I am going to suggest something horrible, so please bear with me.

I wonder how different the tenor of the national conversation in the wake of the Newtown killings would be if that young man had walked into that school, sloshed the students and teachers with gasoline, and lit a match?

Would America be discussing, would our politicians be demanding, controls on gasoline? Do you think they would get them?

Without the political drama that guns bring to such rhetoric, maybe we could all talk about the real problem. That is, we, as a society, allowed a young man to become so tortured in his thinking that he felt he was forced to commit a terrible crime. And then, seeing what he had done, he ended his own life.

And so we come to the real taboo subject here: mental illness. Nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to do anything about it, because we would all have to do something.

Politicians can’t restrict it out of existence. It is something that we all have to work at, something we all have to think about, something that requires an effort from everyone, from the president to the man or woman on the street.

But that won’t happen. Instead, we may get some restrictions on guns or ammunition or maybe even gasoline, because that’s the easy, lazy thing to do.

Banning guns is easy; helping your fellow humans, not so much.

Bruce E. Hanson

Augusta

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