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Letter: Mental health system failure is the problem, not guns

A gunman who killed 12 people at a Thousand Oaks bar was a former U.S. Marine who may have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the Ventura County sheriff said.

Ian David Long, 28, lived in Newbury Park, not far from the club where he threw smoke bombs and rained bullets on a crowd of more than a hundred people Wednesday night.

Sheriff Geoff Dean said his department had had several interactions with Long, including a call to his home in April for a complaint of disturbing the peace. Deputies at the time said Long was irate and acting irrationally, Dean said. They called in mental health professionals to evaluate him, and they concluded he did not need to be taken into custody. Really?

Therein lies the problem – a failure of the mental health system that one, allowed this man to own a firearm, and two, failure to act until a tragic event happened.

Guns are not the problem folks, mental health is. Not every veteran with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a bomb waiting to go off, either – I know, I too have PTSD and suffer sleepless nights but definitely not psychotic episodes like this man. The fact that he showed up on police radar should have been a red flag, so why did no one disarm him?

While liberals argue that removing all guns will solve the problem, criminals pay little attention to any new gun legislation because they assume that a defenseless target is an easier target.

Instead of congressmen pointing the finger at each other over who spoke last with the Russians, they should be focusing on more pertinent issues that affect everyone: health care, education, immigration, infrastructure, domestic jobs and bipartisan relations. I, for one, am tired of the political infighting, as you should be.

It is an unnecessary distraction that takes attention away from more serious issues all because of a power struggle at our expense. Remember folks, politicians work for us – not the other way around.

Charles Carter


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