After the mentally ill man easily got a gun and shot up a practice by Republican members of Congress, I was horrified and saddened. The politics didn't matter to me. What Senator Bernie Sanders said that violence of any kind is unacceptable and that he condemned it in the strongest terms possible goes double for me. Despite my profound disagreement with what the Republicans have represented in terms of gender and racial equality, voter suppression and demonizing poor people while kissing the asses of every millionaire and billionaire in the country while trying to profit for themselves, I never condone violence.
Shortly after the incident, I found this on facebook:
"From the brilliant Andy Nicastro:
"So let's get this straight. A rabidly anti-gay congressman who recently voted to let mentally ill people have access to guns and who wants to repeal the affordable care act had his life saved by a lesbian when he was shot by a mentally ill person and is currently under hospital care that is being paid for by government-funded health insurance. Sorry, there is way too much irony here to interrupt it with punctuation."
Congress should have woken up with this event. I heard they constantly receive death threats. Maybe they should realize their policies and positions and lies affect the lives of everyday people and they ought to do their jobs for the greater good instead of selfish greedy interests. If they continue to ignore their responsibilities, I am sad to observe that this is probably the first of many more deplorable acts. We have armed our nation to the teeth, claiming that guns don't kill people. One of the most moronic and deadly statements I have ever heard. No, a gun doesn't get up on its own and decide to shoot people. But people who are mentally unstable can get a hold of guns easily because Congress refuses to act and THEY take these guns and inflict massive casualties, more than any foreign born terrorist has in our country ever! And the numbers aren't even close.
Here's a few of the tragedies that mentally ill people have perpetrated on innocent people over the last few years:
On June 12, 2016, 49 people murdered and wounded 58 wounded in a hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States. He was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department (OPD) officers after a three-hour standoff. Pulse was hosting a "Latin Night" and thus most of the victims were Latinos. It was both the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history. Though at the last second, the shooter claimed allegiance with ISIS, investigations proved that not to be true and that he was "mentally unstable." Despite previous issues, he still was able to purchase massive amounts of assault weapons.
Sandy Hook, where a mentally unstable person heavily armed murdered 28 people, mostly children in the first grade. (Side note: If I could beat the crap out of the lunatic Alex Jones for heaping more sorrow on the parents of these children, I would. But as I said, I can't condone violence.)
On July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred inside a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. A gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms. Twelve people were killed and 70 others were injured, the largest number of casualties in a shooting in the United States
The Columbine High School massacre was a school shooting that occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. In addition to the shootings, the complex and highly planned attack involved a fire bomb to divert firefighters, propane tanks converted to bombs placed in the cafeteria, 99 explosive devices, and car bombs. The perpetrators, senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and one teacher. They injured 21 additional people, and three more were injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair subsequently committed suicide.
Those are just a few of the greatest hits of mentally unstable people murdering large numbers of innocent Americans. We don't label it terrorism for some reason unless the murderers were of Muslim origin. WHY IS THAT?
And, to get back to my original point, why won't Congress act on two fronts that might help this horrific situation:
1) ENACT STRICT BACKGROUND CHECKS SO THAT ANYONE WITH A HISTORY OR A CURRENT DIAGNOSIS OF MENTAL ILLNESS CANNOT PURCHASE FIREARMS. ALSO, ANY CLAIM OF FIREARM VIOLENCE REPORTED NEEDS TO BE INVESTIGATED THOROUGHLY FOR EVIDENCE OF MENTAL INSTABILITY. WHY ARE FIREARM OWNERS'S RIGHTS MORE IMPORTANT THAT THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS TO LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS?
2) FUND HEALTHCARE TO COVER MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING AND PROMOTE IT AS A WAY OF WORKING THROUGH LIFE'S PROBLEMS. OBAMACARE DID ALLOW FOR MENTAL HEALTH COVERAGE, BUT THAT HAS BEEN TARGETED TO BE REMOVED AS PART OF THE BILL PASSED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THE BILL THE SENATE IS WORKING ON IS BEING KEPT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. ONE CLUE TO ITS APPROACH TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE IS THE FACT THAT THE PROPOSED FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BUDGET WANTS TO ELIMINATE FUNDS FOR MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING. CALL YOUR CONGRESSMEN AND WOMEN AND DEMAND THAT FUNDS BE PROVIDED TO ALLOW PEOPLE WHO ARE MENTALLY UNSTABLE TO GET THE CARE THEY NEED TO PREVENT ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING!
So will the shooting at a Congressional practice for a charity softball game become a teachable moment for our so-called "representatives?" If I were a betting man, I'd stake every cent I have made in my life that they won't. I am praying they prove me wrong.