Gun control or a mental health problem? United States is divided after the shooting perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz at Parkland’s Stoneman Douglas High School

Gun control or a mental health problem? United States is divided after the shooting perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz at Parkland’s Stoneman Douglas High School


Another day, another shooting at a school … And there have been several since the year began.

After the Parkland (Florida) massacre, one of the deadliest shootings in US history, with 17 victims, politicians and policy makers from across the ideological spectrum are united around a call to action.

This can not happen again , they say. Or, at least, it can not continue happening as often as now.

“There is no denying that something dangerous and sickly is happening and we, once again, are seeing the images of our terrified children evacuating the school with their hands on their heads,” Jeff Sessions, the United States Attorney General, said Thursday. .

” We are going to take actions, we must reverse these trends.”

Understanding the direction of these devastating tendencies is one thing. Defining what to do next, what to do first, is a totally different debate .

Donald Trump
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Image caption In his speech after the Parkland shooting, President Donald Trump did not mention “weapons” even once.

That is where the political divisions in the United States become abysses .

Less than 24 hours after the shooting, in the news and on social media, Americans – left and right – were not simply making recommendations on what to do. They were having totally different political conversations.

This article is a look at where the roads diverge and the obstacles they face.


Gun control

In his speech to the nation on Thursday morning, Donald Trump did not mention the word “gun” or “gun . ” Unlike its predecessor, gun control is not even on the president’s radar.

Although the Democrats were quick to propose an increase in firearms regulations in the wake of the Parkland shooting, those efforts – as well as the efforts that were made after the Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs and Orlando shootings – will hit with a wall of opposition in the Congress, of republican majority.

Nikolas Cruz
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Image caption Nikolas Cruz faces 17 counts of “premeditated murder”.

Mental health

While Republicans have carefully avoided a debate on gun control – rejecting any mention of it for being too political or too soon – they have been much more willing to talk about the need to address the issue of mental health.

“We are committed to working with the state and local leaders to help secure our schools and address the difficult issue of mental health,” President Trump said in his address on Thursday.

According to reports, the Florida suspect at one point solicited psychological services in a clinic and the testimonies of his former classmates portray a 19-year-old who was an outcast with violent tendencies .

Where liberals and conservatives differ, however, is in how to prevent an individual suffering from a mental illness from committing violent acts.

Democrats will push for more funding for psychological care in public and private insurance programs. They will denounce the cuts that the president has proposed for Medicaid , state insurance for the poorest, and trumpet the mental health coverage requirements of Obamacare , which Trump and the Republicans have tried to revoke.

A poster against weapons
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Image caption On Saturday in Fort Lauderdale a demonstration against guns was held in the United States.

They will also remember a rule of the Obama era that would have prevented people receiving government-funded treatment for mental illness from buying firearms, which was repealed by Republicans in Congress (the only legislation related to weapons that Trump has signed). ).

“If someone has a mental illness, receives little attention and gets a weapon, even though we have laws and a system that prevents people who should not have weapons from getting weapons, if there are gaps then we have to check those gaps, ” he said. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, during a press conference on Thursday.

The sheriff of Broward County, Scott Israel, a Republican turned Democrat, suggested a state and federal legislation that would allow authorities to force individuals suspected of violent tendencies undergo an examination obligatori mind or as a possible confinement although person does not want it.

” Give power to the police , if they see something in the social networks, if they see explicit photos of rifles, blood, guns, bombs, take that person and take her to mental health professionals, so that she can be examined at that moment , even if the person does not want to, “Israel said on Thursday at a press conference.

Providing mental health services will gain broad support among Americans.

Holding government officials to individuals they consider violent, or taking away their weapons, it will be a much more controversial action.

A man pointing with a rifle.
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Image caption Some conservatives have proposed increasing armed security in schools.

Safety in schools

Despite Trump’s speech, full of commonplaces and supported by his role of providing comfort, the truth is that he promised a concrete action.

“Later this month I will meet with the nation’s governors and prosecutors, where the priority will be to make our schools and our children safer,” the president announced.

What can emerge from this meeting is an unknown.

Some conservatives have suggested that schools could be safer with the presence of more security personnel, “good guys with guns”; or allowing teachers to go armed.

“You can not enter a federal building or an airport with a loaded weapon, why can you enter a school with one of them?” Republican commentator and leader Matt Mackowiak posted on Twitter.

“We should make that impossible, it’s just a matter of will .”

The AR-15 rifle (the largest weapon in the photo) can be purchased online.
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Image caption The AR-15 rifle (the biggest weapon in the photo) was the rifle used by the author of the Parkland massacre and can be purchased online in the United States.

The Democrats could point out, however, that in Parkland there was an official in charge of security.

And when the police arrived, they had to clear the classroom building by classroom. Some students refused to open the door because they feared he was the attacker. Add to teachers with guns to the equation would put more lives at risk.

After announcing his plans, Trump launched a challenge.

” implement taking actions that make us feel that we are making a difference is not enough, ” he said. “We must make a difference.”

However, while the number of shootings continues to increase, as well as the number of deaths, federal action is non-existent.

The question, then, is whether this time will be different .

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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