After later posting the same article on my Huffington Post column, it got a significant amount of comments -- 130 at present count. I tend not to respond to most comments there, including those directed to me, for a lot of reasons. The first is that if I did, I would spend all my time replying to people, particularly when it gets personal, and the second is that I've stated my position already, and others are entitled to their.
On occasion, I do respond. And one note there did get me to respond. The comment was long, but it was the first sentence that got me to reply.
What the person began with was --
> Why is your first thought about gun control rather than mental health policy?
After thanking him for taking the time to write, I wrote back:
"Why? Seriously? It's really easy, and I suspect you know the answer, but are just trying to distract attention from the weapon. It's most people's first thought, because when bullets leave a gun there's a far better chance someone could be killed than if the gun wasn't fired -- whether the person holding the gun is mentally ill or perfectly sane, whether it was fired on purpose or totally by accident."
I was only getting started. The commenter's question is the kind of one that is taken all-too seriously and therefore debated. And that's the problem, taken the question seriously and debating it. Because it's not a serious question, and it's only thrown out for one purpose.
The canard about mental illness being The Real Problem is a fake obfuscation created by the gun manufacturer-owned NRA to distract from reality. It's used just like the old razzle-dazzle, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."
That bromide wasn't ever a real debating point. It was just magician's misdirection. In fact, what I always believe it should be properly phrased is -- Guns don't kill people, people who have guns and shoot them kill people.
It's really easy. Without a gun, you can't shoot a person. It's really easy. With fewer guns, with fewer assault weapons, with fewer high-capacity magazines, with more control of guns, there would be fewer gun deaths. Whoever it is shooting them. The concept is not rocket science.
A mentally ill person can manifest their illness in many ways, some uncomfortable but reasonably benign, some dangerous. But a person mentally ill holding a baseball bat or a knife does not pose the same threat as holding a gun. With a high-capacity magazine.
It's the gun that is the issue. Always.
Gun deaths are about guns, not mental illness. Or any other razzle-dazzle.
Only when a person is willing to accept that and discuss that point, and come to a resolution with it, only then can you take it to the next level and deal with underlying societal issues. But first -- and always first -- gun deaths must be accepted to be about guns.
And I think that when people try to razzle-dazzle others, the point shouldn't be argued. Mustn't be argued. It must be called out and dismissed. Immediately. Every time. On the spot.