Crazies, not guns kill in mass

February 25, 2016

MikeAs police try to figure out what made Jason Dalton snap in Kalamazoo, and go on a killing spree that ended with six people dead and one hanging on for dear life, one has to wonder what is going on in this world we live in.

Killing sprees are a way of life any more. They occur all too frequently. Gun opponents claim it is because weapons are readily available, legally and illegally. In the case of Dalton, eleven rifles were found in his home. The weapon he used in his killing spree was reportedly unregistered.

More to the point, however, is not that the man used the gun, but that he was crazy. I’m sorry police claim there is no history of mental illness, but I’m positive investigators will find he snapped. No one in their right mind would travel around town killing innocent people as he did.

And it has happened over and over. Mass killings are what airplane hijackings were ten years ago. The difference is, however, most hijackings were carried out by terrorists with agendas. Mass killings are performed, by the most part, by insane individuals.

Which gets me to my point. Since Sandy Hook in 2012 when mentally ill Adam Lanza killed 20 children, six educators and his mother, funding for mental health has not increased, but decreased. In a four year span before Sandy Hook, states had cut mental health budgets by a collective $4.35 billion. Since then the slashing has stalled somewhat although the State of Michigan cut $156 million out of their mental budget in 2014.

According to a reliable study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness only 7.4% of those U.S. adults considered to have co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders- of which there are 9 million people, receive treatment. Some of that has to do with poor health insurance coverage. Some of it has to do with health care professionals not recognizing a person’s mental illness.

Strangely enough, the study says Obamacare has done nothing to increase the number of people seeking treatment for mental illness. Supposedly patients are to get equal reimbursement for mental health services as compared to physical health services if they have Obamacare or Medicaid, but this supposition doesn’t ring true in a lot of states.

Much of the time we simply throw those with mental illness in jail. Our prisons are filled with men and women who have co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The same study quoted above claims at least 20 percent of those in jail or prison, have a serious, and I emphasize serious, mental illness. Many of them don’t belong in jail. Rather, they need to be under the care of a mental health or substance abuse professional.

Gun opponents can say what they want about the increased frequency of mass killings. It is true that a gun is used to kill in all of them. But quite frankly the underlying issue is our country’s refusal to confront mental health issues. Those that kill are for the most part crazy. They are your next door neighbor or the friendly kid a few doors down. They suffer quietly from bipolarism or schizophrenia. They need our help. They need our State and federal governments to pay attention to those growing problem.

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