Tag Archives: gun control

Gun Violence and Mental Health

It’s a depressingly familiar pattern here in the United States. Social media blows up with news about the latest shooting. Whether it’s at a school, a bar, a movie theater, or literally anywhere, it is always the same story. A white man walked into a place and opened fire. Numbers start climbing. 2 dead, then 5, then 10, then 21 until finally the numbers plateau at one that is too high and too depressing. Finally, the shooter is identified, a white man with a deranged look in his eye.

The pattern continues as we discuss the tragedy, and try and make sense of the pain. Lots of people, conservatives and liberals both, start a discussion about mental health. Because only a crazy person would use an AR-15 on an innocent crowd of people, right? Maybe the shooter is a lone wolf, or maybe he was in the boy’s scouts. Maybe he was bullied. But he was certainly mentally unwell, deranged. Mental illness is thrown around as the one true cause for this horrible tragedy.

But here’s the deal. Those shooters aren’t mentally ill. According to the American Psychiatric Association people with serious mental illness represent less than 1% of all yearly mass shootings. It’s not the crazy people doing this. It’s the angry, privileged, white men who see others as deserving of their violence.

There’s a serious problem with equating mental illness with violence. It produces an awful stigma for people diagnosed with mental illnesses, making getting help and treatment difficult. People with mental illnesses need our support, not the constant stream of news that tells them they are the problem. Mentally ill people cause about 3% of all violent crime annually, and very little of that involves guns.

It makes no sense to have laws that target the mentally ill when it comes to gun control. It won’t change anything. Keeping guns from them won’t stop the real perpetrators. We need comprehensive gun control; laws that will keep everyone to the same high standards for gun ownership. Targeting the mentally ill only increases the stigma around these disorders and lets the problems with gun violence in America continue unchecked. It doesn’t help anyone.

Arm Teachers with Books, Not Guns

As the students and victims from the Parkland shootings march to advocate for stricter gun laws in order to protect themselves and others in school, a new measure has been suggested to prevent school shootings. Add more bullets to the shooting in progress and create an undeniably more dangerous situation. Or as others would like to put it, we should arm teachers so that they can shoot the shooter. Somehow, the people who would argue for arming teachers do not see the danger in adding more guns into an already dangerous situation, or the way that their stance reveals that they care more about guns than the lives of children.

If a person’s stance is to arm teachers rather than pass stricter gun control laws, then they are saying the endangerment of children, and the loss of their lives, is an acceptable price to pay to keep guns around. Here is the issue with arming teachers; they cannot shoot the gunman until the gunman has already fired. They will not be aware that there is a shooter until he has already fired. You cannot expect teachers to spend the entirety of their class constantly looking out a window or door looking for a potential mass shooter. They cannot do their jobs if they do. So they would have to wait until after a gunman has fired and potentially killed at least one child, if not several.

You could avoid the entire situation from taking place by passing laws for stricter gun control. If a potential shooter cannot get assault rifles at all and has to wait at least several days to get a regular gun, then the threat will reduce significantly, almost to the point of wiping it away completely if the gun laws are made well and appropriately strict. Arming teachers is a passive response that does not solve, or really address, the issue. Rather, if lawmakers make the selling of assault rifles illegal, or at least vastly more difficult to the point that the average person could not buy them, as well as incorporate background checks and waiting periods, you can prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. If we do not give mass shooters the tools to commit mass shootings, then the problem gets solved and prevented.


Graphic from the Colorado Independent

From Our Perspective: Gun control and violence in the media

Cover image with the Boston bomber. Image from Rolling Stone.
Cover image with the Boston bomber. Image from Rolling Stone.

Welcome back to another episode of From Our Perspective! This episode was recorded in collaboration with Radio Free Radford so the sound quality is much better thanks to real recording equipment.

In this episode, we debate all of the rhetoric behind gun control and discuss whether or not video games have an influence on gun crime. Continue reading From Our Perspective: Gun control and violence in the media

Starbucks takes a stance on guns

With an ever-increasing amount of mass shootings and gun crimes, people are becoming more polarized about gun control. With every shooting, the left pushes a little harder for more regulations such as background checks or a ban on assault weapons. With every shooting, the right grab their guns a little tighter because the “socialist” liberals want nothing more than to take them away.

Continue reading Starbucks takes a stance on guns

The legal trouble with 3D printing

You wouldn’t download a car, would you? This is the question one recent anti-piracy ad asked. While the possibility is very unlikely until the distant future, printing useful objects from blueprints is possible now.

For $4,000, one can purchase a 3D printer themselves. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing works under the same principle as a paper printer. It takes data from a computer and transmits it into a tangible duplicate (for example, a spreadsheet in a normal 2D printer, and a new wrench out of blueprints found only with the 3D printer).

This technology could very well change the world. Continue reading The legal trouble with 3D printing

Gun control: Helpful or harmful?

When people talk about banning guns, they often claim that a society without guns is a safer one. The thing that seems to escape most people is that criminals have already demonstrated the capability and the capacity to break the law. Any new laws or widespread bans will not prevent such things from happening but only allow the law-abiding citizens of America to be even further weakened against such attacks. Suppose everyone had to turn in their weapons. How many burglars, rapists, murderers, gang members, drug dealers, etc. would turn in their firearms? I would guess close to zero, because they’re the ones breaking laws. Instead, I propose to enforce the current gun laws and make punishments for breaking more severe. Continue reading Gun control: Helpful or harmful?