Daily 49er

In wake of LAX shooting, substantial mental health reform is key


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As the public continues to form an opinion regarding the shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, the immediate response has been to equip Transportation Security Administration agents with firearms in order to deter attacks.

The best solution, however, should not involve arming TSA agents.

As tragic as the shooting was, we must realize that this was the first TSA agent to have died from an attack in 12 years.

Giving guns to TSA agents does not provide an effective solution. It only makes the situation worse.

The alleged 23-year-old shooter Paul Ciancia was captured on Nov. 1 after shooting three TSA agents and killing one.

Reports of his arrest included a one-page note he had written, which addressed his grievances with the government.

Feeling that the government violated his constitutional rights, Ciancia’s note discussed getting back at the government and claiming it was implicated in a “new world order.”

The note and his actions seemed to indicate he was prepared to die.

Ciancia’s family had also reported to authorities that he had suicidal thoughts, prompting police to visit his residence in the Los Angeles area around the same time of the shooting.

Ciancia’s mental condition seems to be a major factor.

As mass shootings continue to swarm the media, the national debate on gun control has gone into the limelight once again.

These highly publicized isolated events all increasingly underscore the issue that mental health plays a larger role in gun violence than the regulation of firearms.

While the Second Amendment exists as a constitutional right to stand up to tyranny with the right to bear arms, many with mental illnesses are unable to define the reasonable limits to this right.

Many freedoms in America are believed to have an absolute, broad interpretation, but the truth is that many of these rights end as other’s rights begin.

When the time comes for another tragedy, many will argue that the Second Amendment is tantamount to the safety of citizens.

As a result, government and law enforcement officials will continue to upgrade their gear to meet the demands of modern violent attackers.

This militarization of law enforcement has been happening in the wake of 9/11.

Continuing to arm government and law enforcement officials will only serve to upset people, which can prompt the most mentally sensitive to try to do something about it personally.

Security should provide an inner peace for citizens.  It is difficult to find that inner peace when the agencies designed to protect that peace have as many firearms as an army regiment.

Nicolas Rodriguez is a senior political science major and an assistant opinions editor at the Daily 49er.

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