Posted by: Meagan | December 17, 2012

Prevention

There has been quite a bit of talk since the latest school shooting about what is causing these attacks on innocent people and I have done quite a bit of thinking, talking, and reading. People have exploded and un-friended people on facebook because of their opinions and so I will share here on my blog where I hope people will think through what I and others have to say more thoroughly. I ask that comments be tasteful and respectful.

Three things, three things are causing these shootings in my opinion. Media coverage, gun laws and most of all, the state of mental health in the United States. I will address them in that order and briefly because I don’t believe in being long-winded.

Media Coverage

Here is a link to a video that was done about a shooting in Germany.

In this video the Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr. Park Dietz talks directly to the media:

1. Don’t start the broadcast with sirens blaring.

2. Don’t have photographs of the killer.

3. Don’t make this 24/7 coverage.

4. Do not make the body count the lead story.

5. Don’t make out the killer to be an anti-hero.

6. Do localize this story to the affected area and make it as boring as possible to the rest of the country.

The consequence of doing those things? “When we see saturated coverage of a mass shooting we expect to see 1-2 more within a week.”

All news organizations have broken each of those tips. It seems to me that news organizations are so unwilling to pass up a story that they then are planting the seed within more mentally ill minds that this is okay, you will be remembered for something, people will know who you are and study you and some may even idolize you. It makes me sick that the media is so unwilling to help break this cycle, they just exacerbate it.

Gun Laws

This section isn’t going to go as many of you may have envisioned, I think that gun-free zones need to be abolished. Since schools became gun-free zones in 1994 they have been targeted by mentally ill people as easy targets because it is known that nobody can fight back! In many of the mass shooting, including the recent shooting in that Oregon mall, a private, armed citizen stopped the shooter. See this post entitled Gun Free Zones: An Article by Tom Givens, he gives a breakdown of shootings in his post.

In Israel there was a massacre, the Ma’alot massacre in 1974 and Israel instituted a policy in which volunteer school personnel, parents, and grandparents received special training from the civil guard, and were placed throughout the schools armed with discreetly concealed 9mm semiautomatic pistols.  Since then, there have been no successful mass murder at an Israeli school, and every attempt at such has been quickly stopped by the those armed teachers/parents/grandparents who stand watch over those children. I was surprised to learn that there are similar programs are in place in Peru and the Phillippines. Massad Ayood, a renown security expert encourages programs like these. You can read the full article here. We cannot continue to entice mentally ill people to take advantage of our schools, government buildings, zoos, offices or what have you.

Mental Health in the United States

I read this posted entitled I am Adam Lanza’s Mother, and although I really do hate the title because I don’t believe we should know the names of or care what the names of murderers are, the post was a perfect example of the state of the mental health care system in the US. And she points out that there practically is no heath care for the mentally ill in the US. It is disturbing to me to know that mentally ill people have nowhere to go to get help, that their families live in fear of them, waiting for them to snap and bracing themselves for that moment when parents stand in the way and the younger siblings have “safety plans” they know by heart and no long have to be told to do them. Read her post, it is written much better than I could and you will see why I think that it is the mental healthcare in the US that needs the most change, the most time and conversation.


Responses

  1. My husband is a mental health counselor. In the last five or so years, the budget cuts to fund this type of work is sickening. Not only have workers received immense pay cuts (Justin had a 25% cut a few years ago we still haven’t recovered from) but the amount of allowed services approved for the mentally ill have declined. The way I see it, the taxpayers will pay one way or another – preventative, or in legal fees, medical fees, prison costs, behavioral center costs, etc. Let’s be humane and support these people up front.

  2. Thank you for writing that Lara, and you are right, the taxpayers will pay for it in one way or another. We do need to solve the problem and help this seriously overlooked group of people, and therefore their families and society as a whole. There is a saying that goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link. That is what I think of the more I learn about the lack of funds and programs for mentally ill and the people who help them.

  3. Meagan, I agree with a lot of what you have said, if not all of it. I hear many people just focusing on one point of the issue and it really is an issue that has many pieces. I think that all parts of this are something that needs to be talked about. Not fought about or a time for poo flinging, but a serious talk. One person may not have all the answers, but if we all talk about it, civil talks, answers can come from it. I think that having different views on things is sometimes good. You and I might not agree on something, but if you tell me your point of view, I may see what you are saying and agree, or vice versa. When it comes to yelling and name calling and hitting below the belt, you lose any opportunity to actually get a point across.

    I think the biggest problem of all of these issues is the mental health care problem. It’s something that NEEDS to be fixed and I don’t claim to have any answers on how, but I do know that something needs to change.

  4. My (possibly unpopular) opinion is that people sit here and blame the media for covering this stuff, but what are people entertaining themselves with? Movies and TV shows act out this kind of stuff every night and we call that “entertainment”? Teenagers and grown men (maybe women too) play graphic video games where you can act it all out. Not to mention the violent books that are so popular right now. And then we are all so shocked that something like this can happen. Don’t get me wrong, I am very shocked and shaken by the whole thing, but the state all kinds of things makes me sick right now.
    Yes, the media glorifies it, but they get great ratings for it.
    I agree with most of what you said, except the part about the gun laws. I don’t really know where I stand on gun-laws, but at the point that I feel my children need to be protected by arming themselves to go to school, or even having armed guards there to protect them, is the point when I will homeschool them. I still feel like elementary schools are safe, at least from the type of situation we are talking about.


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