Politics, Gun Violence, And Uniform Healthcare: The Conversation That Really Matters
February 22, 2016
There has been a mass shooting, the person snapped and unleashed a barrage of bullets to unsuspecting and undeserving souls.
The line above could be inserted in the scores of mass shootings that have happened in the last several years. I am also going to go out on a limb here and say that I probably can and will insert that line in another shooting in the next coming months. That is one of the real tragic portions of this event, there seems to be no end in sight. That is until we have a REAL conversation.
It is February 2016, and we are full swing into political theatre. We have Democrats fighting over who is more “progressive” and Republicans swearing to “right the wrongs” of the current administration. In truth, both conversations are meant to pacify political extremist on both sides and ignore the larger conversations that truly matter for Americans. Acknowledging that gun violence, domestic security, and free universal healthcare are tied into one another.
Our gun laws are not perfect, and it does not matter how many background checks we have in place because someone like the suspect killer in Kalamazoo, Michigan would have passed. But what if, upon every 24 months of you owning a firearm you have to pass a basic psychological test? However, those conditions can change based on how many guns, the frequency of gun purchase, and the caliber of guns. We may not be able to stop every gun massacre that occur but maybe we could stem the tide of violence. I would like to add that while a sign of mental illness is not indication of one who wants to harm. Millions of Americans suffer from this problem, but the tie of mental instability and gun violence cannot be ignored.
Many would argue how could we do this, the cost of mental health evaluations alone would restrict those from seeking help and assessment? This were the conversation of universal healthcare should begin. No longer are we talking about just having an altruistic society with providing free affordable health care. We are now addressing the subject of public safety and whether our leaders are bold enough to agree that health and public safety go hand in hand.
This of course will never happen, because the gun lobby would not want more restrictions on the purchase power of potential gun buyers; and we all know the difficulty of getting healthcare passed into this country. It seems no political leader is willing to have the courage to tie both healthcare and gun violence together, but prefer we look at both as a separate issue, as if they both operate in a vacuum with exposure to one another. It is time for us to have the real conversations about what is really ailing this country. Stronger gun laws can only go so far (see Chicago), but combining gun laws with health coverage could be a step in the right direction. No we will not eradicate gun violence in this country all together, because as long as crime exist, so too will gun violence. However, we can thwart the trend of those who have easy access to guns but hard access to mental health coverage. I for one would not want a person owning a gun(s), who is under an increase amount of distress and/or has a scapegoat mentality toward a group people. I would want that person evaluated and possibly marked off as someone who should be red flagged. In the past, I have argued that those with firearms should be required to carry some sort of mandatory accident insurance. I am now taking this one step further by placing the burden on our country to wake up and see that personal accountability is not enough, we need a holistic change on how we view the conversation. Otherwise we will be back here in February 2020, hearing the same political speeches, under the back drop of another national tragedy. Avoiding the conversation like an elephant (or donkey) is in the room.