Mental health issues in gun violence | Letter to the editor
December 21, 2012 · 9:53 AM
The Dec. 14, 2012 mass shooting which killed 27 people in Newtown, Connecticut was horrific and senseless and again upon our children. I cannot begin to express my sorrow.
Our elected representatives are reacting as expected, blaming the majority of these incidents on the lack of gun control. Yet they are responsible for writing and enacting the present gun control policies. We have a Justice Department which has provided guns to the Mexican drug cartels, resulting in countless deaths and call the mass murders at Fort Hood an incident of “workplace violence,” instead of what it was an act of terrorism on a military base.
Of the 142 guns possessed by killers, more than 75 percent were obtained legally. They took place in malls, restaurants, government buildings, schools and military bases. The majority of these killers were mentally ill and displayed signs of mental illness prior to setting out to kill. I agree there are no valid reasons for the sale of high-capacity magazines and assault-type rifles in our country and that gun shows should have to comply with the same requirements as dealers.
I, however, would like our lawmakers and everyone else to focus on the true cause of most of these killings, which is the country’s mental health policy. The shooting in Arizona by Jared Loughner exemplifies the problem. He had displayed signs of serious mental illness, including outbursts during his high school and college classes and complaints of voices in his head. Still he was able to purchase a 9mm Glock with a high-capacity magazine legally.
Over the past 30 years in the USA, 61 mass shootings have occurred. No less than 80 percent obtained their guns legally. Acute paranoia, delusions, and depression were rampant among them, with at least 35 of these killers committing suicide on or near the scene. Seven others were killed in shootouts with police, “suicide by cop.” At least 38 of these killers displayed prior signs of mental health problems.
We have a mental-health problem which is being exasperated by our gun controls policies. Without addressing the mental health reality of these shootings, no gun control measures will make a difference.