Nearly 20 percent of Americans have a mental health issue. The majority of mass killers are mentally ill prior to their dastardly acts, and most exhibited it before the killings. Maybe we need more “mental” detectors.
Has our mental health system failed, or is it our gun control laws, or both?
We all remember Columbine, the movie theater carnage in the Denver area, the Sikh Temple shootings in Wisconsin, the mall killings in Oregon, and, now, the terrible tragedy in Connecticut. After each mass killing, gun sales dramatically rise.
In the United States, 32 people a day are murdered by guns. More than 46,000 will die during President Obama’s second term.
Gun-related deaths in the U.S. are eight times higher than they are in countries that are politically and economically similar. Among 23 high-income countries, the U.S. has accounted for 80 percent of all firearm deaths.
Americans are pondering how to stop gun violence. It seems like an easy answer. Mental health treatment, drug abuse, felonies and domestic violence acts should be posted prior to the purchase of a gun.
Federal laws should be updated so that private transactions at gun shows and elsewhere do not leave out the estimated 40 percent of people not subject to background checks.
Studies have indicated that less than 1 percent of guns are used for defense. Forty percent of Americans own a gun, and there are 89 firearms per 100 people.
States with high gun ownership and weak gun laws lead the nation in gun deaths.
Could any of these mass killings have been stopped? The answer involves civil liberties, medical ethics, the proliferation (over 300 million) of guns and our nation’s politically charged patchwork of ever-loosening gun laws. States with tighter gun-control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.
Public policy as related to preventing gun violence is an ongoing political and social debate.
Americans, including gun owners, strongly favor common-sense solutions. A Gallup poll in 2010 found that 44 percent of Americans favor stricter laws and that 82 percent of gun owners support criminal background checks on those purchasing weapons.
The National Rifle Association says guns don’t kill, people do. The NRA has a very strong lobby group in Washington and spends a lot of its money to carry out its wishes. No wonder gun laws passed by Congress seem weak and ineffective.
Congress should get busy on this problem and do something constructive on this issue.
Blind allegiance and nepotism
As a Ward 3 resident, I think Mayor Don Plusquellic and the Akron City Council should be ashamed of themselves.
First, the mayor appointed Ward 3 Councilman Marco Sommerville to the position of city planning director. Sommerville, as a mortician and president of the City Council, does not have the planning and zoning background that his predecessors had while serving in that position.
Apparently, he was rewarded for his blind allegiance to the mayor’s political agenda.
Second, the appointment of Margo Sommerville to the Ward 3 council seat, while not illegal, reeks of nepotism. Councilman Ken Jones’ rationale that she was appointed because she has a master’s degree in public administration while other candidates only had bachelor’s degrees is absurd. I suppose rapport with constituents was not a deciding factor.
Margo Sommerville is a bright young lady who deserves an opportunity to serve as council’s Ward 3 representative but only as a candidate running in the November general election.
Fix the filibuster
It appears that voting booths are becoming as archaic as the public telephone booth with regard to communicating with elected officials.
With the credibility of Congress at a low level, the need to communicate with elected officials is increasingly important in times of critical challenges to the nation.
As a nation, we have witnessed the virtual collapse of the filibuster process within the U.S. Senate. Currently, it lacks transparency and has become a roadblock to vital legislative action.
In the very near future, the Senate has the opportunity to revise its rules. It is time concerned citizens raise a collective voice to demand such rules address the filibuster.
Senate rules need to require that its members publicly identify themselves if they wish to raise objections to an issue. Furthermore, these issues should require a full floor debate before a vote is taken.
I encourage everyone to contact the Washington offices of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman to request they move on restoring the filibuster to its time-honored place in the legislative process.
Their positive action in this regard can help rebuild the public’s confidence in Congress.
After the Newtown tragedy
As we mourn the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, two subjects have come to the forefront, gun control and the absence of God in the classroom.
First, the ban on assault rifles needs to be reinstated.
Second, God not being in the classroom had nothing to do will the tragedy. He could have stopped the shooter with a thunderbolt.
What caused this young man to commit this horrifying crime? I would say video games and a lack of parenting.
There is only one thing that angers me about the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the release of the children’s names.
I believe that regardless of the seriousness of the crime against a child, the names of the victims should not have been released, with or without the parents’ consent.
The only good to come from the tragedy was that the coward took his own life.
Keith J. Elrod