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Old 12-14-2012, 02:26 PM   Topic Starter
jAZ jAZ is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Tucson, AZ
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Mental Illness

Some of you may know that I was personally fairly close to Gabby Giffords. I also have a son sitting in a kindergarten class right now. I'm also known as an outspoken liberal on this board.

I have opinions about gun control policies, but I don't see that as the critical issue that links these issues. I agree that guns don't kill people, people kill people.

We as a nation need to have a grown up discussion about our culture. But I think we are missing the issue if we talk about gun control.

We need to talk about these incidents as a function of all sorts of factors, key of which are mental health.

A couple of years ago, I think my son was 3 years old and we were at a video arcade, he wanted to play one of the gun games. Something clicked for me when he asked about that.

I realized that we have created a culture of murder and killing as a form of entertainment. I realized that somehow we as a society have embraced murder as a game or entertainment. And for some reason, rape sits squrely on the other side of the line of acceptability.

We don't make movies or video games that glorify rape. That crosses a universally unacceptable like that somehow murder doesn't cross.

When I realized this contradiction in our social make up, I made a choice that I was not going to allow my son to engage in games that treat violence as a game. I started to teaching him that guns are dangerous machines should be treated with extraordinary care. And that they can but used in a lot of ways including for violence. That they aren't toys. We agreed that he wouldn't play video games that treat killing as a game. But in return, when he is old enough, we would go learn how to operate a gun and that he'd get to experience shooting a gun in a responsible way.

I say all of this because I think there is a 3rd way to have this discussion. We can protect gun rights. We can talk about our culture. We need to discuss the role of mental illness in these incidents.

It doesn't have to be a dumbed down discussion where one side focuses exclusively on banning guns and the other side focuses on expanding access to guns.

This is a multidimensional issue that demands a grown up discussion.

I guess this is my opportunity to share my thoughts in hope that it's a contribution to that effort.
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