Alarmed by the rash of violent attacks in schools around the country, President Bush will hold a summit on the problem. The goal is dialogue on the nature of school violence and the role the federal government can play in helping communities prevent such outbreaks as well as deal with there aftermath.
Reports are lacking on the mental health of the last two shooters, the homeless man in Colorado and the milk man in Pennsylvania. Did mental health illness play a role in either attack? Had either gentleman been on psychiatric medications in the past but stopped? Had either attacker been in the prison system which does a notoriously poor job of identifying and treating prisoners with mental health disorders?
The federal role is clear on ignoring prisoners’ mental health. A bill is under consideration to further cut mental health partial hospitalization reimbursement to already financially strapped community mental health centers. That program helps to provide care for those in crisis outside an inpatient setting.
The attacker of the Jewish Community Center in Washington state had prior mental health issues. Mr. Lui in a Phoenix area Walmart parking lot executed people he didn’t know. How do these people get access to weapons?
Will the President talk about all these issues in his summit? Will the NRA chief continue his tag line “guns don’t kill people, people do”? While that may be true, how many little girls in Pennsylvania would still be alive if Charles Roberts IV hadn’t walked in with three guns (including a hand gun and automatic shotgun), a stun gun, two knives and 600 rounds of ammunition? An international news report had this to say:
Negotiations took place for 45 minutes before the gunman called a local radio station on his mobile phone and said that if police did not leave within 10 seconds, he would open fire on the hostages. "Within a matter of seconds, they heard shots, multiple shots," Mr Miller said. State troopers broke into the school and found the gunman dead.
People may kill people but with guns they can do it much faster. Will the NRA Chief speak to that?
P.S. Any assertion that a NRA representative will attend the event is hearsay, thus it can be used to incarcerate innocent people!