Where once we could believe a wall of excuses built to guard us... Where once we were able to pick sides and chose captains... Where once we had the privilege of demonizing our politicians... We are now forced to address the most ugly and naked truth.
In the coming weeks, the essential debate over gun regulation will continue as it should. However, there are other significant debates we need to be having congruently.
Why are the mentally disabled so stigmatized in this country?
Why is our national health care system completely lacking in effective treatment for mental health?
Why does our media promote the consumption of violence?
When a fellow citizen accomplishes the incredible, we'll all proudly take ownership over this or that act of greatness:
"Only in America."
"America is the place where anything can happen."
"That is why people come to America, to live the American Dream."
In his book Existentialism and Human Emotions, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre states: "When we say that a man is responsible for himself, we do not only mean that he is responsible for his own individuality, but that he is responsible for all men."
People with moderate to severe mental health disorders simply do not receive the treatment services they so desperately require. They and their families have to navigate a complex web of social services that result in chronic frustration, confusion and limited actualized help.
We need to address the immense shortcomings of the mental health care system. The millions of families and individuals who are dealing with these hardships need comforting and support.
The second amendment allows us the right to bear arms. Nowhere in that amendment does it state the necessity for assault rifles and large-capacity clips. These are weapons of mass destruction, designed for war. No individual needs to own or possess one.
In a spray of unrelenting bullets, a young man breaks into an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., brutally killing 26 Americans, including 20 children ages 6 and 7.
There have been seven mass killings in the U.S. this year.
This needs to end.
Our grief is no substitute for action.