By MARY CAREY
Since the horrendous Newtown shootings, once again guns are being targeted as villains. Guns are only tools; people kill people.
I am both a gun enthusiast and supporter of the right to bear arms; however, I do support a ban on assault weapons. I see no reason why the average citizen needs assault weapons or 30 bullet clips.
While we're at it, should we ban knives? You might be surprised to learn that the same day as the Newtown shootings 22 children were stabbed by a mentally ill person in China. Should we ban cars? Many people are killed or maimed by drunk, suicidal or incompetent drivers.
It makes no sense to me to penalize registered gun owners. Registered gun owners are law-abiding citizens. If you don't believe me, I suggest you go through the process to get a pistol permit in New York state; it's not easy. I believe that if all the states adopted laws as stringent as those in our state, there would be less gun violence in this country. There will always be mentally ill people or criminals that will find a way to skirt the laws and they are the people who should be targeted by laws and law enforcement.
In my opinion, mental illness and the decline of moral standards are the biggest impetus for senseless shootings. Am I the only one that is concerned with what appears to be increasing numbers of mentally ill persons?
I'm not talking about depression here; I'm talking about serious personality disorders up to and including the true sociopath. Some of these illnesses can be treated, such as schizophrenia, but only if the afflicted either voluntarily takes medication or can be compelled to take medications hence my support of Kendra's law.
Considering all the money spent on various diseases of the body, isn't it time we made mental disease a priority? Do our medical professionals know why one person is mentally ill and the next is not? Is it all brain chemicals? What defines mental illness anyway? It seems to me that sometimes it's just a catch all to classify anyone that is a bit different and yet often the seriously mentally ill seem to fall through the cracks.
As to moral standards, parents need to be vigilant in censoring what their children are exposed to at young ages and they need to take the time to teach empathy, compassion and kindness. Institutions such as churches can only do so much without the reinforcement of standards set in the homes of children. It seems to me to be common sense that exposing developing minds to violent movies and games is just plain wrong and helps to desensitize them to violence.
There was much ado recently about the names and addresses of registered gun owners being published in one of the counties in New York state. Publishing this information is a gross invasion of privacy and could potentially target those owners for possible burglary attempts and theft of weapons. On the other hand, if I were moving into a neighborhood and such a list was available, I'd want to live next door to a registered gun owner because I would know that person abides by the laws and could possibly protect me given the right circumstances.
Laws should focus on the lawbreakers.
Mary Carey is a Brocton resident.