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View Diary: Stop Blaming Newtown Tragedy On Mental Illness (301 comments)

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  •  not so difficult (0+ / 0-)

    Having had a family member who was mentally ill and prone to violence, I can say it is not so hard to predict who will be violent.    If you have observed a pattern of violence in the past, and you see a preoccupation with violence (such as an attraction to very violent videogames and movies), then you can predict that the pattern will continue.   There are many tragic situations resulting from mental health issues which are never publicly reported or mourned, including suicides, child abuse and individual homicides.

    I agree that treatment for mental illness has limited effectiveness, and that's why I hope that this incident might focus some attention on improving that.   And, there are families who struggle with family members who clearly need it and won't agree to it, so there need to be reasonable commitment procedures.  

    Encouraging a focus on mental illness does not equate to saying that everyone needs to be locked away, but there are many, many, many persons who do need inpatient care, who are not receiving it because we don't want to spend that money as a society.

    There is a problem with mental health medications.  Corporations are exerting control over the regulatory process, and cheating at the testing process.   We are using medications in kids that have only been tested in adults.   In some persons, certain medications can cause severe aggression, and appear to be causing mass shootings and suicides.   Identifying these medications and removing them from the market could be as effective, or even MORE effective, than removing guns from the market.   Medications of this type have been linked to multiple incidents of mass violence, as well as suicides and other incidents, often in young persons.  

    This shooting also appears to have a connection with violent video games, so this is another area we need to look at, and it has an association with mental health.  These games do affect mental health, causing a measurable desensitization to violence.  Caution:   This video game might have a lasting impact on your brain.

    Connecticut had an assault weapons ban, so more of the same does not fill me with great hope.   We can try it, I guess, but if we keep ignoring the failure of our national mental health care system (or lack thereof), I don't hold out much hope that we'll make much progress.

    In addition, we've had a ban on recreational drugs for decades, and it appears that the ban has made recreational drugs MORE plentiful, rather than less plentiful, and caused an epidemic of violence.   I am not convinced that our government could control weapons, even if they tried.  I see no proof of it.  There are tricks that are available, often helped out by manufacturers, in which a "legal" gun can be turned into an "illegal" gun with only minor modifications.   Customers know this, and manufacturers know this, and you can get the instructions straight off the internet.  

    A gun ban isn't a cure all.  We need to look at other interventions if we want to make real progress.

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