Please Stop Blaming Mass Shootings On Mental Illness

As a mother every time I hear about a school shooting or a mass shooting it breaks my heart. My daughter said to me the other day, “Mom, I don’t want to go to school anymore, I don’t want to die,” those words my daughter said to me broke me, as a parent to hear your own child that is afraid for her life is the worst feeling, to know our children are not safe at a place of education it’s frustrating, children should not be afraid to go to school.

Then I started to think about past shootings that have occurred and noticed a familiar pattern plays out after every mass shooting in the US.

We blame mental illness for mass shootings. And it needs to STOP.

While many people indeed suffer from mental health problems, not every person who does is violent, and certainly not all shooters have mental illnesses.  I am fucking sick and tired of the media and people in general blaming it on a mental illness.

I have a mental illness myself, I suffer from clinical depression, I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that makes me feel crazy and fucked up at times, and I can’t help it. I take medication, it helps some. But even at my darkest moments I would never in my life would intentionally kill innocent people. NEVER.

I have a mental illness, I AM NOT VIOLENT.

Mental illness isn’t a major cause of gun murder, or mass shootings.

Let’s say that a medical discovery suddenly cures mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar, and depression overnight, violent crime in the US would fall by only 4 percent, according to an estimate from Duke University professor Jeffrey Swanson, a sociologist and psychiatric epidemiologist who studies the relationship between violence and mental illness.

“People with mental illness are people, and the vast majority aren’t any more of a risk than anyone else,” Swanson says.

The day after Stephen Paddock took to a hotel room in Las Vegas with 23 firearms and murdered 59 people this past October, President Donald Trump told reporters that Paddock was “sick” and “demented.

Another mass shooting happened on February 14th in Parkland Florida, where 17 innocent people were killed and AGAIN!!! The President of the United States is quick to say, he was mentally disturbed.

His words So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

  • The number of mass shootings in the US this year reached 101 on Friday.

Another school shooting happened in Texas that left multiple people dead at a Texas high school, President Trump said Friday his administration would “do everything in our power” to protect students.

“My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools and do everything we can to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others,” Trump said during an event at the White House. “Everyone must work together at every level of government to keep our children safe.”

After every shooting Trump always says he intends to focus on mental health.

He always says he will do something about it.

I have a question for Mr. Trump:

What have you done to protect our children? What have you done to make sure schools are safe? What have you done?

Absolutely NOTHING.

Because in your words is just “a mental health issue.”

But the convenient cries of “mental health” after mass shootings are worse than hypocritical. They’re factually wrong and stigmatizing to millions of completely nonviolent Americans living with severe mental illness.

Conversely, there are thousands of people, and especially young men, who might set off warning bells—they act strangely, they’re obsessed with weapons, they engage in various anti-social behaviors—but who will never take a gun to school and open fire.

Second, even if one could more effectively sort the people who are just kind of weird from the people who might be more likely to perpetrate a shooting, what would the government do about it? Put differently, even if people “report such instances to authorities, again and again,” the authorities cannot arrest someone who has not committed a crime, simply because he makes people uncomfortable.

Pre-crime is not prosecutable.

If you take time to dig into the research, you’ll find that mental illness doesn’t play the role in mass shootings and other gun violence that many, especially our politicians, seem to think it does.

Ultimately every person chooses that they want to do, there are tons of successful individuals that had a rough past, and struggle tremendously and they turned all the struggle to become a better person.

Generally speaking, people with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of firearm violence than commit it. In reality, people with mental illness are actually considered a vulnerable population. As a result they are more likely to experience an act of violence against them.

Yet, while most mass shooters in the past 35 years have not been found to have a serious mental illness, nearly all of them do have one thing in common: their sex. Of the 96 mass shootings committed since 1982, all but two were committed by men. (Most of them were white.)

A variety of factors are associated with committing serious violence, such as a history of binge drinking, childhood abuse, living in a neighborhood with a high rate of violent crime and experiencing stressful life events.

After mass shootings, mental illness is always the scapegoat

Mass murder isn’t blamed on the mentally ill because they’re responsible; it’s blamed on them because we view them as disposable, because we’ve made it a rhetorical and moral cinch to tie them to these catastrophes.

Not everyone with a mental illness is violent. This vulnerable population needs our protection from the stigma that works to bring it down. While the mental health system is plagued with issues from shortages in providers to funding cuts, lack of mental health treatment should not be the central focus of blame for perpetrators of mass violence.

It’s time to take a more realistic look at the various factors driving these tragedies and shift our focus to real solutions.

Shooters aren’t “crazy”—they’re the inevitable result of how we’ve been living, and the injustices we’ve allowed to fester.

Mental Illness is NOT the issue

Guns DO NOT kill people

We need to face cold truth that we live in a world of cruel fucked up individuals.

Angry, evil people with guns kill people.

Photo by Hanna Postova on Unsplash
Originally published on Mitzi J Hernandez’s own website.


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