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Recent shootings in Colorado and Connecticut have renewed the national debates on gun control and mental health. As horrific as these events are, I do not believe the alternatives being suggested, many of which involve stricter government controls, are the answer.
Regarding gun control, I suggest that the government be careful about punishing the masses for the actions of a few. And in the mental health debate, I think we are missing the mark.
Society has portrayed mental health issues as a "scarlet letter," rather than taking a positive approach. When we encourage people to feel inferior because of these issues, I believe it may accelerate rash decisions that can negatively impact the many.
I believe a solution lies within our family lives. How much quality time do you spend with your children developing their moral compass? Respect, helpfulness, kindness, and reverence seem to have disappeared in this "me first" world.
Instilling good values takes work, but there are also many great programs available to help us: Scouting, American Heritage, 4-H Clubs, church youth groups, after-school programs, and the list goes on.
It is our obligation to instill ethical decision-making in our children, not the government's.
While this may not be the complete solution, over time this approach may help to reduce the Newtown events from repeating themselves as frequently as they are today.