Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Make It Stop: Shootings of 2012 Still In the Headlines in 2013 (Op-Ed)

The mass shootings in 2012 were horrific reminders that gun control and mental health are two fields that need to be researched, re-evaluated, and re-addressed on Capitol Hill. As time goes on, I fear that politicians will overlook these issues in the midst of heated debates over the decision to raise the debt ceiling in February.

The headlines are keeping gun control and mental health in the spotlight, but they’re not about the House or Congress passing a new bill: they’re about James Holmes’ preliminary hearing, the shooter at the theater in Aurora, Colo. and a bomb threat in a high school Seale, Ala. inspired by the events of Newton, Conn.

The preliminary hearing of James Holmes on Monday was attended by many of relatives of the movie theater victims. Aurora Police Office Justin Grizzle testified a full account of what had happened July 20, 2012 when he found Holmes outside Theater 9.

When Grizzle first set foot in the theater, The Dark Knight Rises was still playing on the screen, but he “almost fell down because of all the blood there.” according to the article in The Denver Post. He described other happenings that most of us could not possibly imagine going through.

Also on Monday, Associated Press reports that Derek Shrout, 17, began plotting an attack on students at Russell County High School. Shrout, a white supremacist, planned on targeting African American classmates with homemade explosives. A teacher had found Shrout’s journal detailing these plans and turned it over to authorities. Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor believes Shrout was inspired by the Newtown massacre, because the first entry of Shrout’s journal was Dec. 17, only three days after the shooting. Shrout is currently held at $75,000 bail.

It is evident that the past shootings continues to haunt the American public. It is in the best interest of state representatives to put forth changes that will prevent any more tragedies like this in the future. If such events continue to occur, then we will not have learned our lessons from the pain we had to endure, and will continue to endure unless we make the changes necessary to make it stop.

I believe that steps need to be taken to make sure guns remain in the hands of responsible citizens and to help families and individuals living with a mental condition get the help they need. I may not be proposing the most detailed or most articulate answer to these issues, but I hope that the White House will find the solutions to better protect Americans.

It’s a start.

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