The connection of mental health and mass shooters

No one has a concrete thought about why someone would wake up in the morning and decide to end  hundreds of innocent lives. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country- and Obama made an effort to expand background checks and limit assault weapon manufacturing during his term.Trump just repealed that rule that Obama put in place. “The Social Security Administration is no longer required to submit the names of certain mentally disabled beneficiaries to a federal agency that conducts gun background checks.” said Gore from FactCheck.

It is no secret that mass shooting and gun violence have made an extreme impact in the world we are living in. No one knows exactly why it is occurring so frequently- but many have connected  it with the mental state of the shooter. Many of the statistics out there disprove that the mental state of the mass shooter influences  the intentions of the shooter.

“There is little evidence to support the idea that individuals diagnosed with a mental illness are any more likely to commit a crime of gun violence than anyone else.”  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, fewer than 5 percent of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the U.S. between 2001-2010 were carried out by individuals diagnosed with a mental illness. And the fact that one person with a mental illness committed a mass shooting does not make that person representative of others with that type of mental illness. Many common mental health diagnoses—including anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder—have no correlation with violent behavior at all.” said Naprawa of Berkeley Wellness Common misconceptions include- “ Mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent the most significant relationship between gun violence and mental illness. People with serious mental illnesses should be considered dangerous. Gun laws focusing on people with mental illness or psychiatric diagnosis can effectively prevent mass shootings,” said James L. Knoll IV, M.D. and George D. Annas, M.D. , M.P.H. from Psychiatry Online They also include some evidence-based facts as well: “The overall contribution of people with serious mental illness to violent crimes is only about 3%. When these crimes are examined in detail, an even smaller percentage of them are found to involve firearms.”   

With this dynamic situation, it can be difficult to conceptualize all of these misleading sources of information regarding these sensitive situations. “Clearly, someone who makes a decision to commit an action as horrific as what we saw unfold from the actions of Stephen Paddock has a lot of explaining to do.  So, how do I, from an objective viewpoint, make a determination or a conclusion on something that requires knowledge of and proof for a subjective action?  This is a slippery slope, at best and can ultimately end up arriving at an inappropriate or immature conclusion.  As with any complex incident – whether Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, or Columbine – there are aggravating and mitigating factors that influence the why and how.”, said a local peace officer.

The claims made by the local peace officer are reinforced by the training that officers in the state of California are expected to take, as well as the countless tests and standards to uphold throughout their career. “During the academy, I went through well over 100 hours of training relative to weapons, which included: safe weapons handling, disassembly, cleaning and inspection, and assembly; identification of weapon operations and potential causes for malfunctions (as well as means to overcome such complications) practice firing (with safety rounds that allowed practice drills and dry fire operations/function training drills); live fire exercises (during day and night)”… etc.

From an objective standpoint, “ Guns, by themselves, are no more dangerous than automobiles.  When you put an unstable individual in control of either, there is great potential for harm,” said the same local peace officer. It is not a matter of one influence,diagnosis, or moment in time for these mass shooters. It is natural for us to try our best to connect and rationalize these horrific actions whatever way we see fit.The bottom line  answer to whether I believe mass shooters have many more influences, I think you have to realize that everyone has influences and each individual needs to be responsible for their own actions. Lumping people into a specific category based upon your opinions or statistics is a dangerous move to make”, the local peace officer concludes.The connection between mass shooters and mental health needs to be broken. As much as we all would like to find a method for this madness, mental health and the stigma that surrounds it, is not the answer.

 

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