In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, I was also able to connect with a passionate community of mental health advocates. Eight of these mothers, all powerful advocates in their own right, wrote letters to Robert and Arlene Holmes. Here is some of what they shared.
We should also take a moment this month to recognize the red flags that we have overlooked and remember those who have perished because we haven't taken action: the red flags of mental health that are far too often unseen.
A jury will soon decide whether James Holmes is guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity. Last week, one of his victims, Ashley Moser, took the stand in her wheelchair.
While we are busy debating what the flag represents in the minds of those who see it compared to those who wish to fly it, we are not talking about the issues that really matter.
Good guys stopping bad guys is a myth perpetuated in movies and television. The best chance of stopping a bad guy with a gun is good policy that makes it tougher to get one.
The insanity defense, which dates back to ancient times, is a controversial defense option. In fact, not all 50 states allow an insanity defense, and several of those that do have rejected "not guilty by reason of insanity" in favor of the less-forgiving "guilty but insane."
When inexplicable tragedies happen, we seek to find an avenue for blame. If we can establish blame, we can establish cause. If we can establish cause, then, maybe, we can find a way to keep it from happening again.
On February 26, the FCC will do something that few have ever accused the government of doing. It will recognize reality and act appropriately. That, in a nutshell, is the debate over net neutrality. Just as plain telephone service connected people and was regulated, now it's data services. Calls or video are all just megabits. Telephone companies couldn't discriminate in their traffic then, neither should they or cable companies be able to play favorites or manipulate customers now. That basic, regulated fairness is what allowed the Internet to develop, a point some current opponents seem to miss, whether blinded by ideology or money. But if you listen to the anguished cri de coeur from the loyal defenders of the big telecom companies, you would think the FCC's action was a government coup d'interconnecter -- a takeover of The Internet.
I'm not in any way opposed to using a gun or anything else for genuine, self-defense. But I am opposed to the shameless pandering of the NRA and other gun promoters to the childish fantasy that if you walk around with a gun, that you're protecting yourself or others from harm.
Colorado did the right thing and closed the loophole that made it easy for criminals, convicted domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill to buy guns without any questions asked. But we need more from our Congressman on gun violence.
The families of Newtown victims have done a lot to push for gun control and their work will surely continue to make a difference both in terms of public awareness and also legislation, but the burden of restoring sanity to a nation gone gun crazy should not fall to them alone.
Terrorism is politically motivated, and most gun violence in our nation is not. But when it comes to the impact of the easy availability of guns, it is hard to argue against the premise that we are being terrorized.
I believe that in the interest of the greater good would be federal legislation mandating anyone with certain psychiatric diagnoses (Paranoid Schizophrenia, certain types of dementia, and other psychotic disorders) be entered into a federal database, prohibiting them from gun ownership.
Sure, the NRA and gun lovers will kick and scream as they always do, but at some point, America must draw the line against letting those groups jeopardize our safety and take a stand for our right to be free of gun violence.
This weekend, moms across the country will be gathering in our communities to remember those whose lives were lost just one year ago in Colorado. As we come together yet again to commemorate those who have been tragically taken away from their loved ones as a result of gun violence, we are also sending the message that we aren't going to take this anymore.
A timeless, nameless wasteland somewhere in Washington, DC. Two House Republicans are sitting dejectedly on a bench.
VLADIMIR: What do you want to do?
ESTRAGON: I want to repeal Obamacare.