Guns And Mental Illness

What is really responsible when a mass murder takes place? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of us spent our Valentine’s Day celebrating time with that special someone in our lives. I managed to use Amazon credit to get my Princess several gifts and we went out to dinner together at a nearby Subway. Our day was special and we shouldn’t deny that, but there were plenty of people that didn’t have a special day.

Some girlfriends never got to have that evening date with their boyfriends and vice-versa. At least one teacher was killed and if he was married, he didn’t get to spent Valentine’s with his wife. Several parents might have had to cancel plans because they suddenly had to go and identify the bodies of their children they never expected to lose.

And for many of these people, Valentine’s Day might never be a day of happiness again.

If there is one word that could be used to describe what happened, it is evil. This isn’t a post though about the problem of evil. Plenty has been said about that and often by people much more equipped than me. This is about another topic in relation to it.

One of the first things I noticed in listening to the news is that it was immediately said that this shooter (Let’s not mention his name people. The victims were people worth knowing about, but not this guy) was mentally ill. Perhaps he was. I do not know for sure, but usually, that seems to be the first assumption. There had to be a mental illness.

The problem is this is said before any facts are known and second, it paints with too broad a brush. I called in to a local radio show yesterday to talk about this and the host did agree with me. My wife and I both have Aspergers. She also has PTSD and bipolar and hallucinations, but we are not the kinds to go shooting up a school.

Technically, we each have a mental illness, but we’re both functioning members of society. The problem is mental illness is way too vague. Consider if I told you that many people die of physical illness. That is true. Cancer and various diseases are physical illnesses. Does that mean when you have someone who has the common cold you’re going to have a prayer vigil around their bed to make sure they don’t die of the disease?

It’s also false to just assume someone has a mental illness and that was the cause of their behavior. After all, that would have to be it. Right? I mean, surely a person in their right mind would not do something like this?

People in their right minds do things like this. Why? Because people are sinners. We all have some evil in us. Some of us just don’t do anything to stop what we have. Some of us seem to relish it and celebrate it. If that’s the case, it will take more than just medication. The reality is if someone is bent on doing evil, they will do evil, and no amount of laws will stop that.

For those of us in the mental health community unfortunately we are all painted with this broad brush when the term is thrown out there without any explanation. People have honestly thought before my wife and I could be threats because of Aspergers. Not only that, but then you ask people to encourage and support those with mental health issues and who could they be thinking about? Those people that they see on TV who shoot up schools.

Could it be that the actual problem is that word that no one wants to use? Could it be that sin is the problem? Of course, the media doesn’t like to use the word sin. We don’t like to admit that some things could be wrong often because that could get into our personal lives.

Some things are evil though. Sometimes, it’s we who are evil. It’s not an imbalance in the brain. It’s one in the heart.

If someone is mentally unstable enough to kill someone, which can happen, we do need to deal with that, but we also don’t need to just assume it was some mental condition and if the person’s brain was in right order, this would never happen. We all do wrong things and it would be so nice to always blame it on brain chemistry, but it doesn’t work. We know it. We are responsible. We bear the blame.

Pray for the people left behind by this tragedy and especially for the families of those who have lost loved ones and yes, even for the person who committed this vile act that they will find forgiveness in Christ.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

  • David Hern√°ndez

    Most killings are not caused by mentally ill people. I remind people that the atrocities of history were mostly committed by mentally healthy people who convinced themselves that their evil was right.

  • Kshos23

    Another possibility that isn’t mentioned much at all was that the person in question was actually possessed, or at least influenced by “higher” forces. Though if such a possibility were mentioned in the media, it would be laughed off right away.