Suffering mental illness or gun control?

On Tuesday, there was a shooting at a UPS location in Alabama. It always upsets me whenever there’s a shooting or any sort of violent act like this. My heart always goes out to the victim and their families, but it seems like those sentiments fade all too quickly for most media outlets.

The debate always begins the same way, “What should the United States do about gun control?” Is it too overbearing? Is it too lenient? Does everyone need a gun at all times? Should all guns be reserved for armed forces?

To me, there is a simple answer: do nothing. Gun control, at its core, isn’t the reason shootings like Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine High School or Aurora, Colo. happen. In all three of these instances, the perpetrators had a history or signs of mental illness. It seems to me the media likes to blow these events out of proportion and make a circus of the ordeal by blaming everything from video games to television to music. Basically, everything that isn’t the real source of this problem.

I consider myself to be open-minded. I think people are entitled to their reactions to games like “Grand Theft Auto V,” artists like Eminem or television shows like “Game of Thrones.” But I think the same people that find these entertainment sources to be the cause of individuals shooting people are outrageous.

I’ve logged countless hours in “GTA V,” listened to Eminem since middle school and watched all of “Game of Thrones” in a week. Not once did I have the urge to steal a car, beat up women or torture someone for my own entertainment. The reasoning behind this is that I am a rational and responsible person. I can tell the difference between a fictional universe, where the lines of the law are blurred, and the real world, where everything matters. There is no reset button.

Putting a gun in my hand isn’t going to magically spark feelings inside me to start shooting people. I’ve never had any urge to cause major physical harm to anyone outside of self-defense. Violent entertainment never made anyone go out and commit major crimes. It may cause inspiration, but again, if the type of people who use video games and television as inspiration for committing murder, they probably aren’t the people who need to be playing or watching those things.

To sum everything up, putting more guns on the street won’t make anything better or worse in the long run. If we don’t want to see shootings like the one in Alabama or Aurora, we should look into solving the issues of mental illness and how to identify the warning signs before incidents like these occur.