"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Making Sense of the Newtown Tragedy

There isn't any way to make sense of what happened Friday morning in Newtown, CT.  It was an absolutely horrific tragedy for which there is no logical explanation.  To be perfectly honest, I have minimized watching, listening or reading about what happened.  The national electronic media has become an absolute disgrace when such horrific incidents occur.  They are all looking for that edge in being the first to report an exclusive aspect of any story.  In doing so, they ignore fact checking; they just run with what they have been told and don't care if they are inaccurate.  The bottom line is that they were successful in grabbing our attention. 

As for the gun control issue, quite frankly, the only scary thing about banning assault weapons is where will the ban stop?  No average Joe needs to have an arsenal of assault weapons, even one for that matter.  But, once a ban starts, where will it stop?  Pamela and I own guns for our safety in this day and age and every time an incident like Friday occurs, the appropriateness of our reasoning becomes stronger.  Going forward, I will make every effort to maintain that right. 

In my opinion, the biggest issue from Friday is how our country is dealing with the mental health issue.  Funding continues to be cut and in many cases eliminated at every level of government.  We have some extremely ill individuals in this country who are freely walking among us every day.  It is no longer politically correct to institutionalize those who are in need the services of mental health professionals.  Some of these folks need a great deal of help, but we leave it up to them in their compromised state to decide for themselves if help is necessary. 

I was encouraged by the Lt. Governor from Alaska, who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School as a child growing up in Newtown, CT.  Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell spoke of what has been done in Alaska due to the crisis of mental health issues and suicide in that state. He said that what we need first and foremost is a more robust mental health system in the US.  Because of Alaska's double the national average suicide rate, they have set aside funding to address their issues in Alaska.  They are doing a great deal with research and new methods for treating mental illness in his state. 

I hope that when President Obama said that we will stem gun violence in our schools through meaningful action that it will be an across-the-board solution and not one focused exclusively on banning guns.  By the way, I applaud President Obama for going to Connecticut last evening to begin the much-needed healing in that community.

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