It’s time to embrace our collective responsibility

I am writing in response to Ray Shamlin's Jan. 2 letter, “Is gun control the answer?”. I agree that we as a country must search for solutions in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

I question, however, the idea that, in the process, we should forfeit even more of our already compromised civil liberties by establishing new, “state-run, inpatient facilities” in which to conduct “research” on those with “mental health issues.”

I wonder just what kind of research Shamlin suggests we perform on such individuals, and how these people might be selected, that we best identify “behavior associated with individuals who perpetrate such crimes.” Will we rely even more on the pharmaceutical industry in carrying out this “research,” hoping that it will somehow work in the interests of what is best for us and our children? Will we create some formal registry in the process, to track those among us who strike us as dangerous, or whose personal crisis has led them to seek out psychiatric services? Will we look to the government and to industry to assist us in regulating this process? Have we forgotten what history has taught us of the implications of this kind of thinking?

It seems that what the perpetrators cited by Shamlin all shared was the experience of being fundamentally isolated, socially outcast, and deeply troubled individuals. In healing from this tragedy and healing future ones, we might start by reaching out — within ourselves, each other and the world around us — to that which desperately needs recognition, understanding and inclusion. We can challenge that which divides us, and embrace our collective responsibility for one another.

In so doing, we cease to give our energies and influence to that fragmented and terrible spirit with which the perpetrators carried out their crimes.

— Piper Rose
Black Mountain

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