Yesterday we had another mass shooting at a newspaper in Maryland. Five more people killed senselessly and more family and friends lives were torn a part. This time an assault weapon was not used, a shotgun was used. The gunmen had a history of problems with the paper and planned this out. I made a point of mentioning that a shotgun was used not an assault weapon. I did this to make the point that all guns can kill not just assault weapons.
Mass shootings have become an epidemic in the United States and every year more people are being killed in mass shooting. How many people have to die before we pay attention to this epidemic. Some reporters were commenting yesterday that victims of these shootings are now saying that mass shootings are so common that we will talk about the event today and then forget until then next incident. Unfortunately, I think they may be right.
The news reported that the President and First Lady has been briefed about the shooting. The news also reported that the President and First Lady were praying for the victims. However, I think we need to listen to one of the survivors from yesterday shooting. She stated she was hiding under her desk and she was praying. She had no idea if she was going to live or die. This victim stated she did not care about the President’s prayers. She stated it was nice to hear, but his prayers were not going to help her and she did not care about his prayers. She wanted action to prevent these mass shootings.
We keep hearing this same sentiment from other victims and families. They do not want the President and Congress to pray. They want the President and Congress to take action to prevent these shootings. We need sane gun laws and more access to mental health services. However, the government fails to act. In fact the budget proposals by Congress and the President eliminate support for mental health services.
The First Lady stated she was going to focus on cyber bullying and emotional health for children. However, mental health services continue to be cut for children. In my area there use to be a decent number of community mental health clinics to serve children and teenagers. However, over the past two years most of the community resources have been eliminated. I have had severe problems getting a suicidal teenager hospitalized because the County and private hospital in our area, do not have enough beds to help suicidal teenagers. As a result, the teenager goes home and the parents have to stay awake watching their teenager.
Talk sounds nice, but it does not solve the problem. Prayers do help, but God is not going to solve the problem if we don’t make it a priority. We must take the situation seriously and act.
Therefore, parents consider who you vote for this November very seriously. Vote for someone who is willing to take action and enact sane gun laws and put more resources into mental health. Imagine if you were that woman hiding under her desk wondering if she was going to be killed in the next ten minutes, would you care if the President was praying? If your child was killed in a mass school shooting, would you care if the President was praying? The answer is no! You would want the President and Congress to take actions to prevent this epidemic.
Some people may say I have no right to speak out as a psychotherapist. However, I have an ethical and legal obligation to speak up and inform people if someone is suicidal or if a child’s safety is in danger. Since I am seeing resources cut daily which interferes with my ability to help someone who is suicidal or a child who may be a victim of child abuse, I am exercising my ethical duty and speaking up. Hopefully more people will speak up in November with their votes.
Dr. Michael Rubino has over 20 years experience in private practice and community clinics treating children and teenagers. For more information regarding Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com