Guns do not cause mass shootings.

By:  Shawn Kernes

This is likely to be a very contentious post, but here goes.

I have been deeply affected by the tragedy in Parkland, my former home. maybe tragedy is the wrong word... Disaster, terrorism, murder, and failure all seem to fit. 

Initially I wanted to stay out of the political debate. Let the dust settle, give myself and others a chance to heal... but honestly, watching the ridiculousness of this debate is getting to be too much. 

We need to stop using events like this one to drive forward narrowly defined political agendas. 

Guns do not cause mass shootings. Mental illness does not cause mass shootings, drugs (prescribed or otherwise) do not cause mass shootings. Upbringing does not cause mass shootings. Membership in hate groups does not cause mass shootings. Trauma does not cause mass shootings.

The reality is that if we knew what caused mass shootings, the problem would be easy to fix... we don’t. 

We are aware of a variety of contributing factors. We need to address all of those factors, methodically and as part of a systemic approach. Not as a series of point solutions. 

Personally... I want to see changes to gun control. I want to see mental health care become a standard part of healthcare. I want to see healthcare reform. I want to see changes to our drug policies and enforcement. I want to see a lot of changes... but More importantly, i want to see those changes lead to positive outcomes - not just change for the sake of change. 

What do we really want to solve for? What is our priority? 

In the case of the Parkland shooter. Taking away his gun might have reduced the magnitude of carnage, but the desire kill and injure others would not likely have changed... and when there is a will there is a way. 

Why is it so hard for people to accept that we need to both address the desire to inflict damage AND the magnitude of damage when it occurs?

Those looking for gun reform and those looking for healthcare reform should be working together to adress this, and many more issues in our society. This is not a zero sum game.