A plumber's daughter on shootings, guns, and mental illness

water faucet.jpg

In the aftermath of the appalling loss of life in Florida on Valentine's Day, social media is once again abuzz with anger, outrage, sadness, stingers, zingers, and some seemingly common-sensical solutions (others very nonsensical and hate-filled) related to gun control, mental illness, and myriad other factors related to yet another WTF situation. 

Once again because nothing changed after the last mass shooting. Or the one before. Or the one before. Or the one before and before and before.

Most of the rhetoric and (justified) rantings seem to me to be of an either/or sort. The solution that will stop the madness hinges on gun control OR hinges on rectifying the shameful state of diagnosing and managing mental illness in our country.

Though I attempt to be publicly apolitical and far removed from the rabid, hate-filled fray that typifies social media on any given day — and ramps up to fever pitch when <cuss> happens that rocks our hearts — I did share two posts on Facebook on Friday. One was a petition on banning the sale of assault weapons, the other a thoughtful post from Brene Brown on "speaking truth to bullshit" when it comes supporting "responsible gun ownership AND gun reform."

Yes, I posted about gun control. Does that mean I think ridding our country of artillery is the end-all solution to the insanity? Far from it!

I wholeheartedly believe the solution must address mental illness; messed up kids (and adults) falling through cracks; government agencies not doing their jobs; the lack of caring, compassion, community in our homes, neighborhoods, nation. And so. much. more.

Why, then, was I compelled to share posts on gun control not mental illness or other matters? It has to do with being a plumber's daughter.

See, when there's a problem with one's plumbing, the first step for a plumber working to repair the system is to shut off the water. Nothing can be diagnosed or repaired if the primary source of mayhem continues to flow. Plumbers turn off the water, diagnose the problem, figure out a solution, then turn the water back on — regulating the water flow so as to not blow up and out all the hard work just completed.

Not to minimize the horrors in any way whatsoever, I, a plumber's daughter, believe mass shootings might best be tackled in the manner of addressing plumbing problems.

Like the water source, access to assault weapons must be turned off as the very first step. And the flow of other guns managed more appropriately. From there, with the likelihood of another mass shooting minimized, every other factor — beginning with mental illness and protecting our schools, I believe — can be diagnosed, solutions figured out. Then, once solutions and safeguards of several sorts are in place, responsible, healthy, lawful citizens who choose to purchase guns (not artillery! ever!) can have legal, unbiased access to such.

Such a method related to shootings surely isn't simple, I know. Yet it sure seems straightforward and sensible.

To this daughter of a straightforward, sensible plumber anyway.