What a terrible week of loss for America. Mass shootings are never what we want to hear about on the news. We never want to feel the anguish, terror, and sadness that come with a tragedy like a school shooting. It seems that no matter where these take place, a thousand miles away or right down the street, we feel the pain for our neighbors.
Here's the problem, in my opinion. America is torn between these instances being a gun issue or mental health issue. The correct answer isn't one or the other, but both.
As a Forensic Psychology major and a Criminology minor, I can almost 110% guarantee that if there were zero mental issues present, the suspect responsible for these tragedies would not have had the idea and fantasy of going into a school and shooting.
The gun is controlled by the one handling it; therefore, the suspect's mental state is absolutely necessary in considering, examining, and talking about.
I, as a “normal” person, would not go into a public place and let loose. However, a suspect somewhere deep down in his or her mental capacity felt the need and desire to do so.
With that being said, we have to look at the very core of the issue which is - what was going through the MIND when he or she acted this out? It’s not ALL about guns (yes - guns are obviously a very big part. Don’t mistake me for not believing in gun control and gun safety education because I am 110% in support of that) but the guns don’t fire themselves; the person behind it does.
With all that being said, the psychology of a person is necessary when it comes to situations like this.
We also have to look at tragedies like this from every perspective and without bias because there are many details that go into figuring these situations out, especially when the person responsible does not end his or her own life and is actually taken in to custody. This allows the experts and professionals to analyze, study, and observe what makes these types of people tick, why they do what they do, and what we could possibly do to control or maybe prevent something like this from happening again.
Now, you might read that and think that I'm crazy for saying it because you may be one to think this is strictly a gun control issue.
Trust me, I believe in educating people on the safety of guns and making them harder to obtain. But what is one thing that people say needs to be a part of the process of buying a gun? A mental health screening or, at least, a more intensive background check. Why are people so willing to promote these things being required to purchase a gun, but they don't want to even consider them being important when the tragedies happen?
And personally, in my opinion, God is also missing from the equation but I believe that to be a topic for another article.
The point I'm trying to make is do not demean the process and importance of mental health. Do not brush it aside and put the blame solely on the weapon. I mean, many Americans are wanting teachers to be allowed to carry guns on school property so obviously many are not wholeheartedly agains guns.
It's all in the eyes of the beholder. The gun does not pull the trigger itself. The mastermind behind it does.
Think about it, research it, and educate yourself on the mental state of America and what we can do to help.