John A. by tures
As we learned during the recent wave of young shooters, their relationship to mental health isn’t always so clear.
After shooting in Buffalo and Uvalde, we see a pattern among shooters. Politicians and pundits have been quick to label every shooter as a matter of mental health, but don’t always do anything about the problem. Trump blamed mental health issues for the shooting, but did not acknowledge that he revoked an executive order that made it harder for people with mental illness to obtain guns.
In an NBC News article “Abbott said shooter had ‘mental health’ problem. A month earlier, he slashed funding to help,” the authors wrote, rejecting “suggestions that stronger gun control laws could prevent tragedy.” Could have stopped, Abbott conceded that the 18-year-old suspect who was killed had no mental health problems or criminal history but said, “Anyone who shoots someone else has a mental health challenge.”
I would disagree. Just because a soldier, police officer, or someone defending themselves shoots someone else doesn’t mean they have a mental health challenge.
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Nor does it mean that people with mental illness are more likely to be violent. In fact, as a New York Times report from 2018 (reposted June 8, 2022) concluded with an interview with a psychiatrist: Most violence is not caused by mental illness.
Lori Post, director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at Northwestern University School of Medicine, told the NBC story, “There is no evidence that the shooter is mentally ill, just angry and hateful.” “While it is understandable that most people cannot fathom the murder of young children and want to attribute it to mental health, it is very rare for a mass shooter to be diagnosed with a mental health condition.”
The Daily on NPR concurred, citing a mental health expert who said these are angry young men, not mentally ill. “They feel the world owes them something,” she concluded.
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At that time, my son and I were driving to play sports together. We discussed the radio program and its claims.
“One of the lessons children learn from the media and politics is that people owe something,” I told them. “But the strongest lesson I have learned from Christianity is that the world owes us nothing. Quite the opposite. In fact, the lesson I have learned from Christianity is that we have something to give to the world. , a life based on serving others, helping the less fortunate. I’m also happiest when I’m helping someone else, and I think that’s something that hasn’t been taught to everyone. caste, even some people in religion.
There is no silver bullet for solving every mass shooting. But perhaps turning this script around, and focusing on what really matters, could be a good start.
Opinion contributor John A. Turres is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. His work appears frequently on Capital-Star’s commentary page. He has his own thoughts. Readers can email him [email protected]And follow him on Twitter, @JohnTures2