[Solved] is there a link between mental illness and gun violence

Views on school shootings, church shootings, and gun violence has shaken the world to its core. To make matters worse when cases such as February 14, 2018, Stoneman Douglas High School shooting better known as the Parkland shooting happened the verdict was very disappointing to many people. The shooter 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was supposed to be sentenced to execution for the massacre of 17 people. His lawyers and examiners stated that he was suffering from mental illness and Mr. Cruz’s lawyers felt that killing him won’t serve justice. With knowing that the prosecutor and others questioned was killing him the right thing or just putting that sick young man away for the rest of his life suffice.

So with that, they decided that he wouldn’t seek execution because of his “mental illness.” To add to it, his mother who had already passed diagnosed her son, Cruz with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In 2013 it was recommended that he be sent to a residential treatment facility, and in 2016 the school had already heard of his threats and did not pursue help for this young man. Some would say and most would agree that this was an opportunity missed by the school and officials. The issue with that is the courts feel as if the money would be better spent fixing the system than using it to help the families that lost their family members and loved ones. in recent years, this common excuse to some of that has come up in the courts more frequently. So the question is, is there a link between them? (‘The Parkland’) According to the article “ News Media Framing of Serious Mental Illness and Gun Violence in the United States, 1997-2012” by various authors such as Emma E. McGinty, Daniel W. Webster, Marian Jarlenski, and Colleen L. Berry.

In this article, they take about how mental illness and gun violence connects in the media how it can be perceived as something worse than it is. According to this article, 65,000 people in the United States are shot each year, and the news coverage on these shootings makes people more aware that these shootings are not your everyday shootings. With the news and media coverage that these shootings are getting, researchers are looking into what are some of the contributors are to these violent acts. They have come up with a few such as the unimaginable amount of widespread availability to guns in the United States, violent video games, bullying, gangs involvement, childhood neglect and or abuse and serious mental illnesses (SMI). These SMI’s, have been categorized and two of the more known mental illness, as mentioned before in this paper, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These have been linked to violence and brought to the public’s attention many times but a vast majority of people with SMI are not violent. When people with these SMI become violent it’s because of past traumas they went through or substance abuse. When people read about mass shooting stories or hear them on the news and they mention that the shooter had an SMI, they begin to have a higher perceived distance, physical and social from people with SMI.

With the public being exposed to this information they began to have a more negative attitude with those with SMI making it difficult for their everyday life. They are being affected in ways such as undertreatment, poverty, and homelessness. Advocates of mental health say that the news outlets that focus on shooters with an SMI could lead to a more public perspective that they are more likely the cause of gun violence than others. Others things that are not in favor of those with SMI’s is in this article experts and policymakers are seemed to promote politicians and their views that the people with an SMI should not be able to carry guns. The ways people look at people with mental illnesses and gun violence has been seriously framed for the public eye and the researchers wanted to figure out of this has always been this way. What they did was look at a widespread media coverage within a 16-year span from 1997-2012. They looked at the volume and content and what specific things were mentioned about the shooter. After examing the 364 news stories 36% were television stories, 62% were print, 1%, and 25% random sample of news focused on SMI and gun violence. There were many popular sources by their most well-known sources included the top three newspaper in the United States in 2011.

These were the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. As well as this evaluation they also looked to see of these news outlets used the 5 facts about SMI that was supported by researchers: “people with SMI are often stigmatized”, “negative public attitudes about SMI can lead to reluctance to seek treatment among persons with SMI”, negative public attitudes can lead to public desire for social distance”, “most people with SMI are not violent”, and lastly “predicting violence among persons with SMI is difficult”. Since these are not usually included in news coverage, the public wouldn’t be as understanding as they should be. Another thing these researchers examines was the different types of gun proposals. In the article, they state 4 proposals. The first one is “policies to restrict access to guns among persons with SMI( a policy requiring health care providers to report people who threaten to harm themselves or others to the background check system used to identify prohibited purchasers”. The next would be “policies to ban assault weapons or ammunition” meaning they dont want guns that can hold 10 or more rounds without reloading. Then there’s “policies to expand background checks for guns to the public”. Lastly “ policies to allow concealed carrying of guns in public places or other policies to increase gun access.

Tying this whole article together, I personally can see the link between mental illness and gun violence, This article should tell you just because you hear something doesn’t mean it should be true, and that people with SMI no matter which one goes through the same things everyone else does. Before the 1960s, official psychiatric discourse defined schizophrenia as a psychological “reaction” to a splitting of the basic functions of personality. Then in 1968, there was a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) written about schizophrenia and how that condition makes a personality or actions hostile and aggressive. With that aggressiveness, it would make them more prone to commit violent acts. (‘Mental Illness’) As well as that, according to the book, “no one cares about crazy people” by Ron Powers, schizophrenia could also construct voices and hallucinations into alternate identities that speak to that person. They could believe it to be a great leader or even a god. In the book “no one cares about crazy people” by Ron Powers, In 2014 there was a man named James “Abba” Boyd who was fatally shot and killed by police in Albuquerque. He was suspected to have a history of paranoid schizophrenia and was a wanderer. He didn’t have any permits to be the places he did so he was violating ordinances. Boyd would suffer from hallucination and delusions, making himself believe that he was a federal agent and God.

He would be taken into custody and put into psychiatric hospitals, jails but was always let go because he wasn’t harming himself or others. After many police calls, an evening on March 14, 2014, a group of officers armed with guns and assault rifles, flash grenades, pistols, and attack dogs. The police tried to talk him into a peaceful surrender. It wasn’t going the way it was supposed to, and Boyd had a gun. Then multiple police officers shot at him, killing him. When he was taken down he had a tiny spasm and another officer shouts more commands and they shoot more rounds. One bullet ripping through his shirt, another in his right hand near his head. After that happened one of the officers commanded him to “drop the knife”. In the video that was released, there was no clear indication that Boyd had a knife. The next mental illness that was brought up during that era was posttraumatic stress disorder known as PTSD. This illness, assumed by military and doctors said it was the combat stress and trauma the soldiers who were in wars like World War I and other went through.

Posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD) has been increasing more and more in the coming years and became a more violent behavior in many other people not just soldiers. There was a shooting April 2, 2014, in Fort Texas Spc. Ivan A. Lopez started shooting because of an argument he has gotten into when he was just leaving the bar. He fired a lot of rounds, killing three and injuring 16. After that, he turned the gun on himself before the military could intervene. Sources say that Lopez had PTSD. As you can see they two specific mental illness have impacted lots of people, but there’s two are not the only two. There are many more and should not be taken lightly. (‘McGuinness’) This methodology of imprisoning the mentally ill has a number of advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages According to The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, a person(s) with a mental illness cannot be exempt from jail no matter the illness. They have the option to be hospitalized first and get help and serve their prison sentence but only if they are able to not cause problems. Another advantage would be in other countries, the defendant could represent themselves because the cost of lawyers is too high. (‘Mentally Ill Persons’) Also, they way jails and prisons are evolving now they are able to deal with the increase of mental illness patients. Better facilities and better medications would make their treatment process better.

Along with the new facilities they would be able to see their relatives and have better communication with everyone. With the better facilities that are equipped to handle mentally ill the patients their families wouldn’t have to worry about them being in as much danger than they would be in the main prison. Meaning they are less likely to get into it with guards and other prisoners. Some of the disadvantages of imprisoning the mentally ill is some could have a hard time adjusting to the rules. When they’re getting disciplined they could lash out and damage themselves and or property. (Fraser) Also, the cost of taking care of someone who is mentally ill in a prison costs a lot of money. Another would be the mandatory medication that the patients have to take. As far as the disadvantages the mental patients will have that psychological impact that never goes away.

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