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Letter: Let's be honest about gun control

Let's be honest about gun control

"There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true" (Soren Kierkegaard). Although we do not like to admit this, a review of our lives tells us it is quite true.

Being honest is not a concern to many people if it means we can't get what we want when we want it. We can fool ourselves into believing anything is okay if the payoff is great enough. Whether it be stealing a pack of gum from the convenience store or bilking $50 million from investors, we are good at building a case that what we do is okay. What is best for me to do is often not a part of the equation in our decision-making.

We see this in many places, from the lowest rungs of society to the highest as we disregard morality and the lessons of history.

Many things could claim our attention as we start off a brand new year, but what will it be? So much is wrong in our country as we have become less than the nation we used to be. We need to look closely at how we will handle the things which must be corrected, being careful to not make them worse.

One of the things crying out so loud at the present time is gun violence, and we are faced with the need to do something about it. A knee-jerk reaction is not what we need. We must look at things honestly, making decisions based on what is causing the problem, being sure we look at everything causing it. If we are honest, we can see that a mentally healthy person with a gun is not a problem, but a mentally unhealthy person with one is a danger to us all. The gun is not the problem; it is the mentally unbalanced person.

Politicians have developed "fooling people" into a fine art, and they have found millions of Americans who want to be fooled. We are now hearing them say if we control guns, people will not kill each other as they are now doing. Have we so quickly forgotten the bombings at the Edward R. Murrow Building in Oklahoma City and the Atlanta Olympics, and are we refusing to look at the termination of viable life for millions still in the womb over the past years? What about deaths from smoking, and those caused by drunk drivers? If we are going to address what we are doing in one area, do we not need to address it in others?

Our government abandoned mentally unhealthy people decades ago when it took away the right of mental health professionals to hospitalize patients who showed serious signs of mental illness. They now have to wait until a patient becomes a serious threat to self or another. Many people who are now homeless should be hospitalized due to mental illness, but the laws will not permit it.

The murderer at Sandy Hook Elementary was known to have mental problems, with his mother already making plans to get help. The right mental health system would have already identified and addressed the problem. Well-trained mental health personnel for a long time have been capable of identifying many individuals needing hospitalization, but their hands have been tied.

Politicians have often made mistakes by passing legislation which has hurt us, resulting in an increase in our enmity of each other. Will they do it again with the gun situation? Hopefully they will not.

If we take guns away from people, as many wish to do at the present time, we will be doing nothing with the real problem. We need to work on the real problem(s), and infringing on the freedoms of Americans is not what is needed right now. Fooling ourselves is easy. Doing the hard work of solving our real problems is difficult.

It is time for us to be honest about guns and many other things.

-- Roger BoltonConyers