Friday, February 26, 2021

Comments by songtothesirens

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  • “There is no test or objective way to predict who might become violent. “A history of mental illness” is much too broad a definition, he said, and many people who open fire randomly with assault rifles have no documented history of emotional problems at all.”

    As one of these so-called mental defectives, I take extreme umbrage at being called a “mental defective.” There is nothing defective about being mentally ill, nor are people with a history of mental illness to be feared, degraded, demeaned or otherwise made to feel that just because a small percentage of people with mental illness have committed acts of extreme violence that they too belong in that group.

    Most people with mental illnesses are just trying to cope with or manage their illness. Many have histories of mental health issues going back to childhood. Many of us so-called defectives are, in fact, extremely bright. Many go to college, and do very well. Many of us over-compensate due to the fact that we are mentally “interesting.” The vast majority of people with issues like depression, manic depressive illness, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, and many other mood and personality disorders spend a lot of their energy just trying to make peace with the fact that they do have a chronic mental health issue.

    Most, if not the majority, of people who do suffer from chronic mental illness are completely harmless. They are more likely to hurt themselves than others. I read an article in the Huffington post where one mental health professional was calling for more complete “reporting” of people with mental health problems. I fail to see where that would help prevent the massacres that have happened in recent decades. If anything, it would further stigmatize these people, and would be detrimental to their outcomes.

    We already feel different than others, we already feel guilt and shame that we have a mental illness, we already feel that we have let many people down by being ill and needing help to live a reasonably “normal” life, and we feel very badly when one of our “episodes” has a direct effect on those who care about us.

    I agree that mental illness should preclude a person from acquiring a firearm, but I also believe and agree that assault weapons and magazines that can hold enough bullets to hold off a small army have no place in this society. As the quote above points out, there is no objective way to determine who will become violent. The movie “Falling Down” highlights this. A “normal” middle aged man suddenly decides he has had it, and goes on a killing spree. There is no indication that the character had a “history” of mental illness.

    It is my wish and hope that this latest school shooting will open a meaningful (and I use that word because past discussions have been somewhat insincere)dialogue about access to quality mental health care for anyone who needs it, and tightens the gun control laws. It is simply too easy for anyone to acquire a gun in this country. If the local licensed gun dealer won’t sell a person a weapon due to a history of violence or mental health problems, just wait for the next gun show. Someone there will be more than happy to sell anyone anything they want. These shows need to be regulated as well. Private dealers must be held to the same standards as a licensed dealer.

    And, as the quote above points out, not all spree killings have been perpetrated by the mentally ill. Society just assumes that anyone who would do such a thing must as a matter of course be mentally ill because no rational person would do something like that. Well, perfectly rational people can become irrational just like everyone else. There is no requirement that says that only the “normal” people are rational.