Do You Have To Be Crazy To Shoot Somebody ?

The premise that only people with mental health problems shoot people is nutz. Both pro and anti gun folks are trying to use mental health as some kind of litmus test as a precursor for gun violence. This is simply not so and as far as the data, what little is there, supports, having a history of mental health problems is not a precursor to committing violence with a gun. Violence and murder have their roots in biological, psychological, and sociological factors. It’s just not as simple as saying that one must be crazy to shoot people. If you want to begin to study why people shoot other people then start here.

People with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of violent crime then to commit it. If we really look at the facts we can see that white men commit far more crimes than the mentally ill. So instead of preventing the mentally ill from having guns maybe we should prevent white guys from ownership. This is so true it’s stupid.

When it comes to gun ownership, rights, policies and outcome we must start looking at the many factors that lead to the very act of using a gun in a violent confrontation. A simple diagnosis of the condition of ones mental health will not guide us alone. Too many other factors are present. We are going to be asked to vote on and help develop policies about guns and how a persons mental health will determine whether they have the right to purchase, own and use a gun in a safe and legal way. How are we going to do that without examining the data surrounding this? How are we going to do that without asking for more data? If we don’t then this is what’s going to happen. We are going to sit in front of our T.V.s or read our papers and from this develop an image and definition of what a crazy person is. We are going to associate the acts that we see with that person in order to mentally develop a picture in our heads. When it comes time to be polled or vote on anything that has to do with mental health and how “crazy” people should be treated we are only going to be able to envision that person. Wake Up America.

I have found that most people vote for or against something or someone for one or two reasons. We hear something a candidate says that sticks in our heads as something worth voting for and we don’t look anywhere farther until we vote. That is irresponsible at the least. Our rights and the prevention of violence are much too important issues to vote like this.


Gun crime narratives that attribute causality to mental illness also invert the material realities of serious mental illness in the United States. Commentators such as Coulter blame “the mentally ill” for violence, and even psychiatric journals are more likely to publish articles about mentally ill aggression than about victimhood. But, in the real world, these persons are far more likely to be assaulted by others or shot by the police than to commit violent crime themselves. In this sense, persons with mental illness might well have more to fear from “us” than we do from “them.” And blaming persons with mental disorders for gun crime overlooks the threats posed to society by a much larger population—the sane. Mass shootings represent national awakenings and moments when seeming political or social adversaries might come together to find common ground, whether guns are allowed, regulated, or banned. Doing so, however, means recognizing that gun crimes, mental illnesses, social networks, and gun access issues are complexly interrelated, and not reducible to simple cause and effect. Ultimately, the ways our society frames these connections reveal as much about our particular cultural politics, biases, and blind spots as it does about the acts of lone, and obviously troubled, individuals


The lack of prognostic specificity is in large part a matter of simple math. Psychiatric diagnosis is in and of itself not predictive of violence, and even the overwhelming majority of psychiatric patients who fit the profile of recent US mass shooters—gun-owning, angry, paranoid White men—do not commit crimes History suggest that psychiatrists are inefficient gatekeepers in this regard. Data supporting the predictive value of psychiatric diagnosis in matters of gun violence is thin at best. Psychiatric diagnosis is largely an observational tool, not an extrapolative one. Largely for this reason, research dating back to the 1970s suggests that psychiatrists using clinical judgment are not much better than laypersons at predicting which individual patients will commit violent crimes and which will not. For instance, a 1978 survey by Steadman and Cocozza of “Psychiatry, Dangerousness, and the Repetitively Violent Offender” analyzed the “assumption widely held by the public, legislators and many criminal justice administrators, that psychiatric training and perspective make psychiatrists particularly well suited to predict violence.”They found that, “there is actually very little literature that provides empirical evidence dealing with psychiatric predictions of dangerousness,” and that “despite statutory and procedural trends to the contrary, the data available suggest no reason for involving psychiatrists in the dispositional processes of violent offenders under the expectation of predictive expertise.” Thirty-three years later, Swanson put it even more succinctly: “psychiatrists using clinical judgment are not much better than chance at predicting which individual patients will do something violent and which will not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.