Letters to the Editor

Mental Health Needs to Be Addressed Before Gun Laws

To the editor:

In his March 8 column “Stop gun carnage,” Herb Geller identified the cause of deadly gun violence, but then he skipped right past it instead of exploring it further and  seeking solutions.

All of the mass killings have been perpetrated by (Geller’s term) MANIACS. The police were called to the home of Nikolas Cruz on 39 occasions, yet he was never properly mentally evaluated and appropriately restrained. The police didn’t even think to put him on a “weapons prohibited” database for gun dealers.

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Until we address mental health problems and criminalize “bullying,” another root cause of retaliatory violence, the carnage will continue. Take away guns and with the help of internet instruction they will build bombs or resort to numerous other deadly weapons.

The failure of the inclusion of the mental health system is where the problem emanates and until that is properly addressed, changes in gun laws will not eliminate the killings.

Which brings me to Geller’s closing argument: “I would like to know when a good guy with a gun has ever stopped a bad guy with a gun?” In answer, I do remember the Muslim terrorist who severed the head of a female co-worker in Moore, Okla., before he was shot by the owner of the plant in the act of stabbing a second employee. A quick look at the internet listed numerous incidents. In 2014, the following thwarted attacks were recorded: a wounded doctor shot an attacker who was spraying bullets in a psychiatric clinic in Utah; a former worker was shooting co-workers at a construction site when he was shot by the foreman; and at a mall in Portland, Ore., a gunman killed two people before being stopped by a civilian with a firearm. In 2013, in Spartanburg, S.C., a man threatened the congregation with a shot gun and was disarmed by a parishioner with a pistol. In 2010, a female security officer at Sullivan High School in Tennessee held an armed man at bay until police arrived and mortally wounded him.

There are countless examples of people whose lives would have been lost while awaiting the arrival of police if not for an armed bystander who fortunately happened to be present.

If you are still unconvinced, Herb, check out the number of English policemen who have been murdered in the last 10 years because their government won’t allow them to carry guns. The proper use of guns by responsible citizens can and does save lives.



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