One was near my home in Connecticut where a mentally ill man shot and killed a few dozen people in an elementary school. Another happened across the globe in China where another mentally ill man stabbed a few dozen people in an elementary school, fortunately not fatally.
This has sparked debate about gun control and prayer and wearing the school colors on Monday, none of which do a thing.
Weapons do not cause tragedies. People's choices cause tragedies.
Prayer cannot stop a bullet, a knife, a sick man, or the suffering and physical/financial loss the family of a murdered or wounded child faces.
Wearing school colors is just plain silly.
The real cause of these tragedies is that people with untreated or poorly managed illnesses came to the point where this sort of thing seemed to be a good idea. They felt desperate, they felt dispensable.
If we all agree that everyone being healthy is for the public good, then why is it easier to get a firearm than mental health services?
Want to do something? Here's three ideas.
- Instead of wearing blue and yellow on Monday, donate the money you would have spent on the outfit to the NIMH. Put it to better use than a showy display of empty compassion designed to make you feel good, not the ones who truly need it.
- Lobby your politicians to come up with a health care option for all Americans that includes comprehensive mental health care. Even if the policy they end up with is not exactly what they want, it can be fine-tuned down the road. Get the services in place now.
- When you see mentally ill people, treat them with respect. Don't laugh at their antics as if it was a sitcom for your entertainment. Don't pity them, either. They are people in a worse way than you, and deserve your admiration and merit the best we as a society has to offer.