Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Psychologist weighs in on the mental health and gun debate.

Courtesy of HuffPo: 

"It's a mental illness problem," Donald Trump recently declared on "Meet the Press" on NBC. "Guns, no guns, doesn't matter. You have people that are mentally ill and they're going to come through the cracks and they're going to do things that people will not even believe are possible." 

And, it seems, most Americans would agree. A joint poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News and released last week found that while 82 percent of Americans surveyed thought gun violence is a serious problem, more people -- by 2 to 1 -- believe such violence is a result of inadequate methods and means of treating the mentally ill than of inadequate gun laws. The problem with these findings, though, is that they likely won't be used to implement, or even argue for better, detection and treatment of those with mental illness. Instead, they'll be co-opted by politicians -- like Trump -- who'll use the survey and others like it as evidence that gun controls are just fine; that, as one site put it, "guns don't kill people; crazy people do." 

Except that's not entirely true: The vast majority of gun violence is still committed by people who are not mentally ill. Many incidents are accidents. Many are committed by children who happen upon guns in their/their neighbors'/their relatives' houses. And many, as we know, are committed by teenagers who are just beginning to show symptoms of the onset of mental illness -- cases in which early detection wouldn't necessarily apply. And, of course, not everyone suffering from mental illness will commit gun violence -- in one study, in fact, fewer than 5 percent of gun-related deaths were committed by those diagnosed with mental illness. (As President Obama recently said, "we are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses... we are the only advanced country on earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.") Meanwhile, efforts to imply that all, or even most, incidents of gun violence are at the hands of the mentally ill only serves to increase the stigma directed towards those who suffer, which a 2013 study out of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health acutely confirmed. 

So while it's easy to put the blame for gun violence on the mentally ill -- or the lack of support for them -- it's misleading, and ultimately unlikely to do anything to end needless gun-related deaths.

I have said some version of this several times in the past, but it is good to see a psychologist making similar statements as well.

And I seriously doubt you would find a mental health professional, NOT paid by the NRA, to say anything different.

This whole mental health dodge is a straw man argument, and NOBODY should take it seriously.

The simple truth is that fewer guns lead to fewer gun deaths, and that stricter laws and background checks keep guns out of the hands of people who absolutely should not have them.



  1. Anonymous6:32 AM

    Agreed! It makes so much fundamental common sense that we have to ask ourselves, has America lost touch with its senses? More guns translate to more gun violence. We are all susceptible to a psychotic episode, and times of extreme anger and rage. Why put ourselves and our families in jeopardy with a gun in the house.

  2. Anonymous7:06 AM

    I am in favor of more guns ... only at Palin family brawls.

  3. Anonymous7:07 AM


  4. It's not just the mentally ill. It's also the people who just get angry one time, lose control, and there's a gun handy.

  5. Anonymous7:47 AM

    Good old c4p alum Lipstick:

    ”I want to purchase this one.” I filled out some paper work, waited maybe 5 minutes to be approved, grabbed the case and a bag with some ammo and headed out the door.

    What a great right our forefathers gifted to us. What foresight they had. Any law abiding American can go into a store and purchase a firearm that can be used for personal protection, sport or hunting. We all know if it had not been for these simple words written in our Constitution, the government would have long ago taken away our right to arm ourselves.

    ANYONE, Lipstick, not just law-abiding. That is the problem. Damn even the sane ones are nuts.

    1. Anonymous8:23 AM

      Aaaand an uneducated reply:

      Mike Fahy •
      One minor correction: bearing arms is not a "right our forefathers gifted to us." That right is from God. The Declaration's God-endowed right to "Life" includes the right to defend oneself against physical attack and against unjust government. The right to bear arms extends back through England, Rome, and is anchored in the Ten Commandments.

    2. Anonymous8:39 AM

      8:23 AM -

      Say WHAT, Mikey?!?!?

    3. hauksdottir10:01 AM

      Huh??? "The right to bear arms extends back through England, Rome, and is anchored in the Ten Commandments."

      How did "Thou shalt not kill" get transmuted to "Kill anybody you want" and do it with the best weapon you can afford? Even in a truly dangerous world of wild beasts, bandits, and conflicts, ordinary people didn't own or use arms.

    4. Anonymous2:28 PM

      I wonder if Moses had a concealed weapon on him when he was given the tablets? You know, just in case.


  6. Anonymous8:29 AM

    Oh Bristol, Bristol, Brancy:


    1. Anonymous9:06 AM

      Comments there are 100% LOL

    2. Anonymous10:45 AM

      Nancy French is hilarious in her cray cray way, but she is light years away from
      'That's the end of that lease."

      Bristol Palin: Starbucks cups ‘are an attempt by the left to make Christians look stupid’

      Seeking baby daddy look


      When she is not looking sad and lonely

  7. Anonymous8:40 AM

    If it's a mental illness, who is going to decide which mental illness will keep one from obtaining a gun. The list of mental illnesses are long. Would being depressed or suffering from anxiety keep you from buying a gun? Who would decide if you're mentally ill or mentally fit? What happens if you've been certified mentally fit and in a fit of uncontrolled anger you kill someone. Could the victims family sue the mental health certifier for failing to diagnose a mental illness? So many what ifs

  8. Anonymous9:37 AM

    1.4 Million: Americans who died in all Wars fought since 1776.
    1.4 Million: Americans who died via household Guns since 1968

  9. Anonymous9:57 AM

    First, polls mean nothing in this case. What people THINK has no bearing on what the truth is.

    IF mental illness truly is the cause of gun violence then it should follow that the USandA is definitely one of the most mentally ill countries in the developed world. After all, we are prolific at putting bullets into our citizens. But I don't think the US IS that mentally ill. Then again, it is the country that gave the world the modern gop.

    I retract my statement....

  10. Anonymous12:05 PM

    Gotta watch out for those totally mentally ill 2 year olds who find loaded guns on coffee tables and kill their 4 year old brothers and sisters.

    (Better to kill the parent who left a loaded gun where a 2 year old or 4 year old could find it. Who's the sick one in this story?)

  11. Randall3:42 PM

    Guns don't kill people - crazy people do.
    With guns.
    From clear across the room.
    Sometimes from great distances.
    With great accuracy.
    And extended clips that allow them to keep shooting, too.
    Get 'em at the gun show - no background check.

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