Monday, January 14, 2013

CAN YOU IMAGINE IF


Can you imagine if a soldier came home and received an honorable discharge from the service only to learn that he/she had lost the right to own a weapon because they had sought mental health care for psychological wounds suffered from serving their country in a war zone?   This question may sound absurd to you, but that is because we have no idea what people mean when they start talking about background checks and mental health. 

Some people that I have heard and read in the national media seem to believe that mental health professionals can predict when people are going to be violent.  They believe as they have for years that they have the right to lock people away even when they have not committed a crime.  This parental attitude of government doesn’t just reach into the lives of those of us with a label of one of the mental illnesses.  It touches the lives of every person living in this country.

You may think you will be safer if you lock me away if a mental health professional thinks I may be dangerous or deny me the right to own a weapon, but I can assure you that I nor folks like me are not the problem.  You will not be safer.

In the first place no one is willing to spend the money on mental health to provide the services to people who are asking for help that they need and want.  Do you think they will really make a big effort to find these so called “monsters” and foot the bill for them?  How do you find them?  Are we going to have camps for all young people between 15-25 that do not fit well into what the Congress decides is normal after holding hearings on television?  Maybe have tent camps for them in the desert or wilderness with big fences around them?

The picture I am drawing is no more absurd than the rhetoric you hear passing for wisdom today on the issues of gun control, mental health and violence.   One thing I think I can say for sure is that all this talk about gun control and mental health will make soldiers and veterans think longer and harder about asking for help.  Even if it really would not stop us from owning a weapon, the thought it might stop us from walking through any mental health door.

To a soldier a weapon is more than a right on an old piece a paper.  It is his/her best friend.  Strip a soldier naked, but don’t take their weapon.

They say they are looking at everything.  Have they looked at how they act towards each other?  It seems to me no more than a big joke that a totally dysfunctional group of men and women in Washington that act in abusive ways toward each other can come up with a plan to help end violence in this nation.  I think it would take a Peacemaker.

 

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