Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Opinion

December 19, 2012

KITCHELL: A problem that goes beyond guns

In various communities across the nation, the debate continues over how to prevent another school tragedy such as the mass killing of children in Newtown, Conn., last week.

While some have made this moment a time for a discussion on gun control — and this is an appropriate time to have that discussion — it also is a time to look beyond the gun issue as a way to solve the problem.

If every legal gun owner did what one did last Friday to more than 20 people who were innocent, unarmed victims, guns would be outlawed. Even if there were more stringent gun laws, what happened in Connecticut may not have been stopped by a law. Laws have a way of being broken every day.

What is clear is that  the shooter in this case — and in several others — had problems beyond carrying guns. While the nation has been proactive in passing legislation such as the Brady Bill to screen handgun sales, the nation has done little to screen adults and children for mental illnesses – or enough to treat them properly.

Granted, we don’t know whether mental health treatment could have prevented  this tragedy. What we do know is that this person was a recluse who had a history of social problems. What we do know is that a congresswoman named Gabby Giffords of Arizona nearly lost her life and some around her at a town meeting did lose theirs.

To that end, we no longer have those types of meetings in Logansport and many other communities because of the potential threat of violence. What we do know is that a gunman also killed innocent people in Colorado who were simply trying to enjoy a movie drama and didn’t want a real-life drama that left customers dead.

These problems occur when places such as Four County Counseling Center in Logansport, Peru, Rochester and Winamac are not adequately funded to serve the people who truly need services. Since there is a stigma attached to mental illness and the mental health industry has a limited political influence in Washington and state capitals, the need for funding to deal with chronically mentally ill people may not be met. There are few public service ads describing what mental illness is and where treatment can be found. There are few insurance companies that aggressively tout the benefit of mental health treatment as a necessary coverage because it adds cost to premiums.

But if we all could pull together and work just a bit harder at ensuring there is treatment available for those who need it and that those who need it know where to get that treatment, tragedies that can’t be prevented with more gun control or locks on school doors could potentially be prevented.

On Friday, this issue affected Newtown, Conn., worse than anything else in the community’s history. It could affect Logansport, Peru, Rochester, Delphi or Winamac tomorrow. Because of that, it potentially affects us all.

Dave Kitchell is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at ptnews@pharostribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • THEIR VIEW: Indiana needs open primary elections Indiana's primary election system is dysfunctional. What the state really needs is an open primary system. This month, the Lake County election board argued about the procedures for recruiting high school students as poll workers for the May 6 primar

    April 23, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Tax bills show what smoke & mirrors don't There's a price to be paid for the decline in what we call civic engagement -- and local property taxpayers are paying that price. In case you haven't received your 2014 Cass County property tax statement yet, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock w

    April 23, 2014

  • MARCUS: Illinois brings joy to Indiana From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services t

    April 22, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Let voters weigh option of easing daily commute There was a time in this country when workers typically lived less than an hour's walk from their jobs. A time when a "commuter" was simply a traveler taking advantage of a reduced railway fare on his way to the big city. A time when the American sub

    April 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Wait a minute here — what did I just sign? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 22, 2014

  • LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 21, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation

    April 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Careful look at tax structure needed Indiana legislators this year created a "blue-ribbon commission" to study the state's taxes on businesses this summer. We hope the commission will listen to Larry DeBoer, a Purdue professor who might understand Indiana's tax structure better than any

    April 20, 2014

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Letters for Sunday, April 20, 2014 Power forum hopes to answer questions Do you pay electric bills? Then you are invited to learn how Public Power can often lower electric rates. Logansport's coal firing plant must be shut down within two years, and our contract with Duke expires in f

    April 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.