I am so sad, angry, and have a mix of emotions this morning after ANOTHER mass shooting happened in a town that I love, Nashville, at Covenant School. I was pacing the floor this morning in anger, trying to figure out how to manage my own feelings and decided to write this blog to get some of it off of my chest. The anger within me stems from the fact that I am a mother and I had to wake up this morning feeling afraid for my own children to attend school. I thought, "My mother never had to feel this way." She was nervous about abductions, but not mass shootings. I am outraged, but the point of contention for me is the justification being, "mental illness." Mental illness seems to be the default cause of these tragedies for lawmakers. It's inappropriate and needs to stop.
I am unsure of the disconnect for law makers between mental illness and mass shootings. Every time a mass shooting occurs, law makers are quick to mention, "mental illness" as the basis for these decisions. Read the articles below because each lawmaker in them either threatened the President of the United States if he decided to ban assault riffles, or posed in pictures with their families; even kids, in opposition to this ban. (revisit the term, "mental illness") Yet, here we are again with the same tragedy and unfortunately, 6 innocent people are dead.
Why? If you want to blame mental illness, then recognize the pattern and do something about it. You do not reduce the age, for example, in our States to allow more guns to be sold. You do not "red flag" individuals with histories of mental illness sometimes twice, and then allow them to own an assault riffle - multiple guns for that matter. Lawmakers ask yourselves, "Has my decision helped?" "Did I do enough to stop these killings?" You all surely hold Psychologists and other mental health professionals accountable at a State and Federal level if WE do not follow protocol for suicidal ideation or threats of harm. You all will not hesitate to remove our licenses, fine us heavily, and throw us in jail if another person dies - even if we did follow protocol at times, to do the best that we could to prevent these tragedies. Attention: YOU ARE NOT doing enough to help!
To make yourselves feel better, you mention prayer. This is my, personal, pet peeve. This is also what I call being a "fake Christian." It is the use of prayer for selfish purposes, such as making yourselves feel better after a tragedy. The majority of the public can see threw the nonsense and this is probably the sore spot for those of us who truly believe in the power of prayer along with those who do not believe in it and that is their choice. This is the same behavior that pushes away the public from organized religion. If you are prayerful, then as a lawmaker you have been ordained to do something about these mass shootings. The answer is NOT to push blame onto others, but by banning assault riffles. There is no other weapon that can cause this much destruction to the human body. Ask the wonderful and stressed physicians who must deal with the bodies of these individuals:
Do not talk to me about prayer until you take action. There are lawmakers who have been screaming about the removal of assault riffles, for example, but it falls on deaf's ears after lawmakers and society calms down a few weeks later - EXCEPT the victim's families. Hearing from the families, watching their shock and grief, and learning more about the victims does not make a difference to those with the power to ban assault riffles. My question is, "How does keeping assault riffles help our communities?" Seems to me after speaking with numerous people about assault riffles that the only population who needs them is our military. So, what is the problem? Do not tell me the 2nd amendment. You need to understand the amendment 1st before using it. You can own a gun, you just do not need an assault riffle. I need my uterus and feminine options, but you want still want to govern my body. Make it make sense! I just prayed for the victims and their families, including the shooter's family as well.
Violence and Mental Illness
If lawmakers listen to psychologists or read articles that they have published as I have, then they will learn the types of conditions in mental illness that can be more prone to violence against others. It definitely is not "emotional disturbance," nor is it schizophrenia. Schizophrenia has been the number #1 condition that others use or think of when this violence happens. Answer: No. The lifetime prevalence rate of schizophrenia is approximately 0.3%-0.7%, with variation over a fivefold range in meta-analyses of nations representation survey, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, American Psychological Association, (APA, 2022). I am more concerned about them attempting suicide than I am with homicide because 20% attempt and 5%-6% die by suicide (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, American Psychological Association, APA, 2022). Then, we have some in other professions who make reference to conditions that may "cause" these heinous choices such as Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz's attorney, Melisa McNeill: "His birth mother’s abuse of drugs and alcohol during his pregnancy, saying Cruz showed signs from a young age of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and antisocial personality disorder."
www.cnn.com/2022/08/22/us/nikolas-cruz-trial-defense/index.html This statement puzzles me.
Reportedly, the active shooter had an "emotional disturbance." Are you aware of what that means? If not, here's an article about it:
In other words, it is emotional suffering. In school, however, individuals can be deemed eligible for special education services for an emotional disturbance (ED) pending the State/Board of Education criteria. Some of these individuals are able to use 504 Plans in schools to address their needs as well. When I saw that the shooter had an "emotional disturbance," I thought - what does this have to do with her planning this school shooting? It is difficult to fathom these random acts of violence and we all want to know why; however, when it is released to the public there needs to be clarification in media about the condition. At least then, the lawmakers will understand them better. This, "emotional disturbance," is a prime example of this error in thinking and why mental illness is often stigmatized and viewed as the reason for these mass shootings. This shooter contacted another person and revealed, "I'm planning to die today," "I've left more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen," and "One day this will make more sense.," quotes used this morning from cnn.com. As Mayer Cooper in Nashville mentioned in this article, "This was clearly planned, " and " There was a lot of ammunition. There were guns." Police even said, "This was planned and calculated, "quotes also used from cnn.com. This equates to an emotional disturbance asa the cause of her murdering innocent people? Your opinion matters but I will tell you one thing:
We all need to be ANGRY!
BAN ASSAULT RIFFLES
Here's the link to my blog with the online edition of Psychology Today: "Spotlight On Special Education."