The problem is guns, not mentally unstable people that need institutionalization. Adding more psychiatric hospitals is NOT the answer. Who is giving Trump these ideas? Or is Trump naive enough to think that these are actual real solutions — giving teachers guns and putting more people in mental hospitals, and opening more mental hospitals in general?? Seems like Trump needs to LISTEN BETTER to the kids and teachers and parents and communities on the front lines with the issue of gun violence and mass shootings. The issue is GUNS.

Ban Guns. Plain and simple.

Let’s ban assault rifles (except for law enforcement officers or military personnel) as a start and also semiautomatic weapons, essentially anything that was produced solely to harm other humans and not for hunting, sport, personal use, etc. I understand to some extent the argument that we don’t want to take away individual people’s “rights,” but again and again and again and again starting with Columbine, we’ve had shooting after shooting after shooting after shooting and as a recent new NY Times article aptly states, the ONE THING in common between all of these was access to dangerous weapons.

More on the NY Times article published recently on this issue:
Experts say more mental health hospitals unlikely to prevent mass shootings
The New York Times (2/22, Carey, Subscription Publication) reports that President Trump has called for the opening of more mental hospitals as part of his response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but experts say “ramping up institutional care…likely would not have prevented most of the spree killings regularly making headlines in this country.” The article discusses several shootings, and points out that Nikolas Cruz, the suspected Florida high school shooter, had “no mental diagnosis” that would have justified institutionalization, according to mental health experts. The Times says, “The one thing all of these murderers had in common was access to military-style weapons.”

2 Government leader overhaul.

It’s time for our government leaders to step up and lead or step down in retreat if they can’t face the NRA and 2nd amendment aficionados head on and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Our children should not die in the school setting to lay down their lives to protect the “right” to bear arms. Citizens have the “right” to defend themselves, sure, but you don’t need a semi-automatic highly destructive weapon to do so. It’s time to say NEVER AGAIN.

For starters, we need to change campaign finance reform, get rid of gerrymandering, and implement changes to ensure that people who are elected as leaders of this country actually care and actually fight for the vulnerable population among us. I don’t think things will change until we have people who have a “seat at the table” who truly care. Maybe with the midterm elections there will be more success in this regard. We need to somehow eradicate people from power who are only self-serving and only care about rich, money, luxury, power. We need people who will fight the hard fight, the good fight, the fight that everyone who is not in a position of power or privilege or wealth fights every day, often without support. The change will only happen when people elected into leadership positions actually care about leading and effecting change. And actually act and do what they say — actually drain the “swamp” or whatever this political mess is. There are a few people who give me hope in Congress and other positions of power but for the most part I’m bereft of hope when all I see and hear on the news are examples of how corporate greed and wealth have wormed their way into politicians’ ears and if not corrupting them overtly certainly throw a dark shadow on any initial intentions that person had to change the world for the better. I have hope that the #neveragain movement with children speaking out and trying to prevent school shootings and the #metoo movement with women decrying being abused sexually, emotionally, physically, and otherwise — that these movements will ultimately percolate up to the highest positions of power. In order to make more drastic changes relatively quickly, my hope lies with Mueller and our other law enforcement agents to hold people accountable for their lies and wrongdoings. Because we cannot allow or tolerate hate, blame, narcissism, bullying, and apathy if we are to try to foster love, humility, caring, and passion to take root in this nation and indeed in this world. There is hope, but it’s a little oppressed right now in the current political climate. We need the “good” politicians to fight the tough fight for vulnerable people.

3 Let’s give actual support to mentally ill people, NOT lock them up.

I know that better mental health support is a priority, including limiting mentally ill people’s access to weapons that could cause self-harm or harm to others. I am fully, fully aware of this due to life experiences. BUT my argument here is that the answer is not opening up more psychiatric hospitals. That will not help. The answer is not shunting off vulnerable people with mental health diagnoses to be locked up, isolated, or neglected. No. The answer is fueling our country and our schools and our society and communities with resources — “arming” us, so to speak, with psychologists and psychiatrists and counselors and social workers and the labor force needed to address these issues head on and talk to and provide support for this vulnerable population. It’s an issue near and dear to my heart and I know that it’s stigmatized but many people suffer from mental illness and too often we look away or don’t understand or can’t separate the beautiful soul inside of all of us from the monster that mental illness creates. … SO…. what I’m saying is that the way that we could best show respect for ALL human life is to give our society and our people resources to help people cope with mental illness that have it, and not lock them up, because institutionalizing people is not always the answer. In some cases, yes, but certainly not always, and the real problem with mental health in this country is that resources are slim and these folks often avoid contact with the medical system in large part due to their illness. So the best way to show respect for human life is to protect and support all people no matter what their medical conditions are. And of course part of that is keeping guns away from the mentally ill, but we need to keep guns away from people in general, especially semi-automatic guns.

4 Arm teachers with resources, not guns.

Let’s arm teachers with RESOURCES instead like school nurses and psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other folks who can serve as mediators to help PREVENT attacks.

I strongly believe that arming teachers is NOT the solution here. Instead of arming them with guns, we should arm them with other resources to help with the multifactorial social issues that play into school shootings and also help with social determinants of violence in general. We should NOT give teachers guns and expect them to be put in the impossible position of literally keeping their kids safe or having a “duel off” or whatever between them and one of their students. Instead, the government needs to implement other measures such as background checks, mental health support, banning assault rifles, raising the legal age for owning a gun, etc. that are actual viable solutions to this crisis.

I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes…

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

~Mahatma Gandhi

Let’s let these kids have a voice for their friends who no longer have one, and let them and others inspire change in all of us to be better people, better leaders, legislators, parents, siblings, friends, and classmates. It’s time to take action. It’s time to say… #NEVERAGAIN. Let’s ban guns. Let’s not let another single child or teacher or person die in a school or mass shooting. EVER.

If you’re with me in this movement, please take a moment to sign this pledge for your legislators demanding that they take action. I implore you.