opinion: put mental health officials in our nations schools

December 26, 2012

America has about 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the prisoner population, the highest number of guns per capita in the world and in this land of the free you are about 20 times more likely to get shot than in any other developed country. Think it’s odd that the country with seemingly the most criminals would also have the most guns, and then that these gun owners would shoot more people?
One of the biggest conversations we will have in America in these last few days before the new year will be about budget control. With the “fiscal cliff” right around the corner and next year’s impending debt limit crisis it is simply something we can’t avoid. When these things come up they are usually met with talk on sides either saying “We need to raise taxes” or “We need to cut entitlement programs.” Truth is both need to happen and when they do it will be a great chance for true reform of programs in this country that may have great intentions but at this moment literally don’t work.

Words by Lindsey Rand

We recently lost 27 innocent people in Sandy Hook because one mentally unstable person had access to a number of high power and high capacity firearms. Everyday we lose 32 Americans to gun related violent acts, often because of a similar issue; one unstable individual with access to a firearm. This behavior is truly more president in lower income neighborhoods. This September Chicago faced a staggering 400 homicides, And to date they’ve lost 425 individuals to gun violence this year, 117 of these people being under 21. Now we can talk all day about gun laws but truthfully many people aren’t getting shot with fully loaded assault rifles on a daily basis, so even if those things are banned and we look into enforcing better background checks, how do we get the guns and gun mentality out of these already in danger communities.
Between the years of 1980 and 2007 the state of California has built 21 prisons and 1 college campus. In 2007 they were spending about 12 billion on education and a comparable 10 billion dollars on their corrections dept. This year Los Angeles has had over 500 homicides 75% which are gun related. If we are spending tons of money on “corrections” why are we constantly fighting the same battles? Funny the answer to this question is mainly because our corrections system doesn’t actually correct anything. According to an independent study of our jail system over 50% of our inmate are suffering from mental issues. The general prison rule being lock these people up in solitary confinement and hope they get better. This rule sadly has run over into the rest of the communities where the rate of criminal activity is higher. In these communities education systems suffer from lack of funding and mental health help is basically non-existent so it’s it treated as it is in prison, locked away until where no one actually has to deal with it. But we find ourselves dealing with this issue all the time as we see these untreated people commit horrible acts on a daily basis because no one wanted to do anything to help.
So when we finally get to talk about cutting funding and changing policies to stop these numbers from growing we need to start on the most basic level of educating under developed communities and helping the children who suffer from overexposure to adult experiences in communities where violence is the norm. Take away money from private prisons who just want to pack jails and create more, put money into the education system, and put mental health officials in our nations schools. Access to these things should not be based on your income any more. Lack of education and mental counseling are costing us dearly all over the country. To say that something like the Sandy Hook shouldn’t have happened in a town like that is just acknowledging that it does and should happen in other places. This is not true, these things should not happen anywhere and won’t if we give aid across the board that affect all of our citizens.