No, It’s Not Because He Was ‘Mentally Ill’: Why Tragedy Struck in Orlando

Sera Davidow
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49 people died in a club in Orlando, Florida at the hands of a man who is now dead, too. In only a few hours time, he destined himself to be forever made infamous as one of an increasingly long line of ‘shooters’ that have sent our nation on a desperate search for who or what to blame. I never met this particular ‘shooter,’ but in my teens I did meet one.

Here’s how that went:

I entered college eleven days after I turned 16. It was great because I was on my own and out of the house where I grew up for the first time ever. It was also terrifying because I was on my own and out of the house where I grew up for the first time ever.

Why I ended up in college at a relatively young age is a long story, but suffice to say it had to do with equal parts privilege, abusive home environment, and difficulty fitting in at my hometown high school in Greenwich, Connecticut (for so very many reasons).

The short version of the story goes like this: Things were really bad (and getting worse) between my mother and I, and I’d started to skip class and do pretty poorly in school. She thought to ‘get me under control,’ she’d send me off to boarding school. So, she paid big bucks to some educational consultant to ‘make it happen.’ But, that high-priced hire instead suggested a college that accepts kids who have finished at least their Sophomore years, and I got hooked on the idea. So, upon acceptance, I dropped out of my Junior class, and then in mid-January, off to college I went.

I muddled my way through my first semester, even though I was sometimes so scared that I shook and I couldn’t feel my fingers when I tried to write. I also didn’t really make friends in those first few months, although there were people I admired at a distance in my entering class of twenty other kids. Fortunately, in my second semester, I started to form some connections.

One friendship that began to blossom was with a young man who came along one semester behind me. He was just as scared as I’d ever been. He explained that his family had been very strict, and it felt weird to him to stay out late, even though freedom was at his fingertips whenever he wanted it now. Gradually, he loosened up, and we took long drives together late at night. (I’d managed to acquire a somewhat old, but relatively reliable used car by then.) He told me about the girl he liked who had also played violin in the same orchestra in which he’d played back at home in Montana, and that his favorite song was Lady in Red.

Eventually we drifted apart. I don’t remember why, exactly. I just remember that the last time I saw him, it was one semester later (my third) and I was crossing over a little foot bridge. I looked up at his dorm, and he was gazing out a second floor window in my direction. Our eyes caught, and then we both looked away.

galen5-2
Galen Gibson

I left after that semester, and I’m glad I did. Because the following January (20 years to the day before the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary took place), he picked up a gun and became one of the first well-publicized school shooters spoken of in the media. Although more were injured, he only ended up killing two people. One of them was a boy (Galen Gibson) toward whom I’d harbored a longstanding crush. (He was one of the aforementioned 20 in my entering class.)

The court proceedings and media chaos that ensued in the aftermath assembled various characters who bickered back and forth about whether his motives were racially based, or the result of such psychiatric phenomenon as ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ or ‘narcissistic personality disorder.’ Incidentally, I’ve had contact with him off and on in the last few years, and he says that he never received any ‘mental health’ treatment after he was convicted of all 17 counts that stood against him and sentenced to two life terms in prison. He says that his reasoning and the events that transpired that January are a blur. (I have my own theories, but none of them are easy or fit nicely in a box as most would prefer.)

Since that time, there have been so many more tragedies, and so many more heated (and often futile) arguments grappling with why. Don’t get me wrong.  I understand the need to make meaning. It’s not just so that we can find peace in what’s come to pass, but also so we can mend the gaping hole in our collective illusion that the world is a ‘safe place’ moving forward. Because without patching that up, it’s hard to feel okay about running errands, and letting our offspring out of our sight to go to school and living our regular day-to-day lives in any way. I should know. I have to intentionally put effort into turning off the ‘what if’ switch in my brain every day.

So, we choose those explanations that feel furthest from ourselves and at least sound like they’re real. In our current climate, that most typically amounts to he was a ‘terrorist,’ or he was one of ‘the mentally ill’ (and sometimes both).  Although I personally spend more time arguing against the ‘mental illness’ piece based on my work and life experience, both answers seem to offer a similar benefit: They are two things most people feel they themselves could never become. It’s safety wrapped in distance wrapped in pat words (wrapped in so much ignorance and hate). So neat and tidy!

Except. Except that neither one (not ‘mental illness’ nor the ‘terrorist’ designation) is particularly finite, and both are entirely movable by those in power who are free to lay those labels wherever they choose, either before or after something happens. Whatever serves the purpose at hand. Of course, this generally makes them utterly meaningless as serviceable ‘reasons’ why it all happened in the first place, but no one seems to bat an eye or name that problem (at least not too publicly), or recognize them for what they truly are so much of the time: Tools of social control.

I don’t think I’ve ever used the term ‘mental illness’ as much as I am in this piece (and please do note the quotations in each instance), but here it goes a few times more: It seems such willful ignorance that people accept ‘he was mentally ill’ or ‘it wouldn’t have happened if he were in treatment’ as any kind of answer in these sorts of situations, and especially since so many in question were in fact in treatment of some kind. (I sometimes hate to acknowledge this point, because certain groups will hear it as affirmation that ‘they’ were ‘mentally ill’ since they sought some sort of assistance, when in fact, I mean it more as a note that so many of us struggle at some point in our life and are met with ‘help’ that does not ‘help’ and sometimes drives us further into the abyss.)

As aforementioned (but worth saying again) I think the driving force behind the acceptance must be to not feel paralyzed from all the fear of the not knowing and randomness of life. Or to not look too close to home because doing so might point the finger back at some of us.

The logic is so loose. Why is it seen as an acceptable ‘answer’ to say someone was ‘mentally ill,’ when so many who are diagnosed don’t harm anyone? (Never mind that there is no objective test for these supposed diseases of the mind, and psychiatrists can’t even agree which ‘disease’ someone has half the time.) Even if the quality being blamed does exist on some level (as in, he was in fact diagnosed or has been struggling emotionally in some way), correlation does not mean causation. It’s almost just as silly to say that he did it because he had a psychiatric diagnosis, as it is to say he did it because he was 20-something (simply because of the broad base of evidence suggesting youth is somehow tied to certain crimes).

There is always more to the story. Someone who hears a voice saying to kill another doesn’t have to be any more likely to act on that order than I am when my own mind indicates to me that I should ‘strangle a person’ out of frustration. (Although admitting the former is certainly likely to land one with a psychiatric label, who among us has not had such a thought?) Most of us contemplate ending our lives at our own hands at some point, yet few of us act. The majority of kids at college get drunk, are full of hormones, and get rejected at some point, yet most of them do not rape. Clearly there are other layers and influences at play.

Similarly, why are we so quick to accept the answer of radicalization, as if it were some far off and foreign thing that is not of our own culture? These explanations seem of similar ilk. If we can accept Islamic radicalization as a full response to explain away something terrible, then how about hate radicalization in general? Like racist or misogynistic radicalization, for example? Or the elements of Christian radicalization that so many use as justification for their horrific disposition toward those who do not live up to religious man-plus-woman expectations?

Why is it so easy for people to see one as a systemic issue applicable to a whole group of people (and that their often willing to go beyond the law to attack), while they view the others as ‘isolated incidents,’ or a good thing gone off course, and that perhaps was even somehow (in some cases) still fueled by something akin to ‘mental illness,’ too? In spite of the stark reality that many more people of color, women and individuals existing along the ‘LGBT’ spectrum are hurt by these supposedly ‘isolated’ ideas and individuals gone rogue, it remains easier to focus in on terrorism and ‘mental illness’ as the primary problems because it makes it more about ‘them’ and not ‘us.’ And, in the end, that’s what we need to sleep at night, right?

So, no, he did not kill them because he was mentally ill or because he was of a different culture that we do not understand or have demonized for our own solace. He killed them because he was violent. He killed them because he wanted to and he had access to guns. He killed them because he felt alienated from and angry at society. He killed them because he felt numb to everything but intolerable indifference (sometimes drug-induced). He killed them because he’d been taught to have hate and rage in his heart, and to believe he was somehow righteously justified to act upon it.

FB Post about Orlando Shooting49 people died in a club in Orlando, Florida last night, and it (unsurprisingly) took less than 12 hours for both terrorism and ‘mental illness’ to get pegged as the culprits.  Facebook posts like this one scored thousands of likes a piece by mid-afternoon.

But, he didn’t do it because he was mentally ill. Whatever his allegiance with various groups, ‘terrorist’ is also not an adequate answer. (Perhaps, instead of these factors, some 200 anti-LGBT bills introduced in the last handful of months might have provided some of the fuel here?)  Saying so might bring some people a vague sense of peace for all the reasons I’ve named above, but what gets lost in all this false ‘fact’ finding is the very real harm done along the way. When violence is conflated with ‘mental illness’ (or particular religions, as the case may sometimes be), the price we pay for that imaginary sense of security are the very real lives of those we’ve deemed worthy of all the blame. They become our ‘fall guys,’ if you will, simply so that we can feel like we’re in ‘the know,’ and post angry Facebook diatribes demanding ‘action.’

In truth, these attitudes push us toward force and oppression and even more hate. These ‘reasons’ compound the underlying problems that drive the violence, and lead many people to feel somehow ‘above the law’ in their efforts to control future outcomes. How sad that our fitful efforts to increase our safety in the world, do nothing but tear it all down.

Yes, what happened in Orlando was a tragedy, but it will become no less tragic if we comply with those forces that would have us blindly sacrifice more innocent souls to our drive for easy answers. There are no gods waiting to spare us further loss if we continue down this path.

187 COMMENTS

  1. The Government and Big Media’s latest attempt to ostracize, marginalize, periferize, and warehouse an otherwise easily exploitable population; luckily we DVM-V Diagnosed Humans are stronger and more intelligent than to let intollerence, stigma, and hatred permeate and saturate the main stream ethos and collective unconscious of others.

  2. The intersecctions of this mass shooting are sickening. I think some people are just pure evil. Blaming drugs and diagnoses get us nowhere. He was raised and fed a daily dose of American colonized hate. Politicians have to stop hiding behind the shield of blaming Islam/Muslims/Mentally Ill. The time is now for us as citizens to stand up and say no more hate, no more…no more.

    • Few things are harder to shake than cherished notions. A cherished notion- that plentiful guns and being ready to start shooting at a second’s notice are what keep the nation safe- is at stake here. For such mentalities, everything must be done to save the cherished notions; even arresting people for not carrying firearms in public is better than taking precious guns out of (AAAAA) circulation. (For years I’ve been waiting for the NRA to promote automatic weapons for the blind, because they can’t see what they’re shooting at).

  3. My initial thoughts about this predictable turn:

    Hmm… already, in the wake of this horrible tragedy of the 50 plus people killed at the Orlando gay nightclub, bullshit about the shooter being “bipolar” and this being an explanation for his actions is starting to spread.

    http://myfox8.com/2016/06/12/orlando-shooters-ex-wife-calls-him-bipolar-abusive-unstable-very-short-tempered/

    I am sure this illusion of “serious untreated mental illness” being the cause of the shooting will be seized upon to justify more coercion, more forced drugging, and more scape-goating of people given ridiculous unscientific labels like bipolar and schizophrenic.

    And the illusion will grow that if only the shooter had been confined or given drugs at the right time, that this tragedy could have been prevented…. yeah right.

    Meanwhile, little consideration will be given to the great likelihood that this man who committed this heinous act was likely himself abused, neglected, and/or discriminated against for long periods of time, had no one to talk to about it, and gradually internalized more and more hatred and sense of alienation that eventually led him to kill.

    • Sera,

      This paragraph is a bit problematic:

      “So, no, he did not kill them because he was mentally ill or because he was of a different culture that we do not understand or have demonized for our own solace. He killed them because he was violent. He killed them because he wanted to and he had access to guns. He killed them because he felt alienated from and angry at society. He killed them because he felt numb to everything but intolerable indifference (sometimes drug-induced). He killed them because he’d been taught to have hate and rage in his heart, and to believe he was somehow righteously justified to act upon it.”

      Saying, “he killed them because he was violent” is kind of like saying, “Grass is green because it is green.” Explains nothing. Most of the rest refers to proximate causes, not ultimate causes based on personal relationships and the emotional environment in which someone grew up.

      The part about being from a demonized culture on the other hand, may in fact be part of the explanation. The United States has done tremendous damage to contemporary Islamic cultures (as they have done tremendous damage to us), killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan during invasions mounted on false pretexts of weapons of mass destruction etc. This stuff does matter; our killing of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan creates hatred, alienation and the desire to strike back. It’s uncomfortable to admit, but the US is not 100% pure or right in its invasion of Middle Eastern countries. Two sides to every story.

      To get a sense of what was going on in this guy’s mind we’d have to know more about his family background, key relationships, cultural/religious affiliations, and most important the quality and tenor of his relationships to family and friends throughout life. I’m willing to bet that during key formative periods of his life he was seriously emotionally neglected, abused, discriminated against, and marginalized. Someone growing up with two genuinely loving parents in a secure, loving family almost certainly would not randomly decide to walk into a nightclub and kill 50 people. Mental illness doesn’t make people do that either, since it is a ghost. Bad relationships, neglect, trauma, deprivation, stress, and isolation are almost always the ultimate culprits.

      Also Sera, did you know that when you say, “between my mother and I” it’s actually, “between my mother and me”? As an English major can’t resist correcting that 🙂

      • if sera’s english is being corrected – i wonder what will happen with mine. that is one of the reasons why i am reluctant to comment here anyways and the last sentences of the previous comment just nurtured my nervousness.
        still i wish to express how great this text is. the paragraph that has been found problematic is one of my favourites. thank you sera for taking time to write this clear, clever and much needed counter-analysis!

    • “Meanwhile, little consideration will be given to the great likelihood that this man who committed this heinous act was likely himself abused, neglected, and/or discriminated against for long periods of time, had no one to talk to about it, and gradually internalized more and more hatred and sense of alienation that eventually led him to kill.”

      This is beyond parody. What exactly are you advocating, therapy for would-be terrorists?

  4. I always point out that NAMI and other anti-stigma mouthpieces are constantly saying that ‘mental illness’ (whatever THAT means) is not more common in one country than another. So if “mental illness” is the problem, why are there such a disproportionate number of these random-type shootings here in the USA? And it can’t be “untreated mental illness” either, because our “treatment” rates are among the world’s highest. (Of course, the idea that the “treatment” itself could be contributing is rarely mentioned…)

    So logically, the “mental illness” explanation has no legs. But as you point out, people aren’t necessarily looking for true explanations, just convenient ones.

    —- Steve

    • Blaming guns I would call one of those convenient ones. People in the U.S. have always had guns. We haven’t always had mass shootings on a weekly basis. Not that I think this is comparable to Columbine, as I think the guy’s motivation has been made pretty clear.

        • Fiachra, that ‘pill induced’ violence you mention is what Peter Breggin calls ‘medication spellbinding’. Basically, when on certain types of medications, especially psychiatric drugs, these can have profound effects on the individuals psyche and can drastically change their personality, including psychosis, mania, and/or violence. However, the individual has little understanding that it is the drugs that are causing the effects and instead thinks it is simply them and what they are feeling is natural. Which is why such effects are so dangerous because the person has absolutely no clue that it’s the drugs that are causing them to act so out of character.

          I have a personal experience with such medication spellbinding. In my teenage years I took some anti-psychotic drugs (not my prescription, some people I knew took them because it made them hallucinate), yet when my own hallucinations kicked in I didn’t/couldn’t cognitively put two and two together (took drugs to hallucinate, then started to hallucinate), so I thought what I was seeing was real and freaked the hell out. This of course got me sent to a mental hospital where, if you can believe it, they gave me anti-psychotic drugs to treat my hallucinations that were caused by anti-psychotic drugs.

          • Ragnorak,

            You describe spellbinding very well. I was certainly spellbound, and there’s a lot of it about. It’s just swept under the carpet!

            ‘The shooter’ would have had at least a 10% chance of being on a neuroleptic (as any one else in the West would).

    • Steve,

      “….Of course, the idea that the “treatment” itself could be contributing is rarely mentioned….” – it IS rarely mentioned and it is also kept o off *research. Nearly every post 1st admission hospitalization I had was a suicide event, and when I stopped the medication – there were no more hospitalizations.

      Akathesia can have different forms mine was acute and transitory – whereas SSRI might be milder but more long lasting.

      The *University (hospital) where I had been treated had conducted research paper after research paper on the usefulness of the drugs that had caused my problems.

      • In this case the guy was not diagnosed bipolar; that’s his wife’s assessment. We might hear otherwise, though. I have heard steroids mentioned, and that he’d bulked up at some point. Anabolic-androgenic steroids would do it.

        I agree–Research hospitals are the worst. It adds the ego/career motive to the money motive, the ego-career is much stronger and more corrupting.

        And then swapping stupid stories, here’s mine:
        My SNRI akathisia lasted 24 hours and was treated as bipolar for three years, often with the original SNRI, with Abilify that orovoked akathisia overnight, which went on for a couple of months during what the main thing I ever said was this is unbearable.” (Know that one?)

        I often mentioned that 49 was late onset for bipolar disorder, but despite having a PhD in psychology, I was a pitiable, typical bipolar patient resisting “my meds.”

        It’s foul how the patient nicknames her chemical death. One of the last things I said to the last mental midget who thought I believed his plastic model of a neuron inhibited from re-uptaking serotonin by a mighty SSRI was, “they’re not my meds, they’re yours.”

        By then I was in dopamine agonist withdrawal syndrome (DAWS), which no one recognized, despite my previous doctor’s wild notion that I had ADHD, not bipolar disorder, and should be on two stimulants and Prozac.

        The tiny clown wth the 3D neuron toy had prescribed so much Seroquel (which minimizes your dopamine) that I stopped breathing at night on several occasions. I also prayed for death much of the day or night; that’s DAWS which is not helped by scrubbing every last dopamine molecule out of your nail beds.

  5. I think people are overthinking this. It was a violent political act, period. There’s not much anyone who’s not telepathic could have done about it except erase history. It certainly has nothing to do with the existence of guns. If someone in the club had had one the outcome might have been different. I haven’t actually heard much “mental illness” talk yet other than people equating violence with “mental illness.”

    • Oldhead

      There was someone there with a gun; an off duty policeman or deputy I don’t remember which. And the person did engage with the gunman but it didn’t seem to help or to stop the carnage.

      I disagree. I believe that guns and the ability to get them so easily in this country is a large part of this problem. People can talk all they want about Second Amendment rights and all that, but I do not believe that a person has to possess an assault rifle to take care of their SA rights. Assault rifles are intended for one thing and one thing only and that is destruction for the largest numbers over the shortest amount of time.

      • I don’t have much interest in the so-called “gun control” debate from either side. I do have an interest in separating logic from emotion. The two most relevant facts I’ve stated elsewhere here:

        — Americans have always had guns. It is only recently that mass shootings have become “normal” events.

        — The only person who can take away someone’s gun would be someone else with a gun. So this is really not an argument about whether to have guns, but who gets to have them, and who decides.

        • Mass shootings became normal events with the advent of the SSRI’s. Go back and start checking and you’ll find that with their appearance all of these things began happening. Now, hardly a week goes by without a big shooting taking place. The day after the murders in Orlando there was a guy who took his manager hostage in a Walmart store, both of them ended up dead. It’s become so commonplace that we don’t really spend too much time thinking about what happened. We’re getting used to it all.

          Along with the SSRI’s came mass shootings. We may always have had guns but all of this didn’t start until the devil’s tic tacs came along. I still say that guns are the problem. Give one of these mass murderers a knife and see how many people they can murder at one time.

          • You just explained that SSRI’s were the problem then changed it to guns. If it’s the SSRI’s people wouldn’t be misusing guns to begin with, right?

    • “I think people are overthinking this. It was a violent political act, period. …… It certainly has nothing to do with the existence of guns.”

      I agree. The slaughter in Orlando is not unlike the terrorist massacres in France and Belgium, where guns are clearly not a factor. Terrorists will get their arms no matter what. More facts need to come out, but political correctness may have been more of a factor. Why was this disturbed guy working as an armed security guard?

      • This is not always true: “terrorist will get their arms no matter what.” It’s more subtle than that. Not everyone will get a gun no matter what, terrorist or non-terrorist. If guns are harder to obtain, some terrorists will certainly still obtain them illegally, but those on the fringes / those who are on the borderline of being radicalized will have a harder time getting them, or those part-timers without the necessary dark market connections will not etc, and fewer of them may obtain high-powered weaponry and carry out deadly assaults. Thus legislation and policy can make a difference, but only on aggregate, and has to be looked at in the big picture, not via speculating about individual events.

        • What motivates the modern day kamikaze? This has to be a question for our time. There is a disrespect for life in general going on here. Not only for the lives of others, but for one’s own life, too. It seems very much a hate crime, but the extent to which self-hatred may have played a part is undetermined.

          This guy, Omar Mateen, was carrying an AR-15, very popular of late among the multiple murder set, but do you think these law and order types will consider renewing the expired ban on assault weapons? Probably not. I imagine it’s back to the increased funding through “crisis in mental health” scare, and disarm the nut-jobs, but only those nut-jobs, legislative efforts.

          • Interesting that this should happen on the eve of Murphy being given a green light by Congress. We should up the talk about psych drug murders and make people more aware of this.

  6. Mateen’s ex-wife looked and sounded more “unstable” than Omar himself did! At least Omar didn’t try to play the victim when he was ranting about “killing n*****s” and mimicking the planes that flew into the World Trade Center. Calling “bipolar” people “abusers” is a hysterical and grossly dishonest way for sanists to manipulate the health care and legal systems into criminalizing Free Madness. Call me crazy, but I suspect that Mr. Mateen was groomed into becoming a killer by family members, coworkers, etc. who had, foolishly, decided to rest easy in their lives away from him AFTER they had treated him/made him feel like “toxic” waste.

    p.s. Google “toxic families” and see how many webpages, books, etc. refer to Mad family members as the locus of the family’s toxicity.

      • Excuse me, oldhead? Have you read the news lately? Apparently, Mateen was a self-hating homosexual who turned to alcohol in order to cope with the burden of hiding his sexual orientation from his hostile family. Name even ONE mass shooter who didn’t have a fucked up family. The violence we see is always but an echo of the violence we don’t see.

        • “The violence we see is always but an echo of the violence we don’t see.”

          I agree, this is always going to be the case. The root of violence lies in the self-loathing that people can feel thanks to the messages delivered by a toxic society. If we want peace, we must find it within ourselves, first, and embody it in the world. I don’t believe there is any other way.

        • Exactly. Just as some sects of Christianity attack people who are LGBT and try to make said people believe that they are hated by God and are the most sinful people on earth, Islam in its most distorted forms allows LGBT people to be murdered in the name of Allah.

          I suspect that this man was conflicted in so many ways that we will never know. Am not taking up for him or what he did, but if he was gay, he faced total and absolute condemnation in the strict application of Islam in its distorted forms. He didn’t seem to even understand that many of the Islamic groups that he supposedly pledged himself to were opposed to one another. He didn’t seem to be well informed about a lot of stuff.

          • And he was certainly not alone in experiencing treacherous inner conflict–our nature vs. the demands of a toxic, judgmental, shaming, and marginalizing society. That’s not even limited to gay folks, it is across the board.

            Some kill others as a result of social trauma, some kill themselves, some do both, some get physically ill, some live lives of quiet desperation, and some successfully individuate from the toxicity, heal, and get on with things without incident or fear, and in fact, go on to create great things for themselves and society, as a result of having experienced this level of trauma.

            I’d be most curious to know what factors create these diverse responses to social trauma.

        • Calling “bipolar” people “abusers” is a hysterical and grossly dishonest way for sanists to manipulate the health care and legal systems into criminalizing Free Madness.

          Putting “bipolar” in quotes nevertheless indicates an acceptance of the designation as something real. At any rate if someone is abusing someone else he is an abuser regardless of his psych label. You’re calling domestic abuse an expression of “free Madness”? Why am I even arguing with this?

          I checked your comment history and was surprised to see that most of what you write is generally intelligent and apropo. Don’t know what happened here.

          • What happened, oldhead, is that you TOTALLY (deliberately?) misunderstood what I was saying. “Bipolar” does not “indicate an acceptance of the designation as something real”. I have NO acceptance for that – or any other – psychiatric designation. None, zero, zip. “Bipolar” was the sanist slur that was flung on camera by Mateen’s slandering, bigoted, drama-queen ex-wife. I used the word “bipolar” ONLY to give you and our fellow commenters an example of how Mateen was a VICTIM of abuse *before* he was an infamous perpetrator of mass murder.

            Obviously, being Mad doesn’t give anybody a license to abuse others or themselves. But when Mad people are abusive to others or to themselves, their Madness should NEVER be exploited by *anybody* as the *sole* explanation for their destructive and/or offensive actions. In this instance, we know for sure that Omar Mateen’s family did not accept him (Mateen had to hide both his addiction and his sexual orientation from his family.), listen to him (They pathologized Mateen’s distress over their treatment of him as “bipolar”.), or respect the pace at which he was able to grow into manhood (They pushed Mateen and his ex-wife into marrying each other LONG before either of them were prepared to marry ANYONE.). Those actions are violent *even* when the people who perpetrate them are unaware that their brutal antics are pushing their victims into Madness and homicide. I DO NOT BUY the flimsy perpetrator-apologism of assuming and believing that whichever perps who sit atop the Totem of violence just “did the best they knew how to do”. Even if people shouldn’t be punished for their ignorance, they should still be blamed for the destruction that their ignorance has wrought upon society. The hopeless inaccuracy of post-mortem psychiatric “diagnoses” is yet another reason why America’s “court of public opinion” should quit scapegoating Mateen’s “severe mental illness” for his crime. By all accounts, Mateen led a self-sufficient and unremarkable life. Though he seemed to have been completely alone in the world (Based on the news reports, he’d had no friends, nasty coworkers, and a rotten family – all factors that MAJORLY contributed to his killing spree.), he did graduate community college, fully support himself through his long-time employment as a security guard, and maintain the apartment he lived in entirely by himself. Mateen’s employers demanded him and all of their other employees to take routine background checks and psychiatric exams. During the nine years that Mateen had worked in the security industry, he had never failed a single background check or psychiatric exam. Similarly, Mateen had never been under the “care” of any psychiatric clinicians. Usually, Mad people’s health, academic, social, legal, and occupational histories aren’t nearly as presentable as Mateen’s was. Our refusal to make the specious “success” = “health” argument DOES NOT absolve us from scrutinizing the premises that (a) Mateen was “severely mentally ill” and (b) that his “illness” led him to kill 49 people. Even the people who *do* (and, to repeat myself, I DON’T) believe in psychiatry won’t label anyone as “mentally ill” until AFTER they’ve exhibited more social, occupational, academic, legal, or domestic “dysfunction” than Mateen did, prior to his deadly rampage. So, it’s ridiculous for you to troll my comment history and negatively compare my current comments to my past comments. I AM right. Free Madness and Free Mad people ARE being oppressed whenever anybody – even you – decides to pigeonhole folks like Mateen into the “psycho killer” trope. Whatever Madness that Mateen may have been living with had, clearly, been a mere subtext in the totality of his life, and only a CONSEQUENCE of his horrible familial and professional environments. There’s no chance for any of the key players in Mateen’s life to EVER outrun the boomerang of culpability they’ll rightfully endure whenever public speculation lands on the role – if any – that Mateen’s supposed “bipolar disorder” may have had in the murders he committed. Oldhead, you really ought to get more focused on stopping the SPREAD of violence, rather than the public’s cogent UNPACKING of it. I’m glad the moderators deleted your vicious comment to me. It was unnecessarily aggressive and, like your latest comment, COMPLETELY out of step with what’s *really* going on.

          • So, oldhead, people who are shunned, shut-up, and slandered by everyone they know “lose their right” to strike back at a society that turns away in complacency from their humanity-corroding plight? I don’t think so. Human beings are not expendable, and it’s the recklessness and carelessness of such an INCOHERENT mindset which started a landslide of violence that has culminated (thus far) in America’s bloodiest mass shooting EVER. It is human expendability – more than guns, “mental illness”, misogyny, or anything else – which is responsible for our increasingly dangerous world. Read the New York Times article, “Thinking Against Violence”, by Natasha Lennard and Brad Evans.

          • Strike back at “society”? Who is “society”? Wife abuse is striking back at “society”? Do you volunteer to symbolize “society” for some equally confused and violent person?

          • To oldhead,

            First of all, I’m not violent. Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to both give and receive a lot of unconditional love throughout my life. Not the case for all of these mass shooters, which was my whole point – the point you keep on missing over and over again. Read the article “Excluded from Humanity: The dehumanizing effects of social ostracism” in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Neglect is a form of aggression too, and words are as deadly is bullets. You will NEVER be able to escape those two truths, no matter how well you *think* you are at living as an island.

            Society is you, me, the people you know, the people you don’t know, the people you don’t want to know, and the people you (here’s more of your precious entitlement again) “shouldn’t have to know”. We are all part of society, despite the fact that people like you are good at tricking yourselves into believing we aren’t. Weak and greedy people like you may push some members of our society waaaay over to its remote and narrow margins, but you’ll never push those scapegoats out of our society altogether. These realities of life answer all the questions you’ve asked and could have answered yourself, if you had really tried to nudge yourself out of MEEEEE-mode. Society is created by and composed of every human being, both dead and alive. So, yes, wife abuse (and husband abuse, child abuse, cyber abuse {of which you are a perpetrator}, etc.) IS striking back at society. Every one of those victims/wannabe victims/forgotten victims/ignored victims are here in our society to stay, whether you want them around or not! And *SOCIETY* does NOT belong in quotes. There is no human achievement or failure more REAL than the societies we’ve built and destroyed over the last several dozen millennia. No society or member of society is a “symbol” for anything or anyone else. “In-groups” of societies always “symbolize” their social outcasts as “lone wolves” whenever they know that they’re too lazy to get smart about public safety and must, therefore, settle for the semantically reduced odds of reaping what they’ve sown, in lieu of putting forth the MASSIVE effort to raise a literal and sustainable level of societal harmony. People like Omar Mateen are firmly ensconced in and evenly dispersed throughout our unstable and callous society. So, trust me, they don’t require any “symbol” in order to represent themselves. Those “confused and violent” people are perceptive enough to figure out how society REALLY works and brave enough to *show* you how society REALLY works. A person like you, oldhead, who needs to take sociology and political science lessons from killers is, no doubt, the REAL criminal. You are NOT a society unto yourself. None of us are. Grow up and start treating everyone as though you can’t kick them to the curb, because the truth is that, in most instances, YOU CAN’T!!!!

          • Last post. I didn’t call you violent, for the record. You might practice reading for comprehension. Otherwise, who am I to argue, you obviously have it all figured out.

          • To oldhead,

            “Do you volunteer to symbolize “society” for some equally confused and violent person?”

            Here, you are claiming that I’m choosing to substitute for and/or speak for people who are (a) as “confused” as they are “violent” (b) as “confused” and “violent” as I supposedly am or (c) some of a and b. My reading comprehension is just fine and dandy. It’s your intellect that needs a tune-up. To do that, you need to crawl out of your ego-cave and start interacting with people in a more reciprocal and civil manner. Most forms of intelligence are cultivated through productive social interactions, and perhaps those social interactions could sharpen the mind and strengthen the moral backbone of even the most basest of simpletons, such as yourself. I really wish you the best of luck in, one day, completing this elementary stage of human development.

          • Comeon oldhead, putting “bipolar” in quotes in no way indicates an acceptance of the designation as real. It means you are acknowledging that other people use this word to mean something, but that you yourself question its validity and usefulness.

          • Comeon oldhead, putting “bipolar” in quotes in no way indicates an acceptance of the designation as real.

            Come on BPD — out of this whole nonsense the part that bothers you is about the semantics of “bipolar”? What about the assertion that wife abuse is an expression of “free madness” and an understandable way of “striking back at society”?

          • Oldhead, avoiding my point doesn’t change its validity: Noting that another person uses the term “bipolar” in no way constitutes acceptance of its validity for oneself. I’m not the only person in the thread who called you out for this illogical non-sequitur comment. Try acknowledging you might be wrong for once…

            As for what you’re talking about, can you translate that into English?

  7. I agree with you that the Orlando shooter did not commit that violent act because he was mentally ill, but I disagree with your opinion that mental illness can’t make a person commit violent acts. I myself have been violently psychotic, and I can tell you that when I was delusional, paranoid, and hearing voices, I could not think rationally in order to not obey the psychotic ideas. It’s like being in a dream. I didn’t know it wasn’t real and I had no control over what was happening. I stabbed myself in the chest and swallowed bottles of pills because I thought God was telling me to do it to escape Hell and if I didn’t I would be damned forever. It wasn’t just a belief or idea that I could choose to dismiss; I really “saw” these things happening. I thought I saw the Apocalypse happen, and the world had descended into the Abyss and the people in it were actually demons and they were coming after me. Another time, I almost stabbed my father and brother with scissors because I was convinced that they were part of a satanic organization and they were going to grab me and take me down to the basement and sacrifice me to the devil. I was trying to defend myself. I thought I was an angel and they were going to breed me to make demon babies. I again thought I saw the Apocalypse happening. And I was going to get a sword to fight the shadow demons living on my roof. I was taken by the police to the hospital. I thought all the people in the hospital were part of the satanic organization that was after me to kill me. I thought they were pretending to be a hospital and were actually going to crucify me. I thought they put a microchip in my brain to track my thoughts and control me. It was terrifying beyond description! Again, I was 100% convinced these things were real and I couldn’t think rationally enough to distinguish between reality and psychosis. My point is that psychosis can take over your mind and make you commit violent acts. You can’t resist the impulses to act if you can’t think rationally. In those cases, anti-psychotics saved my life! When I was put on anti-psychotics (against my will), those delusions vanished!

    • I don’t think that any of us are saying that you can’t do violent things when you are experiencing alternate realities that seem absolutely real and which you can’t separate from the consensual reality at the time. I don’t think that violence at the hands of the so-called “mentally ill” is the usual experience by and large.

      I work in a state “hospital” and find from my own limited experience that most of the people experiencing alternate realities are not violent. There are a few but they are not the majority. Most people who are labeled as “mentally ill” have more chance of having violent things done to them by the so-called “sane” people than we find them carrying out violent acts against other people around them.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences so that those of us who’ve never experienced alternate realities as you have may come to a little better understanding of what that feels like.

    • I thought my mother was trying to feed me rat poison, but I didn’t offer the kind of resistance that would have endangered life. Neuroleptic drugs didn’t do me any good, and could be considered a form of “rat poison”. The time frame for ‘leveling off’ the drugs was not a short one for me, and they could, in fact, have contributed to my confusion. I just want to make clear that sometimes matters are no so clear-cut as one might want to make them appear after the fact, and there are things that only additional research might be able to get to the bottom of, providing, of course, that it isn’t biased as so much of the research taking place today is biased.

  8. I can’t agree, I know you are trying to distance those who are sad or mentally ill from violence but you are doing so disingenuously.

    The fact is which you point out is that those who are diagnosed are less likely to be violent, because they are being treated.

    He was mentally ill, it was just that he was not treated.

    Now we can go over the most compassionate way to treat, like medications which have their own problems, or talk therapy which is effective but takes long, or involuntary stays at the hospital for long periods of time which can take away the rights of the mentally ill who are not violent.

    But that is a different topic, and being dishonest is no way of helping the victims who are sad or mentally ill whether they are violent to themselves such as in self harm, or to others as this guy, or neither, and just need love, companionship, and someone to talk too.

  9. I also forgot to add this guy was confused about is sexual orientation from the recent reports, many gays who are mentally ill commit violence against themselves, this one turned it outward.

    Keep it honest even though there is stigma against those who are chronically sad or mentally ill.

    The truth will set us free.

  10. Putting aside the failures of psychiatry in its drive for greed over compassion, just common sense should tell you that self harm is not good.

    If you guys choose to self harm by ‘burning yourself’ or cutting, or what have you, then it is my responsibility as a person of compassion to tell you it will never bring lasting happiness, only those temporary moments of gratification you get when you hurt yourself.

    It is also a good example of the failure of our society which drives people to self harm, and tries to fix them quickly with a pill to get back to work instead of encouraging and promoting love both in psychiatry and in the rest of society.

    I am off topic, but I have said my piece that violence is violence, whether from this guy or self harm. I wish you all the best, and hope you recover from your self harming impulses one day and find real happiness.

      • Self-harm, harming others–both can be perceived as coping strategies, as responses to trauma and overwhelming stress. I thought we were calling psychiatry on violating “first, do no harm?” This is so terribly confusing to me. We have myriad choices for how to cope with the stress of life. Does it have to include ‘harm’ of any kind?

        Personally, I’d prefer more gentle, self-loving, and self-compassionate examples of coping, that’s just me and my personal preference. Although it stands to reason that gentle, self-loving coping mechanisms could calm and soothe the general energy of our society at large, rather than continue to inflame it.

  11. I disagree with you.

    I almost committed murder due to my hallucinations–and a shooting of children (before Sandy Hook) to make them stop hunting me. I thought they were in my head, making bad thoughts, trying to destroy me and date Putin. I also committed treason, thinking my friend was a secret spy in the special forces. I wanted to go to jail where I’d be safe.

    Even though I didn’t kill anyone, I still feel guilty (in my own way). When I was split off, I was a totally out of control person.

    Medicine has helped me a ton. They gave me a lobotomy (sloppily), and it makes it so that I can’t be angry. It’s also slowed me down quite a bit. I tell myself that doesn’t matter because I was never a shining star intellectually. I seem to think they’ve made it worse and that I was bright.

    Schizophrenia is no joke.

    There were a lot of signs that I had changed, and people ignored it like this guy. I’m not blaming. I’m just saying it was kind of obvious.

  12. With all due respect, I think we are off topic here: The issue is Macro not Micro. The idea of the Schizophrenic Brain is changing (although some people would like to put it back to the ‘Stone Ages’ of Psychiatry and Psychology and use it as an excuse to for everything deemed extreme behavior.

    In my opinion: based on my Education, Field Research, and Embedded research, I conclude, blaming and scapegoating the mentally ill as dangerous is wrong, baseless, and a false positive study. Looking at the statistics and DSM-5 (of which can diagnose everything including a rabit at this point), the dangerously ‘mentally ill’ constitute a very small minority of the diagnosed population: it’s the mainstream media that fuels fire to the stigma, the week minded – of whom eat that bull sh*t up and talk to their congressional representatives, of whom feel pressured by all sides to look strong against a large peaceful population. It’s like the 1930’s all over again.

    Now with that said, and in the interest of full disclosure, I regularly talk with Friends and Family current and retired in law enforcement, of whom see what at first hand, may look like mental illness every day… They admit it’s hard at first not to see through the stats, however, realize someone may just be having a bad day, or are ‘odd/eccentric’, and just need to cool off and aren’t necessarily all that dangerous.

    We aren’t born with hate. Hate is a learned behavior. We are born Schizophrenic Brain is changing (although some people would like to put it back to the ‘Stone Ages’ of Psychiatry and Psychology and use it as an excuse to for everything deemed extreme behavior.

    In my opinion: based on my Education, Field Research, and Embedded research, I conclude, blaming and scapegoating the mentally ill as dangerous is wrong, baseless, and a false positive study. Looking at the statistics and DSM-5 (of which can diagnose everything including a rabit at this point), the dangerously ‘mentally ill’ constitute a very small minority of the diagnosed population: it’s the mainstream media that fuels fire to the stigma, the week minded – of whom eat that bull sh*t up and talk to their congressional representatives, of whom feel pressured by all sides to look strong against a large peaceful population. It’s like the 1930’s all over again.

    Now with that said, and in the interest of full disclosure, I regularly talk with Friends and Family current and retired with backgrounds in law enforcement, of whom are on the front lines every day and see an odd/eccentric cluster, and tell me it’s hard to not get cynical.

    We all can agree people aren’t born with hate, we are born ‘tabula rosa’, of which means ‘blank slate’ and in many Eastern Countries what we in the West call Schitzophrenia, is widely regarded as a gift of a true Mystic …

    In closing, I think if we condemn people with mental illness, we have to condemn Major Religions too. If Moses saw the burning bush in todays world: he’d be locked up, druged, and labelled.

    I have faith, those who have strong opinions about what they don’t fully understand can see through the main stream media and brain washed Government bull sh*t and recognize we are all human: The dangerously mentally ill only constitute an infinitesimal of 1% of the population.

    That is all for now.

    Sincerely,

    Transpersonal Paradigm
    (Lark)

    • YES! It *IS* Islamic Extremism that is the problem, not ‘mental illness’; We are all born Tabula Rasa (a clean slate) – hatred is a learned behavior. I agree.

      sorry I don’t click on links I dont know on blogs, but I agree with your opening sentence.

      Keep up the good work!

      ~Lark (Transpersonal Paradigm)

    • From the article:

      “CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic Relations) came on Fox News very soon after the Orlando attack. The CAIR representative said all the right things about not killing people in the name of God. And then he condemned ISIS saying “1.7 billion people (Muslims) are united in rejecting their (ISIS) extremism, their interpretation, their acts and senseless violence.”

      How much can one person lie on public television? Sadly many people will believe the CAIR representative and of course Muslims are thrilled because he has now absolved all 1.7 billion from any responsibility whatsoever.”

      Kafka trapping worthy of a psychiatrist. If any Muslim condemns the actions of this person, they are liars? And if you say nothing, you are by your actions supporting him? It is a serious allegation to make, lying. And I would like to see what evidence this woman has to support such an allegation.

      • She went on to explain what she meant. You cherry picked a quote, but she went on to say:

        “Herein lies a huge problem which must be addressed. Both Muslims and non-Muslims must understand that while all Muslims are not terrorists, most of the terrorists today are Muslims. The ideology of ISIS is the same as Hamas, al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Are they not represented in the 1.7 billion? After killing four innocent people in Tel Aviv, the Hamas operatives who celebrated the murder are also part of the 1.7 billion Muslims.

        According a to Pew Poll shown in the Clarion documentary By the Numbers, there are between 40,000 to 200,00 Muslims who are ‘members’ of ISIS; up to 100,000 al-Qaeda affiliates; 7-9,000 members of Hamas, 15,000 to 100,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards and about 15,000 members of Hezbollah. All these are terrorist organizations and jihadists who should be included in the 1.7 billion Muslims making ALL Muslims not so peaceful. While these are the overtly violent groups, the mindset of millions of other Muslims (according to the poll) is also skewed towards violence and acceptance of violence against other human beings.

        This is all to say that we Muslims have a huge crisis of a virus within our ranks which we are not accepting. This problem is increased by the lack of acknowledgement by Western leaders. Reform minded Muslims like us can only expose the problems. It’s up to the authorities to take corrective action.

        It’s taken 15 years for the term ‘Radical’ to become accepted usage. How long more will it take to stop the Radicals from carrying out their nefarious agendas and waging a war on the West?”

        More info on CAIR from Clarion Project can be found here:

        http://m.clarionproject.org/sites/default/files/CAIR-Council-on-American-Islamic-Relations-factsheet.pdf

        • It seems more than unfortunate that folks are overlooking that the prime motivation for this act appears to be homophobia, not “Islamic terrorism.” This guy was not acting to promote some political goal – he wasn’t a member of ISIS or acting in coordination with any group. He chose a gay bar because he was uncomfortable with “gayness” as evidenced by his statements to his father the night before, when he was deeply disturbed by seeing two men kissing.

          It’s amazing how ready we are to see conspiracy in anything an Islamic person does that is violent, even when there is evidence that suggests other, clearer motivations. As for dismissing what that representative of CAIR says, that’s just rank prejudice, folks. I know dozens of Islamic people who are as sweet and loving and kind and “normal” as anyone else I know. Not one of them is promoting violent overthrow of “the West,” but they all do report being treated disrespectfully or in a discriminatory manner because of their appearance or their faith.

          We can do a deeper analysis than “He is Islamic and read something about ISIS online and therefore all Islam is trying to kill us all!”

          —- Steve

          • I don’t think we can do any really credible analysis because the information is unclear and incomplete. We can only speculate at best, although I don’t know what good that does either. Any way you look at it I think it can be said that the chickens are coming home to roost.

          • No one is saying that, Steve. Did you even watch Raheel Raza’s video? You know being gay is against the law and punishable by death under Sharia/ Islamic law, right?

          • Lenora22 on June 17, 2016 at 8:13 pm said:

            Muslim “death to gays” conference in Orlando just prior to Orlando attack:
            http://youtu.be/Vev-OzHQy94

            After watching that video I decided that I would speak to a Christian about the matter and went to the Westboro Baptist Church and spoke to guy called Fred. Seems he would like to meet this Iranian Imam and have a chat.

            It is true that under Iranian law a person can be hanged for homosexuality. And this should stop. And I ask that if you care about this situation, speak to some people in the hope that pressure can be brought to bear on those responsible, and that their violations of human rights are ceased.

            But I ask Lenore22 that you consider if Fred Phelps speaks for ALL Christians?

        • Statistics can be misleading Lenore22.

          180,000 homicides using firearms in the US in 2013. 50 of them a result of “terrorism”. And yet the money which is being spent, and the levels of spying on the public to stop these 50 deaths?

          Of course this is also misleading….

          The notion of a “radical” is about as useful as the diagnoses being handed out by psychiatry, one size fits all, just move the lines around until it fits.

          And Steve, I couldn’t agree more. I also know a lot of Muslims who want to live in a democracy. The definition of which I get from Margaret Thatcher (dunno if you will see the joke in that but ….lol) “Democracy is the rejection of violence”

  13. Here I go again. I fail you are willful and believe in fairy tales. Plus, I think you’re ignorant about schizophrenia as a whole.
    You said:
    “Someone who hears a voice saying to kill another doesn’t have to be any more likely to act on that order than I am when my own mind indicates to me that I should ‘strangle a person’ out of frustration.”

    It took years for them to break through to me. When you hear voices, they often control you prior to being treated. Tricks. Example: I thought two of my friends were trying to harm me, and I lashed out at them. My head was filled with voices, and I fought them only to fall to them.

    I had no will for years. The meds slowed me down along with the lobotomy. Sometimes, I want my voices to come back because they were magical to me–though demonic. I’d say I was running with the wrong crowd in my head.

    I only get bits and pieces of them now. I still have somatic hallucinations though. Once again, prior to being treated, I thought I was being killed, which made me a popular girl in the psych ward. I’m a real sweetheart when delusional.

    I’ve been on wards to total about a year of my life. I’ve been in group homes.

    I have a lot of cognitive problems, like with memory. However, I can live in the community.

  14. A great article with good points!

    There has not been so much talk about ‘mental illness’ in the news I have come across yet. Terrorism and homophobia has primary occupied the news I have read, and made it to an effective way of explaining it away to an independent label. It is a simple solution that does not take much into account, and make it part of a political fight. And fights does not necessarily lead to great solutions, and may even constitute a great deal of emotional violence.

    The problem with the homophobia classification is that it often include all kinds of arguments made against the terms of homosexuality, both the violent ones and the constructive ones. Then making it into a political fight against homophobia risk to shadow the reasons in the construcive arguments, arguments that may hold the key to understanding cultural differences. The same problem may be seen in the classification of ‘mental illness’. It is a medical classification that does not take into account other possible classifications of the given experience or phenomenon.

    Without being open for the possibilities of scientific, philosophical, cultural and social differences, a political fight may be the result. Unlike peace education that seek to take into account the complex truth of structural and cultural violence, the political fights feeds the violence. It feeds clash between different groups, and may even make it hard to navigate through ones own experiences. As such, there is nothing to gain from making this case into or a part of a political fight. And despite that we may never come to an understanding of the complex factors behind this tragedy, working toward democratic solutions that see through the structural and cultural complexity with respect and understanding may be a good strategy for violence prevention.

  15. It seems everybody jumps to conclusions before all the facts are presented. Was this tragedy because of guns, or terrorism, or mental illness? Yes and no, to each of them.

    A news piece was recently posted on the anti-media website, and a survivor gave her side of events, and considering she claims she (and other survivors) were in a bathroom with the gunman when he made a call to the police, her claims should carry a lot of weight.
    You can view the article here: http://theantimedia.org/orlando-shooting-hostage-motive/

    Here is a short piece of what she said:

    “Throughout that period of hours, the gunman was in there [the bathroom] with us, and he actually made a call to 911 from in there,” she said.
    “Everybody could hear it — who was in the bathroom who survived — could hear him talking to 911 saying that the reason why he’s doing this is because he wants America to stop bombing his country. And from that conversation from 911, he pledged his allegiance to ISIS.”
    “But through that conversation with 911, he said that the reason why he was doing this is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country,” she said.

    Its interesting to note that the mass media reported that in Omar’s phone call to the police he pledged his allegiance to ISIS, however they failed to mention the reason he was doing what he was doing was because he wanted America to stop bombing his country.

    So guns, ISIS, and mental illness are all scapegoats and misdirection. This attack wasn’t about any of those, even if they were involved. This was a ‘protest’ (albeit a violent one) against American foreign policy that bombs and mass murders people in other countries. So if you want something to blame, blame the American government for its never ending War Of Terror and its continued mass murder of innocents overseas, which, if anyone had half a brain, would realize that bombing and killing innocent people, who have families, is a very good way to actually create the terrorists that America claims they are trying to prevent.

      • That is true, we can’t trust politicians or the media. However, that article itself came across as manipulative to me, because they left out the part about how the left is being manipulative and putting a spin on the situation too (Obama refusing to say Radical Islam, blaming and focusing on weapons). Honestly, in the US, I think it’s too easy to have our own confirmation biases and to just then feed ourselves media sources that confirm and validate the opinions we already have. Republicans may take the second amendment out of context (“it says “shall not be infringed!”) and you can’t even have a dialogue..but honestly, the left does it too. There are people who freak out by the mere mention of Fox News, when seriously there has been some good info presented there that the left is missing out on. It’s also common, when you bring up Sharia law, the plan to bring it to the west (Sharia Law courts already in the UK, for example) being gay being punishable by death, violence being used as a means for centuries upon centuries within the culture, we didn’t cause or create the culture..and people don’t want to hear it. There are people who will say “Islamaphobia!” and shit down a conversation, and they don’t even know what Sharia law is. Not helpful.

        I think it’s a good idea to read and look at both liberal and conservative news sources in the US, then look at news sources from outside of the US to see what they have to say. BBC I hear gets bashed for being too liberal, but I find they often have more “big picture” info than any of the US ones. Rebel Media in Canada also reports on things that don’t always make it to the American Media. Here’s some info on some of the people who survived Pulse saying they thought more than one person was involved:

        http://youtu.be/B7wRwChnnJA

        • It’s not just the ‘left’ or the ‘right’ in politics that’s being manipulative, it’s both sides. They are both manipulating the conversation, even if for different things. One may blame it all on Islam, another may blame guns, but regardless of which political side they are both trying to shift the blame away from American militaristic interventionist foreign policy towards something else. The main problem is America being the worlds bully and bombing the hell out of the Middle East and killing innocent people, which by the way, seeing your own family blown up by American weapons would make anyone mad and want revenge, because there sure as hell ain’t no justice.

          There’s another article (http://theantimedia.org/former-cia-really-causing-terrorism/) based on a video posted by a former CIA agent. She says, regarding all these stories that blame Muslims, blame guns, blame mental illness, “Those are stories manufactured by a really small number of people on both sides who amass a great deal of power and wealth by convincing the rest of us to keep killing each other.”
          She also said “An Al-Qaeda fighter made a point once during debriefing,” she recounted. “He said all these movies that America makes — like Independence Day, and the Hunger Games, and Star Wars — they’re all about a small scrappy band of rebels who will do anything in their power with the limited resources available to them to expel an outside, technological advanced invader. ‘And what you don’t realize,’ he said, ‘is that to us, to the rest of the world, you [America] are the empire, and we are Luke and Han. You are the aliens and we are Will Smith.’”

          America claims to be the worlds protector. They aren’t. They are the worlds bully. Its like the Mafia threatening people and collecting protection pay when it’s the Mafia the people need protection from. The American ‘war on terror’ is actually a war OF terror. When you have children in (Middle Eastern) countries afraid of blue skies and liking dark skies because drones don’t fly in bad weather, that’s a sign that something is very very wrong.

          There’s an old American Indian saying where the left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird. So even though there’s this republican and democrat arguments (or labor and liberal), it makes little difference because they both represent the same entity. No matter who you vote for, the government still gets in. And the American government, BOTH sides, are not the good guys so many brainwashed Americans believe it to be.

          • Lenora22, we can agree to disagree. You are completely ignoring the cause and only focusing on the effect. You mentioned confirmation bias but cannot see your own. My pointing the finger at American foreign militaristic foreign policy being the problem is not confirmation bias, it’s based on truth and fact. You sound like a typical brainwashed American who thinks that America is all good and the best place in the world and that America could never do anything bad. Blame anyone and anything else but don’t accept responsibility for your own (government) actions.

            You are saying terrorism is the problem? There’s always been bad people in the world. That will likely never change. But this ramping up of terrorist attacks, especially in Western countries, has been increasing within the past 15 or so years. And guess what, America’s War of Terror has been going on for, oh wait, about 15 years (since Sept 11 2001). But surely there’s no connection there right?

            You’re quick to blame Muslims and terrorism, but you clearly have no idea that it is America and the West that actually created (whether directly or indirectly) Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

            Al-Qaeda was formed a few decades ago during the Cold War, and it was created, funded, armed, and trained by America to fight against Russia. Then decades later Al-Qaeda turns against their masters and America then fights an American created terrorist entity. This isn’t speculation. This is history. Here’s a link showing Hillary Clinton admitting they created Al-Qaeda (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dqn0bm4E9yw). And here’s another one called Reality Check by Ben Swann that says the “creation of al-Qaeda wasn’t Islamic fundamentalism, it was the CIA” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcZKso_Z6M8). And another one, where a former CIA agent says Al-Qaeda was created by the US and Israel and that America is being attacked because of its foreign policy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U868d5oJrFc).

            And what about ISIS? Another American/Western creation. Here’s one report titled “Declassified Pentagon Report Proves US Helped Create ISIS” that says “A newly declassified US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report confirms that the US and other western governments allied themselves with al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups to oust Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad. They suspected the consequences of this tactic would lead to the rise of an “Islamic State.”” (http://theantimedia.org/declassified-pentagon-report-proves-us-helped-create-isis/). And what about this one, where Obama admits (while ignoring heaps of other evidence) that the rise of ISIS was due to the US government (http://theantimedia.org/obama-actually-admits-the-rise-of-isis-was-due-to-the-us-government/). And another titled “ISIS: The ‘Enemy’ the US Created, Armed, and Funded” (http://theantimedia.org/isis-the-enemy-the-us-created-armed-and-funded/). And another one, titled “General Wesley Clark explains ISIS was created by U.S. Allies” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojcoKnTGf4s).

            But no, you keep blaming Muslims and terrorists and pointing the blame at everyone else while completely ignoring the fact that ISIS and Al-Qaeda were (directly or indirectly) created, funded, trained, and/or armed by the US government.

            If you want to try and shift the blame away from US foreign policy then do so in another conversation. Stop hijacking my conversation and the information I’m trying to share. You can focus on the effect, I’ll focus on the cause.

  16. Since BPD thinks this is important here’s the sentence in “question”:

    Calling “bipolar” people “abusers” is a hysterical and grossly dishonest way for sanists to manipulate the health care and legal systems into criminalizing Free Madness.

    It depends on how you look at the semantic angle (though be clear this “argument” from my perspective is not about semantics, but violence against women). If by “bipolar” in quotes he means “people who have been labeled bipolar” that would be ok. However if “bipolar” in quotes means that there is a “thing” which exists but is mislabeled “bipolar” rather than something else, that’s erroneous. We’ve been through this before. Decontextualized behavior/thought/feeling.

    So what’s that have to do with not calling those who abuse “abusers”? Or justifying abuse in the name of “Free Madness”???

  17. I myself am kind of disgusted at the path this matter is taking. I saw the same thing occurring when the Virginia Supreme Court Commission on Mental Health Reform was meeting. Talk of “gun control” has evolved into talk of disarming certain segments of the population. I don’t even think they could get around to thinking in terms of curbing the sales of automatic weapons. I see politicians making meat of the issue, and the way they do that is by scapegoating certain convenient conventional scapegoats. Doing so, they can be said to be doing something about the problem, and at the same time, advancing themselves in the political arena, that is, campaigning for the vote. All in all, human rights are going to be the big loser. I’m thinking there is going to be a call for some kind of legislation, if not the Tim Murphy bill, the Chris Murphy bill, and although with compromises, people on the receiving end of treatment are going to get the worst of it. This means, in other words, I expect we are going to be facing a big setback, perhaps as has been suggested of a few decades, and getting past it is going to require some kind of real struggle. All the efforts at “reform” are, of course, going to be misdirected, and getting back on course will represent a big obstacle. People go “postal” not because they are “mentally ill”, but because their situations in life are far from ideal. Blaming the mental health system, and calling it “broken”, in my view, is merely a way to divert attention away from the real issues real people face, and addressing them. One of Samuel Beckett’s novels is titled Worstward Ho!, and I imagine that describes our situation pretty much at the moment, things are going to get worse before they improve. Will they improve? Perhaps. If overall nonsense and absurdity can ever be replaced by sensible and purposeful actions. I don’t think we are necessarily approaching “the darkest hour” yet however.

  18. To add a different perspective from my first one mentioned above, the rights of the mentally deranged should be taken in some circumstances. Don’t focus on how you are losing your rights, focus on why you are losing them.

    If you are that confused to not know that self harm is inward violence because of your emotional disturbances as the author is. then you are not capable of being competent to know if others are a danger to the public..

    Yes we should ban guns from the mentally ill, and yes not all of them present a danger, but everyone who is violent is emotionally sick it is a fact of life that you ought to accept no matter their religion or prejudices.

    I put the blame of those in positions of power that allow this to continue, for example this website allows an author that is enabling self harm by allowing her to write articles here. It obviously distorts her view of what is reality, and encourages others to accept this unhealthy logic as healthy.

    People aren’t naturally violent, but just because they are not to blame when they are due to mental illness, does not mean they should not be protected for their own safety and the safety of others since they are victims.

    Of course a pill isn’t going to provide love and compassion to those victims, but you can’t correct one wrong with another wrong such as allowing people to self harm or harm others. The failures of the psychiatric community is why I participate in this community, but I will not support unhealthy behavior only forgive it.

    Do I support the loss of rights to anyone, such as the mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or deeply and chronically sad? No, but in some cases we have to do it until those in power who are responsible for the failures of society are held accountable for their sins, and for everyone’s safety until then. We have no choice but to be patient until the day everyone can responsibly enjoy their rights again. Yes this is an injustice to the ones who lose their rights, but it is for their own good and it will help them heal until their oppressors come to justice for their wrongs.

    No one is perfect in the end, but maybe one day we can establish a system where those in positions of power aren’t able to abuse their power so much, because with great power comes great responsibility. To whom much is given, much is asked.

    • Well the link between mental illness (depression, bipolar, schizophrenia) and violence failed to be proven, unless alcohol is involved, but that’s also true among the general population. The chief factor influencing gun violence is also alcohol abuse. As far as taking the rights always from people, this is the United States we are talking about here. The Supreme Court did rule in 2008 that the second amendment does guarantee an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self defense within the home. It’s not without rules are restrictions, and we have our state laws we have to follow in regards to firearms, but you can’t just take people’s rights away from them just in case, “mentally ill” or not, unless they did something wrong & there’s a legal reason to do so. (at least that’s how interpreted you saying taking the rights away from people).

      • That is of course wrong, mentally ill people are violent either to themselves or others due to being oppressed in some way.

        We see a lot of violence in poor communities, and it is rising in middle class communities and labeled mental illness to separate the two and make excuses.

        In the past before medications were invented people were naturally violent in order to defend themselves from oppressors.

        The only true way to suppress violence is forced treatment of the mentally ill whether they are violent to others or themselves, for their own safety or the safety of others.

        This way the majority who are not self harming or at risk for harming others will be at peace not having to watch the mentally display their unhealthy dysfunctions to the world.

        The mentally ill are casualties of a society that left them behind from success because they were too weak to compete, so they must lose their rights for the greater good.

        • Seriously, wtf?

          You’re saying those labeled as ‘mentally ill’ should be forced treatment?

          You’re saying the ‘mentally ill’ are too weak to compete and must lose their rights for the greater good?

          Ever heard of eugenics? Because you perfectly fit the elitist psychopathic eugenical mindset. I wonder how you’ll fair on this website with that perspective.

  19. Since everything else is getting thrown against the wall here: Why can’t we make a demand that sociological researchers come up with a statistical comparison of categories of diseases — heart disease, diabetes, gout, “mental illness,” etc. — in terms of the amount of violent crime associated with each? If people with, say, peptic ulcers exhibit a higher proportion of violence than “mental patients,” then we should demand for the sake of equal justice that everyone with a peptic ulcer be prohibited from owning firearms. Etc. etc.

  20. Excellent, Sera. Thanks for getting it out there. And thanks for plugging “Gone Boy” about Galen and Wayne Lo and that shooting. There’s a new edition (the third) in print now. Check Amazon. And send me an email some time. I’d love to chat with you about these things.
    Best wishes, Greg Gibson (Galen’s dad) [email protected]

  21. As always, more information is being revealed after the event. I read another article yesterday (http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/omar-mateen-committed-mass-murder-fbi-tried-lure-him-terror-plot) that suggests the FBI had contact with Omar previously and tried to lure him into a terror plot. Could this have had anything to do with his violent terrorist act?

    Also, the FBI has a history of luring people in, often mentally disturbed, marginalized, or poor people, into terrorist plots that they themselves would never have even considered committing if it weren’t for the FBI. The FBI gives them the money, the weapons, the explosives (fake), and tells them where to go and what to do, then when the person is about to commit the (staged) terror attack the FBI swoops in and arrests them and proclaims they’ve foiled another terrorist attack. Reports suggest half or more of the several hundred terrorism cases have actually been FBI inspired and funded.

    There’s a book called Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism by Trevor Aaronson that goes into detail and explores the FBI’s involvement in many terrorism cases.

  22. “Why is it seen as an acceptable ‘answer’ to say someone was ‘mentally ill,’ when so many who are diagnosed don’t harm anyone?”

    That’s because most of us are asleep in our waking state. In the words of Dr. Arthur J. Deikman

    “So habitual is the trance of ordinary life that one could say that human beings are a race that sleeps and awakens, but does not awaken fully. Because half-awake is sufficient for the task we customarily do, few of us are aware of the dysfunction of our condition.”

    Dr. Bartlett picks up where Deikman left off…..

    “When I speak of “predispositions” or “propensities” what I mean is that, with the exception of many criminals, bullies, and other people who have already behaved violently or abusively, the majority of psychologically normal people are “sleepers”-that is, they are dispositionally inclined, when the situation is right, to aggression and destructiveness. Their patterns of thought and behavior are to be understood stood dispositionally, that is, in the conditional sense that, if an adequately provoking situation arises, then the behavior that results will tend to be malignant: they have a pathogenic willingness to inflict harm, which remains latent until an appropriate situation arises. Such a situation may, for example, come in the form of war, ideological conflict, unrestricted power over others (as in an inadequately supervised prison), narcissistic injury, or in many other ways. Such “adequately provoking situations” unfortunately, as we know, arise with great frequency and prevalence”

    Steven James Bartlett. Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health: The Need to Look Elsewhere for Standards of Good Psychological Health

    I sent this book to Robert Whitaker a few months ago in hopes he would pass it on to all in MIA as a book worth reading. I believe it is, especially for those who strive to make sense of the madness we see every day and want to do something about it. From what Dr. Bartlett said, it means that there are many Thomas Mair’s and Omar Mateen’s among us that will strike at any given moment and so how can the FBI or CIA stop them BEFORE they go on a killing rampage? There is just no way you can do it unless all the news media will stop contributing to the madness by all manner of propaganda that depicts Muslims, Christians, Gays, Blacks, Whites, as evil. The media must stop trashing all religions, not just Islam. They must stop the vitriol coming out of the mouth of the likes of Ann Coulter and Michael Savage. There is so much anger, so much lies,deceptions, and distractions that prevent the masses from knowing the truth, All this along with political and religious ideologies acts like a virus in the mind and it affects some more than others. Those among us who are more credulous, whose capacity to think critically and objectively has been severely impaired by so much lies, misunderstandings, confusion, in addition to any dire socio economic condition they may be in, are more likely to act out their rage but by that time, it will be too late. The words coming out of the airwaves can be just as deadly as the spread of biological viruses. We are good at addressing the latter but not the former and because of this I fear the worst.

    • verticleman, you said “There is so much anger, so much lies,deceptions, and distractions that prevent the masses from knowing the truth.”

      What you don’t understand is that the media is doing its job perfectly. It is designed to spread lies and distract people and keep them from knowing the truth. The mainstream media is no longer there to inform, it’s there to entertain and keep the masses distracted and misinformed. Just look at the state of American politics. If the media was doing its job properly, the way it’s supposed to be, there is no way that the American (and other Western) government(s) could have gotten so corrupt and run by psychopaths. And that’s exactly how the ‘elite’ want things to remain. To keep the masses dumb and docile so they do not figure out how badly those in power are screwing over the people and the planet.