Our country has been affected by tragedy for longer than any of us can remember. One of the more significant tragedies we have experienced is undoubtedly the harm of children- by children or by adults. We have seen and heard about many incidents in which attackers harmed children in school or other public places yet continue to not act on it. At least not appropriately.
In the last year we have seen the survivors of Parkland stand against gun ownership and older generations take a stand to blame video games on the always existent but increasingly apparent violence taking place in our country. While identifying and tackling the issue at hand is exactly what we should be doing; except we are focusing on all the wrong things. It should be a unanimous agreement that to fix the root of the problem is the number one goal in all of this chaos. While this seems obvious and appears to be what is happening throughout the country, we are ultimately ignoring the real root of the problem. In fact, public figures have even stated “stop using mental health as an excuse.” Mental health, not video games nor guns, is the problem we should be tackling.
Mental Illness is not an excuse, but a legitimate problem that we continue to ignore.
After any incident we hear the argument that guns should be banned because guns are the problem, and supposedly none of this would happen otherwise. However, that is unarguably not the case. Mass murders (or singular murders for that matter) occur at the hands of often closeted or ignored mentally ill. Mental illness is an extremely important, dangerous and common problem in our country. There are a number of mental illnesses that exist: from personality disorders like bipolar disorder and thought/memorial disorders such as schizophrenia to eating disorders and body disorders like body dysmorphia. Each and every mental illness affects the way you think, feel and process events or memories. Mental illness drives its victims to act, speak and live in ways they otherwise would never consider. Mental illnesses arise from a variety of genetic, psychological or environmental occurrences/factors. You can carry it with you from birth until death, taking medicines and seeing psychologists to help your entire life with no success in battling it. Mental illness sticks around despite the actions taken to rid of it or fix it. You will never fully “get rid” of a mental illness; you can only suppress the effects and symptoms. The symptoms can show up in spells or constantly making you feel crazy and helpless without proper support or help. Mental illnesses drive you to desire things you would never have wanted otherwise: including suicide or homicide.
Authorities have continuously ignored the mental illness epidemic in America and it has clearly had significant consequences. We have people scrutinizing video games very carefully in an attempt to track down and stop the mass shooting problem in the United States. Video games have existed since the 1970s; mass murders have been around forever. While some video games feature violence and illegal activity, all of them warn the user/buyer ahead of time. Video games offer a release for stress relief and relaxation. They do not exemplify reality in any way. The only games that resemble anything real are simulation games; most of which exhibit hunting strategies. Video Games do not cause real-life violence.
Guns have been available to Americans since their invention. Hunting rifles, shotguns and handguns have been available for purchase to 18-21 year olds (age depending on desired gun) since 1938. Most Americans purchase guns for their protection or for hunting. Very few Americans buy guns with the intention to murder; in fact, most shootings that have occurred have been the result of the perpetrator stealing another’s weapon. Theft is no one except the guilty party’s fault. Guns do not cause death; the person shooting does. Purchasing regulation (such as psychological examinations) would help as far as the few mentally ill who buy their own gun. Blaming a mass murder on gun owners does not help anyone.
Instead of blaming video games and gun ownership for the deaths and trauma of mass murders we need to be focusing on the real problem: mental health. Mental health is not used as an excuse. Mental illnesses are actual problems that many citizens deal with and have to face every single day. These illnesses cause the victims so much harm and disdain their brains change and they do not act as they would otherwise. Mass murders happen most of the time as a result of ignored mental health problems; not as a result of video games or gun ownership.
Stop ignoring the mental illness existence.