Right now, no one should be talking politics when it comes to the tragedy in Orlando. In a perfect world, people would just be taking time to mourn and heal. It’s not a perfect world.
It wouldn’t be such a terrible situation if instead of focusing on hot button issues, the political conversation would be about the true root problem that causes mass casualty incidents, regardless of the motives of the perpetrators. No matter what reason someone gives for attacking multiple innocent people, the true root is always mental illness.
Unfortunately, every time something like this happens, instead of addressing that simple fact, there are debates about how we “do something” to prevent another similar situation in the future. That usually involves talk about more laws to prevent people from getting weapons – something that is meaningless, since if someone is absolutely determined, laws will not matter anyway. Or maybe there will be talk about how to prevent dangerous people from getting into public places. In this case, there is talk about removing people with certain beliefs, because those beliefs are apparently the cause. (They’re not.) On the worst end of the spectrum in this case, there are some who are reprehensible enough to suggest that the victims had it coming because of their sexual proclivities. Those people are beneath contempt.
Until we have a meaningful conversation about mental health, the status quo of unproductive public outrage after these tragedies will continue. The stigma attached to mental illness needs to end, and we need to seriously deal with the fact that mental health treatment options are unavailable to far too many people who need them.
The bottom line, especially now, is that the only people benefiting from the current outrage are politicians. They are using it for their own purposes, mainly to get votes in November. If they were truly concerned about solving the problem, they would be talking about mental health, not guns, gays, and Islam.
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