Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mental Illness and Mass Shootings

In regards to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, speaker of the house Paul Ryan expressed his belief that, "mental health laws are outdated and that people with mental illness should not be able to buy guns." The concept of not letting a mentally unstable person have access to a gun sounds extremely simple and intuitive, right?

Well, there have been several mentally unstable people who have gained access to guns, and used them. Days after the Sandy Hook shooting, the media suspected Adam Lanza, the gunman, to have had schizophrenia. While this diagnosis was never actually proven, according to Framing Health Matters, "Lanza 'struggled with basic emotions' as a child and wrote a story 'in which an old woman with a gun in her cane kills wantonly.'" Another example of a shooter having a mental illness is Elliot Rodger from Isla Vista, California. He suffered from Asperger's disorder and he took psychotropic medications.
One cannot blame a person for having a mental illness. However, going on a killing spree is an absolutely inexcusable act. Also, there are a ton of people out in the world who have mental illnesses, but are by no means a threat to anyone around them. Not all people with mental illnesses end up killing others, is my point.

This situation raises the question of if our schooling system is doing an adequate job of offering help to the students who are struggling mentally. In my opinion, our school does a really fantastic job, but I cannot speak for other schools. What are your thoughts?


  1. I agree that we shouldn't jump to conclusions of mental illness for mass shooters, but I do think that more gin control needs to happen. However, I think how you define mental illness is the issue. Many of the past mass shootings (like in Colorado and California) have been done by people who justify killings with religious polices, but wouldn't you argue that this mindset is a mental illness as well? Curious to see what you think!