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Mental Health Reform as Important as Gun Reform

Health & Wellness  (tags: abuse, americans, children, death, disease, drugs, government, medicine, Mental health, prevention, research, risks, safety, science, society, treatment )

- 1981 days ago -
The other half of the truth -- the half that we are not hearing nearly enough about -- is this: Mentally or emotionally disturbed people with guns kill people.

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Kit B (276)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 9:12 am
(Photo Credit: Common Dreams)

The national outcry for new gun laws is great. Terrific. Iím all for it.

But may I humbly suggest that the opponents of gun control are half right. Guns, all by themselves, donít kill people. The other half of the truth -- the half that we are not hearing nearly enough about -- is this: Mentally or emotionally disturbed people with guns kill people.

Iíve been working with a community organizing group trying to promote public support for mental health treatment. It has made me very aware of the profound reluctance we see all around us (even in a very liberal and wealthy county like mine) to treat mental/emotional disturbance as a communal problem.

When we talk about mentally or emotionally disturbed individuals, our society puts the emphasis on ďindividuals.Ē Without really thinking about it, most of us assume that weíre dealing with peculiar cases, each one caused by some unique set of problems encased in one individualís brain.

We just donít have many cultural resources at all to think about mental/emotional disturbance as a societal problem. Oh, thereís shelves full of books in university libraries which can teach us to see it that way. But that academic perspective has not percolated through to our shared public myths. We still tend, as a society, rather reflexively to see troubled people as individual ďweirdos,Ē unique outliers from the norm.

And our natural inclination, most of the time, is to stay as far away from them as we can -- unless they are family members or otherwise connected to us in ways we couldnít escape even if we wanted to. Then we try our best to get help for them. And we usually discover that the resources our society provides are far too meager to give them the help they really need -- precisely because, as a society, we donít think of such disturbances as a collective problem. So we donít even think about, much less provide the resources for, collective solutions.

I suspect this pattern has its deepest roots in a tradition that was pervasive through the late 19th century and still affects us deeply: viewing mental/emotional disturbance through the lens of religious and spiritual language. Iíve spoken with ministers who are trying hard to bring their fellow clergy into fruitful conversation with mental health professionals. Itís an uphill struggle, they say, in part because there are still many clergy who assume that personal prayer and spiritual renewal is the only appropriate treatment.

What we have here, to some degree thatís impossible to quantify, is a living legacy of the days when mental and emotional disturbance were interpreted as signs of sin. (ďEvil visited this community today,Ē said Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, as if the the tragedy were caused by some distant, utterly alien metaphysical force.) Just as sin was seen to be the responsibility of the individual, so mental/emotional disturbance is still seen to be, if not the individualís responsibility, at least an individual problem.

The proud American tradition of individualism is also, I suspect, at the root of the popular resistance to gun control. The Washington Post's wonk Ezra Klein points out that, while support for the idea of gun control has dropped, the number of American households with guns has dropped even faster in the last 40 years.

So the objection to gun control laws doesnít come only from people who have guns and want to hold on to them (though they are the largest portion of the naysayers). It also comes from people who imagine that they might some day feel the need for a gun to defend themselves, their families, and their homes. They fear giving up that individual right. They donít want their individual freedom abridged.

Itís too bad that we are so individualistic. We donít have the cultural traditions that would let us see both gun ownership and mental/emotional disturbance as societal facts, as manifestations of what the community as a whole is doing.

So we go on letting individuals arm themselves to protect their individual rights and freedom, or so our national myth tells us. (Illinois just became the 50th state to allow citizens to carry concealed guns.) But we tragically underfund and ignore societal programs to help the mentally/emotionally disturbed, because we simply donít see any relationship between them and the rest of us, or so our national myth tells us.
By Ira Chernus | Common Dreams |

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 9:25 am

Most are shocked and feel nothing less than horror at the violence of the mass shooting in Connecticut. Combine that with what has become the common and quick answer to all of these shooting, "he is crazy" and we tend to forget that (a) not all crazy people kill and (b) in this vast movement of austerity measures, we have left our efforts at out reach to come to a halt. If we are to be a society with the common goal of ending gun violence, particularly these mass shootings we must direct some genuine efforts to direct intervention at those who have the potential of committing such crimes. There are always indicators, and parents, teachers and employers must know and learn what these indicators are, and how to reach these people with honest help.

We must begin to see this as a national problem, not an occasional dysfunction of an individual. These are problems that we can and must address, we need to refocus our spending to direct ourselves away from being a militaristic, gun oriented society to one that educates and offers treatment to those who pose a threat to their family, or society as a whole.

Austerity is killing us as individuals and as a truly humane and compassionate society.

Arielle S (313)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 9:47 am
No doubt this is so - but I still feel we will never be able to pinpoint who, why, and when someone will go over the edge - mental health is important, yes, but let's get rid of the guns first.

Nancy M (197)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 11:26 am
Mental Health reform may be MORE important.

Fiona O (565)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 12:21 pm
Thank you for this fantastic article, dear Kit. I agree completely with you, Arielle, and Nancy. Mental Health reform is crucial importance.

Yvonne White (229)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 12:46 pm
The mentally ill or disabled are much more often the ones harmed than the ones doing the harming. But either way they need decent healthcare & much more help than they get.
I think a CONgre$$ full of mentally impaired & emotionally stunted lunatics PROVES America is Dangerously neglecting mental health!

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 1:03 pm

No, we may not be able to pinpoint just who will go on rampage. However,, this alone is not the reason that we must consider our lack of true mental health as a national priority.

JL A (281)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 1:57 pm
One of the achievements early in Obama's first term was signing into law the Mental Health Parity Act requiring insurers to cover mental health conditions like any other health condition. Thus if we had health insurance coverage for everyone (i.e., universal health care) treatment would be more readily available and the only issue would be resistance to treatment.

cecily w (0)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 2:09 pm
Some of you might recall a few stories over the past few months about children being arrested when they caused a dangerous situation in schools, etc. I was, like many, initially outraged that a ten year old would be arrested. But it turns out that the only way that some of these children can get professional psychological help.

Rose Becke (141)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 2:27 pm
mental health should be a priority

cecily w (0)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 2:44 pm
In 1959, the population of California was about 15.3 million and there were 37.5 thousand people in California mental hospitals. Then the practice of returning the (medicated) mentally ill to the community to save costs. In 1967, the population of California was 19.2 million and the number of institutionalized had been reduced to 22 thousand.
In 2007, the population of California was 37.8 million--I'm sorry I cannot find institution figures for 2007 right now--have to work in a few minutes.

I'm not saying that everyone who is mentally ill should be hospitalized, nor am I saying that various elements of gun control legislation do not need attention. BUT meds alone do not cure all mental illnesses.


Kit B (276)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 3:06 pm

Because most of those hospitals have been closed. Some do need permanent institutionalization, most just need to be in a hospital for acclamation to therapy and/ or testing to find a proper diagnoses what drug therapy might help. Some do need drug therapy along with monitoring and constant follow ups. That does not mean I believe that every second or third person should be on psychiatric drugs, it means that for the few that do need them, they also need to be watched and monitored. We have a national attitude about mental health that attitude has caused the facilities to be closed and those who do know they need help to not seek help. The stigma attached to mental health issues is preventing the best possible treatment for those who do need the help.

Veronica P (67)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 3:13 pm
It is really hard to get good metal health care in North America.

Canine T (0)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 3:27 pm
A problem I've noticed is, most places refuse to even acknowledge that anyone under the age of 21 could possibly have personality disorders or depression or other mental health issues. I do not understand that, health does not discriminate, if the body can become ill, so can the mind.
Just an opinion.

Kristine H (75)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 3:31 pm
Signed and noted, thank you Kit. I agree that while we need stricter gun regulation and more diligence in background checking, mental health issues are extremely important. Instead of scaring responsible gun owners with threats of abolishing the 2nd amendment, we should all work together to better develop a nation wide awareness in mental health.

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 3:37 pm

More shooting -

Terror at California mall as police arrest man suspected of shooting 50 rounds in parking lot
No one was wounded in the Saturday incident. Authorities charged Marcos Gurrola, 42, with shooting at an inhabited dwelling. A motive was not immediately clear.

Read more:

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 4:55 pm
Noted and then there's the question about SSID drugs and mental illness among these offenders.

Sheryl G (363)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 5:05 pm
I always hear on the TV, get help for the individual if they appear they may need it. Easier said than done. If one is not even covered by medical insurance they most likely will not get it and many who even have medical insurance have skimpy mental health coverage.

Even if one gets some help most don't get what is needed, some pills thrown at them and out the door. Sometimes the pills cause them to react violently, which is why I'd rather have someone in a hospital setting to see how they are reacting to the medication rather than sending them out the door perhaps not to be seen again until they kill themselves or someone else.

Yes, I agree, if we are to get serious with these mass slaughters we are experiencing more and more frequently, it is going to be a multiprone approach, having the ability to obtain mental health treatment and quality treatment is a must. We should have Universal Health Care, the money in taxes to assure mental health treatment will more than pay for itself. After all what is the cost of one child? Think of it being YOUR child, what price would you place on a good mental health program for the citizens of this Country?

greenplanet e (155)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 5:31 pm
Perhaps a cold, materialist, individualist society encourages mental health issues in a way, and society needs to change both to be more compassionate in general, and to look after those with mental health issues. I don't think gun killings are all to do with mental health issues though, sometimes it is anger, hostility, domestic violence and the over-availability of guns, and that anyone can have one and suddenly pull one out... perhaps also a movie culture that glamorizes guns and violence.

The US has a higher homicide rate than other Western democracies, and that must have something to do with the lack of or lax gun regulations:

2011 intentional homicide rates per 100,000
US: 4.2
Canada: 1.6
UK: 1.2
Australia: 1.0


Lin Penrose (92)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 6:20 pm
Noted, thanks Kit. I think that humans with weapons, combined with certain human specific mental defects, simply lust to kill. Doesn't matter if the prey are human or other species. Any excuse, minor or major will do, as long as the opportunities (legal or illegal) to hurt or kill are available. Human mental health has so many different parameters of "Normal", in thousand of situations that include weapons, no absolute clarification can be made.

I connect the horrible murders of the human children and their adult educators (illegal) at Sandy Hooks, with the mental 'sports hunters' that have murdered over 600 wolves, adults and babies in 2-3 months, that is considered legal. The wolf hunting in some U.S. states, I consider a type of "Specieocide" similar to genocide of humans. This is just one recent example.

There seems to be something truly awful in some human genetics. Missing, or something very dreadful and destructive, has been added in our evolution as a dominate species of life on this planet.

My deep sadness for both the human innocents and the others on this earth who are and have been affected with unimaginable pains, those left alive with thoughts, and those who endured terrible, avoidable deaths.


JL A (281)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 6:30 pm
To add to Cecily's CA data--50% of the state institutions were closed when Reagan was governor--and adequate community services that were promised have yet to be funded--a large segment of them are now in a state prison and were part of what fueled the population increase and the original federal court health care decision (Madrid) after so many were dying in the desert prisons from dehydration and insufficient psychotropic medication oversight. Statistically the mentally ill are more apt to be killed by gunfire than to kill with a gun (too often from the hands of poorly trained law enforcement).

Craig Pittman (52)
Sunday December 16, 2012, 7:49 pm
I could agree more. Mental Health Reform is key. We need to keep trying to bring in gun control but I honestly can't see that happening any time soon. I havd not read any of the details of this latest school shool. I only saw the headlines online which are pretty hard to avoid. I think mentioning the killers name may inspire other unstable men to commit copy-cat crimes
As for guns. In the U.S. in 2010 8,775 people were murdered with guns, 52,447 were wounded and 23,237 were accidentally wounded. .

Gloria picchetti (304)
Monday December 17, 2012, 5:53 am
Without universal healthcare don't bother talking about healthcare at all. Fact is unless you have money and insurnance in the US you may as well not even think about seeing a doctor. I suppose that right there is bad "mental" health. Sorry it's the truth.

Kenneth L (314)
Monday December 17, 2012, 8:29 am
This article presupposes the fact that mental health (which is a catch-all trendy term that needs a ton of qualifiers) services provided by the current fields supposedly in charge of it, that being the two fields of Psychiatry and Psychology actually know what they're doing, and are effective. Do they, don't they....are they, aren't they' ?
Have to do all sorts of research for oneself to come to a conclusion regarding that.
Otherwise it's the old 'throw the problem to someone else, someone who apparently is set up or sets themselves up as being the 'experts' and is supposed to know what they're doing' so we can forget about it ourselves.
So bottom line, if you have a car in need of repair, despite all the hype and glitter at Jack's Auto Repair, the question is 'Can Jack actually fix it...and is it fixed when Jack gives it back to you?'.

Kit B (276)
Monday December 17, 2012, 8:46 am

Without "talk therapy" some brain scans or other means of diagnoses and in rare cases, a prescription medication what answers do you have, Ken? I don't believe that taking a pill will cure the ills of society but I do think that some are in need of medical intervention. Something that the US does a poor job of these days.

Kenneth L (314)
Monday December 17, 2012, 9:14 am
It's not up to me to look and do research for others or 'give answers' to others. Most people are overloaded to the teeth with others telling them what is 'the truth' and 'the facts' and 'the answers'. Everyone has to look around and research things for themselves---do their own 'due diligence' as one wise woman put it. My point is to insist that something works, that's all... not all the words in the world are substitutes for that. Nobody would tolerate continually taking their car to Jack's if despite all his words he never seems to be able to fix it. .

Jennifer A (1)
Monday December 17, 2012, 3:25 pm
Mental Health Reform would definitely be an important key to helping us live in a better society.

Eddie O (95)
Monday December 17, 2012, 5:58 pm
I have taken "assertiveness" classes and found them to be extremely helpful in building people's awareness of their individual huiman rights, how to appropriately resolve conflicts, how to stay grounded, how to be in control of one's own life, how to let problems roll off one's back like water off a duck, and how to be assertive and not aggresive in oue's dealing with other people. I have always felt it would be extremely beneficial if all children had assertiveness training as part of their schooling.

Also, I have felt that we supposedly need training and a license to drive a car, have a gun, etc., but anyone can raise a kid without the slightest bit of training, even if they are 13 years old. In reality, raising a healthy child is the most challenging thing anyone may ever do, and yet many "parents" have absolutely no training.

My thoughts, therefore, are that as soon as a "couple" gets pregnant, both parties should have to go through manditory training of some sort. I don't envision it as dictatorial, so to speak, but more presentational in that it would show people healthy ways to raise a child, as opposed to the possibly unhealthy way these future parents were raised. Many times people just perpetuate the same disrespectful, abusive, non-functional patterns that they, themselves, may have been brought up in. As much as we may hate the way we were brought up, if that's all we know, chances are that we may well continue this very negative cycle without ever wanting to.

James Maynard (84)
Monday December 17, 2012, 8:53 pm
Destruction of the mental health system in this
country is another thing you have Saint Ronny
to thank for.

Cheryl O (82)
Monday December 17, 2012, 9:16 pm
Thank you so much kit for posting this. Hugs to you. I have already given you a star I would give you a hundred of them for this if I could.

Aaron Bouchard (158)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 10:42 am
Noted and agreed

Suzanne L (99)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 10:52 am
I agree with Arielle S. Tackle the gun issue first. I say this because there are violent and unstable people in every society, but their opportunity to hurt others, especially en masse, is greatly reduced by not having access to a gun. Working as a mental health counsellor for over 20 years I can tell you that the vast majority of people with mental health issues do not harm anyone. Having said that, there is also the problem of what to do with someone you suspect might capable of harming someone else, but has not yet committed a crime. No one can be held or charged because they might do sometthing. As well, treatment for those with mental disorders is costly. The cheapest treatment is medication which is generally what insurers will pay for. At best insurers will pay for four to six visits to a therapist. If people want improved mental health care it will cost a lot more than people are now willing to spend. Did you know that the average person graduating with a degree in psychology will start out earning about $30,000 per year versus someone graduating with an engineering degree who will earn about 3X as much? As a society we celebrate and pay for sports heroes, actors, musicians and others providing entertainment to get rich. By comparison, firefighters, police, social workers and psychologists make a pittance.. It's easy to talk about what we need to change but it would take a monumental reorganization of societal priorities to really make it happen.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 12:10 pm

I don't accept that this society must chose one thing and focus only on that one thing. We are a large nation with many issues that have been relegated to "later" status. I think we can take on both the mental health care and the renewal of the assault rifle ban.

We have been through our "rush" days of gangs, tweakers, meth users, all willing and able to use violence to get the next rush. Most police will say they would much rather hear about some one toking on a joint, munching a bag of chips while nodding off to sleep, than those who chase the dragons that produce violent and aggressive behavior. That said.

Suzanne is correct,, we can not expect to get good results from those who are valued so little and they are paid in accordance with that value. Teachers, diagnosticians, psychologists, mental health clinicians, police, firefighters, social workers, nurses and many others are the back bone of any society and must be paid for their labors. How quick and ready we are to pay thousands to an attorney without any idea if those services are even needed. But pay for the fabric of society? Oh heavens, no.

I suggest we are all tired of hearing about what the United States can not do and are ready to turn a page in that book to work toward the many things we know that we CAN do.

Jim P (3257)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 12:26 pm
A number of mental health departments have cut its services back because of the economic times. All states and counties are now facing and/or have been facing budget pitfalls over the past few years.

There are medications which do increase the likelihood of violence when taken. The doctors, who prescribe those kinds of medications, must observe if an increase in violent tendencies must take those medications away and use other medications to ensure a safety margin. Monitoring these mentally ill patients is a must.

Suzanne is right in that "the vast majority of people with mental health issues do not harm anyone."

State hospitals for the mentally ill patients and for those with mental, genetic defects, disorders have closed down over the years as mandated by the Supreme Court many years ago.

Yes, I agree to tackle the gun issue as being paramount. Another comment by Suzanne: "I say this because there are violent and unstable people in every society, but their opportunity to hurt others, especially en masse, is greatly reduced by not having access to a gun."

There are lots of "mentally-ill" people all across the country, in everyday society, and they have not been identified.

There are a few, mentally-ill people, in Congress and in many state legislators around the country. Some have been "identified" and others have not been as yet. We need to weed them out...

Ty, Kit.

Jim P (3257)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 12:28 pm
Green Stars to Suzanne and Kit for the last two comments above.

Ty, Kit.

Melania Padilla (122)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 1:19 pm

ewoud k (68)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 2:41 pm
It's the finger on the trigger that make a gun kill, but if it gets harder to get a gun due to much stricter gun-regulation there'll be far less fingers on far less triggers, that's the one half.

For the other half Ira Chernus is right, the mental-health part of the story must not be neglected, even if this part might be even more difficult to handle.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 3:14 pm
Thanks Kit--great post and comments.

l L (1)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 4:12 pm
Suzanne and Kenneth, I understand where you are coming from and Kit thanks for the article and points of interests

I am very concerned that with the issues of mental health care we will return to the times of the archaic.
It was flawed then and flawed now.
A few things I want to introduced; In 2010, it was the year of the Tea Party and the carrying of the guns and talk of getting ready for a war cause fear of whatever.
Do we recall? Maybe this is why the mother brought so many guns as of that date.
We know; this planet is not heaven or a utopia. We know that. We are multi-cultural and multi-belief or non belief in what/whomever. We co-exist.
Either we believe in right and wrong or we don't. Or we believe that what is right you you/or me is not the same for the others.. Double standards. These sre core standards/rules that we live by.. When our moth doesn't match our performance, how the "other fellow proccesses what code they will accept to live by either becomes a confusion or a new choice of self. (who self is)
I don't agree with health so called experts who think you should teach kids to be resilliant. Really?
That tells me Some are the chosen ones to be bullied and mistreated and you are telling them to take their lumps and and forget about it. Really what is right and wrong? What's justice? Wheres the voice or the person to say that is wrong, don't do that? But no.. how much is expected of a person to keep taking and get back up like it's okay?
And when it is not okay; it will be because a better person had it happen to "them" and suddenly somebody says it is wrong.
Well anyway; there is alot wrong with this world and alot has happened Some people have known nothing but sorrow and misfortune and you tell them be happy. I think mankind is backwards sometimes.
I heard Joy Behar remind us about how the halocost came about with neighbors instructed to tturn people in and the experiements that were done. We must be very careful how we handle stuff in this country. We have elements here who want a 4th reicht.
Many of us don't know what that is ... but someone must be a voice of warning to point things out for consideration.
We know; we have these groups and who maybe belong to them. I don't know what this kid was introduced to if any him or his mom. There is a lot going on. Just be mindful of that. It would be any of us locked away and tampered with and records manipulated and your life lost. Now the say people don't even know they have mental health issues . We will teach you the signs and you report them and turn them in.
We are on a slippery slope.. especially if you are seen as an enemy of the state and they want to shut you up, cause you know too much. Thx again Kit.

Darlene W (303)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 4:31 pm
Thank you Kit for a job well done! Most definitely agree with the fact that the mental-health issues need to be dealt with. Tragic for it to go as far as it has in more than one instance. I grew up around guns--they were locked up-not accessible unless you were going hunting. You were taught to respect those rights to bear arms not abuse them. There needs to be rules and they need to be followed-by all and that includes getting help for someone in need--. Bless all who care.

marie C (163)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 5:16 pm
Noted Kit Thanks

l L (1)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 5:45 pm
In the frenzy about mental health care and people need help and they don't know it; how has that become a true statement and what means that true just because someone said it on t.v?

Be ware people.. There are things in play and a pandoras box you don't want opened. Everything that sounds good may not be that.. It is a means to an end. A trap. A warning..

reft h (66)
Tuesday December 18, 2012, 10:46 pm
a timely subject

Jane Mckenzie (20)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 1:32 am
we all have mental health and emotional issues to deal with but most people, in most parts of the world do not carry out mass slaughter in schools or other public places where people cannot help save themselves. It is not as simple as gun control or locking up 'all the mad people'.. ending the unnecessary confinement of mentally ill people had not related to similar acts happening in the UK. The USA needs to look at itself and its own societal health. Looking to blame mentally ill people is an easy option. Mental illness is more likely to make people a victim that a perpertrator of violent acts. Those who need to bully seek out the vulnerable.

That said makingit harder for ordinary people to get hold of and use guns must be a good thing. We try and teach out children to resolve conflict by talking to each other, saying sorry and looking at the other persons point of view - not beating the crap out of the other child.

l L (1)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 7:45 am
Valid points Jane..

I hope a dialog opens up about the facts of life with all , and in that conversation will come.. reality.. and not positive only thinking assertiveness or negative thinking assertiveness..I am not a fan of the thinking to be positive cause life is neither all one or the other. If positive thinking was entirely truth then positive thinking would have prevented this tragedy. So I see flaws in that thinking process. I believe you have to be able to recognize both, to make judgement calls or decisions.

Thus learning to deal with the complexities of living..

But.... how do we navigate the realities of living and prepare.. protect.. make sense of this planetary existence?
This so we all can learn and prepare and navigate and protect, so we can prepare our offspring, that they can manage their lives with the right understandings.

ADA and their families at large are going to have to fight for that conversation, cause if corporate media has it's way a brad definition will be in place for more deteriation of human rights under the disguise of what is mental illness and who has it.
Remember... no one is exempt by their standards or definitions, of the signs of mental illness and who has it..
If .. like everything else... it will come with biases and be selective.
. With the breath of bad human behavior in the moral ethical world and the planned timetables of our American way of life; I am more than certain that "nothing" is going to get in the way.

Patricia H. (440)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:30 pm
I agree

Gerardo Barriga (1)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 12:55 pm
Bad Pharma drugs plus bad parenting = deaths

Bruno Moreira (61)
Wednesday December 19, 2012, 5:59 pm

lee e (114)
Thursday December 20, 2012, 5:59 am
Thanks Kit - the two issues are indeed inter-connected, neither should be ignored, but with gun controls and regulations that require licensing that includes background of psychiatric history I believe would help --- what was that mother doing with all those guns? - what was her mental stability? taking her mentally ill son to the shooting range ---- this sounds very suspect to me!

Marie W (67)
Friday December 21, 2012, 12:03 am

Translate this- mental health is our real issue not the guns.


M B (62)
Friday December 21, 2012, 3:01 pm
I notice that Cal provides most of the articles.
Indeed, mental health is important, as long it doesn't mean that one can carry a gun after examination. The point is that people shouldn't have a gun ! There a plenty of healthy folks, but that doesn't protect them from tragedies such as divorce, etc. and then you've get those sudden emotions...and shoot...
I think the American's are on the wrong path when they say that they've got the right to carry a gun (legally). To me that is plain sick; I'm not proud of that society. It would be nice if people could agree about mental health, it would be even better if they agree to take their hands off the guns !

Esther Z (94)
Friday December 21, 2012, 10:35 pm
Tragedies are hard to prevent, but with commonsensical regulations to control an overly obsessed gun culture, damages can at the very least be minimized. As for those suffering from mental illness, and falling through the cracks of a medical bureaucracy, or governmental austerity, maybe, just maybe "medicare for all" would had been a life saving net. Not for, Lanza, though. I read he and his mother were well taken cared of, since the father, Peter Lanza supported them by the tune of 289,000 a year. That's enough to give anyone first class psychiatric care. So, then it comes down to, not to just the availability or quality of care, but how society as a whole, just like the article stated, perceives and supports such psychiatric care. It's such a complex issue with no easy answers!

Past Member (0)
Saturday December 22, 2012, 2:43 am
not all shootings can be put down to mental health

Lindsay K (6)
Saturday December 22, 2012, 5:24 am
Taking mental health issues seriosly is vital.

Gun control is vital. At least restrictions can be brought in - no assault weapons, restrictions on how many weapons per household and how much ammunition can legally be held by a household, together with proper licensing and legislation about how weapons have to be stored and transported.

But what about computer games? It cannot be right that people can play games in which they indiscriminately shoot other people (albeit on a screen) for no real reason for hours and hours on end.

These horrific and tragic events usually occur when there is a combination of circumstances - access to weapons, mental health issues, a propensity to violence (albeit virtual violence) a flashpoint to set it all off, etc.

Work has to be done on reducing these combinations, and this involves a good, long, hard look at all the issues, not just one.

Polina T. (0)
Saturday December 22, 2012, 12:01 pm
They should go together, but the mental health is primordial.

Past Member (0)
Monday December 24, 2012, 4:22 am
Probably more so.

Lisa Sears (150)
Monday December 24, 2012, 9:01 am
Amen to this idea! No matter how well our guns are controlled, people with mental illnesses or personality disorders must receive the help they need to move thru their issues without harming themselves or others.

Robert O (12)
Monday December 24, 2012, 1:15 pm
So very true. Thanks Kit.

Nimue Michelle P (339)
Wednesday December 26, 2012, 4:21 pm
Noted thanks.

Sergio Padilla (65)
Wednesday December 26, 2012, 7:42 pm
Thank you

Thomas P (280)
Friday December 28, 2012, 2:03 pm
Noted...thanks Kit.
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