Mental Health or Gun Control, each issue deserves equal attention

With all of the shootings already this year, it seems that the tragedy which took place in a Florida high school was the last straw. For those who do not know, Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students on Feb. 14 with an AR-15 rifle. Once again, the debate over gun control and mental health issues is all over the news; which I believe both issues should be addressed, not just one or the other.

On behalf of the gun control outcries, I do believe it should not be easy for someone like Cruz to get a weapon of that power as easily as he did. While he did get it legally and passed all background checks, it was clear he was mentally unstable and should never have been sold that gun. There have been “lie-ins” for the call for more gun control in Washington D.C. and I applaud them for that because it is a serious issue in our country. A parent should not have to fear that when dropping off their child for school, it could potentially be the last time they see them because someone comes in with a gun and shoots up the place.

On the other side of the debate is the side of mental health, which I believe is another issue in our country. It is apparent Cruz had mental issues as evidenced by a disturbing comment made on a YouTube video last September where he stated, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter”. At that point, someone should have reached out to Cruz. Perhaps offering him the help he so desperately needed to overcome his demons could have potentially avoided this tragedy. There was also a picture on Instagram of Cruz dismembering a frog, which could be a seen as gateway to killing people.

Another contributing factor that could have potentially led to his act of violence was the fact he had to live with legal guardians due to the death of both his adoptive mother and father over a decade ago. Cruz could have suffered depression due to their death and been overwhelmed with emotions and lack of parental support. These events may have been more than Cruz could handle; that is a lot of stress to overcome as a teenager and one could see how Cruz could have been driven to violence. Maybe if someone was there to comfort Cruz through all of this, it could have prevented the tragedy altogether.

Typically, in the past, the public has moved on with their lives and forgotten all about certain acts of violence; which is sad, but this time it seems to be different. People are tired of senseless murders and I hope this discussion continues to be pushed until it is finally resolved.

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