The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 8, 2013

Your View: Conundrum

By Kaye Smith
Special to The Globe

PIERCE CITY, Mo. — Oh, what a tangled web we weave — if it wasn’t so tragic, we might laugh at it as a soap opera. Guns, laws, mental illness. What to do?

One recent letter in a local paper expounded ad nauseam about how guns and pressure cookers weren’t the problem, it was mental illness. That’s probably true. Our senators, Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., have introduced a stand-alone bill to improve community-based mental health services — a good move.

At the same time, Missouri legislators are “outraged” that the Social Security Administration might want to know if any benefit recipients diagnosed with mental illness had a concealed-carry permit. We already forbid them from using their checks for casinos, liquor or adult entertainment. Should we not also be curious about whether they use their checks to buy guns?

It’s a conundrum — the non sequiturs are flying. One thing doesn’t lead to another. All one has to do is look at the eyes of the perpetrators of the last several mass shootings to know that mental illness was involved.

What can we do?

All I know is that I was literally sick to my stomach. Can’t we do something?

Kaye Smith

Pierce City