So I’m wondering: Would we be mad at the NRA if Adam Lanza was shot by the police? Seriously, think about that one for a second before answering. Anyway, I just found out that the 12-year-old daughter of one of my wife’s former co-workers committed suicide yesterday — she hung herself. Yes, she was twelve years old; and, she was black.
Not that race matters when it comes to the frailty of the mind. But, I had to put that out there just in case someone reading this may have assumed that she was white. Why? Because, many within the black community are ignorant enough to believe that suicide is just one of those things that black folks don’t do. Yes, sadly some of us are misguided.
Bu,t see? Not everyone with mental health issues are quick to grab guns and murder innocent children — actually,only a small percentage of mental health patients are violent. That aside, I know, some of you are of the opinion that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has more to do with gun control and assault weapons than anything else. Yeah, never mind that the AR-15 used by Adam Lanza to murder twenty-six people was perfectly legal in a state that has an assault weapons ban. Uh-huh, also, let’s just conveniently forget that while we mourn the loss of lives in Newtown, CT. that innocent children are also being killed by U.S. military drones overseas.
Ain’t that right, Mr. President?
But, whatever you believe the solution to be, I think this latest tragedy has opened up a space to discuss what I believe to be a multi-faceted problem in our country that goes well beyond the gun control and an assault weapon ban. Of course I know talking about the lack of funding or access to mental health care isn’t as “sexy,” as a discussion on guns and multiple capacity magazines and such. But, shouldn’t gun violence be discussed as a public health issue as opposed to being a criminal issue? That said, take a moment and check out the following:
But hey, since you never know what’s going on in a person’s head, or someone’s home; and, given the stigma associated with mental health (are you listening black folks?). I just want you to know, that if you’re out there and you need someone to talk to, just know that there are people there for you. How do I know? Because, I’ve been there myself; and, thankfully someone was there to listen before I acted. Some people, however, are not that lucky. Some people, like the 12-year-old I mentioned (or maybe even Adam Lanza) suffer in silence until they take matters into their own hands. As pointed out before, this act doesn’t always involve hurting or the taking of lives other than their own. So as we discuss this tragedy, and as we listen to mental health issues being egregiously equated to “evil,” as so many have. We should be mindful of what’s at stake if we truly are interested in finding solutions to prevent yet another tragedy, and what we wrongly perceive as a senseless loss of life. After all, I recall an unarmed mentally ill man being shot 46 times and killed by the police in Saginaw, Michigan this year. Ironically, there was no talk of gun control or mental health; at least, not like the conversation currently occupying our public sphere.