Skip to comments.Both mental health and guns deserve our attention [Sheeple: "Guns baaaaaad!"]
Posted on 12/18/2012 7:48:56 PM PST by Slings and Arrows
The Newtown school shooting. Its a tragedy that a mass shooting requires a qualifier, but this is America so we need to be specific as not to be confused with Aurora, Columbine, Arizona, or Virginia Tech. Colorado massacres require a site specific qualifier.
There are 2 common elements with all these massacres: mental illness and guns (not hunting rifles, but firearms designed to cause maximin human carnage in the shortest amount of time).
And both deserve our attention.
Mental illness, because people who commit mass murder have some mental health condition found in a psychiatric textbook. They are either schizophrenic, psychotic, or sociopaths. The 1st two have treatment the last one, not so much.
Most people can spot someone who is psychotic or a schizophrenic who is decompensating. Odd stares, strange behavior, paranoia. Come walk with me in San Francisco, for many sleep on the streets and during the day they wave at bugs that dont exist, rock back and forth to sooth unseen demons, and have shouting matches with invisible adversaries. They are desperately in need of mental health care, but for some reason cant get it. Lack of insurance, marginalization, stigma, drugs, fear of the system, homelessness, lack of money to pay for treatment as many psychiatrists dont accept insurance, paranoia, or the fact that they have to be an immediate danger to themselves or others to be forcibly treated.
Not everyone can spot a sociopath. They blend and ooze among humanity. Chameleons of destruction that look like the guy next door. On a small scale they cause contained mayhem, but if they are so inclined they could become the next Ted Bundy or Jim Jones. There is no treatment for sociopaths, although who knows if we had a better way to identify them early and start behavioral therapy?
While it is true that almost anything can be weaponized, Jones used poisoned Kool-Aid, modern day massacres on American soil involve guns. We dont know whether the killer in Newton was schizophrenic, psychotic for some reason (there are several causes) or a sociopath, but we do know he had access to weapons of carnage. Had he been armed with a kitchen knife and an axe he would have not breached the security system, but even if he had he would have been stopped with far less loss of life.
Ask yourself, do you want someone descending into mental illness who is rapidly loosing their grip on reality or a sociopath careening out of control to have access to a semi-automatic weapon?
We need to fix the way we treat mental illness in America. We must remove the stigma and the barriers to care as well as research better treatment options. We also need to eradicate weapons that have the sole purpose of killing people with efficiency. These are not mutually exclusive discussions.
If we dont do something, well just keep asking ourselves, How could this happen, when we all know the answer. This happens because as a society we choose to let it happen and until we do something about it we will all continue to pay the price, some more than others.
Jennifer Gunter is an obstetrician-gynecologist and author of The Preemie Primer. She blogs at her self-titled site, Dr. Jen Gunter.
The sheeple have bleated.
“Oh, and Fruit-Loops. They all ate Fruit-Loops at some point in their lives. We must ban Fruit-Loops!”
“(... firearms designed to cause maximin human carnage in the shortest amount of time).”
That would be a 155 mm howitzer.
In WWII, some 50% of German casualties on East Front were from Artillery. Some 90% of German casualties against the Western Allies were from artillery.
And yes, possession of crew served weapons are a preexisting right documented by the Second Amendment. Rather like a ship with cannon is a crew served weapon, which was privately owned, and documented in the Congressional power to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal.
It seems like a lot of health care professionals are weak on correlation vs causation, and I don’t just mean with respect to guns.
Perhaps the DSM-V will finally recognize “Kookoo for Coco-Puffs.”