THE CONNECTICUT SHOOTINGS: SEEKING CHANGE

After a crazed gunman in Arizona shot a number of people, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, I posted a blog saying that the issues of gun control and mental health need to be finally addressed.  Last Friday, a gunman with serious mental illness murdered twenty-six people at a Connecticut school.  And again we see the results of our lack of attention to these two issues.  For it is much easier in our society for an individual to get high-powered weapons than it is for him to get mental health treatment.

In his speech Sunday night, President Obama suggested a ban on assault weapons.  The Connecticut gunman used at least one semi-automatic weapon.  This allowed him to fire multiple shots at his victims, most of whom were small children.  There is no reason why anyone, outside of a military operation, would need a semi-automatic weapon.  It has no place in hunting.  It cannot justifiably be used for self-defense.

Yet corruption has prevented our government from responding to this issue.  Congress has long been in the hip pocket of the National Rifle Association.  It is high time we banned assault weapons.  If we need to elect new officials in order to bring this about, then so be it.

 Mental health is another issue that the government, on national, state and local levels fails to address.    It is traditionally the first item cut from state budgets.  In Syracuse, New York, where I practice law, I served on a committee started by an enlightened judge.  This committee sought to initiate mental health services in the courts.  We were stonewalled by several groups, including the local government.

A number of my clients have been unable to obtain governmental services, including drug treatment courts and PINS, by the very reason that they were mentally ill.  The government does not want to deal with mental illness.

It is time we made a priority of this issue.  It is time the government sufficiently funded it.  It is time that mental health treatment became as accessible as other healthcare.

President Obama has made a call to action.  As a society, we cannot tolerate the continuation of such violence as that which occurred in Connecticut.  We need to start a social dialogue in earnest on bringing an end to these shootings.  And we need to act on the issues of mental health and gun control.

 

 

 

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About jalesy55

Charles Lupia is a playwright, freelance writer and lawyer. His blogs cover a range of topics, from politics to entertainment.
This entry was posted in assault weapons, Health and wellness, law and politics, mental illness, News and politics. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to THE CONNECTICUT SHOOTINGS: SEEKING CHANGE

  1. Stephanie says:

    Very true. We also need to consider how cuts to programs serving the mentally ill have impacted their ability to maintain improved functioning. Research shows that the vast majority of those who have a mental illness do not committ violent crimes. Most of the time, we see that those with mental illness who have committed violent crimes are not in treatment. Funding cuts have resulted in lost valuable programming that provided a daily place for clients to receive treatment, support and medication management (i.e. Continuing Day Treatment Programs, Drop in programs, etc.) These programs offered a higher level of care not offered in traditional outpatient treatment. One might also consider that a large percentage of the mentally ill are improvrished, so cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, HEAP, and Subsidized Housing will result in further increased vulnerability for people with mental illness.

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