Thinking the Unthinkable is a blog post by a woman of notable courage. Her blog post has reminded me that in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (I wish I could put a report here that spotlighted the people instead of the carnage, but alas…), we can’t afford to miss the full scope of the problem. I believe the gun-control debate is an important one to have; although it doesn’t seem as though we’ve been able to discuss the issue honestly for years. It is important that as Americans we stop simply repeating our party tag-lines and ask ourselves critical questions about our gun culture. Questions like: What is the purpose of gun ownership? (Assault rifles, handguns, shotguns, semi-automatics, these all need to be discussed.) How important is it to regulate weapons? What kinds of regulations are shown by reputable research to be the most effective in managing guns and other lethal items (because face it, nothing lethal does or should go unregulated). What is the overall objective behind gun laws? And if laws alone cannot prevent tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting what else should we (the people), our legislature, our law enforcement be doing?
Still, there are other discussions that also need to be had in this country if we want to find a solution to this disease of mass killing. We need to talk about mental illness, and healthcare. We need to talk about the way use our prisons. What is their function? Are they fulfilling it and if not what should change? We need to talk about the way law enforcement intersects with social services and other kinds of conflict resolution. We need to remove the stigma (and societal barriers) around seeking psychological help, and be more supportive of individuals and families coping with mental illness, especially (but not limited to) of the violent variety. I hope that blog’s like The Anarchist Soccer Mom can help begin these kinds of conversations.