured or killed that the shooter has a mental illness. It is wrong to use mental illness as the only reason for these shootings.
When black men are killed by law enforcement officers, are we to assume that they have a mental health problem?
I don’t make that assumption. What assumption do you make?
Despite this rash of senseless shootings and killings, there may be hope and help on the horizon.
Recently, a bipartisan group of 10 Democratic senators and 10 Republican senators brokered an agreement on school safety and gun measures.
Reports say that the proposal will be strong enough to counter-act the filibuster. It will need 60 votes to do so.
Chris Murphy, Democratic senator from Connecticut said on Twitter, “We have a deal. Today a bipartisan group of 20 senators (10 D and 10 R) is announcing a breakthrough agreement on gun violence – the first in 30 years – that will save lives.”
There are some major components to this proposed piece of legislation.
For example, there will be additional vetting for people who want to buy guns and there will be monies available for school-based mental health programs.
This regulation will stem the tide of those who want to purchase guns as before there were little to minimal background checks.
It is my opinion that this budding piece of legislation will put a stop to the overreach of the NRA (National Rifle Association). Some say they are the nation’s most powerful lobbying group.
Gun advocacy and safety groups are pushing for this legislation to be enacted. For many of them this has been a long time coming.
The student-led movement, March for Our Lives and one of the co-founders, David Hogg said, “In a less broken society, we would be able to require background checks every single time someone wants to buy a gun, and we would ban assault rifles outright. But even if one life is saved or one attempted mass shooting is prevented because of these regulations, we believe that it is worth fighting for.”
I do, too.