Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Gun Lobby Is Tricking Us, and We're Helping It.

Ivan Lopez: crazy man or just really pissed?

This Slate article on the misplaced blame the mentally ill get for our "senseless killings" rang true for me. Not being an expert, I took the statistics and experts' comments at face value. Also, just personal experience has made me feel America is an angrier country than the one I grew up in.

Have we been gamed by the gun lobby by a sideways use of their typical tactic, misdirection? "Guns don't kill people, people kill people," anyone remember that one? How about "Guns don't kill people, mental illness kills people?" Same tactic.
Violent crimes committed by people with severe mental illnesses get a lot of attention, but such attacks are relatively rare. Paolo del Vecchio of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has said, “Violence by those with mental illness is so small that even if you could somehow cure it all, 95 percent of violent crime would still exist.” A 2009 study by Seena Fazel found a slightly higher rate of violent crime in schizophrenics—but it was almost entirely accounted for by alcohol and drug abuse. Likewise, the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study found that mentally ill people who did not have a substance abuse problem were no more violent than other people in their neighborhoods.
With no clear explanation of the causes of violent crime from the mental health field, and with significant encouragement from the gun lobby, the public has begun to seize on the wrong explanation for tragic, violent events. They focus not on the IED-diagnosed patients but on those with other diagnoses, schizophrenia in particular, ignoring the fact that what the perpetrators have in common in every single one of these cases is a loss of control of their anger.
I'm not saying that Adam Lanza wasn't pretty sick, but just how much of our gun violence epidemic -- stretching way, way back -- could be curbed if the mentally ill were out of the picture? Not much, and certainly not enough.

Don't let the gun lobby game us. Guns kill people. A kid at a Pittsburgh-area high school had two really bad-ass knives. No deaths, thank heavens. Guns kill people. Don't let anyone tell you different.

The kid, a victim of teasing, just snapped, classmates say.

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