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I am going to make this quick and simple. STOP SCAPEGOATING THE MENTALLY ILL! In the conversation that is going on about gun violence, gun control, etc., EVERYONE wants to just off-handily through in, "If we keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, it will be all right."  This is pure BULLSHIT.

As tragic and sad as Newtown's, Aurora's, and Clackamas, etc, are, the deaths in these incidences are a small per cent of the overall deaths caused by violent acts in general, and guns in particular.  The perps who have committed most of the acts that cause deaths in this country have NEVER been diagnosed as having a mental illness. I will be doing some research with more specifics and follow this up with solid numbers.  Any help from the Psychologists, lawyers, and criminologists will help.

What I do know is that most people with a mental illness are law abiding. And everyone, including on this site need to stop talking like this is a mental illness caused problem.

Originally posted to kaminpdx on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:32 AM PST.

Also republished by Mental Health Awareness.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So they have to be formally diagnosed first? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annecros, johnny wurster

    Preparing for the Mayan doomsday prophecy by hastily trying to get in the good graces of snake-bird god Q’uq’umatz

    by dov12348 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:43:45 AM PST

  •  You know (10+ / 0-)

    Many mentally ill people are poor, shunned, unloved and far more in danger from the "sane" than they are a danger to others.

    Yes, some mentally ill people are violent, but the percentage is likely less than the general public.  I am more afraid of that men with anger management problems.  We don't call them mentally ill, we often call them husbands, fathers, co-workers and even bosses.

    I worked with mentally ill people in my twenties, and with what were then at the time called "emotionally disturbed adolescents" which covered anything from paranoid schizophrenics to drug users to sexually abused kids.  I saw or heard of more violence directed at them from society than any of them ever dealt our to other people.

    "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

    by Steven D on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:46:02 AM PST

  •  Absolutely, and for shits and grins almost (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    everyone has so mental issue. He'll, check your medicine cabinet.

    A danger foreseen is half avoided.

    by ncheyenne on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:46:57 AM PST

  •  Mental health is important re gun control . (5+ / 0-)

    It very much needs to be part of the discussion .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:47:28 AM PST

    •  Part of the discussion (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, second gen

      I never said it shouldn't be part of the discussion. What I am saying is that lets not talk like it is the mentally ill that is the cause of mass shootings, or your "run of the mill" shooting.  Grab your DSM5 first and give it a good read.  Of all the mass shootings in the last year, just for an example, you tell me which diagnosis is hung on each of these shooters.

  •  That's just it, though. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, AaronInSanDiego

    All we are talking about on this site are the Virginia Techs, Auroras, and Newtowns.

    Which as you say are a very small part of of the gun murder problem. Which by the way is a small part of the overall gun death problem because there are two suicides for every murder.

    Ban assault weapons, you ban mass shootings without having to do a thing about the mentally ill.

    Then, optionally, start to work on the other 30,000 gun deaths a year, in which the mentally ill as you say have not been shown to play much of a part.

    I say optionally because once memory of the last mass shooting fades the whole gun violence issue will sink beneath the radar once again.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:47:58 AM PST

    •   This isn't going to happen. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris, AaronInSanDiego
      I say optionally because once memory of the last mass shooting fades the whole gun violence issue will sink beneath the radar once again.
      The nation is saturated with both guns and guys with anger management problems and lack of self control and the number of incidents is/are increasing. There is  less time for memory to 'fade' because senseless mass murder is becoming a feature of life here.
  •  AMEN!!!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, splashy

    As the mom had plenty of 'mental issues', that apparently were growing stronger in controlling her actions and thoughts, she herself should have sought help for, not to mention All them running to the nearest gun shops, Again, and snatching up whatever their twisted paranoia's point them to!!

    Mental issues cover allot of ground and go way beyond those society already labels as having, and in many cases they are safer to be around then a so called one would think is normal!!

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:49:03 AM PST

  •  As parents we need to not be defensive... (4+ / 0-)

    ...about the body of knowledge assembled concerning good and bad parenting. Acknowledging the effects of bad parenting experiences is not scapegoating but progressing... together. Sharing good parenting stops inter-generational trauma.

    Same goes for guns, IMHO. There are tens of millions of respectable, safe, virtuous gun owners who should participate in action plans and neither be demonized nor scapegoated as the lessons learned are integrated into our culture.

    Also equally important is the vast spectrum of mental illness, health care, nutrition - both from nature and nurture. We are all included in our culture and none of us deserve demonization. Demonizing, like defensiveness, erects barriers to learning and potentially from some of the most informed and valuable contributors.  

    As we bare ourselves, as people committed to growth and progress must, we all deserve dignity, respect, and compassion. So I agree, no scapegoating. And no defensiveness. Open minds and open hearts live upon trust.

  •  I think it would be great if mental health issues (5+ / 0-)

    were seen as an important societal problem.

    Even those that will NEVER EVEN TOUCH a gun need services provided.

    If focussing on the shooters gets that issue into the public consciousness/conversation, I think that's good.

    Do you want no one to mention mental illness in regards to shootings, so no services are provided?

    I'm wondering if this is one of those crises one shouldn't waste. I'd grab it with both hands and scream for the need for comprehensive mental health services for all.

    As to the stigma, it's probably like marriage equality. As people see the reality, some minds will change.

    **Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does** h/t Clytemnestra/Victoria Jackson

    by glorificus on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:00:31 AM PST

    •  The problem is, pointing at mental illness in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      these situations, as if that is the ONLY reason there are mass shootings, does nothing to help anyone get more services. What it does do is drive those who have mental illness deeper into ground, not wanting any of that stigma attached to them.

      "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

      by second gen on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:58:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who's "scapegoating"? (6+ / 0-)

    I'm so perplexed by people wanting to shove the discussion of mental health off the stage.

    To point out that mass murder and mental health are linked is not blaming all murder on the mentally ill, or to suggest that all mentally ill people are murderers. By saying that, you appear too eager to shut down a conversation, and I don't know why you would want to do that. If the conversation makes you uncomfortable perhaps you should help stear it, rather than shut it down.

    Further, there is a documented link, contrary to what you say. This is from a piece that discusses the obscene amount of guns that are out there and the obvious realtionship to violence in America. But the piece still manages to acknowledge the mental health issue:

    But while access to weapons is a crucial consideration for stemming the violence, stricter gun laws are no silver bullet. Another key factor is mental illness. A major New York Times investigation in 2000 examined 100 shooting rampages and found that at least half of the killers showed signs of serious mental health problems.
    Mother Jones
    •  Shuting down the discussion? WTF (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You want to talk about mental health issues?  I am all for that.  But I am not for talking about it in this context in the way that it has been done after Newtown, and will be after the next shooting.  When people talk about it in this context is used to demonize them, and doesn't do a damn thing to further the discussion of the very complex issues around mental health, from treatments, diagnosis, funding of programs, causes, whatever.  Oh, and by the way, "showing signs of serious mental health problems" doesn't equal a diagnosis.  Again, get a DSM5, EVERYONE on this planet can easily peg at least a number of the criteria for any number of "illness" or "disorders" that people call "serious mental health problems".

  •  The mentally ill should not have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmosby, johnny wurster

    access to guns. This won't solve the entire problem but it will save lives. I don't believe this is "scapegoating", but if it is, oh well.

    •  I disagree (3+ / 0-)

      Mental illness is too broad category.   That's like saying you should not have a driver's license if you have physical illness.   You might have a cut on your toe.

    •  I didn't think there were enough (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, second gen

      comments along those lines to justify writing a diary, but you just did it. The lifetime prevalence of mental illness is 50%. Do you really think a handwashing compulsion is a reason to bar someone from having a gun?
      I've seen maybe 2-3 comments since the Sandy Hook shooting that were that sweeping. In general the context of discussion suggests that people are frequently using the phrase "mentally ill" when they are talking about a pretty likely dangerous person, one with perhaps a psychotic disorder mixed with mood lability and a history of lashing out.

      Stay fired up: now is the time to focus on downticket change! #Forward

      by emidesu on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:16:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I'd be in favor of banning all (0+ / 0-)

        people with any kind of mental illness from access to guns. That would be a good thing IMO.

        •  So you want guns banned? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          second gen, AaronInSanDiego

          If you add the lifetime prevalence of diagnosed mental illness (50%) to the burden of undiagnosed mental illness, you're looking at most of the population. And people with severe personality disorders tend to externalize blame and not seek help. Your argument only makes practical sense if you want guns banned entirely or limited to police/military, and even many of them would have to be disarmed under those standards.

          Stay fired up: now is the time to focus on downticket change! #Forward

          by emidesu on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 03:39:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (3+ / 0-)

    All the talk about mental illness is an attempt to change the subject and find another weak group to blame.  Gun violence is caused by guns.

    The sad part is all the people that claim to care about the mentally ill that are cheering this debacle on, sure guys like hickenlooper may throw a little money towards mental health treatment but rest assured most of it will go towards incarceration and other law enforcement projects.  

  •  Stop stereotyping (7+ / 0-)

    To say the shooter was mentally ill is not to say that all mentally ill are shooters.

    However, if we want to help people before they have their nineteenth nervous breakdown, we need to help the people who are struggling.

  •  Most of the people that shoot others (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, madcitysailor, second gen

    Are considered to be "sane" right up until they do the deed.

    What I don't understand is why don't they consider someone that commits spousal abuse over a long period of time mentally ill? To me that's what it looks like.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:07:26 AM PST

    •  Being an abuser is a mental health problem. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Abusing drugs or alcohol is a mental health problem. People have to present with a complaint, be committed or enter the justice system to receive a diagnosis and treatment.
      Someone above suggested reading the DSM. If you haven't ever, I would also recommend everyone read it. This needs to be a nuanced discussion.

      Stay fired up: now is the time to focus on downticket change! #Forward

      by emidesu on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:39:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Correct. (4+ / 0-)

    Apart from the sheer impossibility of a national database (including what disorders exactly?), it distracts from the demonstrable reality of too many powerful guns in private hands. There is only one problem here and it is not mentally ill people or developmentally disabled people, much as the NRA would like to have us believe. It's too many guns in too many hands. Period.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:11:10 AM PST

    •  Sheer impossibility (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, jessical

      Would be getting rid of the 300 million guns that are already out there.

      •  Not if we start today. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think you can use the word "impossible" if you haven't tried. For a start, regulating all gun purchases would be a good start. Requiring all gun sales - all gun sales - to go through a registered agent would be a good start. So, you want to buy a gun from another individual, then you go to a gun store and pay the dealer a fee to manage the transaction including the background check. Not that hard, and would certainly gain the support of gun-dealers. There are a host of things that could be done, but you have to accept that it's going to take a while. No instant answers here.

        There was a time that more than 60% of men smoked; now it's less than 20% in many States. Took a while, but steady pressure achieved a lot. Same with guns. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll get there. Few things are impossible with enough will and persistence.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:49:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  More schizophrenics are victims than perpetrators (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen, AaronInSanDiego

    ...of crimes. By far. The same is true for other forms of mental illness.

    One of the dirty little secrets of modern criminal justice is that not only has mental illness been 'criminalized' (i.e., tens of thousands of mentally ill Americans languish in jail for lack of treatment), but crime has also been 'medicalized'. By that I mean folks who commit petty crimes that would be expensive or inconvenient to prosecute are not infrequently dumped on emergency rooms or psychiatric inpatient units by the police, where they make life miserable for both the genuinely mentally ill and for medical personnel.

  •  This is the other reason (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen

    I don't really want to talk about solutions for mass shootings and mental illness in the same conversation.  (The first reason being the -- now apparently abandoned in favor of "arm all the teachers" -- NRA-approved derailing tactic, taking the focus off guns.)  Most people here have been sensible about it, but a few have been outright scary with the willingness to curtail civil liberties for the mentally ill (and I'm not talking guns here), not to mention the presumption of danger from mentally ill people a a group that would lead to such willingness.

  •  I am on board. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, AaronInSanDiego

    As the parent of a child with autism disorder.

    Like you, our family is being scapegoated,

    It's the guns. Take that out of the equation and this story is still sad and tragic, but it doesn't end with 20 dead kids.

  •  T&R (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen, AaronInSanDiego

    Because the much of the current discussion is either (a) an opportunistic if laudable attempt to increase mental health funding, or (b) another authoritarian fantasy that if we can just identify all the bad people, then things will be hunky for for the nice people who would never do such a thing (even if the conditions of their lives and their social arrangements and their beliefs absolutely insure that more soul dead kids will go postal).  

    Enough databases of "bad" people (or "sick" people or what have you)  will get us very little except more people on the outside who hate everything on the warm, dry side of the glass.  

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:01:12 PM PST

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