On Shooting and Mental Disorders

So we have had yet another mass shooting and before people even had to time to grieve it is already being politicized for every cause imaginable, but especially the gun control debate.  Far be it for this blog to uselessly weigh in on gun control, but there is another issue being talked about it and that is mental health and medications, which is of course, totally up my alley.

First of all let me state this up front. It is way too easy for people to get psychiatric medication, including the now infamous SSRI’s, but here are a few stats to get us started. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness one in four adults, around 61 million, will experience some form of mental illness in a given year. One in 17 (or 13 million) suffer from severe mental disorders such as Bipolar Disorder, Depression or even Schizophrenia. If these numbers were to be a flu outbreak, would we not call it an epidemic? So, yes there is a serious problem going on here.

Whenever something like this happens, I hear terms being thrown out such as “crazies” or being “hopped up on SSRI’s” and other uneducated rhetoric. I’ve made it no secret that I am on medication for OCD and Bipolar disorder, including the dreaded and feared SSRI’s. I have also had the privilege of knowing numerous amazing people who are also on these meds. I have to say in my experience one does not get “hopped up” on these meds. They aren’t narcotics, and while some older psychiatric meds are pretty heavy, generally speaking you would be hard pressed to blame a shooting on them. And here is the dilemma we all face every time this happens. Who do we blame?

The left wants to blame gun owners. The right wants to blame big pharma and mental disorders. Parents want to blame video games and cartoon violence and I have no idea who the kids these days like to blame. It seems like there is plenty of blame going around and yet there is one glaring group of people not being blamed. Care to guess who that is? Yeah, go look in the mirror, because it’s ourselves.

It used to be that these things never happened, things were different, so what changed? Let’s start with the idea that societies are products of their beliefs. Sounds reasonable right? So something in our beliefs changed over the years to open the door to these tragedies and what would that be?

Try our post-modern view that there is no real truth and God is whatever reality TV star you want him to be. We have gutted the moral fiber of our country and replaced it with some weak sauce beliefs that can’t stand the strain we are putting on it. So it snaps and breaks and these bad things keep happening and we sit around wondering why. The answers are there, we just don’t want to face them.

We are a nation rotting away in its own decadent filth and we don’t even realize it until something like Oregon happens. Then we scramble around for answers that don’t add up so we blame whatever we can. never minding the hopelessness and despair we created with the insufficient foundation we have laid.

People with mental disorders aren’t “crazy”. We have real medical issues and need real medical help. (My only political comment here is that if you are going to support the right to bear arms, don’t vote to gut the public mental health care system we need to help the “crazies”. Sorry you can’t have your cake and eat it to. ) For the record I have used the public mental health system before and it is woefully inadequate.

Maybe it is time to quite arguing about the Constitution (which is irrelevant now anyway) and quit blaming others. Maybe we start addressing our sick society first. Or maybe we will just have more shootings.   Either way, the choice is ours.

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