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Author: Sandy Sue
Another movie theater. Another slaughter. Another deranged man with a gun. Another gun that never should have found its way into that man’s hands.
At the same time, Iowa’s governor is trying to close down the last two mental health hospitals in the state. Plus, Iowa’s psychiatrists receive the 4th lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the nation. In 2011, we ranked 47th in the nation for the number of psychiatrists per capita, and the exodus is ongoing (who could blame them?).
No psych docs. No hospitals.
And no gun control.
So, why aren’t mass murders happening in my cineplex?
Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, said in a 2014 interview that a history of violent or assaultive behavior is a better indicator of future violence than any mental illness diagnosis. Substance abuse is also a strong indicator of violent behavior. Mental illness is a risk factor for suicide, he said, not for homicide.
People with severe mental illness are more likely to be victims, rather than perpetrators, of violent crime.
Do we know yet if drugs or alcohol were involved in the Louisiana case? No mention one way or the other, but we know he had a history of violence. And we sure do know he was bipolar. The media latched onto that buzzword immediately.
It seems clear to me—people who are drunk, high, or beat their wives should never be allowed to buy a gun. People who have a history of hurting other people or themselves should never be allowed to buy a gun. Period. I would be included in that group because I tried to kill myself once. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I should have a gun either, because I’d hurt myself before I’d open fire at the next Marvel movie.
Still, the debate about rights and mental illness keeps us from actually doing something about the guns. Diversion tactics. When will we stop talking around the problem? When?
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