The left wants to discount the role of mental disturbance in mass shootings. By doing so, it can keep all of the focus on guns and “white supremacy.”
In addition, allowing mental disturbance to enter the conversation might lead to a discussion of family breakdown and loss of religious faith. The left wants to steer clear of that discussion at all costs.
Hence, we see dishonest news stories, like the one in the Washington Post I analyzed yesterday, that try to dismiss mental health issues as contributing to mass shootings. The Post ignored or downplayed studies that support the link, and relied heavily on a study that didn’t show what the Post said it did.
E. Fuller Torrey, writing in the Wall Street Journal, points to two studies, totally ignored by the Post, that demonstrate the importance of mental disturbance as a contributing factor in mass shootings. Dr. Torrey is the founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center and author of American Psychosis. He says:
In 2018 the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a report titled “A Study of the Pre-Attack Behavior of Active Shooters in the United States Between 2008 and 2013.” It reported that 40% of the shooters had received a psychiatric diagnosis, and 70% had “mental health stressors” or “mental health concerning behaviors” before the attack.
In July 2019, the U.S. Secret Service released its report “Mass Attacks in Public Spaces—2018.” The report covered 27 attacks that resulted in 91 deaths and 107 injuries. The investigators found that 67% of the suspects displayed symptoms of mental illness or emotional disturbance. In 93% of the incidents, the authorities found that the suspects had a history of threats or other troubling communications.
The results were similar to those of another study published by the Secret Service on 28 such attacks in 2017.
Clearly, then, untreated mental illness is playing a significant role in the rising incidence of mass killings. The Washington Post’s effort to deny this is a pathetic piece of agenda-driven journalism.
To acknowledge the role of mental disturbance is not to take a position one way or the other about guns and gun control. As I see it, mental disturbance is a key factor in driving people to kill en masse. Guns are the means most of these people are using to fulfill their deranged desire.
If, consistent with the Constitution, there are ways to reduce the ability of potential shooters to obtain firearms, we should implement them. If, consistent with the Constitution, there are ways to identify and treat mentally disturbed potential shooters before they kill, we should implement them.