Is it true we have a high number of mental health disorders in our country? Who knows, the point should be it doesn’t matter if responsible citizens take responsibility for their own safety.

It’s not a science

Mental health disorders are difficult to diagnose. Now add to the process determining whether they are a danger to themselves or others requiring involuntary confinement and you are wading into some difficult waters. I believe we need to do more for our fellow citizens who do suffer from mental illnesses, I believe it needs to be metered with compassion and recognition of their civil rights. What I don’t believe in is knee jerk reactions to violence in our country using mental illness as the scapegoat. I honestly don’t believe dumping money into medical research or medical wellness programs will stop violence in our country, I don’t think it will even curb it. What I do believe in is pursuing mental health goals adjacent to personal safety discussions.

Accept reality

Violence exists in our world and there is no getting around it despite best intentions or feel good agendas. Instead, we need to acknowledge violence is a part of our life and empower people to manage their own safety. This doesn’t mean we condone violence, it simply means we refuse to be a volunteer victim. I believe educating people on how protecting their families is important sends a message to evil doers. When the masses are vested in their own safety, criminal enterprise will be faced with a dwindling pool of volunteer victims.

Responsible versus violent

Thinking the government can regulate our safety is nothing more than a pipe dream at best, cognitive dissonance at worse. Another misconception we need to dispel is because I choose violence does not make me violent. It simply means I’m willing to defend my family, to put their well being and safety above those who seek do them harm.  We have laws governing civil conduct, but criminals are criminals because they do not value or respect the law. When response times for life threatening emergencies are measured in minutes you have seconds to take action. This is a difficult concept to grasp for some, but hoping a violent criminal will not be violent in the commission of a crime because you are cooperating is reckless. I’m not saying there are not times when cooperation is ideal, but to base your whole argument around a single concept is sketchy.

The elephant in the room

The most recent incident in Florida illustrates two major issues. The suspect was evaluated and deemed not a danger to himself or the public and the incident occurred within a “gun free” zone. These two facts further compound the whole discussion. Mental health professionals have a difficult task and is anything but a science. There was nothing in the evaluation warranting involuntary confinement. Gun free zones are nothing more than criminal empowerment zones. Florida is one of six states who prohibit legal firearms within public regions of airports. When you combine these two variables it creates ideal circumstances for tragedy. While everyone wants to discuss mental health issues, no one has brought up gun free zones. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if they choose to act in an area they stand to face little resistance they have greater chance of success.

We are a compassionate country, we do care for our fellow man. We should not let that trait supersede our rights and more importantly responsibility for our safety.

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