I have been debating with someone from the US this evening about discrimination. This is her post:
“According to MSNBC, 88% of Americans believe in mental health background checks before gun purchases. That's right, 88% of Americans believe that people with a mental illness are not equal to everyone else and don't have a right to protect themselves. Right now MSNBC is discussing rapists, murderers and the mentally ill. Please tell me that isn't an accurate statistic and Americans don't really think of mental illness this way”?
So I have basically replied these:
Me - “I can see their point in a way. One of the things some people have problems with if they have a MH problem is impulsivity. You have also got to consider if they are depressed, have voices telling them to harm people etc. So yeah, I can see that. But then. I am British and I don't like guns and don't think that people should be able to carry them around. Yes, you have a right to protect your self but if no one was allowed a gun you wouldn't need a gun to do so.”
Her – “I disagree, that is like saying making drugs illegal would take them off the street. What would actually happen is only criminals would have guns and law abiding citizens would not.”
Me – “You don't get the same problems here in the UK with guns as you do in the states. Think that says a lot. Also, look at Oscar Pistorius and what happened there.”
Her – “The purpose the of the second amendment is to give people the power to overthrow the government if it becomes tyrannical.”
Someone else – “I'm a 25 year old women who lives on a back road in Kentucky with no neighbours and a three year old. And my husband works night six days a week! So yes I believe people should be able own and carry a weapon! If someone decided to break into my home an adult male would have no trouble harming a small women as myself even if he didn't have a gun. And could be gone before the police could get there to help.”
Me – “We manage ok here without guns. Copied from WiKi, Levels of gun violence vary greatly across the world, with very high rates in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, South Africa, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Jamaica, as well as high levels in Russia, The Philippines, Thailand, and some other underdeveloped countries, Levels of gun violence are low in Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and many other countries. The United States has the highest rate of gun related injuries among developed countries, though it also has the highest rate of gun ownership and the highest rate of officers.[ Some research shows an association between household firearm ownership and gun suicide rates. For example, it was found that individuals in a firearm owning home are close to five times more likely to commit suicide than those individuals who do not own firearms. In the United States, where suicides outnumber homicides 2:1, firearms remain the most common method of suicide, accounting for 52.1% of all suicides committed during 2005.
Uk - 6.6% of Homicides gun related. USA - 67.5%. UK homicide rate per 100,000 = 1.06. USA=4.7
Just think when there are stats like that, precautions have to be taken. Not just anyone should be able to be handed a gun. They should be taking mental health in to consideration when considering if a licence is given or not. I wouldn't like to think that someone like me who has had numerous failed suicide attempts behind me could apply for a gun licence and be given it. Of course run a criminal record check but that's not going to show any thing on me. Some people shouldn't be able to have a gun and it's as simple as that. So yes, it is discrimination, but I personally feel that it is discrimination that should be allowed.
So that's it.
Personally I don't like guns. They make me feel really uncomfortable. Even just walking past armed police at places like airports freaks me out. When I was in India I refused to sit with a group a police men until they put their guns under the chairs where I couldn't see them (I had just been caught smoking on a train by the doors and was terrified). I don't see what good can come of owning a gun. These American's are saying they have a right to protect themselves. But do you really need a gun to do that. Do they actually know how to use it, to shoot not to kill but to disarm/disable until professional help arrives. Another scenario, someone breaks in to your house. They don't realise you are in, you stumble on them and shoot them. This person, yes, they deserve to go to prison and be punished but isn't it likely if you shoot them they will die. People are more likely to fatally injure someone if they shoot them. So this person who could maybe be rehabilitated is dead. A much more severe punishment than if you actually murdered someone! A life taken.
We don't have guns readily available in the UK. If someone has one, well they shouldn't. Only the police and military should have them (I think anyway). My friends brother is a police officer in Northern Ireland and I was surprised that they are all armed and they always have to carry it with them unless they are consuming alcohol. It really surprised me. I wouldn't like the responsibility of owning or carrying a gun. I could never bring myself to fire it at someone. Not in a calm way anyway. If I lost my temper than I lose it and see red. So, who knows what I would be like in a stressful situation. But then, I don't really have to think about that, and that is kind of coming off subject a little.
I have also worked in mental health and have spoke to and read about many patients with different illnesses that can manifest in different ways. Some can hear voices telling them to do harm to other people. Then also, if you look at someone like me. I have numerous failed suicide attempts behind me and I have also been known to make some of these on impulse and also other risky behaviours on impulse. I know I am not alone here. I would hate to think that I, and anyone else like me could go and get a gun without checks on my/our mental health being made.
I feel I am lucky to live in a country where guns are not the norm and where they are so readily available. I do feel that only certain people should have access to them. We are advised that if we are threatened by an intruder not to fight but to remain calm and give them what they want. After all what is more important than your life.
What we do have a problem with here in the UK is knife crime. Mainly gangs (I think, don't quote me on that). Again young people are told if they carry a knife they themselves are more likely to be injured by a knife also. Surly this applies to guns?
So what do you think??