I promised myself I wasn't going to write this blog. I wanted to, even thought I needed to, but could find no good reason to write it. That was until just a short few hours ago. A few short hours ago (currently 7pm on Dec. 21), Jeffrey Michael took the lives of 4 people and injured 3 State Troopers in Hollidaysburg, Pa. Like many of you, I was at a loss for words over the events in Newtown, CT. I am the father to a beautiful 5-year old in Kindergarten and I have spent much of my last few days wondering how someone could do such a thing. For that very reason I wasn't going to write what would have become a very emotional blog. But I had to and here's why-
Guns are not the problem. A study estimated there were 270 million guns owned by private citizens in the United States in 2007. That was 5 years ago. There are an estimated 311 million people in the US. My point is if guns were the problem, there would be a lot less of us considering how many guns are out there.
So here is my point in this whole diatribe: If we take away the gun issue, if only for a moment, and look at WHO is committing these crimes, you will notice something. In profiling, you look for certain commonalities. (Read Profiling Mass Murders , if you still don't get it). They were all mentally challenged in one form or another.
"We have slowly dismantled a public mental health system that has limited resources to deal with dangerous psychiatric illnesses" wrote Jackie Chazan. "No longer do we hospitalize individuals with profound mental illness -- the state institutions in many states shuttered their doors long ago. Instead, we rely on..., mental health emergency rooms, and short-term psychiatric hospitalizations with uncertain follow-up of patients with critical problems." (Read the whole article here). Why did we dismantle the system? In 1999, the State of Georgia lost a case in the Supreme Court whereby mental health patients were thought to be able to get equally effective treatment in their communities rather than state-run mental health hospitals.
The problem is local communities do not have the resources to administer truly effective mental health solutions complete with follow-up services. The money isn't there folks. So every day, the people who need help are not receiving it. Instead, they simply go about their lives, often showing signs of severe mental issues and nothing is done about it. Nothing. But when those same people who have mental health issues take the lives of innocent men, women and children, we rush to blame the guns. But the core issue is inadequate mental health services.
So let's forever link the two issues together: Guns and Mental Health. Want a firearms permit to buy a gun? It will cost you $400; $50 for processing and $350 for the mental health system. And just like your driver's license, it will expire in 5 years, so we will need to see you back here, just to make sure you are still sane and have the ability to properly handle a firearm. And another $400. Want to buy a gun with that new permit? That will cost you an additional $1,000 on top of the price of the gun. We need that money for mental health treatment to prevent mass killings. And we need you to register that firearm every year, just as you do your automobile, every year on your birthday. Just bring in your firearm(s) when you are registering your vehicle(s) so we can keep up with who owns what and bring a $100 for every pistol, $150 for rifles, $200 for anything that is semi-automatic. Oh, and if you have a rifle or a shot gun, regardless of what you have it for, we are going to charge you for a yearly hunting license. Because that is why you own an AR-15 right? For hunting? That will be an additional $200.
Bullets? Add an additional $100 on that box of 50. We need that to fund our mental health programs. That trip to the firing range just got a lot more expensive, but there are far fewer shooting incidents. Bullet proof vest? Tack on an extra $1,200 to give to the local police in the event someone injures or kills one of them while trying to subdue someone wearing one of those. And let's not forget the first-person shooter video games. In order to keep these games from becoming an influence on people who cannot determine right from wrong, violent games will cost you an additional $150 each. We need that money to prevent innocent children from becoming victims.
So everyone gets what they want and need without taking away any guns from owners or restricting the purchase of firearms or ammo. And if you actually feed your family with the animals you kill while hunting, you can claim up to 200 rounds of ammunition on your taxes because let's face it, if you can't kill one or two deer, some ducks and a few pigs with 200 rounds, you might want to think about trying your hand at fishing. Ever considered going vegan?
Because guns are the easiest way for mentally challenged people to kill other people, gun purchases, ammunition purchases, bullet-proof vests, helmets and other tactical gear sold to civilians should foot the bill for their treatment. When they start using cars, we will start looking at ways to combat that as well, but for right now, if you want to limit the horrendous mix of mental instability and gun violence, you need to treat the cause with the millions of dollars we spend on our right to bear arms.
And to the thousands of outraged gun owners who think this is a tax, what are you willing to give to have just one of those 20 innocent children back with their families? A few extra hundred dollars will go a long way toward preventing the next mentally challenged person from acting out in a similar way. Just remember: Freedom Is Not, Nor Has It Ever Been, FREE! So please pay at the cashier and have a nice day. (Someone pass this on to Joe Biden for me. Tell him I'm doing my part to create a solution).