Focus the gun control debate on the shooter

Tragedy and violence are slowly becoming the trademarks of America. Guns in the possession of the mentally unstable have wreaked havoc upon innocent citizens too many times in just the past few years-and unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that this frequent occurrence is going to slow down anytime soon.

Twelve innocent Americans were recently murdered in an appalling shooting in Washington D.C. by yet another mentally unstable individual who slid through the cracks of society’s social fabric. Sadly, events like this one are not anomalies in America’s present culture. The culprit responsible for this crime, 34 year-old, Aaron Alexis, is an example of someone who was not provided with the help and medical support he needed. Eight o’clock A.M. on September 16, 2013 marked the beginning of yet another multiple murder in America, an event that should have been prevented.

Obviously, it’s completely unjust to point fingers here, but if there was one group worth blaming for the new and constant theme of death by guns in our society, it is our elected officials. The government must wake up and open their eyes as a result of recent occurrences. Gun laws and how people are able to obtain these highly dangerous weapons must be more comprehensive. The Republican Party’s impact on stopping gun regulation is short-sighted.

Although, there is another point here that must be made. In addition to this most recent episode in Washington D.C., if the massive, heartrending murder of innocent children and their teachers in Newtown doesn’t make our country aware of what must be done in the future, what will? This latest chapter, in which a vile man who entered a D.C. Navy Yard using his access as a contractor and killed and critically wounded blameless citizens, is without a doubt, the last straw in this never-ending battle. The fact that massacres like this continue to occur proves that our government is not doing a good enough job to prevent them. Modifying laws that involve gun control, as President Obama is trying to do, is not necessarily the right approach. This latest D.C. tragedy should provide government officials nationwide with insight regarding the next steps needed to make our country a safer place to live in.

Throughout the past few years, effective ways of hindering disaster have been unclear. But what if the key to getting rid of these calamitous events has been right in front of us all along? If we observe critical details of many of these shootings, such as the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; and of course, D.C., it’s apparent that all have one thing in common: the perpetrator. In each of these cases, the man who committed the crime had been mentally ill or clinically unstable. Mr. Alexis, who according to the New York Times, “showed telltale signs of psychosis,” is the latest example. Instead of solely blaming the current laws for the numerous deaths, focusing in on the killers themselves must be America’s next step concerning its citizens’ well-being. Is it the dangerous weapons taking the lives of people? Or, is it the people themselves? If three consecutive shootings were all caused by the mentally unstable, that unquestionably has to be the government’s next primary area of examination. Because efforts to protect Americans continue to be dominated by the broader fight over expanded background checks and limits on weapons sales, actions such as giving mental health care providers better resources to treat dangerous people and prevent the mentally unstable from buying weapons are not being made. The government has no choice but to get its priorities straight and to begin acting pragmatically.