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Crazy People With Guns

September 24, 2013

After each mass murder, we’re told that guns are a problem in the US.  I disagree.  As my friend Kenn Blanchard said, “It’s not the Guns, It’s Us!”;  in particular, it is people who are mentally ill and who need our help.  Let’s look at a list of people with mental problems who committed mass murder.  I only went back a few years, but look at the list and see if I’m the one who’s crazy. 😉

  • Do you remember the murderer who shot Gabby Giffords in the Tucson parking lot?  His mom knew he was crazy way before the shooting.  So did his teachers at the junior college, and so did the Tucson Sheriff!
  • The Virginia Tech murderer?  Yep, the university knew he had mental health issues.
  • The Aurora Movie theater murderer?  His university psychiatrist notified campus security that he was dangerous, but neither the psychiatrist nor campus security notified law enforcement.
  • The Sandy Hook school murderer?  He was being committed as a psychiatric patient by his parents because he was a danger to himself and to others.  I think that qualifies as crazy.
  • The Washington Navy Yard shooter was on psychotropic drugs, complained of hearing voices, and was preoccupied with violent video games.  I am not a psychiatrist, but that sure looks like a clue to me.
  • The Columbine HS murderers?  The two young men immersed themselves in violent video games and one was being treated for depression with psychotropic drugs.

 crazy murderers

Now, if you can, name the mass murderers who were not suffering mental health problems.



The list is short.  I’ll wait.



OK, here are a few hints.

  • The murderer at Fort Hood shouted Allah Akbar as he murdered 13 servicemen and wounded an additional 30.
  • The bombers at the Boston Marathon were trained in Chechnya.

I told you it was a short list.

I’m noticing a pattern.  There are exceptions, but it seems you’re either crazy or a fanatic before you pick up a gun and commit mass murder.  Notice that law abiding gun owners aren’t anywhere on the list.  We simply don’t see a murderer who acts normally for years, who obeys the law his whole life, and then suddenly goes crazy as he gets near a gun.  Are you shocked that most gun owners are sane?

You should be surprised.. because the media told us that guns were driving people crazy.  The news media said that having a gun in your home would lead you to kill your family and neighbors.  I searched and searched, and couldn’t find an example of gun-induced violence.  I guess the media got that one wrong.. over and over again.  It is the media who are crazy.

There is no doubt about one thing.  We need to improve our efforts at mental health reporting and mental health treatment.  We need to get the mentally ill into treatment if we want to stop public violence in the US.   You can find suggestions to fix the background check system here.

I found Charles Krauthammer writing about his experience treating the mentally ill and the article was.. wait for it.. in the Washington Post!  Color me surprised.

Crazy people are tormented and deserve our help.  Politicians stand in the way.  Treating the mentally ill is a delicate balance of civil liberties.  Politicians aren’t delicate, so they will get it wrong the first time.  Right now the system is broken, and fixing the mental health system isn’t easy and it won’t get a politician free face time in front of the news cameras.  Our politicians need to feel the heat from the voters so they finally face this difficult issue and get it right.

The world isn’t perfect.  Even if we were able to solve the large issue of mental health treatment, there remains another small problem that will emerge.

What will the talking heads in the media do once they don’t have crazy people making headlines with guns.



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