After every mass shooting, Republicans and gun nuts (you won't need a Venn diagram to see the overlap) have complained ad nauseam about America's need for more mental health practitioners and blamed our health system for not helping these victims of mental illness into whose laps weapons have miraculously fallen.
I used to accuse these Republicans of deflecting, but my GOP adversaries will be happy to hear that I've come around. We do need more mental health professionals—an army of them to treat all the delusionals sleepwalking through this era of mass murders and wanton, random violence and declaring that guns aren't the problem. It is they who need professional help.
Since statistics can lie or be made to lie, there's no point in telling the delusionals that, though America constitutes only four percent of the world's population, it owns more than 40% of the world's guns. Nor is there any value in explaining the problem of Americans possessing 120 guns for every 100 citizens. (For worldwide comparison, Yemen is second in gun fetishism with 52 per 100...and is also second in the percentage of gun-related murders.)
But, yes, statistics can be bent and shaped and formed, and there's probably a very positive way of saying that America's 290 million guns are a good thing and that Yemen is on the right track, but I'll leave those conclusions to the delusionals.
Speaking of which, this past spring PBS asked every senator what should be done about gun safety. Most Republicans did not respond, but not all of them knew enough to keep their thoughts to themselves.
Tennessee's Republican senator Marcia Blackburn suggested we arm teachers and beef up school security but also said we should "improve access to resources and treatment for those suffering from mental illness."
Iowa's Chuck Grassley touted the EAGLES Act that senators have been working on, which places a greater emphasis on preventing school violence—as if the problem is a couple of hot-headed kids fighting over a prom date...and as if the senators "work" on anything.
After the utter failure of gun control and law enforcement in Uvalde, Texas, Missouri's Josh Hawley called for stiffer penalties for violent crimes and more police funding. Hard to argue against either, though since most mass murderers end up dead at the scene, that first suggestion is especially lame.
Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson wants to create a clearinghouse on school security, as if there's a casualness about these attacks that allow people to consult a database for a course of action in the event of an assault. Would there be a separate plan for grocery stores? Walmarts? Outdoor concerts? Neighborhood gatherings. Do we consult our phones when the shooting starts?
Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) sends thoughts and prayers.
These elected leaders check all the boxes on all the forms sent out by the NRA. They have all learned to speak delusional, an easy language to learn. One need master only a few simple phrases: thoughts and prayers, Second-amendment rights, right to bear arms, God-given right. A report of the recent Walmart shooting—in delusional—would read something like this.
A Walmart worker exercising his Second Amendment rights shot and killed five of his co-workers on Thursday. Thoughts and prayers may be directed to the victims and their families, but not if any of those thoughts and/or prayers besmirches, criticizes, or alters the God-given grace of gun ownership.
It's unlikely that the Walmart killer would have been dissuaded by a potentially harsh prison term, or hindered by some security system, or frightened by a clearinghouse full of advice. And though I'll admit that his rampage might have occurred without a gun and he may have done a lot of harm, his victims would have had a fighting chance had it been a little more difficult for him to stroll out of a store with a 9mm handgun.
And lest we think that the delusionals comprise a bunch of yokels, among the most ardent supporters of gun rights is a group called Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. I don't know if any of these health professionals ever wandered through the remains of assault-weapon victims—and matching body parts was the only "doctoring" being performed—but the fact that such an organization exists is disheartening enough.
I doubt if even Yemen has a branch.