During the last half of the 20thcentury nearly half a million mentally ill patients were discharged from state hospitals? States closed most of their mental hospitals, permanently reducing the availability of long-term, in-patient care facilities. Deinstitutionalisation resulted in the proliferation of psychiatric drugs and brought acceptance to the notion that the mentally ill needed to be treated instead of being locked away.
Mass murderers suffer mental illnesses that range from chronic psychotic disturbances and schizophrenia to paranoid disorders. They’re a psychotic, a sociopath, a psychopath, or depressed and violent. Many mass killers have had depression, learning disabilities, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Before mass shootings were common, most of the folks capable of committing them were institutionalized. Now they live among us, on medication we desperately hope they regularly take.
Though many hoplophobes point to guns as the problem, the gun plays the same role in a mass shooting that a car does in a drunk driving accident. Do the research; look at the time line of how we have dealt with the mentally ill, the new firearms restrictions that have been instituted, and the proliferation of mass shootings over the last 30 years. The human—not the tool—is to blame, and it is the human problem that needs addressed.
That’s an extremely difficult thing to do, while retaining respect for human dignity, without discrimination based on mental status. So, in lieu of seeming unacceptably insensitive and limiting the rights of citizens who are mentally ill, the easy—though unconstitutional and unworkable—legislative answer, is to limit the rights of everyone, as if we were all insane. In other words, pad the room for everyone.
When talking about a mass murderer, have you ever heard someone say, “A person would have to be crazy to do that.”Well, guess what? They’re right; no sane person would ever consider such a horrific act. Blaming guns is the easy way out. Treating the real problem is unpopular, politically incorrect, and quite frankly, damned difficult. But until the cause—not the tool—is addressed, it will never, ever, end.