Mental Illness Didn’t Pull the Trigger


As mass shootings have increased over the past several years, the media has been quick to jump on the mental illness bandwagon.

Mental illness care has never been what it ought to be in this country, and, while I appreciate increased attention on the issue, mental illness can’t be blamed for every single mass shooter.

It would be easy to say that each shooter is mentally ill. It’s easy to write off anger and aggression as the actions of men who aren’t responsible for their choices, but that’s not fair or true

Some men are just evil.  Some men see injustice in their lives and take it out on innocent people. Some men think suicide isn’t enough and feel the only justice in life is taking out people with them. This isn’t to say women aren’t capable of evil, but the vast majority of mass shooters are young, white men.

I’m mentally ill.

I have some combination of depression and anxiety and, to be a functional member of society, I require daily medication. I’m grade-A certified crazy, and not once—not a single, solitary time—have I ever considered shooting up a school or a university or a movie theater.

Some mentally ill people do have violent tendencies against themselves or others, but I highly doubt that every shooter is another crazy person who just needed help or was just a troubled kid.

We don’t say that ISIL needs mental health care. We acknowledge they are a force for evil who find justification for their actions by misinterpreting and twisting religious texts.

Many of these mass shooters also ascribe to ideologies and write manifestos outlining how they are justified in their murders and (in many cases) eventual suicides. Sure, some of these men needed help, but most sought out information and carefully planned their evil actions.

Each time we blame mental illness, we’re saying that people aren’t responsible for their actions.We wipe away the gruesome nature of what happened and explain away their guilt. Being mentally ill doesn’t exempt you from consequences and responsibility.

Just because you can explain why you do something doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible.

Should we have more healthcare readily available for mentally ill people? Yes, 100 percent.

Should there be more control on how readily accessible guns are? In my opinion, yes. But neither of those things erases the evil of mass shootings.

September 15 is the 258th day of the year; there have been 275 mass shootings in the United States so far this year.

These men aren’t crazy. They’re evil, and that’s a harder truth to swallow.

Reprinted from the Daily Mississippian

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