Cbc Hour: A Culture of Violenceby Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson
Posted on 2013-01-14
JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to
express my serious concerns about the recent acts of violence
throughout the United States. The tragedy that struck the Sandy Hook
Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last month was a devastating
loss for the families and friends of the students and educators who
were killed. As the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history,
the Newtown tragedy has underscored the fundamental need to reevaluate
our approach to gun violence and mental illness.
Any strategy to reduce gun violence must be inclusive in its approach to finding a solution. Every viable consideration must be on the table as we look to enact comprehensive legislation at the federal level. With the total number of privately owned firearms in circulation estimated to be more than 270 million, we must take reasonable steps to ensure that these firearms do not fall into the wrong hands, while also protecting the Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners.
The topic of mental illness is one that is neglected, particularly in regard to its connection to gun violence. In 2009, approximately 11 million adults in the United States had a serious mental illness. Forty percent of those adults did not receive any type of treatment for that illness. We now know that each of the shooters in the most recent incidents suffered from mental illness. Addressing mental illness can be a critical component of a comprehensive approach to reducing violence in our schools and other public places.
Mr. Speaker, we must take deliberate steps going forward to prevent another tragedy from occurring. There is absolutely no place for violence in our schools, and we are compelled to do everything within our power to avert future catastrophe. There is a large mental health component to this debate that needs greater consideration, and I hope that my colleagues will continue to take a holistic approach during this process.