The absolute terrible events that occurred in Las Vegas have perpetuated a very touchy, and stale, argument that carries on in the halls of Congress. They also carry on in the halls of State and local governments, particularly government regulatory agencies .
Last year, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, of King County Public Health made an impassioned argument that local government should add their own gun controls since Congress has been less enforcement-oriented then the numbers he deals with in the Greater Seattle area suggest; he claimed that the numbers of gun deaths surpass those deaths attributed to traffic collisions in King County, and then argued that nationally and locally lots was done to curb traffic deaths, which is still the in the top five of causes of death nationally, still surpassing gun-related deaths on that scale.
From a local perspective, it would make sense that this argument would come forth; in that we look at the biggest causes of death locally, and act to limit, or hopefully eliminate those causes.
Here is the major problem to this ‘local’ argument: Dr. Duchin highlight, but failed to go into detail, that those gun deaths he was talking about, included suicide, which attributed two-thirds of that total. If you remove suicide from this gun death total, the number of gun deaths in King County are far below those caused by traffic collisions. Here is why that matters: No one in King County, as of today, has killed themselves in a traffic collision as a means to commit suicide.
Yes, suicide is terrible. We know that suicide is in someway related to crisis, acute, or even long-term mental illness suffered by the person committing it. Mental illness remains to be a serious problem in our society, from local to national levels, that needs to be addressed.
However, enacting public health ordinances, regulation, or similar structures ‘to combat gun deaths’ is a rather sophomoric response to the all too serious state of mental illness in our country, and speaks to agenda, rather than real solution building.
Believe it or not, the NRA has requested democrats to get serious about mental health checks being tied to background checks for firearms purchases. The problem is that democrats routinely won’t agree, because the proposed legislation would also loosen restrictions on what sane people can buy. The NRA is not asking for citizens to have the right to buy automatic firearms, or more serious military-grade weaponry. Instead, the NRA has been since this issue of mental illness and firearms first came up nationally in the mid-90’s, that those that pass the instant background checks provided by the FBI needs to be given greater latitude to access rights through ATF regulated firearms rights, and to remove antiquated bans from legislative efforts permanently, especially those involving media-induced fabrications about certain firearms and accessories.
Gun control measures are not as easy as you’re told they will be, because those that are proposed are rarely based on logic and thought of the problem. Democrats would rather placate the mentally ill, and allow them to interact in life unchecked by professionals, than actually tackle neurosis that threaten neighbors, families, and innocent bystanders. Mental illness treatment however, even in it’s smallest form, can have a much greater impact than any gun control effort ever could. And yet, efforts to address mental illness are continually thumbed down, not just by Congress, but local leaders who continue to claim they don’t have enough resources to enact them.
Democrats, including Dr. Duchin, don’t want to give up the “tool” of gun control tactics for their efforts. They would rather work citizens into a hot lather about how this one accessory, or this one gun is the problem, and that banning it can save the day. One need look no further than Chicago to see that bans don’t work.
And whether we like it or not, people like Dontray Mills, who admitted to perpetrating gang violence through illegal gun purchases, who get a reduced plea agreement that leads to no jail time, make it clear that those who actually perpetrate gun violence visited upon others are not getting the justice they so rightly deserve. Instead, we have democrats who make a mockery of mental illness, cloaked in their government and medical credentials as some sort of expert, but then use the pain of those who don’t receive resources they actually need as a reason to stop everyone else from owning a firearm. We don’t call it political grandstanding because in our eyes, they’re an appointed “expert,” but they are simply a politician who isn’t subject to election. A local-level cabinet members expanding an agenda through a filtering of statistics and data. It’s not a service to the citizens, it’s a weak attempt at shaping discussion and outcomes. You should be outraged at the level of patronizing that goes on from offices such as those occupied by Dr. Duchin.
To sum it up: it’s a disgusting, dystopian take on life and pursuit of liberty. It’s unfortunate that this particular issue does split along party lines, because I’ve yet to run into anyone who denies the need for mental health treatment to be expanded when needs are identified, but no one with temporary power will accept that, and in turn accept that law abiding citizens can own firearms without incident.
And if we look a smaller community, like Grays Harbor County, also in Washington State, we see that causes of death attributed to gun violence in Table C1 and C2 are well below the top ten threshold. It stands to reason how a county with a more isolated population with less resources is able to report these numbers, and King County sees an increase. Guns aren’t the problem. The high-stress that comes with trying to sustain a life in Seattle and King County are to blame. More people in King County find the need to escape their reality through drug and alcohol abuse, sex addictions, and number of other behaviors that increase mortality risk. To be fair, these are behaviors we see everywhere in the country, it’s not exclusive to King County. However, they are increasing in King County, and the reason is that the government in place is making it tougher and tougher for ‘regular joe’ citizens to succeed personally. Surely, they are not intending this, but it is a consequence of overreach and draconian thinking that was originally banned from the US-lexicon.
Whether Dr. Duchin and people like him realize it, regulations aren’t going to stop people from committing suicide: help is. Actual help for those people in those situations. The type of help that defrays stress and pressure on individuals, so they can dream, and work, and fail, and succeed.
One last thing to consider: Washington State has legalized assisted suicide, making it possible for terminally ill people to seek help in ending their own lives, when they feel they can no longer take the pain of living in their condition. If this is the ideal that Washington State wants to live by, why attempt to criminalize suicide by other means? Has no one considered that those who are suffering mental crisis are too in pain?
For such a “progressive” outlook, it certainly seems short-sighted. If you live in King County, you need to be asking that if such a high tax rate is necessary, why are those funds not being directed towards true mental health resources that provide results. Because if you visit King County Public Health’s website, you’ll find they are thick on studies and research, and thin on direct efforts. Maybe if Dr. Duchin spent more time in the field, working to expand mental treatment for the wide array of people in need, and empowering County Designated Mental Health Practitioners with multiple methods of addressing mental crisis, rather than solely three day involuntary hospital stays, instead of writing position papers, we’d have a government that was achieving an end to some problems, rather than tracking increases, with little to show for the effort.
If you know of someone contemplating suicide, please give them the following: 1-800-273-8255. And continue to check in with them, you make actually be the difference in their world.