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A few charts really clarify the problem with guns that no one's talking about.

We're pretty good at ignoring these problems, but by putting them together, maybe we'll pay attention.

So just to recap:

  • There is a mass killing in America every two weeks. That means that once every 14 days, someone kills four or more people.
  • Two-thirds of all mass killings involve guns.
  • At the same time, we've cut $1.6 billion from state mental health services nationwide over the last five years.
  • Only 20% of children ages 8-15 living with a mental illness receive treatment.

If we want to get serious about reining in gun violence in the U.S. — especially considering how difficult it is to get even the most limited gun regulations passed here — we have to get serious about improving our mental health care system. We've got to fund it and destigmatize it so people don't feel shame about seeking treatment.


This is not to imply that most people living with a mental illness are violent. Far from it. But because "severe mental health disorders that go untreated can increase the risk for violence," making it easier, more affordable, and less shameful to seek treatment is really the least we can do for people who are suffering.

I live in Washington, the state with the first official outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. While my family lives several hours from Seattle, it was alarming to be near the epicenter—especially early in the pandemic when we knew even less about the coronavirus than we know now.

As tracking websites went up and statistics started pouring in, things looked hairy for Washington. But not for long. We could have and should have shut everything down faster than we did, but Governor Inslee took the necessary steps to keep the virus from flying completely out of control. He's consistently gotten heat from all sides, but in general he listened to the infectious disease experts and followed the lead of public health officials—which is exactly what government needs to do in a pandemic.

As a result, we've spent the past several months watching Washington state drop from the #1 hotspot down to 23rd in the nation (as of today) for total coronavirus cases. In cases per million population, we're faring even better at number 38. We have a few counties where outbreaks are pretty bad, and cases have slowly started to rise as the state has reopened—which was to be expected—but I've felt quite satisfied with how it's been handled at the state level. The combination of strong state leadership and county-by-county reopenings has born statistically impressive results—especially considering the fact that we didn't have the lead time that other states did to prepare for the outbreak.

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