The Isla Vista murders and the disconnect

05/29/2014

 

Time and time again, when mass shootings take place, the American public becomes extremely polarized: The gun advocates stand firmly on their Second Amendment right to bear arms while others demand action to regulate gun ownership. In the end, the status quo remains and nothing changes. In due time, another crazed person on a rampage slaughters innocent bystanders. Enter Elliot Rodger and his attack on men who stood in his way to the women he wanted and on the women he couldn’t have in Isla Vista. To further complicate the mess, his family’s efforts to intervene and call attention to his mental illness were not given as much consideration as they should have been.


In an attempt to prevent mass shootings, Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, authored a bill this week that would allow family members, intimate partners or friends to act as mental health professionals, a bill whereby they can alert authorities to prevent suspect people from purchasing guns or prohibit them from having them. While on its face, it sounds well-intentioned, it can easily be abused and law enforcement could be dealing with any number of incident reports that have no merit yet are given credibility since the reporting followed this law, thereby restricting any person’s Second Amendment right. This bill may go too far to stop such tragic events.


This terrible situation has also led to various conversations on violence in media, male chauvinism, feminism, etc. We continue to analyze and over-analyze the best procedures that should have been followed and could have prevented Rodger from choosing the path he did. Further, much discussion has occurred over the importance of mental health and that we need better options and that those options need to be available immediately, such as more mental health institutions and more beds. But the common thread that no one is really speaking about is the sense of helplessness, even hopelessness, on both sides, that responsible gun owners can’t stop crazy people from accessing guns and gun control advocates can’t stop the proliferation of guns no matter how many innocent people die.


We have been at a crossroads over this subject for many years, highlighted with the Michael Moore 2002 film Bowling for Columbine and the regular mass shootings since then. We have seen hysteria over the president possibly taking away our guns and then gun lovers stockpile. We know of the panic over the possibility of such incidents happening again, Americans demanding gun control, any kind of control, anything more than what we have now. And nothing changes except for the gun industry seeing massive profits.


Since the only real changes we anticipate happening are in the area of gun sales, we beseech gun advocates to take some responsibility: How do we stop mentally ill people from purchasing guns? How do we make gun owners more responsible and ensure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands? Gun control advocates have exhausted their voices. Perhaps, now, it’s time to step up and demand changes. Go to your legislators with your ideas on how we can stop this craziness and sense of helplessness — and please, don’t default to the idea that more guns equal less violence.

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Comments

I truly do not think that a new law one way or another, pro-gun or anti-gun is going to change the situation of violence one bit. Look at the most recent case even where many of the victims were killed with a knife and the gun used were purchased in accordance with all of California's already very strict gun control laws. How exactly will more laws help? The problem is a cultural one where we no longer teach people self-respect, the value of human life or personal responsibility. Instead every kid gets a trophy, we don't dare correct bad behavior for fear of hurting someone’s feelings and there is always someone else to blame. Don't forget to keep up with Joneses at all costs. People ask why 50 years ago when guns were much easier to get a hold of (and yes they were just as deadly then as now) there was not the trend of violence that there is today. Look at what we taught our kids then. Look at the culture. It's a great big s--t (thank you network censors) sandwich and we all own a bite!! For the record I am 29 and wish I had been born in 1944 rather than 1984. At least people knew what respect was back then.

posted by Marcinlafayette on 5/29/14 @ 07:26 a.m.
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