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.
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.
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.