So...let's talk about it. Mass shootings in America, guns and mental health. After every mass shooting there is a big debate about if mental health is to blame. It seems as if after every shooting in America people close to the assailant come out of the woodworks saying they saw all the signs. Then on every local and cable news station there are long drawn out segments (which are really just arguments) about what to do about mental health in the country. So what do we do about it?
As a veteran I have seen war some horrific things. At the age of 19 I stepped foot in a combat zone and at 20 I left on a stretcher after being shot in both legs in an ambush. Before going to war I was trained to kill a moving target from 300 meters away. I was taught the proper way to stab a man through the heart with a bayonet while standing two feet away from him. When asked by my drill sargent if I knew what made the green grass grow my response was "blood, blood, bright red blood". I learned those things before going to war, at the age of 18 back in 2005.
All of this training lay dormant in my mind, but there are times when certain military tactics become natural reactions for me. Also, as a result of my military experience I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since the age of 20 I have lived with pain every single day. I never know what emotion will manifest throughout the day. Some days I am mad because I have this pain, others I am depressed because I just want to have a pain free, normal life.
My emotions are so unpredictable that sometime I can feel myself becoming a different person. During these times I try to seclude myself from others and ride the emotion out. Anger is an emotion that I experience that takes me a couple of hours to ride out. I get upset about a lot of things, and on days when the pain from my injuries seem insufferable I have routines to manage the pain as well as the anger. During these times of anger not once has the thought of picking up a weapon and hurting innocent people crossed my mind.
When we have these mass shootings mental health is at the forefront of the conversation. But why? What I believe we are seeing is an easy way out for these domestic terrorist that commit these acts of evil. Then mental health gets blames because the scapegoat for these acts. Many of these mass shootings are premeditated, which shows the mental capacity to harm multiple innocent people for their own personal reasons.
There are so many resources out there for mental health that all you have to do is tell someone you need help and a plethora of options will be there for you. For those of us that really suffer from mental health issues, we do not need any additional stereotypes attached to us. These mass shootings in our country are eliminating the white and the blue, and leaving the entire country red. Red with the blood of the innocent, red from the anger of the families/friends who have lost loved ones, and red from the fire being spread across the country as a result of these shootings.
No one knows what goes through the mind of the people committing these acts of hate. However, as someone dealing with mental health struggles I do not wish to be associated with them in any capacity. As a veteran I took an oath to protect the country from terrorist both foreign and domestic. I do not wish to see people that I swore to protect be slain by someone with evil intentions blame their actions on mental health. Let's work together to come up with a final solution to this problem because America cannot continue to endure this type of trauma.