"Is America Mentally Ill?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, October 7, 2017

I begin most mornings by turning on the television to see if the world is still turning on its axis.

Monday morning's news brought tears to many eyes, including mine.

On the screen, I saw ambulances, police and fire vehicles racing back and forth on the strip in Las Vegas. As I flipped through additional channels, scenes of panic appeared on all of them. My wife stepped into the room after hearing the broadcast and she also began crying. Our apprehension grew as we realized we know people who visit Las Vegas often and many who live nearby. Learning more about the country music event that had been taking place, we became concerned about a close friend -- a publicist for the entertainer who had been performing.

We were very relieved when our daughter called and assured us the band and all of the people who travel with them were safe. We just kept crying together as we viewed scenes of first responders being interviewed and learned of the growing number of casualties. We knew from our own visits to the city that they were well prepared for most emergencies, but this horrific occurrence was beyond anything that could have been anticipated. Hospitals were overwhelmed, staff were rushing in from all outlying areas of the state and as the number of injuries being treated increased, hopes of saving all of them diminished.

Many investigators, from all agencies, began to attempt to learn how the shooter had managed to commit such a heinous act. Most of the first hours centered on questions with few answers. It was discovered how well planned and insidious the act was after the number of firearms in the hotel rooms were found.

My immediate thoughts were, "How could anyone gather that many large guns in a public place with strong security?"

Over the years past, I have visited many of the hotels in Vegas, as I'm sure a number of my readers have. It was always sort of creepy seeing and being aware of the many cameras always watching every move made by guests of the hotel. Add to the obvious detection devices that were in plain view the many hidden ones everywhere and it is just inconceivable anyone could bring that much hardware into a hotel.

With all those cameras watching -- and we have to assume they were monitored -- why didn't someone notice a person hauling large box after large box to his room?

From photos later released and statistics gathered, we learned the shooter had an arsenal of 47 guns, a large quantity of ammo and devices to convert assault rifles into automatic weapons that would fire as machine guns. All were purchased legally, without question because any background check, if there even were any, on him came back pristine.

As the investigation continued, I was amazed at how easy it was for a person to take so many lives and injure such a great many others. One of the reporter's researchers announced that there were six additional mass shootings in our country the past week. Mass shooting is defined as four or more people shot in one incident, and we were told these events occur every nine out of 10 days on average in our country.

A graph was presented when I searched for the words, "Mass Shootings."

It listed the top 10 U.S. mass shootings that had resulted in a total of 280 people losing their lives. Do you remember how sad you were when you learned of Sandy Hook and the deaths of all those children? That was five years ago in 2012. Since that time, we have experienced San Bernardino in 2015 and Orlando last year with a death toll of 49. The frequency is increasing as is the number of lives lost. This shooting, however, with the large number of wounded, stands alone as the most devastating.

All the shrinks and experts are anxious to learn the motive for the massacre. Reasons given for the other top ten point to hate and mental derangement. Why wouldn't we believe someone was crazy to carry out such an act? Is our entire country's mental health slipping away?

A portion of a lengthy post by Jason Aldean on social media that was widely circulated said, "Something has changed in this country and the world that is scary to see. The world is a place I am scared to raise my children in."

Do you know a friend or neighbor, even a relative, who owns a gun and it scares you to think about it?

Over the past 10 to 20 years, most of our mental health facilities were closed citing lack of funding as a cause. Where did all the patients go? There is a glimmer of hope in our area as we learned the 103-year-old Caro location would be rebuilt.

A way must be found to stop the pace of increased mass shootings. Gun control is not the answer and our government immediately responded they were not going to pursue it at this time.

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