Blog by Michael Sodini
It’s with a heavy heart that I’m writing this and asking everyone to breathe… AGAIN. I want to get this in before the blame game starts and all the “whatabouts” start making noise. Here are the names of the victims in our two most recent mass shootings and the one that we forget about daily:
Denny Stong, 20; Nevin Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Officer Eric Talley, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; Jody Waters, 65
Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Yong Ae Yue, 63
And… the 60 plus people that die from suicide by firearm who nobody mentions.
To the families, I wish there was something comforting to say but there isn’t. This just sucks and we all know that.
Again, here is what we do know:
1. Nobody is happy about the loss of life.
2. Emotions will be running high.
3. People will need something or someone to blame.
Do not confuse evil with mental illness… Do not confuse someone who does something evil while carrying a firearm with a law-abiding member of the 2A community. At some point, we have to get off this merry-go-round of madness.
I’ve spent the last three years of my life building relationships with people outside the firearms community and working towards out of the box solutions that would help promote better mental health and maintain our second amendment rights. We have had almost zero support and I have spent a majority of my life savings to change the perspective on our community. There is nothing more I’d like to see then the firearms industry get to where alcohol is with DUIs… but I feel we are trying to outdo the tobacco industry. If you don’t understand what I’m trying to say here, do some research.
To my friends outside of the gun community… legislation is not going to change any of this. More people are going to hide their moments of crisis in fear of losing their rights. People are already doing this now… more laws (especially knee-jerk reaction ones) will make it worse. More rinse, wash, repeat until the next tragedy. Heaven forbid we look into root cause mitigation and try to go beyond the tool. A majority of these laws will just add to the stigma of mental health.
We can’t stop evil… but we can do our best to get people the help they need before they hit stage 4. We are going to hear a lot of noise in the next coming weeks. Try to take it with a grain of salt. We need to engage in nuanced conversations… not inflammatory rhetoric. We can all do better!