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This Daily Beast article makes some key points:

If mental illness were the key factor in multiple gun homicides like Newtown, then other countries would regularly experience the kind of carnage visited on towns and cities in the U.S. on almost on a monthly basis. But they don’t. In Britain, an advanced study by Manchester University into “Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness” has found most people who kill more than one person are neither mentally ill, nor mental health patients, As Dr. David H. Barlow, a senior expert in comparative mental health-care systems and Emeritus Professor at Boston University, told The Daily Beast, “the incidence of mental illness is quite consistent across Europe and America.” Yet the statistics for the homicide and suicide rates are much higher in the U.S. than most of the rest of Europe, with Americans 100 times more likely to die to a gun-related death than in the U.K.

Here's the link to the whole article:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/...

Thoughts?

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What will stop future Sandy Hooks?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

    by LiberalLady on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:14:22 PM PST

  •  This is tricky. (7+ / 0-)

    Because in Britain neither the mentally ill, nor anyone else can get ready access to guns.

    However, on the wider point ...

    I don't know that mentally ill people are being blamed. What has been said is that mental illness has been a factor in many of these incidents, but the illness isn't the cause.

    That is a combination of factors, two of which are the lack of mental health care and the easy access to guns.

    If a person really is mentally ill, then surely their responsibility is diminished anyway?

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:20:07 PM PST

  •  Most isn't all . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCaliana, sboucher

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:21:06 PM PST

  •  Aw, come on. Don't take away our scapegoats! nt. (6+ / 0-)
  •  It is not mental illness so much (17+ / 0-)

    as lack of treatment.  As I have said many times before, mental health care in this country is the so-called red-headed stepchild of health care services.  Reimbursement rates are low, but instead of seeing six patients an hour like your family doctor, psychologists  and psychiatrists are expected to see the patient for 50 minutes in order to bill a treatment hour.  At a lower payment rate than your family doc charges.  Visits are limited to anywhere from six to twelve per year, maximum.  How in hell can you monitor someone who is potentially dangerous to self or others with those limitations?  

    Another thing, most mental health professionals are not all that good at predicting violent behavior. There was an article in the Journal of the American Psychiatric Association several years back showing that board certified psychiatrists were no better than architecture students at predicting which patients would act out violently.  Better training is needed.  Violence and violent people have been my professional specialty for the past forty years. I have seen more dead bodies than I can count.  I have been instrumental in sending many perpetrators to prison, but when I get cases, it is usually too late to save the victim.  It is not the illness itself, but the detection of which mentally ill people pose a danger to society.  

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:39:28 PM PST

    •  Exactly. (7+ / 0-)

      And in some cases, insurance won't even cover mental illness, so the patient has to pay out of pocket. My psychologist charges $130 per 1 hour session, and he wants me to come every week. I can't do that because that would take most of my income. At the same time, state legislatures (mainly Republican) across the country are cutting crucial mental health services, so if you have a severe mental illness, what do you do?

      I sincerely hope the ACA addresses this. I believe it does in some way, but I may be wrong.

      •  I've always been able to get help (3+ / 0-)

        at the county or city level, with sliding scale payments and free or discounted medications. One time I saw a therapist through a local church (though I wasn't a member). I know it's harder in rural areas, and the quality of doctors varies (I had one county doctor who was fantastic).

        It's not just a zip code, it's an attitude.

        by sboucher on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:52:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  True, but if there were no gun: Then no shooting./ (5+ / 0-)
      •  New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) said (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CherryTheTart, leu2500

        on Sunday that when entering the gun control debate, the left must "admit there is a Second Amendment."

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

        "No guns" is a fantasy of one polarized side in the gun rights vs. gun control conflict, because the actual policy debate is what constitutes reasonable regulation.

        The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

        by ancblu on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:13:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe the reason why psychiatrists do no better (7+ / 0-)

      than architects at predicting who will be violent is that psychiatry is not actually capable of predicting who will be violent.

    •  It's so difficult to predict which patients will (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smartdemmg, amsterdam

      be violent but it's easy to predict that guns will kill people. It is easy to predict that when there is a proliferation of semi-automatic guns there will be massacres. We have the numbers.

      So let's first regulate the guns and make them very hard to obtain.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:54:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree with the premise of this Diary ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CherryTheTart

      Gun violence is a national public health issue and as the President said: it is complex, but that cannot be an excuse to do nothing.

      This Diary and many commenters seem to deny the complexity of many factors that do correlate with violence generally and gun violence specifically.

      Major mental health disorders do show a somewhat higher correlation to violence than in non-affected population groups -- this is not disputed in the academic literature.  The correlation increases when presented in combination with other independent variables that also correlate to violent propensity, including gender (male), age (young), income (low), education level (low) and substance abuse (alcohol and drugs).

      To deny these data is just silly and the argument "Stop Blaming Mental Illness" really does nothing to address this public health problem in the comprehensive manner it requires.  In fact, it puts out more smoke than light -- a similar fault of demagogues who would deny the existence of gun violence as a national problem in order to avoid dealing with the problem of easy access to firearms for those who may pose a greater risk of using them violently or criminally against members of the public.

      The progressive agenda does need to look at underlying causal factors and avoid the error of myopic focus on simple banning, which in any case would have to overcome the inevitable constitutional challenges.

      The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

      by ancblu on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:01:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure we should (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ancblu, smartdemmg, Otteray Scribe

        lump all mental illness together in this. Are some forms of mental illness more correlated with violence than others? I would think that some may correlate more with self-harm but less with violence against others.

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:27:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are absolutely correct ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CherryTheTart, Otteray Scribe

          mental health covers of very wide range of clinical diagnoses.  As a society we are still working through the public stigma of this type of health diagnosis and we should careful when considering the role it might play in propensity to gun or other forms of violence as a public health issue.

          The literature does place the emphasis on "major" disorders as categorized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.  These would include certain anxiety or mood disorders, as well as schizophrenia and paranoia, etc.  DSM-IV

          Importantly, the statistical prevalence of violence is most strongly indicated when multiple independent correlating variables present in some combination.  

          The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

          by ancblu on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:52:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Better treatment for mental illness (0+ / 0-)

      is important, but I think the. discussion is not very relevant to finding a solution to these mass murders.

      I do find it fascinating how the right wing is trying to use it as a talking point.
      There not doing a very good job. It goes something like this.

      "We need to do something about these massacres. Let's do something about mental illness. But not Obamacare, because that is bad. We need to be able to identify these crazy people before they do something. But banning assault weapons won't work because it is to difficult to identify an assault weapon".

      What are they suggesting? Screen every American for mental illness, or just people who want buy a weapon?
      Are they suggesting it is easier to identify the potential crazy person who will be the next mass murderer, than to come up with a definition for an assault weapon?

      I think people should be very alert when the right wing start talking about mental illness being the problem. I seriously doubt that would lead to better treatment programs, and probably may be an excuse to gut  4th amendment in order to preserve the 2nd, eventhough that would not address the real problem.

      •  There is no guarantee that (0+ / 0-)

        any given gun owner won't develop a mental illness at some point in their lives. So there is always going to be a danger that someone who is mentally ill has access to a gun.

        Because gun ownership is a Constitutional right, it's clear that public access to weapons isn't going to be nullified in my lifetime (or yours, probably). And not all - or even very many - mental health abnormalities cause sufferers to become murderously violent. Mental health care is difficult enough to access as it is, and automatic abrogation of Constitutional rights if one does get help surely isn't conducive to people seeking out that help.

        Probably the most effective thing we could do is impose much greater restrictions on semi-automatic weaponry, especially the number of bullets that can be fired before reloading. Special classes (of people) do need guns with greater capacity, but the general public does not. 5 or 6 bullets in a magazine should be enough for any purpose a regular person has - like those who aren't such good shots who need to kill a rabid animal instead of simply wound it.

        That is me speaking as a person who has chosen to live far out in the country where police are 45 minutes away on a good day, neighbors cannot be seen or heard, and three-quarters of the property is bordered by state game lands and about a million acres of National Forest bear sanctuary. Worse, I've got livestock, pets and grandkids who are here a lot. We have had to kill rabid animals, starving abandoned dogs (always pisses me off that they were abandoned, but I'm not going to let them eat my ducks or tear into my dogs or grandkids). And way too many well-armed hunters don't pay any attention to posted private property signs on their way to killing some deer/bear/turkeys. They universally have more respect when they know we aren't helpless here.

        Cities and crowded megaburbs are a whole different deal, I don't know what ultimately is the best gun control there.

  •  It seems to me that a shooter sure ain't "normal. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart, tobendaro

    Good diary- gave me a new perspective to consider.

    It doesn't surprise me that the mentally ill would be exploited for propaganda, but no one in their right mind would kill a bunch of people. I suppose not in right mind doesn't necessarily = mentally ill, but???

    Society abandoned the mentally ill in the eighties. One can't swing a dead cat these days without smacking a gun owner. Bad combination.

    Without regulation, capitalism is thievery. Robert Sherrell

    by Syoho on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:11:25 PM PST

  •  As Far As I'm Concerned, Anyone Who Is In... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tobendaro

    the Republican party or spends their hard earned cash on hundreds of bullets & multiple guns.....is mental.

    There's a component here of mental illness in all these mass shootings, but somehow the perpetrators always manage to get the black outfits, the body shields, the multiple high velocity clips, & load & reload their weapons.

    Somehow they overcome their mental problems to plan, implement & kill people.  Hmmmm......seems rather convenient to me the way they can slip in & out of lucidity.

    Even dying your hair orange & pretending you are "The Joker" as the killer did in the Aurora movie theater....took some planning.  Then somehow he slipped into his convenient "I'm just a crazy guy".  

    He also managed to intercept  tons of UPS deliveries to his apartment bringing ammo to him.  And he had time to rig up his apartment.....bomb style.  

    •  Mental illness or homicidal anger? (0+ / 0-)

      That's one thing that researchers have to figure out. If Lanza's Aspergers did not contribute to the shooting, what did? Perhaps he was also depressed and raging at the world. There is something abnormal about the complete lack of empathy and desire to direct his rath toward kindergarteners.  I don't know enough about psychoses to say, but it's worth finding out.

      The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

      by LiberalLady on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:40:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mental illness (3+ / 0-)

      does not equal stupid. Sociopathy is defined by intelligence. Organizational skills and an ability to plan goes with the diagnosis. Millions of socio- and psychopaths go undiagnosed for decades; millions more are diagnosed--what then?

      "If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."--Scrooge

      by crose on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:42:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You made a good point about these massacres (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snapples, smartdemmg

      not being spontaneous, like psychotic episodes. The crimes are well planned and prepared for, what they will wear, which guns to use, how to break in. There is something cold and calculating about these crimes. One rabbi wrote that the shooters are not mentally ill, they are simply evil. I don't know. I just know that guns should be hard to obtain so they would not be available for sane people who break down/lose control and for the cold calculating murderers.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:03:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess it's in how you define mental illness (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snapples, CherryTheTart

        Psychopaths can be very calculating and manipulative, but they are still psychopaths who feel no empathy like the rest of us. The difference is in how we hold them accountable -- they may have a mental disorder, yet they are still responsible for their actions.

        The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

        by LiberalLady on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:07:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A little over 20 years ago (4+ / 0-)

    while I was in an inpatient mental ward I witnessed a young man get admitted on a 48 hour court commitment.
    Very violent and suicidal, he had slashed his wrists the proper way and very deep. He almost died.
    The entire time he was in he had very violent outbursts and made threats about killing his exgirlfriend and her entire family.
    48 hours passed and the staff cleared him to leave.
    He carried out his threats and killed the exgirlfriend and her mother.
    A very big coverup ensued.
    I tried to get the story out anon.
    The local newspaper wouldnt take my story without my name.
    Ive had very bad experiences with that inpatient hospital and got labelled as a paranoid pschitzo for trying to shine the light on their bad ways.

  •  How about blaming the meds? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart, tobendaro, Syoho

    Life isn't fair but you should try to leave it fairer than you found it.

    by xrepub on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:07:59 PM PST

    •  Was Lanza on any meds? (0+ / 0-)

      I think certain meds can make young people suicidal - not sure about homicidal.

      The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

      by LiberalLady on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:12:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One thing I wonder (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart, smartdemmg, tobendaro

    is if we've created a new phenomenon in the U.S. -- something that occurs at the intersection of despair, desire for revenge, and guns. Ever since Columbine, I believe mass shooters have been inspired. It was such a sensational event -- nothing like it before -- but many like it since.

    The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

    by LiberalLady on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:18:49 PM PST

    •  And lets talk (0+ / 0-)

      about stoking the fires and stroking the egomaniacal musings. Fox News, the Republican Party, the NRA et al.  They have created a mindset in the US that is defiant, angry and ready to go off at any moment.  Let's remember the vitriol and rage at the election of Obama.  The raging for 4 years.  The righties I know are all angry and bitching about something all the time.  No breaks.  It is simply not healthy to be angry all the time and the ripples are showing up as murdered children.

      Everyone! Arms akimbo!

      by tobendaro on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:09:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  most mentally ill people should have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart

    the same rights as other people. If other people have a right to keep and bear arms, than so should mentally ill people, just as with other rights. Even without the second amendment, mentally ill people still deserve to not be subject to legal discrimination without a reasonable justification.

    "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

    by AaronInSanDiego on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:23:05 PM PST

  •  I see a lot of "he MUST have been mentally ill" (0+ / 0-)

    comments.  How could someone without a serious illness do something so terrible?

    Sadly, I agree with this article.  I think a person is fully capable of being evil and cruel enough to do this without a mental illness.

    Even though I can't even begin to imagine the thought process that would lead someone to decide to kill their own mother and head to the local elementary school to murder dozens of children and teachers and then kill themselves, I don't believe it takes a mental illness to do it.

    Anger, evil, cruelty and hate are not mental illnesses.

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