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Mental health reform and gun control


In the wake of the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, many questions regarding the safety of the nations’ citizens have become the top priority. The two biggest questions that haunt the grieving country involve gun control and mental health; Is there enough gun control? What can be done to improve the mental health facilities in America?

One of the biggest worries throughout the nation is gun control. The United States prides itself on the freedom of its people, and the rights that it grants to its citizens.

Obviously, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights hold the biggest part in that. The Second Amendment has been under harsh scrutiny these past few days, with many people questioning its effectiveness in this day and age.

The amendment was made when the country was in a state of war, and citizens were given the right to keep and bear arms because of the possibility of all citizens being involved in battle.

With that being said, it has become a major issue throughout the years of whether this amendment is still relevant or not, and the events of the tragic December 14 shooting have escalated the necessity for a revision.

“How can we rely on an amendment that was created centuries ago? Guns used to be used responsibly and for self-defense and war. In today’s society, people are instead using guns to kill innocent people and to express their anger. Obviously something needs to change,” says sophomore Mikey Perrotta.

President Barack Obama seems to be adhering to the country’s cry for help, vowing to make gun control a top priority on his agenda for his second term in office. Obama has advised Vice President Joe Biden to come up with specific plans of action on the matter, specific proposals on how to revise this right without causing a national emergency.

The goal of these proposals is to keep the country safer, not take away guns completely, as that would be unconstitutional.

“Something needs to be done immediately regarding gun control. Things are getting out of hand. Why would anyone need a gun that was as big as the one Adam Lanza had?Machine rifles are not needed for self-defense, therefore that argument is invalid,” says sophomore Catarina Santo.

Aside from guns, mental health has become a major focus throughout the nation. More specifically, the facilities that deal with mental healthcare and rehabilitation centers, or a lack thereof.

While there used to be an abundance of mental institutions that patients could go to for treatment, now there are very few.

Many wonder what it will take for mentally handicapped people to get the treatment they need, and how far they need to take their actions for them to be recognized.

Following the Sandy Hook tragedy, a woman named Liza Long came forward, telling her story about her son Michael, who has an unidentified mental disease. Long fears she is raising another Adam Lanza.

Michael, a 13-year-old boy, goes into extreme violent tantrums on a regular basis, going so far as to threaten his mother with a knife, scaring his brothers and sisters and causing his mother to wonder what he is capable of.

When Long approached her social worker on what step to take next, his only suggestion was to get Michael charged with a crime, stating that the only way he could receive any help was if he was charged with a crime. He said that without charges, they have nothing.

Long does not believe her son belongs in jail, but fears that this is her only choice.

With every question left unanswered, the country falls deeper and deeper into a weary pit of unknowing.

Although questions about Lanza’s motive may never be completely answered, the questions about the fate of the country can be answered and, one thing is for sure, the nation is in desperate need of reassurance.

“I find it a little ridiculous that we have nothing for parents to do with children who may need help, such as Liza Long and her son Michael. Having her own child charged with a crime is something that she would have to live with forever, and no mother wants to see her child in jail for no reason,” says sophomore Taylor Zeni.

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