Weekly Opinion Editorial
ADDRESS MENTAL HEALTH
by Steve Fair
On Valentine’s Day around 2pm, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, entered Stoneman- Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz shot the place up with an AR15, killing 17 (14 students and 3 staff), and wounding 14. About an hour later, Cruz, who was a former student at the school, was caught 2 miles from the school. He had blended in with escaping students and then walked to a nearby Wal-Mart. When he left on foot, a Coral Ridge policeman spotted him and he was arrested without incident. Immediately, the anti- second amendment crowd began their cry for more regulations on guns.
Some twenty students who survived the Parkland shooting, aided by Democrat lawmakers, created an organization called, “Never Again.” Using social media and aided by mainstream media, the Never Again group has lobbied Congress and the Florida state legislature to pass stricter gun control laws. They have also condemned members of Congress who have received political contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Last Wednesday President Trump met with students, parents and others affected by the Parkland shooting and other school shootings for a ‘listening session.’ During the meeting, the POTUS vowed to cover ‘every aspect of school safety.’ Trump also pledged to be "very strong on background checks" and put a "very strong emphasis" on mental health. He also floated the idea of arming some of the teachers in schools. Some of the students and parents who lived through the Florida shooting or lost a child fought back tears or raised their voices as they urged the president to find a solution.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), a longtime gun control advocate, says Congress should enact ‘universal background checks,’ for gun purchases. Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA, said, “Opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain.” He said those who want to disarm law abiding Americans are promoting a ‘socialist agenda.’ Three thoughts:
First, the second amendment wasn’t put in the constitution exclusively to give Americans the right to self-defend against other citizens. It was included by the founders to insure the citizenry could defend themselves from a tyrannical government. The second amendment is hunting- it is about self-defense. As rocker Ted Nugget says, “I don’t need the constitution to know that I have a God-given right to defend myself and my family.” What gun control advocates don’t realize is when they take away the criminals rights, they take away their own.
Second, the Parkland shooting investigation has uncovered a lot of ‘gaps’ in the system. Deputies who refused to go into the building and engage the shooter, tips to the FBI that were not followed up on, and the local Sheriff’s office ignoring Cruz’s threats prove that at the very least mistakes were made. Instead of disarming the public, perhaps those ‘gaps’ should be addressed first.
Third, once again the fundamental issue of mental health of the shooter is not being addressed. Cruz has a history of behavioral problems and mental issues. Instead of focusing on the weapon, Congress should be addressing the severe shortage of mental health in America.