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Aftermath of Sandy Hook Shooting: Mental Health and Gun Control Should Be Addressed


In the two weeks which that have passed since the Sandy Hook shooting occurred on December 14th, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any aspect Sandy Hook Studentsto the gun control debate that hasn’t already been discussed.  And that’s fair.

In the past decade, we have seen the most egregious acts of mass violence committed by youth -- all with the use of a gun.  And, two of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history have occurred at the hand of a young man who then killed himself.  But to simply address the shootings at Sandy Hook as a matter of gun control is short-sighted, and superficial.  

Although addressing gun control takes care of the weapon, it doesn’t take care of the motive.  Just as the rest of the world has learned to develop new and creative ways to wreak havoc in wars, so will those who wish to wreak havoc in their local communities.

In order to adequately address the root of the mass killings that have occurred in as recent as the past 5 years, policymakers must address gun control AND mental health treatment in order to create a comprehensive prevention plan for future acts of violence.  Politicians must overcome their opposition to even talking about reviewing current gun rights and liberties, but also consider preventive treatment for the perpetrators.

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Policymakers have, in the past overlooked the mental health wellness of shooters involved in killing such as the one that occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007.  Both in the case of Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech, both perpetrators were mentally ill outcasts between the ages of 20 and 25.  And, in both cases the perpetrators were known to be socially outcast and withdrawn, but no one did anything.

The same can be said for media and politicians.  When these acts of terror occur, there is a reaction by society, but there is no follow-up ACTION.  Adam Lanza’s mother knew that he was different, but she didn’t deal with it, she withdrew him even further from society by home-schooling him, and replaced normal social interaction with training him in the ways of guns.  In retrospect, it doesn’t seem like responsible or competent parenting (which may or may not be an entirely separate issue unto itself). 

Moving forward, policymakers must stop bickering about whether there should be gun control, and actually enact gun rights reform.  They must send a unified message stating their opposition to taking away guns in general, but to make sure that the trafficking and use of guns is being done responsibly.  And, rather than focusing exclusively on gun control, our society must address mentally disturbed youth.  The latter is harder, because like so many other issues the answer is intangible.  

You can’t legislate responsible parenting.  You can’t force parents to make the tough decision to admit their child has a mental disorder, and to seek adequate help.  

Policymakers must address these issues head on in a comprehensive manner, rather than the political finger-pointing blame game.

Sandy Hook students photo from ibtimes.com

Contact Alyssa Bonk at abonk08@gmail.com

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Check out more of Alyssa's work at Blocktalkradio.com/backroompolitics, Luckandhustle.blogspot.com and Smart Girl Politics

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