With the tragic shooting Monday in Washington, D.C., we can already see the two lines forming to once again take up the debate over stricter gun control. Sadly, we seem to be dancing this dance all too often. And it seem that once the headlines fade to the next story, the issue remains quiet, until a few months pass and the tragedy repeats itself. Columbine, Fort Hood, Newtown, Virginia Tech, Oak Creek and now, Washington D.C., all seem to flow, one story unto another.
And while we think it is worthy to revisit some aspects of the gun control issue once again in the shadow of the Navy Yard rampage, it seems to us that an equally-important issue gets swept under the carpet. An issue that may be at the heart of many of these tragedies and one that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.
As was the case with other previous mass shootings, mental health issues have been raised about the D.C. shooter.
And it is high time the subject be fully addressed. One only has to go back a few years to a handful of tragedies here in the Keweenaw to see the impact of drastic cuts in mental health funding, in particular the closure of a U.P. regional mental health facility.
Would a greater emphasis on community mental health have prevented any of our local incidents or any others throughout the world?
We can never really know, but we strongly feel the time has come to have that conversation before the next tragedy occurs.