Borrowed from a fellow GovLooper, David Grinberg, who is hosting a similar discussion on gun control in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, “It should be obvious by now that something is seriously wrong in America regarding…”(I’ll modify from here) the identification and care of our mentally ill.
Gun rampages tend to have two things in common 1. a gun 2. someone with a mental illness.
In the Newtown shootings, the shooter showed early signs that he was mentally ill.
In the Columbine shootings, the two shooters posted a Blog showing “…ever-growing anger against society.” two years before the shooting. The mother of a friend “…filed numerous complaints with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office concerning Harris, as she thought he was dangerous.” These two boys were ignored until they made headlines.
In the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen others, the shooter was found incompetent to stand trial. He left messages in a safe, on MySpace, and argued with his Dad during the day of the shooting. He was forcibly medicated following his diagnosis of schizophrenia. Ironically, the shooter was stopped by a 74 yr old retired US Army Colonel (presumably intimately familiar with guns), and two bystanders – one with a weapon and a concealed carry permit (though he did not draw his weapon).
Of the 62 mass murders in this country since 1982, at least 62% of the shooters had signs of mental illness prior to the mass murder events. At least 35 of the killers (56%) committed suicide on or near the scene. The statistics suggest that mental illness is definitely a factor in these events. Since 1982, .000119230769230769% of US gun owners have gone on shooting sprees. Considering the overwhelming number of gun owners in the US (52 milion) who do not go on shooting sprees or commit mass murder, it’s possible that mental illness is a dominant factor worth looking into. See below from CNN:
What should we be doing about the identification and appropriate treatment of people with mental disorders in this country?
Poll of the Week
Could your inbox use a little more awesome?
Sign up now to get our free Daily Awesome newlsetter featuring gov-focused resources, trainings, blogs and articles to help you do you job better.