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April 22, 2007


"Massacre Month" of April inspires Congress into action for tougher gun control laws. Instead, Congress should perhaps work towards enforcing current mental health policies.

In light of the recent shooting atrocity at Virginia Tech, which left 33 dead, Congress has decided to look into an idea of keeping guns away from the mentally ill. What a novel idea. One would think that common logic might dictate such laws already be in place, but apparently there are slip-ups that allow people such as Mr. Resident Evil, Seung-Hui Cho from purchasing firearms.

As the recent headlines read that Congress may act to keep guns from the mentally ill. The operative word here is "may." That word, in this context, worries me. It implies that per chance, Congress might decide that guns in the hands of mentally ill persons could be excusable. There is a whole university in Virginia who might disagree.

Furthering that thought, mere days after that most horrendous bloodbath, another (as yet unnamed) nut job makes his way into NASA's Johnson Space Center, loaded with at least one gun, takes hostages, kills one, and then offs himself. This was done because the gunman got a bad job review. Note to employees and supervisors - be gentle when writing up incompetent employees. They may butcher you. Mind you that NASA is not someplace that most of us can just waltz into, meaning that these types of incidences can happen anywhere, at any time.

How do you feel about having the Patriot Act and Homeland Security in place now? Trust me on this - the last thing I am worried about is being blown up by a Fundamentalist Muslim. What I AM worried about is being taken out by some nut at a local McDonald's ,whom I pissed off with my big mouth. That's much more realistic in my world, and that happens all the time. Anyone remember road rage? Who is protecting us from ourselves? Where are the priorities?

As a country, we like to point the finger of blame on any incidences. Who can we blame for these murders, and the laws or foul-ups that caused them? Some might like to blame the NRA and Conservative Republicans. But perhaps it could have been the fault of Liberals. Unfortunately, it might be a collective fault of all of them over the years.

To get an understanding about Virginia Tech, it was reported that practically anyone in contact with Seung-Hui Cho was disturbed by him to some degree. Teachers had sent him out of class. He had been sent to counseling. It was reported that one year ago, Cho was institutionalized for being a potential threat to himself. Obviously he was later released. A person deemed a potential danger should not legally be able to purchase guns. In this case, however, no one had bothered to send through the forms of Cho's incarceration, and so he was not entered into the Federal records. What good are computers and the Internet, if humans continue to lag and screw-up. This has cost the lives of many productive, loved people who never deserved such a fate.

When discussing this article on MySpace recently, one girl - here named "M" brought her plight to attention. She mentioned that she had Panic Disorder, and felt that even so, she was not a danger to herself and others. She felt her rights were going to be violated, and she should indeed have the right to own a gun. The response to M's comment, by others with varying mental illnesses, was that she would be the last person who should own a gun. Could one imagine a Panic Disorder, going into a complete freak out, while carrying a weapon? It simply spells the potential for disaster all the way around.

The simple fact is that we are not all built the same. It may be harsh, but it's a fact. Unlike simpler illnesses like the Flu or such, it is unfortunate that mental illnesses, for the most part, don't just "go away." As such, we cannot take any chances. Some sort of definitive laws must be passed to ensure that more blood is not lost.

The article concerning Congress' possible law actions can be read on Yahoo News at:

In the meantime, it must be up to us to watch for warning signs - not with a paranoid McCarthyism, but rather to notify those who can help, or in further cases, the authorities. Either way, we must be proactive in changing how our lives are affected. And we must make our government work for us as we decide. That's our duty as citizens.

Written by Philip Anderson

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

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