We live in a time where we have to look over our shoulders shoulders, where we worry about the safety of our children when we send them to school, we worry about our own safety when we go out to run our errands for the day. Mass shootings have been on the rise over the past few years, just recently the state of California had four separate incidents of gun violence that resulted in multiple deaths within a two week period. When these incidents occur the news reports center around finding out why it happened and more often they zone in on the shooter, the details of their life, and if the perpetrator had a mental illness, they conclude that is what led to the violence. It's a pattern I've seen too many times and it's a pattern of ignorance that needs to end.
Blaming mass shootings solely on mental illness overlooks the complex nature of these events and the various factors that contribute to their occurrence. Here are some reasons why society cannot entirely blame mass shootings on mental illness:
1. Most people with mental illnesses are not violent: According to numerous studies, people with mental illness are not inherently violent. Mental illness does not mean a person is more inclined to commit crimes, and most people with mental health conditions do not engage in violent behavior.
2. It oversimplifies the issue: By blaming mass shootings solely on mental illness, complex factors such as firearm access, trauma, social isolation, extremism, and hate crimes are overlooked. These factors, among others, can also contribute to violent behavior.
3. It stigmatizes mental illness: When society blames mass shootings on mental illness, it reinforces the negative stereotypes associated with mental health conditions. This stigma can prevent people from seeking treatment due to shame and lead to discrimination against those with mental illness.
4. Inaccuracy: Mass shooters often do not have a diagnosed mental illness, and the majority of people with mental illnesses do not commit violent acts. Blaming mass shootings on mental illness creates an inaccurate association between mental health and violence.
5. Lack of Access to Treatment: Many people with mental health conditions do not receive proper treatment due to lack of access to care, resources, and support. Blaming mental illness for mass shootings ignores the larger issue of underfunding and inadequacy of mental health care.
6. Diversion from Solutions: Blaming mental illness for mass shootings can divert attention away from addressing the root issues and implementing meaningful solutions to prevent future tragedies.
Therefore, it is essential to approach mass shootings from a holistic perspective that acknowledges the complex factors contributing to the issue. It is necessary to address these problems comprehensively via gun laws, mental health interventions, community support, and prevention programs rather than solely blaming people with mental illnesses.
Those with mental illness are just as fearful of gun violence as those without it and pointing the finger at mental illness does not solve the problem, it creates another one. We're all in this together and together we can find and fight for a solution to feel safe again.
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