I had a review scheduled for today, like I almost always do during the week. However, I have to get something off my chest because it has been bothering me for a few days now. First, some backstory.
On Saturday, a local teacher and coach committed suicide. He was in his car which was surrounded by the police and less than two blocks from our home. This is what makes this particular story so disturbing. The kids were home alone, as Jim and I were out with friends. The entire street and our cul-de-sac were shut down for hours because of this.
It turns out that the teacher had been brought into the police department earlier that day for questioning regarding potential inappropriate relationships with minors. After he left the police department, he drove to a local sporting goods store and purchased a 9mm gun along with ammunition and walked out with it twenty-five minutes later. At some point in time, he left a suicide note for his wife, who alerted the police. They then were on the lookout for him and just happened to find him in our neighborhood.
There are so many things wrong with this entire situation that I don’t know whether to feel relief, sadness, concern, or pure anger. Yes, if the allegations are true, the teacher had issues and should have faced the consequences of his actions. However, he left behind a young wife and kids. Plus he taught special education for emotionally and behaviorally disabled teens, none of whom were his alleged victims. There are no easy answers for his actions, and I think that what has me most emotionally conflicted.
However, the gun situation is something that leaves me blisteringly angry. This man, obviously emotionally distraught after being questioned by the police for a few hours about some serious allegations, was not only able to buy a gun with the necessary ammunition, he was able to walk out of the freaking store with said gun in less than 30 minutes. And this is LEGAL. That’s right. Legal. Because our idiotic Republican-led state legislature passed a new law last June that ended the forty-eight hour waiting period for gun purchases, which our even more idiotic governor, former presidential candidate Scott Walker, signed into law. What’s even worse is at the time this new law went into effect, there are only nine states who still have the waiting period law. Holy fucking shit.
I don’t get it. I do not understand how rational people can think that allowing such easy access to guns is protecting our second amendment. I do not get why this is even an issue given how much violence there is on the streets, in our schools, in our homes, in our world. When the hell did it become okay to purchase a dangerous weapon as easily as it is to purchase a pair of shoes or a new car? Hell, it is more difficult to buy a house than it is to purchase a gun!! When all pro-gun activists started blaming healthcare for all of the gun violence, did they forget that allowing people time to rethink their actions and cool off a bit would increase a person’s chances of getting help?
Honestly, what will it take for the country to realize that the loudest gun proponents, namely the NRA, do not have the country’s best interest at heart. They do not even have a person’s best interest at heart. In fact, they don’t give a rat’s ass about the second amendment. Most of them are in league with the gun and ammo companies to help drive their sales. As long as they continue to receive kickbacks and other benefits from the gun companies’ profits each year, they will continue to spout the same antiquated, illogical bullshit about the right to bear arms. That’s right. Just like everything else in this world, money makes the world go round and the amount of money thrown around to protect gun manufacturers and sellers is abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous.
Was this teacher a bad person? The ongoing investigation will tell; I am not here to judge his actions prior to Saturday. Did he have a right to commit suicide? Sure. It is not illegal to commit suicide (I had to double-check this). He had every right to take his own life no matter what we think about it. Did we as a society have to make it so easy for him to do so? No. In that regard, we failed this man and we failed him badly. By making it so easy for him to obtain a gun, when he was so obviously upset and facing serious trouble, we prevented him from getting the mental help he needed. This is not healthcare’s fault. This is society’s fault. Plain and simple.