Mass Shootings and Mental Health

Mental Health and Guns

Another mass shooting in Maine by a mentally ill person brought attention to the mental health issues we have in America. I thought I’d share some observations on mental health based on my twenty-one years in law enforcement and some research for my books.

Broken Mental Health System

Many factors play into societal violence. The welfare state is a significant player, and the one thing the Clintons got right was the notion of “super-predators,” where each generation begets another with more sociopathic tendencies. But here, I want to focus on our totally broken mental health system and some theorization on how it is driving violence.

Beginning in the 1950s, the ACLU decided that long-term, secure psychiatric hospitals were cruel and set about shutting them down. By the 1980s, few remained, and the mental health system began relying almost exclusively on 72-hour “holds,” commonly called an IVC (involuntary commitment) or Baker Act in Florida.

72-hour holds

Healthcare Is a Revolving Door

The system devolved into a revolving door band-aid approach, relying on a slew of psychotropic drugs but lacking proper therapy and follow-up. You may recall that ADD/ADHD was the “rage” in the 80s and 90s. The Healthcare Industrial Complex diagnosed and drugged every kid to feed their system. In the late 1990s, when I became a cop, it seemed the American Psychiatric Association (APA) had revised many diagnostics in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

Why Was Manic Depression Renamed Bipolar?

One condition they renamed, I recall well, is that manic-depressive became bipolar. Well, what’s in a name, right? In the early 2000s, I also noticed that Big Pharma released numerous new drugs, and as a result, they suddenly labeled everyone with a mood swing bipolar (see also “Labeling Theory”). In the latter half of my career, I noticed everyone seemed to be labeled (diagnosed, cough cough) with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD/PTS).

manic depression renamed bipolar

How Are Medications Affecting Violence?

What I theorize is happening is that the non-stop barrage of constantly changing behavioral and psychiatric (psychotropic) medications is adversely affecting many patients’ brains. We all know how alcoholics need more and more alcohol as tolerance builds. Diet pills become ineffective for the same reason.

We know narcotic pain medications bind to pain receptors to trick the body into thinking it is in more pain than it is, creating dependency and addiction. What I think is happening with psychotropics is similar. The drugs are damaging or altering the brain, so patients lacking the therapy they really need are constantly on and off medications, getting worse. Of course, Big Pharma will not research this because it would affect profits.

Mass Shootings and Mental Disorders

Time and time again, in “mass shootings,” we find shooters with long psychiatric histories who have been on and off medications. What we must do is rebuild mental health from the ground up, stop total reliance on medications, focus on other therapies, and bring back long-term psychiatric hospitals to provide actual treatment for those with serious mental illnesses that can lead to violence.

Failed Mental Health Approach

As long as we keep trying a failed approach, we will see increasing problems with violence caused by those suffering from mental illnesses. Such is my opinion! If you’re interested, I discuss this in more detail in my Second Amendment book, INFRINGED.



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