Guns Aren’t the Issue. Mental Health is the Issue.*

Just before seven yesterday morning, a former employee of Roanoke, Virginia’s WDBJ news station shot and killed two newscasters, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, with a legally obtained handgun. A third casualty, Vicki Gardner, was critically injured, and the shooting was broadcast to thousands of viewers on live TV. The killer, who would later take his own life, uploaded footage of the murders to social media, where they accrued many thousand views more in the short time before the accounts were suspended. In the wake of yet another mass shooting, it’s vitally important that the root cause of these tragedies be correctly identified. To evoke the adage, “Guns aren’t the issue. Mental health is the issue.” The victims of mass killings have lost their lives neither due to the ubiquity of guns in America nor the psychoses of the men, like yesterday’s “ranting…obviously depressed” shooter, who perpetrate these crimes. It is, instead, the mental health of the American public in general that is to blame. Any country that would allow these killings to become commonplace is clearly sick in the head beyond repair. Any society that could produce even one citizen who believes that these massacres prove we need more guns, not less, is savagery in masquerade. The madness of mass killers is banal sanity compared to the casual indifference of nearly all who so righteously condemn them, and if you think you’ve had no hand in this violence, wait. If there isn’t already, there will surely be enough blood to go around soon. Make guns illegal.