Such was the indictment of Arthur Chu in his Salon.com piece “It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males,” discussing the Charleston shooting perpetrated by one Dylan Storm Roof, openly calling the tag ‘it’s about mental illness’ a cop-out to avoid larger societal topics like race, guns, something he calls “toxic masculinity,” white supremacy, misogyny and racism. All to avoid confronting the blanket problem of societal illness, our continuing definition of sanity being going along to get along and how throughout history that has meant, more often than not, aiding and abetting monstrous evil by people just doing their jobs, filling out paperwork, cops enforcing the law, soldiers following orders; mental illness covering the broader, more frightening social sickness there is no pill for. Further he explains how said society-wide characterization hurts everyone particularly the mentally ill steering them away from the treatment they need for fear of a label bound to cost them relationships and jobs. Next, Chu argues the constant mantra isn’t one he hears from mental health professionals, advocates nor in concrete proposals aimed at improving their treatment; instead it is used, according to him, to get officials, the general public to sign off on trampling their constitutional rights in abjectly horrifying ways, forced medication, potential lifelong institutionalization. Charging we have engineered such a topsy-turvy world seeking help for possible mental disturbance is a stronger indicator of violence than going to purchase a weapon i.e. a gun, he states, its only purpose is to do acts of violence. The rest a several page rant with obscure references and diatribes on how the mentally ill are being thrown under the bus by a media reaching for it as a default, an NRA (national rifle association) who would rather stereotype mentally ill individuals than create a national fire arms registry, perfectly willing to create a nationwide registry of the mentally ill, doubtlessly in the name of public safety, referencing unnamed statistics pointing to violent people having no mental illness contrasted to the mentally ill likely to be the victim of violent crime as opposed to committing it. He challenges our characterization of crazy, lackadaisical use of the term to discredit their words either in their own defense as victims or exposing their sound-minded guilt picking from one of his list as a reason why they killed; citing several manifestos and blatant attention seeking for their ‘cause’ “to use one local atrocity to create fear within an entire population. (According to the dictionary, by the way, this is called “terrorism,” but we only ever seem to use that word for the actions of a certain kind — by which I mean a certain color — of mass killer.), implying of course, Islamic, extremist, Arabic terrorists. Thus he claims there is no, or little, mystery to mass shooters; his example, Eliot Rodger who “told” people why he killed women (for rejecting him) and men (for having what he couldn’t) on numerous websites where he got his, Chu’s conflicting words, mental illness fueled ideology, Rogers’ problem misogyny. Connecting it to the latest incident, Roof, he reiterates the mans symbolized “solidarity” with apartheid regimes, awash in a culture surrounded by deadly weapons, bashing rites of passage because Dylan Roof was given a gun on his 21th birthday; his problem, racism pure, plain and simple. Going on to assert mental illness never manufactured an idea or motivation, didn’t cause their beliefs to sprout up out of nowhere sans ties to the real, outside world; noting the rarity it is for someone to be so profoundly mentally ill they create and live inside their own alternate reality pointing out even then how predictable it is violence enacted by them reaches acceptable social targets. Putting forth Eliot Roger’s misogynistic rants had an otherwise respectable source in someone who wasn’t crazy, held a job, probably wears a business suit; worse proving Chu’s point exactly, Dylan Roof was influenced by a racist, found by the MSNBC show Hardball to be rich and have given significant amounts to the republican party, hints the formers’ parting comment on societal sickness.
But that last part seems to be the only thing Arthur Chu got right indicating perhaps he should go back to finding clever ways to win at Jeopardy and leave off the commentary especially on mass shooters or mental illness because, mental illness is far from a cop out, in fact we wish it was. We wish it was as mundane as boiling it down to, mass shooters are pure evil, sick, sadistic, twisted, sociopathic, psychopathic individuals yet the type of sick exc. suggesting they need to be locked away in prison, not evaluated for their mental health, appropriately treated, potential to be released back into society at some future date. Not people who, if they were identified early enough and treated for their actual underlying problem, would likely have never killed, no matter how many guns they had access to, what kind of violent culture they grew up in, what potentially “dangerous” rites of passage they participated in. “The people bleating about mental illness” are not the only ones guilty when it comes to pinning mass shooting, what he calls another kind of domestic terrorist violence, on one issue, a singular subset of issues; Chu does it too, couching his societal sickness theory into multiple words that all mean hate in just as much an order to avoid believing it can happen, is the result of, any one person, small group vs. the collective masses, as ‘the other guys’ mentioned in his article are guilty of putting a whole host of things under a banner vaguely named mental illness. Arguably worse, because he’s essentially saying the whole society has a problem making it so daunting it won’t ever come close to being solved on any level. Conspicuously absent from his winded catalog describing American hypocrisies and attempted global history lessons purportedly meant to explain how his hate filled list of words “toxic masculinity” where patriarchy is harmful to men, prevailing the socially-constructed attitudes that describe masculine gender roles as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth, white supremacy a belief that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and should therefore dominate society, misogyny, hatred, contempt for women, racism, believing your race, a singular race superior to others, better accounts for mass shooters than mental illness. Is-what the hell we are then supposed to do about it once we recognize those hatreds, not mental disturbances, are responsible for mass killings, one solitary word about how we counter those things, those ideologies, belief systems, behavior patterns. Besides some heavy handed sarcasm on gun control and reevaluating our definition of sane when it comes to sane people who want them, the safety of a so called sane person with a gun paralleled to a crazy person without. So, should he be absolutely correct in his seemingly endless, “groundbreaking” kvetch, it appears he doesn’t know what to do either; lots of help you are Mr. Chu. Similarly his historical references of on-mass atrocities committed by entire governments, bureaucrats and law enforcement officers, he sardonically asks if all were mentally ill, ignores contributing factors like the apartheid in South Africa was reinforced by colonial imperialism and the, basically, dictators set up to run things there far away from the eyes of the British government well past their abolition of slavery, graduated into an institution of more modern appearing government as the white minority clutched to their power base mirroring our own civil war sans cohesive structure but no less the bloodshed, at least one of the dictators, politicians later backing the status quo, statistics bear out, probably was mentally ill. Look at recent civil war, religious type conflicts on the African continent, does he honestly not think some of these war lords who come to power are not mentally ill; to say nothing of the mental health stress and fear causing people “to go along to get along” in order to live, psychological impacts of being a child soldier, seeing hands hacked off exc. A clearer picture illustrating the opposite of Chu’s sarcasm, WWII Germany devastated by the effects and required reparations of WWI; along comes charismatic sociopath, severely abused and terribly mentally ill Adolph Hitler. No, everyone there wasn’t mentally ill; however, circumstances made them socially and psychologically susceptible to his ideas fueled by the world’s naiveté at that time, unsuspecting anything like what Hitler planned and too much of which was carried out, could happen. To this day there are Holocaust deniers who call it a hoax, a Jewish conspiracy. And yes, “hundreds of years of history in which an entire country’s economy was set up around chaining up millions of black people, forcing them to work and shooting them if they get out of line? That’s just history-” because, in the Western world that was a hundred years ago and we can’t keep blaming increasingly ancient history for current, right now events; it has to be because, if we never let go, we will never get beyond.
Begging to differ with his un-sourced statistics promoting a majority responsible for violent acts are not mentally ill, and that an overwhelming majority of the mentally ill are non-violent, is the reality, even a layman can discern, those common knowledge facts are reversed when examining mass shooters. Most mass shooters do have a diagnosable mental illness at the time they commit their crime, in the days, weeks, months leading up to their rampages usually with a documented by friends, family, teachers, coaches, too often police and doctors, decline in mental stability. Mystifying missing from either discussion or photo accompanying the article, especially with a title emphasizing white males, is the poster child personifying exactly to a T our above description, Jared Loughner; who prior to shooting up a political rally couldn’t carry on a coherent conversation, posted such drastic things in online forums people immediately thought he needed help, believed him schizophrenic, created a rambling video tour of his college campus, wrote nonsense equations in math class, in addition to scaring his classmates and teachers, so much so at least one commented to media they thought he would shoot up the school, having run-ins with law enforcement so much he was banned from school until he underwent a psychological evaluation, at which point he dropped out of school. When arrested, jailed, evaluated and yes, forcibly medicated, rendering him fit to stand trial he became lucid, according to his state psychologist weeping when he understood what he had done, openly weeping in court asking to be executed. Another glaring omission, James Holmes currently on trial for his shooting spree killing several in a Colorado movie theater, whose words included I am the joker before the attack, first appearing in court dazed and confused complete with orange hair, who was seeing a school psychiatrist, specializing in schizophrenia, so alarmed by his behavior she contacted the schools threat assessment team and his mother. James Holmes who attempted to call a mental health hotline standing outside that theater in what can be reasonably assumed was a last ditch effort to hold on to his waning sanity; Holmes via his notebook, telling the world, jurors, the state appointed psychiatrist, in his own words, one of our author’s absolute obsessions, his urge to kill has been with him since childhood, identical to a deaf college student, fitting the current theme also white, whose impending spree was thwarted by a roommates 911 call, he later told investigators he fantasized about killing since age 8. Incidentally Holmes’ mother likewise telling his shrink he had always been like this, i.e. a shy, loner; but back to Holmes’ words, detailing descriptions of mental illnesses he thought he suffered from, expressly calling his mind broken, page upon page of the question, word why written over and over again interspersed between his “sane,” methodical planning and comments on exits, not wanting his attack to be construed as terrorism, why he ruled out an airport, detailed drawings and notes representing the theater and a page entitled ‘case the place.’ Said court appointed psychiatrist only deeming Holmes legally sane stipulating he is still mentally ill; similar to Loughner, after arrest, incarceration, evaluation and largely unknown, being prescribed both anti- depressive, ant-psychotic medication. Meaning we can’t effectively determine what his mental state was that night, jurors honestly can’t determine his remorse, regret or demeanor based on the state mandated interview because he was already medicated prior to its beginning; he does however fit the profile of something long accepted in the mental health community, a person, a perpetrator, who is planning, is calculating, is methodical but clinically insane. So why the disconnect; is it public pressure or the intrinsic bias being the person saying it is state appointed, has a vested interest in declaring him sane for trial, because it’s his job? Pictured but not mentioned too, though perhaps to meet editorial length requirements independent a digital blog setting, Adam Lanza known from an early age to possess significant problems, rules for classmates to never touch him, his mother once telling a babysitter to never take their eyes off him, his mother’s own odd, possibly mentally unhealthy demeanor. Or perhaps for a better reason to suit the articles wild assertions, to avoid contents housed in the Sandy Hook school shooting final report chastising Massachusetts’ mental health system as fragmented, chastising Lanza’s school and his mother for merely wanting to accommodate and manage his disabilities instead of treat them, never mind pulling him from school, buying him guns, taking him to a shooting range, allowing him to play violent video games taking into account his mental status. But rather than talk about any of these obvious mental health cases turned deadly without intervention, more at your fingertips via Google search, and what that leads to also connecting it to Roof, or, even connecting Roof to Boston bomber Tsarnaev, undergoing the sentencing phase of his trial, since he insisted on linking, naming this a ‘different kind’ of domestic terrorism. Writer of the piece “It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males” chooses laser focused rants on Dylan Roof and Eliot Rodger as one dimensional racists and misogynists respectively, ignoring the patterns, mentally, behaviorally observed in all mass shooters from the development of the term. The former individual experts haven’t had time to analyze, the latter, a milder case than Lanza, still was in continued therapy starting at a young age, clinical psychologists looking back noticed a complete lack of social skills with people, forget the opposite sex; author contradicting himself calling Rodger’s mentally ill yet saying because his hatred of women had some grounds in the real world, he’s not mentally ill enough for that to qualify as part, if not all, of why he did what he did. His misogyny spouted from a corrupt, diseased world, society as opposed to his misogyny as a manifestation, specific to him, of his mental illness. Chu’s statements dismissing Roger’s own words detailing his thoughts after the police came to his college apparent, dorm to perform a welfare check, sent by his parents; officers found no evidence to remit Rodger to a mental health screening, take him into custody for his own safety. His comments, had police searched his room, found his guns, other weapons he would have been thrown in jail. Gee we wonder why the default reporting lands on mental illness, ABC reporter calling him deranged, another referencing his mind as tortured, because that’s where the dice always ends up.
If you want to bring race, guns, various social factors into it fine, by all means, they should be brought in; let’s start by deconstructing cases involving the non-whites who have conducted mass shootings, Seung-Hui Cho presented as little more than a name sandwiched between two worst case scenarios on public policy effecting the mentally ill. Now was that to sidestep Cho’s Asian heritage congruent with Chu’s or was it to leave out massive procedural failures which were precursors to Virginia Tech’s massacre; misapplication of privacy laws keeping Cho in class, scaring students and teachers, precipitated college professors, on campus mental health staff having no knowledge of his prior mental health, special ed. history decreasing the effectiveness of his 2005 psych eval which, while it found him a danger to himself due to mental illness, recommended outpatient treatment and ordered Cho released. Adding to the problem in Virginia, unique wording to state statutes governing the mentally ill and gun laws, since he was not involuntarily committed, deemed mentally incapacitated he could still legally buy a gun. Much more complicated than, “Elliot Rodger’s parents should’ve been able to force Risperidone down his throat. Seung-Hui Cho should’ve been forcibly institutionalized. Anyone with a mental illness diagnosis should surrender all of their constitutional rights, right now…;” um no, but some grade of mental health professional should have accompanied police during the family requested welfare check providing a trained observer to Rodger’s behavior, to alert law enforcement to any red flags possibly changing their decision. Both should have been remitted to a psychiatric facility until such a time as they were no longer a threat to self or others; forfeit all your constitutional rights, of course not, but you do forfeit your constitutional right to unfettered freedom when you cross over to being a threat to self or others. Rules set in place somewhere between the dark ages of sanitariums warehousing the mentally ill and using them for grotesque experimentation, no thought to helping them and modern psychiatric services, medications. Yet, knowing Cho’s idolization of the Columbine shooters and their known targeting of Christians, somehow Cho’ acts, following the Chu doctrine, fall under unadulterated hatred, a portioned subheading to the title, not mental illness. Counter to mockingly saying it’s the above before we ‘compromise the right to bear arms of “self-professed” sane people;’ why not elaborate Virginia’s law needs to read exactly verbatim to the federal statute where the results of the 2005 psych eval, finding a problem severe enough for mandatory outpatient care, would have placed him on the listed persons not allowed to buy guns owning to mental status? What about the Asian immigrant who opened fire on his ESL class reportedly frustrated by his inability to learn English and get a job; maybe that was toxic masculinity ingrained in him from his previous culture, the same toxic masculinity that causes Asian fathers to shame their daughters for being too American with disastrous results, but I shouldn’t say that because it’s racist, maybe because his rampage was disillusion with the American dream he doesn’t count, for the purposes of Chu’s article anyway. Moving on to Aaron Alexis was it toxic masculinity, this time related to the military idea of toughness, race superiority that caused him to shy away from treatment though he went to the local V.A. for trouble sleeping; the same toxic masculinity routinely painting black men as more likely to join gangs, participate in gang rape and disrespect women, again things a shouldn’t say because their racist and have no basis in fact. Was it those things that caused him to be removed from barracks housing because he repeatedly complained of noises in his linen closet, caused him to call police panicked about people following him, changing hotels 3 times in the same night to avoid the people “sent to keep him awake by talking to him, sending microwaves through his body” or was it the voices in his head? That is textbook auditory hallucinations psychosis, but apparently Arthur Chu didn’t do enough research to know that. Christopher Jordan Doner was a trained cop who snapped, was the victim of a larger conspiracy, was actually retaliated against for rightfully reporting excessive force, short answer workplace beef turned deadly, so he conveniently doesn’t count; no thought given to he could have been suffering from at least a temporary mental illness during the goings on culminating in his suicide. Examining our white shooters none of the social theories stand out as strongly as mental illness considering James Holmes had no hatred of women, religion or races, didn’t want to be deemed a terrorist said in his writing the message is, there is no message; still we’re supposed to conclude misogyny, like Roger, because his admitted to depression over a breakup with his girlfriend morphed onto horror in Aurora Colorado? Or the guns he bought off the internet; did Chu forget the internet is a no-man’s-land where you can’t regulate? Adam Lanza presumably hated one woman his mother, for past childhood perceived ill treatment of him, seeing as he killed her before shooting up an elementary school; he certainly better fits the dynamic of an unstable abused child turned adult than misogynist. We’re to automatically take the leap because his target was Gabrielle Giffords, and she happened to be female, Jared Loughner was a misogynist, as opposed to his deepening delusions, mental illness, fixating on her specifically, or is this one about the gun, leaving off how many school shooters took their guns from their law abiding, sane, responsible gun owning parents, grandparents? Culminating in the article’s catalyst Dylan Roof, he is summed up beautifully by a commenter on Chu’s piece, “A person can be a racist AND a hater AND a gun owner and yet be a peaceful, law abiding citizen. A person can be a non-racist and a murderer. In the case of Roof, he seems to be a racist AND a hater AND a gun owner AND maybe (maybe) a “terrorist” AND maybe mentally ill AND definitely a murderer.” Prompting the question who tried to deny he was a racist, who ever said being mentally ill preempted the possibility of him being a racist; plus don’t you have to be some degree of mentally ill to hate black people, particularly to that degree, in this day and age? At least American “hate” distrust, caution and fear regarding Muslims, Arabs, people dressed in middle eastern garb came out of 9-11 where Islamic extremists, people possessing a certain look along with their ideology killed thousands that day; hate” distrust, caution and fear multiplied by relentless terror plots thwarted, sleeper cells uncovered, the uncanny ability these people adopt to blend in meaning you never know who could be a terrorist. And, if Eliot Roger’s misogyny could be a manifestation of mental illness for him; why not Roof’s “radicalization” by racist propaganda? An update to Mr. Chu’s now behind work, the DOJ (department of justice) was, from the beginning investigating what happened at the Emanuel AME church as a potential hate crime, further is expected to charge Roof with hate crimes related to the 9 deaths there; it is just a matter of time.
And can we please stop trying to make this exclusively an American problem or a gun problem when a student in Spain recently used a crossbow constructed of ballpoint pens and a machete to kill classmates, a teacher; a Germanwings pilot used an entire plane and 150 innocent people to commit suicide after hiding doctors notes stating he was unfit to fly, previously having one major depressive episode. The very same day as Adam Laza indiscriminately killed, with multiple guns, several kindergarten and first grade students a man in China executed a knife attack at a school there; arrogant westerner Piers Morgan calling it a victory because no one died, lamenting it hadn’t been the same for us, due to our preoccupation with guns and the 2nd amendment. Westerners throughout Europe are unlikely to have forgotten Anders Breivik killing a total of 69 including teens on a school camp, an apparent terrorist attack; Norwegian officials bowing to public pressure initially diagnosing Breivik schizophrenic paving the way for an insanity finding unable to stand trial. After uproar and public outcry a second mental health specialist diagnosed him a narcissistic personality disorder, sane for trial, sentenced to 21 years in prison mandatory he serve 10, option for life long incarceration should he be deemed still a threat to society, the maximum sentence there. Sure the U.K. changed its gun laws to virtually stop citizen gun ownership there after a lone school shooting viewed as a copycat to U.S. ones, done only to see their knife crimes increase by just as much as their former gun crime stats, reaching international headlines when the “epidemic” caused the death of a Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince movie extra. Interesting the author references apartheid regimes since the passing of renowned political activist Nelson Mandela; a few might remember the uproar there, in his native South Africa, surrounding his funeral and the sign language interpreter who angered deaf South Africans when the signs he was using didn’t make any sense and they essentially missed out on a national event. Said interpreter admitting he was hallucinating; arguably grief induced understanding what Mandela meant to all black South Africans, but it’s never about mental health, that’s not violence so again it doesn’t count? Here at home we remain no stranger to non-gun crimes, within the last month we’ve seen no less than 2 machete attacks on citizens a robbery in L.A. launched against a man on a bike, a road rage incident in the Holland Tunnel somewhere between New York and New Jersey and a homeless man attacking a tourist in an NYC park; the man wielding an ax targeting cops was inspired by ISIS, another who doesn’t merit mention, because it’s unheard of that someone who joins a terror group might be more than evilly crazy, does that include all the teens, the men once holding successful jobs suddenly trying to board planes to terrorist hotbeds, the guy who literally tried to eat another man’s face off was high on bath salts, his drug problem completely unrelated to points made here. “We’re willing to call one white man emptying five magazines and murdering nine black people in a church and openly saying it was because of race a hate crime, even if they have to then cover it up with the fig leaf of individual “mental illness”–but a white man wearing a uniform who fires two magazines at two people in a car in a “bad neighborhood” in Cleveland? That just ends up a statistic in a DoJ report on systemic bias” The problem with cops epitomized through the above quote is that we have been laboring under the, sadly false, assumption cops are well trained, have legitimate reasons for the force they use, operate with impeccable integrity; thus given incredible leeway and benefit of the doubt because the do go into bad neighborhoods, barrel head first into dangerous situations when people do commit lawlessness, contribute to chaos. Also problematic, the DOJ concluded by writing a report, demanding Cleveland change practices rather than going in and replacing biased, poorly trained officers with racially neutral, competent ones, dido with Ferguson. Again he forgets to mention the needless stop of Freddie Gray and subsequent negligence resulting in his death, Walter Scott shot repeatedly in the back also there in South Carolina, that the officer depicted in his scenario was put on trial, something that would not have happened as little as 5 years ago, yet acquitted similar to what happened to Tayvon Martin’s killer, the sad fate of Jordan Davis and Tamir Rice, if we want to talk about racial bias, racial bias in uniform, in our legal system. Still these perpetrators, civilian or police, were brought up on trial, Davis’ killer serving time, legal process pending in Scott’s, Gay’s and Rice’s cases; Chu ignoring other ones indicating bias, the choking death of Eric Garner, where a grand jury saw video of the officer cutting off his air supply, sitting on him, but did not indict, Michael Brown was a petty thief thug shot 6 times by a lone officer facing ‘Hulk Hogan,’ not shot 6 times by someone behaving like a young, racist, Barney Fife wanna be. At least we are starting to lift the festering scab of racism from our police departments, our government protection services, i.e. the air marshals; we haven’t even begun with antiquated stigmas surrounding mental illness, never mind connected to mass shooters.
Unlike mental health professionals, advocates, persons working regularly with the mentally ill or other opinion writers Chu tries to discredit, I have written extensively on violence in America, covered nearly every mass shooting in some way through my blog, and have written extensively on multifaceted solutions, gun control, social change, enforcement of the laws we already possess, proper use, deployment of the tools already available, improvements desperately needed to the mental health system, better study of mental illness, better medications for sufferers and including establishing mental illness as part of the equation in recognizing possible mass shooters, preventing mass shootings before they happen. The author also seems stubbornly unable, unwilling to distinguish between treated and untreated mentally ill persons when shouting about statistics concerning lack of correlations regarding mental illness and violence; certainly a mentally ill individual who has received the correct diagnosis, is taking medication, participating in relevant therapy is at lower risk of their ailment leading to violence than someone not under a doctor’s care, getting no help. He also fails to acknowledge a vast majority of mass shooters fall into the latter category, only had sporadic contact with school counselors, had been recently dismissed from services, were just beginning counseling; those who were getting help, it was obviously ineffective, included incorrect diagnosis and almost always did not involve medication. Simultaneously it is misleading to talk statistics about violent persons having no mental illness at the time of their crime alongside mass shooters when most killed themselves before being apprehended by cops, let alone evaluated for sanity. Interesting Chu leans heavily on the “expertise” of the mental health community engaging in its own “cop-out,” who has repeatedly said and maintains how hard it is to build an accurate profile of a mass shooter despite clear markers present in all the headlined shooters detailing a troubled, abusive childhood, neighbors and local townspeople who knew something was up, wrong or odd with the family, a history of isolation and/or mental health problems going back to childhood/adolescence; before killing, demonstrating increasingly erratic behavior noticed by friends family classmates, teachers, run ins with on campus, local mental health services, law enforcement or both, suffering from mental illnesses centering around auditory hallucinations, psychosis, schizophrenia and related disorders. All exhibited by the latest Dylan Roof who was a transient student in school, changing so many times in his middle and high school years he wasn’t anywhere long enough to obtain a disciplinary file, while enrolled hardly showed up for class, dropped out in the 9th grade; before he brought a gun into Emanuel AME’s bible study he talked with friends about reigniting a race war, was banned from a local mall for asking people there bizarre questions, arrested again in the same location for trespassing, arrested for possession of a narcotic usually used to treat drug withdraw. Conclusion Dylan was spiraling out of control; Dylan Roof was in all probability suffering from some degree of mental illness making him susceptible to flashy propaganda selling the worst of humanity. Mental illness is no more of a cop-out, far less in fact, than equally ignorant people who want to blame video games, T.V., movies and music, internet sites for mass shootings; whether it’s violent lyrics, cable TV, movies somehow seen by kids, criticizing the ratings systems, intrinsic questions about why we like such things. Telling a room full of 4th and 5th grade students can debunk those flimsy theories explaining to adults if the things seen in video games, movies, T.V., music, make you want to do those things, there must be something wrong with your mind. Yes Jared Loughner was influenced by Zeitgeist the movie, yes Adam Lanza was effected by gun enthusiasts webpages, James Holmes by serial killer and bomb making ones, Eliot Rodger by misogynist websites, videos and sexist propaganda on how to get girls, finally Dylan Roof by white supremacist rhetoric, when and only when those far leaning views were merged with a mentally, emotionally unstable, psychologically vulnerable growingly mentally ill mind; exactly what a former Neo-Nazi told CBS news. He had never seen a person like the one he saw in his neighborhood on a particular day; as a vulnerable, troubled teen what this one said made him believe their ideology would solve all his problems, he wanted to be just like the man. If anything we need to change our perception of mental illness, what constitutes mentally ill, no not so the guilty can escape justice, instead so we can understand and prevent crime, provide adequate punishments and when coming across the Jared Loughners, James Holmes, Adam Lanzas and Dylan Roofs of the world treat them hopefully before we have to incarcerate them, but certainly treat them before locking them behind bars and throwing away the key. Secondly we need to redefine our parameters of mental illness assimilating what we now know about criminals and criminology even neurological deficits; how many serial killers presented in documentaries are clinically psycho or sociopathic, suffering from clear mental illness, illness that can be seen in abnormalities present on a brain scan? How many sitting behind bars now have lower to mid-level neurological problems effecting judgment and impulse control circa work done out of the Lawlis Peavey center many times curing, at minimum better managing neurological dysfunction? Finally the mentally ill aren’t being “thrown under the bus” any more than they already were by a society who continually marginalizes them, by people who use instances like this not to expose the strong correlation between untreated specific types of mental illness and mass shootings, raise public and mental health community awareness to the aforementioned correlation, but use it to shun, discriminate and lock up all mentally ill people. Sentiments and actions that started way before we contemplated the concept of a mass shooter, understood the bend psychosis could take.