Last week, a Detroit man murdered his grandmother and aunt – and critically-injured his own daughter.
Police say that the suspect was mentally ill, and is reported to have a Concealed Pistol License (CPL). As the families suffer and Detroit police officers take on another case of gun-related homicide, I feel frustrated with the senseless acts that continue to define Detroit. I think we want to do something to stop this, but we are having trouble focusing on the issues at hand, especially such a senseless act in a city that has lost her balance.
But can we really find the answer? We’re presented with a paradox for Detroiters in gun control, the 2nd Amendment, and mental illness.
Many are frustrated with the ability of a mentally-ill individual to obtain or maintain a CPL, let alone a firearm in general. And many states do require background checks prior to issue of a license. After all, that is the purpose of licensing firearms. So some people advocate further regulation for mental health reasons, arguing that we need more barriers for those diagnosed with defined mental instability. It is not an unfair request.
The process of enacting or enforcing these normally common-sense ideas has already taken place. One question on the CPL application asks if you suffer from any mental illness. It’s an airport security question that will never be answered incorrectly if the purpose of an individual is to obtain a CPL.
A CPL issued to a mentally-ill man isn’t the problem. It’s the fact that he went crazy and shot his family. I agree with the gun rights folks, but that does not justify a free-for-all in gun ownership. Yes, you have a right to bear arms and form a militia for the defense. But this does not mean that everyone can carry a weapon willy-nilly.
This is the most important topic at hand. The mental health of Detroit will get worse until we fix the city.
Mental health funding, as with the city budget, is non-existent. For the overworked social workers out there, they need the resources to insure that families can find help when they need it. The state of a person who suffers from mental illness isn’t just a childhood thing. It is often for life. We need to focus on the real issues, the ones that challenge Detroit residents every day.
Thoughts and prayers for the Shine family.