On January 8, 2011, Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D- 8th District) was one of nineteen victims of the shooting at a Safeway grocery store near Tucson, Arizona where she was meeting publicly with constituents. She was taken into emergency surgery, in critical condition from a gunshot wound to the head. At the time of this writing, after the surgery a physician treating the congresswoman said that he was optimistic about her chances for recovery. The gunman, a Jared Loughner, has been taken into custody.
The nation should rightfully be mourning this tragic incident and be supportive of law-enforcement efforts to bring this investigation to closure. However, there are some issues that can be examined from a policy level that can hopefully curb outbursts of violence such as this.

Mental Health- The 2010 Health Care Act must be defended against repeal efforts by those in opposition to it. In particular any statutes concerning mental health coverage should be scrutinized and bolstered with amendments. Publicly funded mental health facilities in the United States facing drastic budget cutbacks and outright closings has been a quiet, disturbing trend in the past 15 years. Mental-health coverage in self-purchased or employer-paid health insurance through private firms is often modest, at best, with high-co-pays and deductibles. Lack of mental health access has, in part, reputedly led to a spike in homeless populations, particularly in Southeast Michigan.

Gun Control- This ongoing issue in American politics is always contentious and brings out very emotional responses. But if there is going to be any genuine progress in addressing gun proliferation in our country, elected officials must be bold enough to take a stand on enacting new regulations. More stringent background checks are needed to make sure that a person is not of unsound mental health. The trend of self-described collectors owning high-powered weaponry is extremely disturbing. The purchase and ownership of military and paramilitary weaponry by civilians must be analyzed and curbed. The mantra of gun-rights absolutists and lobbyists that any and all firearms are okay for anyone to own should not be allowed to define our culture.

If there is anything to be learned from the recent tragedy, it is that disagreement with others, even drastic disagreement, should not be a justification for violent aggression against our neighbors.


sample said…
I was shocked to hear this news. very sad indecent..

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