When considering mass shootings, we must seek other solutions through awareness
It’s easy to put blame on someone else. It’s easy to hold someone else responsible for tragic events and the loss of someone’s life. It’s easy to blame those who want gun control or those who believe in conceal carry.
The truth isn’t easy. It’s difficult for all of us to look in the mirror and admit that we are at fault; I am, you are, all of us are responsible for the loss of innocent lives that have been taken by mentally ill shooters.
We must stop brushing the issue of mental health under the rug. We have waited far too long. Forget about gun control and whether or not we should be allowed to carry guns on campus. Instead, focus on making it more acceptable for people with mental illnesses to come out and receive treatment for their instabilities.
Why have we seen so many shooters, with mental instabilities, murder? Why didn’t they receive professional help? Where were their friends and loved ones? Who saw their warning signs and chose to ignore them?
We can all prevent shooters from even picking up a gun, and here’s the shocking part; we don’t even need a gun ourselves to do so. All we need is to be aware of what mental illness is, what it looks like and how we can help others help themselves.
Mental illness does not discriminate. We are all capable
of having instability. Some people don’t even develop certain mental illnesses like schizophrenia until they are in their 20s.
“You can be the most popular student; you can be the valedictorian of your class. And, if you develop schizophrenia, it will change the functioning of your brain and change the nature of your behavior,” said Dr. Lieberman president of the American Psychiatric Association. “You could be completely normal at age 20, perhaps a good student or a gifted student and a solid citizen, and at 21 or 22 find yourself psychotic,” said Lieberman.
There is a direct correlation between mass shootings and mental illnesses.
“Every person I’ve taken care of, and I’ve taken care of several hundred of these people, had a very good reason for doing what looked to be crazy behavior. But, in their mind, it wasn’t crazy behavior. It was in response to something that was very logical, that their voices were telling them, or that their delusions were telling them,” said Dr. Torrey, a psychiatrist in an interview on “60 Minutes” this past year.
The National Alliance of Mental Illness said approximately 1 in 4 adults in the United States experience side effects related to mental illness in a given year [That’s 43.5 million people a year who experience a mental instability].
Mass shootings are often directly related to the failure of receiving proper mental medical attention.
“About half of these mass killings are being done by people with severe mental illness, mostly schizophrenia. And, if they were being treated, they would’ve been preventable,” Torrey said.
There have been 293 days so far this year and according to the U.S. Mass Shooting Tracker, a total of 305 mass shootings, the most recent one being the shooting that occurred in our own backyard, downtown Fort Myers, at ZombiCon on Saturday, Oct. 17.
The majority of the 305 mass shootings also included a shooter who possessed some sort of mental illness. Even further, more than half of these shooters were not receiving medical attention for their mental instabilities.
We are now averaging more than one mass shooting per day. This must stop now; there are no more excuses.
We are more than likely going to cross paths with someone who is experiencing feelings of depression and rage, which means we must start helping these people get the proper professional help. When will we stop seeing the murder of family, friends and loved ones through the lens of a political agenda, geared toward concealed carry or gun control? When will we start asserting our efforts toward a cause to help raise awareness for mental illnesses, and more importantly, the acceptance of others receiving treatment for their mental illnesses?
Don’t wait until the killer or victim is someone you know. The mass removal of gun availability will not stop mass shooting. Someone else with a gun will not even diminish mass shootings.
Mass shootings can only hope to be stopped by mass awareness.