Zachary Klein


(Substituting for Susan Kelly)

Okay, we have another month mugged with another mass shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. How many times can we as a society feign shock or surprise? Since the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been 142 school shootings in the United States. That’s an average of almost one school shooting per week. To be fair, there is some disagreement about the specific number, but there is absolutely no argument about the FBI’s conclusion that there’s been a “sharp rise” in mass shootings since 2000 through 2013.13Yrs

Let’s be honest. The numbers just confirm what we already knew and the tired old gun control arguments once again have hit the fan.

On one side stand those who argue that “guns don’t kill, people do.” Many “anti-gun control” advocates add that the real issue is the mental health of the person(s) who pull the trigger. Problem is, our political representatives have been unwilling to adequately fund mental health programs. In fact, though most Americans believe mental and physical health are equally important, about one-third of those surveyed see mental health care as inaccessible, and 40 percent see cost as a barrier to treatment—according to a new survey released in September.

Worse, many states have been slashing funds. Between 2009 and 2012, states cut a total of $4.35 billion in public mental-health spending from their budgets. So, if those who truly believe it’s all about mental health really want to reduce the slaughter, put your fucking money where your mouth is. How about instead of signs and politicians screaming, “No New Taxes,” we increase our social service spending? I’m sure there is a Republican candidate for president who’ll support significant funding for mental health, right?

Because they sure won’t support any rational regulations regarding gun control. Again, to be fair and balanced, George Pataki not only supports it but, as governor of New York, also passed what was, according to the New York Times, the strictest gun control legislation in the country at that time.

All those who believe Governor Pataki has a legitimate chance at winning the Republican nomination, please raise your hand.

But there’s no reason to stop with Republicans. Before the Brady bill was finally signed into law in November 1993, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders voted against it. Moreover, in both 2003 and 2005, when he was in the House, Sanders voted in favor of a measure to prohibit lawsuits against firearm makers, though after last week’s shooting in Oregon, he did call for “sensible” gun control laws. (Whatever he meant by that.)

But in all honesty: “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 34% of Likely U.S. Voters believe laws regarding the ownership of guns should be the responsibility of the federal government.” Says something about the nature of the American beast. Especially in the face of:Terror

We have little or no qualms about passing laws that have evolved into frontal assaults on the rest of our liberties in the name of the “War on Terror.” Is it my eyesight or is something is wrong with this picture?

And how about this picture? America has 4.4% of the world’s population, but almost 50% of the civilian-owned guns around the world.Guns

Of course the gun didn’t pull its own trigger in Oregon. The fucker that did, however, allegedly owned a large number of firearms. Now, I happen to believe in people’s right to bear arms, but I also believe in laws that are as least as reasonable as the ones that regulate car ownership:

  1. Point of sale background checks in real time for each and every purchase and those checks include sales at gun shows, mail orders, and the elimination of any “secondary” market that cannot or will not adhere to all these reforms. That is, individuals who sell guns to another person without that person’s compliance with licensing laws.
  2. A seven day wait for each and every purchase to receive a firearm for all purchasers regardless of a clean background check.
  3. Passing a gun safety test before the purchase of any firearm.
  4. Passing a marksmanship test before the purchase of any firearm.
  5. Passing a psychological exam before the purchase of any firearm.
  6. Serious prison time for “straws.”  (Those who are qualified to purchase guns and do so for another who may or not be qualified.)
  7. Strict regulation of firearm production. Production not to exceed legal licensees plus some small percentage above, along with lifting the prohibition of lawsuits against manufacturers who, in fact, overproduce.
  8. Mandatory liability insurance to cover all accidental and purposeful shooting incidents. No insurance, no permit. Period.

Ahhh, but here’s the rub. I’ll be dead and buried before any of the above come to pass—if ever. And by any, I’m talking about the increase needed in mental health funding and accessibility along with reasonable gun regulations. Our society is sliding into social psychosis and fast approaching the point of no return–but Americans just don’t seem to care.

Yes, there are some voices howling against the madness, but sadly, they are few and far between.

To mourn those who have fallen victim to our collective insanity and inaction, the following is a list of just the school shootings since the Sandy Hook massacre.


22 thoughts on “YET AGAIN

  1. Time has only allowed me to read the start of this but I want to comment on what I’ve read while something is fresh in my mind:

    ‘On one side stand those who argue that “guns don’t kill, people do.” Many “anti-gun control” advocates add that the real issue is the mental health of the person(s) who pull the trigger. Problem is, our political representatives have been unwilling to adequately fund mental health programs. In fact, though most Americans believe mental and physical health are equally important, about one-third of those surveyed see mental health care as inaccessible, and 40 percent see cost as a barrier to treatment—according to a new survey released in September.’

    As you know, apart from my all important role as President and CEO of THE internet media juggernaut DSP, headmaster of the Stevens Center for Scriptural Studies, practitioner of a lot of the woman’s work that is done around my house, and teach at Starfleet Academy! I also dabble, in my free time, with EMS; it’s a hobby. While EMS only takes up a tiny, 40+ hours, portion of my week, I still see how we’re screwing it up and getting it right in some areas when it comes to health care.

    A lot of health care that any human receives, that is otherwise relatively healthy, can be carried out and the patient can be sent on their way with instructions and a bill to hopefully be paid at a later date. Sadly mental health rarely works that way. If you brake a bone and go to the ER they will mend your bone and bill you for it. Your bone will most likely heal and the odds are in favor of you recovering, if you follow the instructions given to you at discharge. Mental health issues are very rarely that simple. The solution, as I see it, would be impossibly overwhelming. We CAN make improvements but humanity and its nature alone prevents the end game that is most beneficial to all.

    Far too many mental health patients make it to the ER to get treatment, a script, and then sent on their way with no way to fill the script, but those patients are not the biggest problem. The problem are the ones who go to the ER, get treatment, and refuse to follow up even when they can. Even I, and EMT, can make someone go get treatment if they’re a threat to themselves or others, but once that immediate threat has been deemed “passed” then no one but the patient can make the choice continue to seek help. Even if the help was free to all, and I mean really free, many of the folks that end up doing unspeakable things would be the ones that don’t bother showing up for it.

  2. Here’s another article:

    Why do we never hear about this connection on the news? A: Drug companies spend a fortune to advertise their stuff on the networks. It’s a VERY significant source of revenue for the cable channels who have learned not to bite the hand that feeds them.
    Don’t expect to see any info about this connection anytime soon. It’s easier to go after the gun manufacturers. They don’t advertise on TV much. No risk there.

    • Les–It’s not one or the other. Fact is, Americans own an astounding number of guns and all too often they’re used poorly. As is psychotropic drugs. I’m suggesting that there is no “right” solution but rather the slaughter we inflict upon each other needs to be addressed in a multitude of ways–including sensible weapon regulations.

  3. We won’t even pay for our veterans to get the psychological help they need even though the methods of treating PTSD have improved enormously. I am coming to the realization that the model really is one of the glorious heroic fodder whose boots on the ground are the only metric while everyone cries about our heroes.. Even with this supposedly valuable resource there is callous disregard of actual need. What hope is there for the merely mentally ill?

    • Georgia–Very little hope unless we have a sea-change in our thinking which is doubtful. Violence is a significant portion of our DNA from the moment we set foot upon this land right on through today. 4.4% of the world’s population and 50% of its handguns. Why bother with mental health when we can just shoot?

        • Georgia–Not sure anything would have stopped her but, I do think the cost of personal liability insurance would be prohibitive for a large number of people. If I had my druthers each weapon would have to be individually insured which would minimize stockpiling.

  4. I’m very pleased to see you coming at this subject from the lack of funding for mental health in America side, Zach. This is a huge problem on so many levels including suicide, domestic abuse, teenage pregnancy, etc., etc., etc…. on & on the list of our troubles as a society goes. Gun massacre lines right up with all the rest. I could go off on any one topic with as much passion as the next one in the long line. If we are talking about it openly, at least that… but I feel overwhelmed with concern which I do not see any resolve for. I was disappointed to read that bit about Bernie. I guess no one is perfect. Shit.

  5. Thank you for the information once again. You know, the world’s number one weapons manufacturer and marketer is the US.
    Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Finance, Big Weaponry, all suggest that one of these days the bill will come due and they will not be able to pay it. Until then, I can be real, do my work, and care about what the fuck is going on.

    Cheers, Jose

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