Especially being fifteen miles from Newtown, I've been getting battered on TV news and all over the internet with both sides of the gun battle (pardon the pun). Let's start with my thoughts there...I'm with local CT legislators who were not happy with the Connecticut bill because it did not address the entire issue. Guns are the smaller percentage of what the problem here is.
Back in the 70's the mental health/medical industry were blessed with some medications that would lower the use of horrible options like electroshock and lobotomies. However, just like with nuclear weapons, psychiatrists thought they had the ultimate answer to mental health. Yes, some drugs did and do allow some patients to be able to function in mainstream society who might have at least required a visiting professional to look after them in the past. Some patients were correctly released from institutions thus lowering healthcare costs to municipalities. When pressured by governments and insurance providers, more and more patients were released to the point that many institutions were shut down. It is ironic that there was an abandoned complex of buildings in Newtown, until the town started repurposing the property in 2009, that used to be called "Fairfield Hills". It was the state mental hospital.
Now we have added HIPPA to the soup which prevents the communication to employers and educators the information that they may be responsible for someone suffering from severe psychological and/or emotional issues. Yes, I understand no one wants to be stigmatized and the majority of mental health problems are minor and can be regulated in an out-patient treatment plan. But when we put truly anti-social people into society with little to no monitoring we are putting ticking timebombs into the public domain.
Let's add the factor no one has talked about. In fact something swept under the table for years and just keeps getting worse every day. Stress. What the hell is going on in this country that people are so much angrier, depressed and frustrated that they grab a weapon, run into a crowd, take out as many as they can before the cops show up then kill themselves? We also have an out of control suicide rate even without the mass killings. People have no respect for each other. Sure there were bullie when I was a kid but they were not in the majority. Most parents raised their kids "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything". We got in trouble for picking on others. We also had tight groups of friends we could trust. Today kids are isolated even in a room full of other kids. Parents provide cell phones with text and data plans for their children. They become little spy networks passing information in ways the CIA does. Anonymity on the internet is easy. Bullying doesn't happen face to face but on-line. Parents don't teach kids that being mean is not cool. Look at the reactions to the sentences for the high school boys who sexually accosted a thirteen year old girl. Even the media promoted the thought that these strapping football players ganged up on a single pre-teen girl got the raw end of the deal. "How will this look on college applications?" "What about their careers?" Etc. Seriously would you hire someone whose characters are so weak that 1) they can't even deal with a problem as an individual. They had to round up a pack. 2) Then took this all that muscle to teach their much smaller victim a lesson. I don't want them on my payroll.
There are forces in this country that have come together to (I believe intentionally) turn it into a pressure cooker. Medically, educationally, economically and culturally people are being encouraged to force themselves into situations that are counter productive. Jobs sent overseas so people are under employed. Consumers inundated with messages about all the things they need to own that they can't afford increasing their debt ratios to impossible. Schools forced to teach to the test. Kids told they have to have college educations they can't afford. They come into the working world with an insane amount of debt. People can't even get relief from a truly good song on the radio, a intelligently scripted movie or a book written by a skilled author. Then strike the match with a government that has worked diligently to keep us in a state of constant fear for the past 12 years? Yep.
So to turning the spotlight on the guns part of this is just another inning of the "bait and switch" game. You are being distracted from the other part of the problem. We need to build trust, stop being mean and call out all the contributing factors to this nation on the edge. Criminals will always be around. They're going to have weapons and yes they are scary. But the issue that is on the table is not gang bangers, bank robbers or muggers. The issues are people who hit that breaking point and take five or more people with them when they decide they can't take any more, couples in abusive cycles who have a weapon in the home and kids who feel so unloved that they seek and find a legally obtained weapon.