One Solution To A Culture Of Massacres
For the fifteenth time in Barack Obama’s Presidency, our country is suffering yet another massacre of innocent people, students, and or children, such as we experienced with the Sandy Hook massacre. Not sure what that means when others have stated this, but it is a fact. Something is happening on an epidemic proportion in this land regarding the danger we face in society.
Today’s (October 4, 2015) iphone Daily Mail states, “Four teens arrested after police uncover shooting plot to ‘kill as many people as possible’ at California high school.” Police in Tuolumne County said Saturday they discovered a ‘very detailed’ plot to storm Summerville High School.
Question! How did the police find out about this?
The probe began Wednesday (One day before the Thursday shooting at UMPQUA campus in Oregon) after fellow students noticed suspicious activities and reported them to authorities. Sheriff Jim Mele responds by saying the police could stop the massacre because there was a level of trust between law enforcement and the community.
The outcome! No one got hurt.
May I talk about the elephant in the room?
We’re not hearing that these students who were planning a massacre had mental health issues, are we? They were clearly and simply criminal thinkers.
But, would you let me tie this into the mental health debate to deepen the thought of how we (society/citizens) can gain more legitimate control over plots to cause mayhem, like we witnessed in Oregon?
I’ve been in the mental health field for over twenty-five years and back in the 1990’s developed a program in Sheboygan, WI to treat criminal thinkers for their Social Services. I saw first hand how Social Services treated the mentally ill. How they required patients to report in for their meds so social workers/nurses could administer them. I’ve seen many good people with mental illness over my career in counseling who weren’t and aren’t criminal thinkers. And I know many good people who aren’t mentally ill who aren’t criminal thinkers.
So where am I going with this?
With all the emphasis on those who are mentally ill these days, you would think someone got an epiphany as to why more gun laws are needed. I say that with satire.
Some political leaders are using their focus on the mentally ill to promote gun control, because most of these massacres seem to be perpetrated by the mentally ill. If it isn’t implied that they are insane, it’s implied that they can’t help themselves, do the right thing or care about people.
Let me explain my thinking on the real issue in my view.
Yes, there are millions of people in our country of over three hundred and twenty-five million suffering from mental illness in America.
Back in February of 2014, Newsweek provided an article that stated 42.5 million American adults (18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) are suffering from some type of mental illness.
Another report from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) also indicated that 9.3 million adults, or about 4% of those 18 and up, experience “serious mental illness” – that is, their condition impedes day-to-day activities, such as going to work. Those statistics haven’t diverged since that report in 2012.
Can we have better mental health services in this country? No doubt. Are all these massacre’s perpetrated by people with mental health issues? No.
Let me ask this in a different way? Are all these massacre’s perpetrated by criminal thinkers/twisted thinkers? Yes.
Why not focus on those mentally ill like we do with the regular citizens of this country. There are some non-mentally ill citizens just as there are some mentally ill individuals who are nothing more than common ordinary run of the mill criminal thinkers committed to a criminal lifestyle in their mind and behavior. Like only focusing on mental health alone is going to solve the irresponsible use of guns in this country! I don’t think so.
Some advocate wanting to go the route of Australia taking the guns away from its citizens. But, roughly, Australia only has 24 million people.
There are so many arguments about guns and mental health these days, aren’t there? It seems to be nothing more than a political “deflate gate” in my view. A country becomes divided about guns, mental health and yes, whether a quarterback has cheated on his way to winning a super bowl.
I’m tired of hearing it. Are you?
So let me stir up your thinking about how we could address the culture of massacres in the United States of America. I’m tired of waiting on some political pundits to come up with something about this phenomenon that only talk and become divisive about it. Sure, I know that last statement is biased but something has to start on a grassroots level in my view.
We all hurt, at least those who aren’t criminal/twisted thinkers. In their pain, I wouldn’t even dare to say to those parents of children in Sandy Hook or in Roseburg, Oregon that we shouldn’t talk about guns or the issues of mental illness. Clearly on some level, this country will address this and hopefully for the better.
But I’d like to be a part of grassroots America offering ideas on how all of us can be empowered through a proactive measure to limit these massacres. I say limit, because criminal thinkers who want to kill people will find a way. Sadly.
Those of you who know me know that I believe this is a deeply spiritual issue in the heart of man and many in our country are trying to address this. But, allow me to address this from a societal perspective and by doing so know it’s only a start in the discussion.
I want to add to the voices that may already be working on this who come from many walks of life. My thoughts aren’t about anything (although I do have more thoughts) other than empowering the citizens of this country to do something about what’s happening. It comes by way of crafting a new law that probably isn’t a new idea but could be a new state law for each state to consider.
I propose to call this law: You See, You Don’t Say, You Pay.
We already have some sections of our society like Law Enforcement and Professional Counselors that have this understanding. Counselors are mandated to report to the authorities if someone is at high risk of suicide and or homicide. Did you know that?
Can a regular citizen do the same? Yes, they can. They did in Tuolumne County in a California High School. But these students did it out of a deep sense of responsibility to protect people already in their heart. They weren’t mandated. So there’s no question the people of Tuolumne County are indebted and grateful for these kids.
But I want to take it up another notch.
Let’s empower society legally.
What could that mean?
You might not like this, but again it’s an idea to help some political pundits. And I believe none of us is as smart as all of us. So jump in with your ideas too.
This new law You See, But Don’t Say, You Pay would mean anyone who sees (first hand) that a massacre is in the making with criminal/twisted thinkers (anyone planning murder) via social media, hearing a conversation in a coffee shop or some public place, and in the home (yes, in the home of the perpetrator) must report it to the authorities. If anyone knows about it and doesn’t report it and a massacre takes place, those who see or knew and are found out that they knew but didn’t say, will pay dearly.
Notice I didn’t say anything about this being a mental health issue. Sure there are some mentally ill who are criminal thinkers that could be a danger to society. Most aren’t just as most of the non-mentally ill aren’t. To focus only on the mentally ill marginalizes and harms the majority of 42.5 million adults suffering from mental illness who work at being responsible in their relationships.
So I’m putting this in the category of lawbreakers planning on murder whether they are mentally ill or not. The non-mentally ill as well as the mentally ill must and can do our part to protect society, if we are empowered by the law to do it.
Call this big brother if you want. But we are already in that system, aren’t we? On many corners in cities across this country, big and small, are little cameras that catch you speeding or not paying the toll. Those cameras are also used to catch criminals who’ve already perpetrated a crime. Our phones and TV’s are monitored, aren’t they? Computers can be accessed long after someone tries to wipe them clean. Heck, we also have neighborhood watches don’t we? And God’s principle of “Be sure your sin will find you out” is like the law of gravity. It will happen if we try to defy it.
So much more can be said, right? I’m here as a part of grassroots America to get the ball rolling. If you have other ideas, please share. Send them to your congressman. I will do this too. My heart is to provide our lawmakers something of the wisdom of the people in this great land of ours.
We’re in this together, both the mentally ill and those who aren’t. Let’s get this conversation going and become a part of the solution just as the students in Tuolumne County California have.