Using the Mentally Ill as Scapegoats in the Gun Control Debate
Recently, it has become vogue among some gun advocates to imply that the mentally ill or the medications they are taking, are to be blamed for the mass killings over the years, where guns have been involved. This is "chicken or the egg" logic and helps to reinforce the stigma that goes along with mental illness. Mental illness is treated as the orphan child disease. Yet,in a recent study, one out five Americans suffer from a form of mental illness and about 60% get treatment. Most of those benefit greatly from the medicines they are put on, which gives them a better quality of life. The correlation between the medicine that those mass murders took, caused them to kill, can't be proved. Obviously, they were put on those medications because it was deemed by medical professionals that they were needed. The outcome of them not being put on these drugs could have been the exactly the same.
Brenda Ann Spencer, made famous by the Boomtown Rats' song "I Don't Like Mondays", never took any medications before she went on her shooting spree. Neither did Thomas Watt Hamilton, the shooter of the Dunblane Primary School, in Scotland. And in case you just in case you think my point is about guns, it isn't. Jim Jones didn't used guns or where on medications when he committed mass murder. It is an impossible prove that the medications caused these killings, because the mental illness was there in the first place.
Sadly, I have been born into a family that suffers from mental illness. I have seen what these people are like when they weren't on their medication, and how much better they are today, because of medications. To blame these medications or the mentally ill for these shootings, is like blaming the victim of rape for her attack. It is an injustice to those who suffer from an illness ever bit as real as cancer or M.S.
We should we be reviewing our laws about the mentally ill and the criteria for helping families deal with their ill. It shouldn't be as minimal and limited as, "Are they are danger tothem selfor others". We need to have laws on the books to help these families have some power to get their ill the help they need from the medical community, even if that person is over the age of 18, as opposed to leaving them powerless after the age of majority, which is what our present law is. .
But let's stop using the mentally ill as scapegoats in the gun control debate.