We have taken the conversation away from my original intent as well as the original intent of your article. Since the fault is mostly mine, please accept my apology.
We both agree that something needs to be done and that the current discussion is non-productive. Sadly, with the announcement made by Nancy Pelosi, it appears unlikely that anything productive will happen in Washington.
This is sad. There are measures that could possibly help keep guns away from those who might harm themselves or others and to reduce the traffic in illegal guns. But no one seems inclined to even bring them up — on either side of the debate.
Politically, scorched earth seems to be each side’s strategy.
I think most of the current positions are held because they don’t involve government spending. Put the burden on gun owners instead of making investments in mental health and social issues. Resist gun laws instead of calling for investments in mental health and social issues. One side sticks with the “gun owners are responsible” while the other side blames liberal policies that don’t punish enough.
I think we can agree that the core issues of violence and suicide go far beyond gun politics. They touch “third-rail” areas such as racial discrimination as an economic factor, disenfranchisement and perhaps even the increase in social isolation. The high rates of suicide among veterans and American farmers and ranchers isn’t about guns, it’s about mental issues and despair.
We have to ask ourselves if the suicides of Charles Bourdain, Kate Spade or Robin Williams have been any less tragic if they had used a gun instead of belt or scarf. Ironically, a study indicated a surprising increase in the number of women committing suicide by hanging in the two years following Williams’ death. But right now, suicide seems to get the most attention as part of gun violence statistics.
We have to do better than that.
If we continue to focus on gun violence and promoting pat legislative solutions, it not only may be embarrassing when those remedies don’t produce the promised results, but it is most likely counterproductive because it delays the effort to learn about the base factors of violence and suicide and developing innovative and promising methods to reduce those.