Mental Illness And School Shootings
It seems every few weeks there is another school shooting in the United States and of course mental illness is the easy answer but of course that never tells the whole story. The politicians in the United States like to blame it on the mental health and talk about banning the sales of weapons to those who have a mental illness at play but this is doing more harm than good. In this article we will look at a number of factors that comes into play when you are talking about not allowing those with mental health issues to purchase weapons.
What Constitutes Mental Illness
The first problem of course is what constitutes mental illness? Are the politicians talking about severe mental illness such as a schizophrenic who has not been medicated and has spent time in and out of a mental health hospital? Or are they talking about the soccer mom who relies on her antidepressants to make it through the day when dealing with depression? For as far as mental illness is concerned they are both affected so where do they draw the line?
What about someone who was diagnosed as a child but took all the necessary steps to overcome their mental illness diagnosis. In the mental health professional eyes this person has reached a state of recovery and is just as sane as his next door neighbor. Are the politicians going to ask for a period of remission before allowing this person to buy an automatic weapon? This is a very slippery slope that is full of loop holes
Stopping People From Seeking Help
Say you belong to a family who has a long history of hunting every spring for that big buck. If you knew that a mental health diagnosis could ban you from purchasing weapons would you go and seek help? We have finally come to an age where people who seek help for mental illness is finally not looked down upon but what if there were consequences for asking for help such as a lifetime ban from buying a weapon for your home. Obviously this would not affect the population as a whole but for a certain selection of people this will stop them from seeking help and the last thing that you want is someone who is having a psychotic break to have access to an automatic weapon, the Vegas shooting proved that.
When it comes to substance abuse it is now listed as its own mental illness. Of course when you are talking about using drugs there is almost always a mental illness at play. Whether it is a person who is self medicating to alleviate the symptoms of their mental illness or someone who is looking to escape from reality to avoid the issues at hand. The number of people who suffer from substance abuse continues to grow year after year as the war against drugs continues to lose this battle. Now if you are a recovered alcoholic or drug addict are you going to be allowed to purchase a weapon for your home
The Real Problem
The real problem of course is to allow people who are disfranchised from purchasing automatic weapons in the first place. I do not understand why anyone would need an automatic weapon that is capable of firing multiple bullets in the first place. These type of weapons were designed and should be restricted to military usage. Yes a person is capable of taking another human life with a single shot weapon however the body count of victims would be much lower than seventeen innocent lives taken and over a dozen injured from a teenager with an automatic weapon. Banning people with mental health issues from purchasing a weapon is short-sighted and will never work especially with one in four people suffering from a mental health issue in their lifetime