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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

RE: Gun Laws
By Amanda Mitchell


December 26, 2012
Wednesday PM

I want to thank Rodney Dial for writing his letter about the firearm debate. I think that it is very important to point out the troubles that China and other countries still have with violent acts of crime even with their gun bans. Plus, someone should point out that there have been lives saved because of guns.

However, I question the solution of stigmatizing mental illness as the catch-all for these terrible acts of bloodshed. Many people, who would never harm another, have been diagnosed with a mental illness. I find that justifying the act of taking the second amendment rights and privacy away from a person, because of a label, disturbing. This subjects someone to the loss of rights without a trial or crime committed. Right or wrong, it is based on interpretation and bias of an evaluator.

I would think that stigmatizing mental illness would lead to less people seeking treatment. So even if our nation sets up a database now, this would probably miss the intended target in the database later. Also, it would be a discriminating database founded on a stereotype of a “potential” criminal. This is a scary precedent to say the least. This subjective ruling of our nation based on risk analysis and interpretation is a complete loss of the balance of power and the gist of why church and state were separated. It leaves gaps to be filled by special interest groups and those seeking unchecked power to lord over others. Does anyone remember the history lesson of the Salem Witch Trials or the Spanish Inquisition? Pretty unfair and wretched, but this is what we are coming down to is condemning others by finger pointing.

I think we all can agree that what happened in CT is something no one wants to see. My personal thoughts would be to look into the psychiatric drugs that these individuals were taking as a potential link. Also, I would go back further than that. I have met many people who believe that the primary way children should learn social skills is through other children. I believe this is like getting a degree as an engineer by learning from a fellow student. You may have a couple great engineers in the end, but many would be lacking.

I would encourage adults, parents and teachers, to the take the time to explicitly teach each child social boundaries and coping skills starting in preschool. I believe throwing children together teaches a pecking order and not necessarily the social skills needed to get along. Take your kids out and let them see how you interact socially with other adults. Let them see you have a bad day and how you work it out. Talk with them about it. Talk about it with them when you make a mistake. Give them immediate feedback for when they do right or when they go wrong. My belief is that kids don’t get enough modeling in text books and as a society we are only concentrating on the results from academics.

Another thing would be is to start looking for solutions in our own communities and not at a national level. The needs and culture of each town is different. Give our young and old purpose in our community. Let them know that they are valued and needed, because they are. This goes a long way.

And finally, violence is not a one-sided problem with one solution. My ideas may be off-base or not work, but I am sure that there are hundreds of other prospective ideas out there. And I do know, for a fact, that banning guns will not rid our country of violent crime. It is time to keep brainstorming ideas that value the rights of our citizens and can be an answer to the problem at hand.

Rodney, thank you for taking your time to express your ideas and to offer up a solution. I don’t think it would work, but I appreciate an open discussion to better our community. I hope more people come forward with their ideas.

Thank you for reading.


Amanda Mitchell
Ketchikan, AK

PS. I would suggest watching the eye-opening documentary, The Marketing of Madness. You can order it for free on the Citizens Commission on Human Rights website.

Received December 22, 2012 - Published December 26, 2012

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letter Gun Laws By Rodney Dial



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