In the wake of the deaths at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut this week, many feel the need to do something. Such a horrific tragedy, children sitting at their desks thinking about what they want for Christmas shot dead for no fault of their own generates an energy in the community, local and national, that brings the helpful spirit out of people as little else could.
So…what is to be done?
First, it seems apparent that we need legislatures across the land to ban mental illness. A tragedy like Newtown proves how devastating and unpredictable those wielding a mental illness can be. Where there is a motivation – say, like eradication of the Western lifestyle by fanatical Jihadists – we can at least follow the logic and work to develop a defense. With mental illness, the devastation always comes from unexpected quarters. It’s the ultimate sleeper cell, the quiet and withdrawn, seemingly innocent, suddenly fire up their psychosis and bloodshed results. Those wielding a mental illness who translate it into violence against others must be stopped.
However, a bare fist or even a violent kick, no matter the desire for destruction, cannot achieve the scope of today’s weapons in the hands of the mentally ill.
Again, legislatures across this great land should convene immediately and, while the horror of Newtown is on everyone’s mind, pass laws to ban these weapons.
At the top of the list, of course, would be automobiles. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2010 about 2,700 teens in the United States aged 16–19 were killed and almost 282,000 were treated and released from emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes. This pandemic must be stopped and current automobile control laws are proving obviously ineffective. And, as a contributing factor, a call needs to go out for new alcohol control laws as every 22 minutes someone dies in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident – that’s nearly 24,000 deaths a year.
Of course, next on the list of weapons is food. According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity and overweight together are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, close behind tobacco use. An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to the obesity epidemic. While in large part self inflicted and not as devastating to others, innocents still die when the mentally disabled are allowed to wield food. Current food control laws are obviously failing. According to CBS News, in 2000 alone, poor diet including obesity and physical inactivity caused 400,000 U.S. deaths – more than 16 percent of all deaths and the No. 2 killer. That compares with 435,000 for tobacco, or 18 percent, as the top underlying killer. Though potentially more difficult to enforce, news gym control laws need to be put on the books to force not only the mentally disabled but everyone to exercise more. And, the first leading cause of preventable death: tobacco should also be the subject of new and stricter laws as this weapon is capable of bringing death to the innocent bystander as evidenced by the recent attention to the effects of second hand smoke.
A deadly cocktail of too much of the wrong food, tobacco, alcohol and inactivity led to 596,339 deaths in 2011 according to preliminary findings from the National Center for Health Statistics. This is a national tragedy due solely to the poor and insufficient weapons controls laws on the books today.
It’s bad news that the coalition of the media and politicians at local, state and national levels have distracted the public and the lawmaking process with focus on gun control, responsible for only 11,101 deaths in 2011 , barely double the number of those from assault without a gun. No such outcry goes up when so many, many more die for preventable reasons. If we addressed some of these other problems, then those assault problems will go down as well. What advocates of “gun control” promote isn’t control at all, it’s banishment. We’ve got laws on the books that control the flow of guns, what we don’t have is a support system that helps prevent events like Newtown.
And how do we do that?
The central problem seems to be that we don’t know how to make the world safe and free at the same time…and we hate to admit we don’t know the answer to a difficult question so we jump to what looks easy.
President Obama said yesterday “We have been through this too many times.”
One wonders, how many times is not “too many”?