Social Question

SpatzieLover's avatar

What do you think could be done to put an end to mass shootings in the USA?

Asked by SpatzieLover (24454 points ) November 6th, 2009

Another mass shooting today following yesterday’s massacre at Ft. Hood.

Do you think anything can be done? Or do we accept this as the new norm in society?

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58 Answers

rangerr's avatar

As shitty as it is, I think we have to accept it.. unless they can get in the minds of every person and figure out if they are planning something like this.. it’s going to be near impossible without banning guns like crazy.

nikipedia's avatar

STOP SELLING GUNS.

DominicX's avatar

Well, I question why Australia’s strict gun laws have worked for them. From 1978–1996, Australia had 13 mass shootings. The big one in 1996 caused the country to enact much stricter gun laws. From 1996–2006, Australia had no mass shootings. (The report I read was published in 2006, so I don’t know of beyond that).

I have to admit: less guns would probably lead to less mass shootings.

Additionally, I have an alternative theory: I think that once one mass shooting happens, then that leads other people who have been thinking of it to decide to finally do it. I remember reading a theory that constantly hearing news about suicide and depression was actually leading more people to be depressed and feel that the world’s state is hopeless. Vicious cycle type thing.

I don’t think there is a clear answer to the problem, but there has to be some reason why the majority of the world’s mass shootings and serial killings happen in America. It could be the guns, but it could just be the culture in general. It’s difficult to change people’s mindsets.

erichw1504's avatar

Probably not much, let’s move to Canada.

jrpowell's avatar

Chris Rock might have the right idea.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@johnpowell that’s one of my fav routines of his :) LURVE!

patg7590's avatar

I don’t think Ft. Hood was as simple as guns/no guns. It’s the military, you can get your hands on a gun of you want to. Hasan is a practicing Muslim and was heckled for it.
The Ft. Hood tragedy runs a lot deeper than the availability of guns argument.

I think shootings in general are seen similarly to suicide. They are often committed by people that are unhappy with how things are and feel as though they have no other options. Combine this with militaristic indoctrination, and you have a motive and a method. Guns being redily available are a smaller part of the equation. Perhaps if we were to find new ways to give people hope, and a voice; that these types of massacres may be prevented.

Facade's avatar

At the end of the day, no one can control what another person does.

avvooooooo's avatar

I don’t think there is really that much we can do to prevent things like this except for improving mental health provision for everyone who needs it. Even then, people who need it most would have to be forced to go since many think they don’t have a problem. Since its very difficult to force people to do anything, its close to impossible.

Then again, you have the Ft. Hood shooter who was himself a mental health practitioner who had things going on in his head that we don’t know about.

Even if we take away guns, people can still build bombs and find ways to hurt others. Even with mass shootings, there’s less potential damage than there would be if there were no guns and people were using explosives (which are easy to make) in their intention to hurt people.

As terrible as these things are, its still a very, very small number of people who are ever involved in something like this. Our sense of proportion, with the type of media coverage we have with things like this, has been screwed up. They’re still terrible, but they’re not as common as they would seem.

Val123's avatar

@patg7590 True that, but I just turned on the news to see if they were showing the moment of silence at Ft Hood, but instead they were talking about yet another mass shooting somewhere today..

the100thmonkey's avatar

I’d hardly call mass shootings a ‘norm’. With a population of, say, 300,000,000, and a pervasive news-as-entertainment media, these incidents will always be reported.

Not selling guns would be a good start, but it couldn’t possible eliminate the problem. If someone wants to get hold of a gun, they will.

SpatzieLover's avatar

The most recent shooting that “upset” me the most was the guy who felt rejected by women so he went into the aerobics class…anyway, I’m a mom that doesn’t get “me time much. I’d hate to finally have time for fitness out of the house and have that happen.

I realize this can happen anywhere. I just can’t fathom why the person wants to kill others prior to their own suicide. Why can’t they just take themselves out?

avvooooooo's avatar

@patg7590 I can only imagine the kind of shit that someone’s choice of religion can catch him in the Army. Catching shit in the Army for anything, with that culture, is not uncommon. Its not a very tolerant organization of any kind of diversity, no matter what it said about embracing it.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@the100thmonkey I’m putting school shootings in this category too. We’ve had a few here in Wisconsin.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@SpatzieLover : it doesn’t make any difference, my point still stands – from a statistical perspective, the numbers are still tiny. Mass shootings are not a norm.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

It’s so sad to keep seeing mass shootings in the news. I guess there isn’t much we can do other than increase security in office buildings, malls, and schools. As of right now, just about anybody can walk into a highly populated building with a firearm and nobody would know until they started shooting. It’s scary.

patg7590's avatar

What a paradox it must be for Muslim soldiers; going through bootcamp hearing “towelhead! towelhead! Kill! Kill! Kill!

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

This country really needs to improve their policies on gun sales and treatment for mental health issues. Making stricter gun laws would help keep guns away from those unstable enough to use them in a mass shooting, but it would really only be treating a symptom.

There is such a stigma around mental illness, even in these days where it’s commonplace to see ads for medications like Prozac and Zoloft. We make medication more available to those who need it, but the idea that having depression, bipolar or another mental illness makes you an outcast is enough for some people to deny getting treatment. They don’t want to admit to themselves that they need help, so they continue suffering, which sometimes unfortunately leads to these people harming themselves and others.

All of the people who have been the perpetrators of these mass shootings have been mentally disturbed in some way. If someone had been there to help the young people who shot up Columbine and Virginia Tech, it may not have happened. This is slightly different in the Ft. Hood shooting, since the guy was a psychiatrist after all… But I haven’t kept up with the news on this, so I won’t comment.

Judi's avatar

Even if we were to stop selling guns today, there are already enough guns out there that it wouldn’t make a difference. This guy was in the military. I doubt he bought his gun. We probably bought it.
It’s always a hard balance between liberty and safety, weather you’re talking gun control or government surveillance. It is never just black and white simple.

mohawkjohn's avatar

I’m an unhappy expert on this, because I lost the girl I love in the Virginia Tech shooting.

The bottom line: it’s easier to buy guns and kill people than it is to get mental health treatment in the United States.

The biggest component of that is absolutely gun laws (or lack thereof). Let’s face it, guns are symbolic—they are to the Western world what suicide bombs are to parts of the Middle-East. And frankly, it’s hard to do damage with other weapons—everyone always suggests bombs, but they’re not easy to make. Guns are really easy. In most states you can buy them in gun shows without a background check or even showing any ID. See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2Xh2cRBo9k

But a great deal of attention also goes to mental health. City folk have gotten much better about seeking mental health, and universities are placing more emphasis on free counseling services for students. Unfortunately, the military is way behind on this. Even though the laws are there, for military, implementation is apparently not. By seeking treatment you risk being passed over for future promotions, as well. Military personnel have the most at stake, too, since many, many suffer from PTSD and other such things.

I don’t think banning guns is a feasible solution in the near term. Nevertheless, licensing gun sales might help, because straw purchases are a major source for crime guns—and licensing would make straw purchases much more difficult.

@Judi suggests that stopping selling guns would not make a difference, were it feasible. On the surface logical, this fails to take into account that the majority of violent crimes are crimes of passion, not premeditated. If you can’t buy a gun except through a back alley, well, you better know some shady characters, or you still won’t be able to buy a gun. Just because there’s a black market doesn’t mean mass shooters have access to it. I strongly doubt Cho (VT shooter) would have been able to make a back alley purchase.

It’s also worth mentioning, of course, that the vast majority of gun deaths are not mass shootings. They tend to come from suicide and single-victim shootings, which are greatly reduced by limiting access (via background checks) to guns.

If you’re interested in helping out, shoot an email my way (not a gun). sgfs.texas at gmail dot com, or http://www.studentsforgunfreeschools.org. We try to take a moderated approach—we don’t favor a gun ban, but we do favor making it difficult for criminals to get them. We also push for better care for those who would otherwise fall through the cracks, and improved public safety measures.

Thanks for reading.

avvooooooo's avatar

@mohawkjohn FYI, bombs are pretty easy to make if you can find the components. They’re not hard to find. And you can buy most of those without ever showing ID.

mohawkjohn's avatar

@avvooooooo Any idiot can buy and fire a gun. Not every idiot can find instructions to build bombs, or even make it work if they do. And then half the idiots are liable to blow themselves up.

Val123's avatar

@avvooooooo was that some sort of quirky insult??

Judi's avatar

—@SpatzieLover; I don’t think they realize it’s a link. My eyes are getting older and it took me a second to figure it out.

Val123's avatar

LOL! I was wondering how you guys were underlining! But, we’re going to get topic-clocked in a sec!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Val123 & @Judi I have great eyes, but it took me a few glances with @avvooooooo‘s posts to figure it out

avvooooooo's avatar

MUHAHAHAHAHA!!!

janbb's avatar

Take away the guns?

benjaminlevi's avatar

…let people out of the military when they want to get out?

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, it’s going to be hard for me to do better than @mohawkjohn (dude, I’m extremely sorry to hear about your loss), I’m going to try to give a coherent and comprehensive answer based soley on my opinion (I’m not expert though).

First off, i don’t think you can ever eliminate them. There is no way to make sure that every person living on the pleanet or even in this country doesn’t just snap one day. We could however do a number of thing sto reduce the number of incidents. And there are certainly superficial things that can be done, like metal detectors in public places, harder access to guns, particularly if you have mentail health issues, thigns that will help, but which are far from the be all end all solution. I like @mohawkjohn‘s answer and I think this organization is a tremendous idea…after all if we get to people who are sick before they snap and get them the help they need, AND combine that with stricter gun controls, a lot of tragedy will be averted.

First off, I think if you have a good screening program for anyone who wants to own a gun, buy a gun or work with guns, you could start with something like the MMPI, maybe made a bit more specific, more robust, to make sure that peopel with certain tendencies just aren’t allowed easy access, it would be more proactive than waiting until someone develops a criminal record. In fact, I’d support testing with something this robust in school aged children, if we could determine who had certain violent tendencies, who was likely to snap, etc….we could identify the people who are at the greatest risk of not beign able to cope with extreme stressors.

Then yes, we need to destigmatize mental health, first off by making it covered by all insurance carriers just like physical health, make psychological screening and therapy part of our upbringing, something that people just do, not something that makes you feel like you’re going to have t spend a bunch of money you don’t have to have somoen make you feel like you’re crazy. It needs to be imbured in our culture, so that people are made ready for the real world before they are pushed out into it, and so they have been trained to have the stress management skills they will need to cope with life when it gets to be too much. I think people are by and large ill equiped to deal with th ereal world and everyone just kidn of does their best…if you are lucky, things go well in life and you are never pushed all the way to the breaking point. But then some will be pushed there….some may be weaker and thus have a weaker breaking point, but we dont’ know who these people are until they snap. And when they DO snap, we don’t know if they’re likely to go quietly crazy or if they’re going to go postal.

And I used that term not to be glib, but to illustrate my next point….this kind of activity used to be far more associated with one particular job…a very high stress job with a lot of bureaucracy, much of which is almost certainly unnecessary (because most bureaucracy, or the private sector equivalent…politics) is unnecessary, it’s about exercising control over people who are both capabale and desirous of being able to do thign sthey way that makes sense to THEM. This is done to keep people in line, to keep a sense of control and predictability, which leads to (or can lead to) higher profit margins in the long run. So, I think anohter important fact is that our entire culture puts profit first, far ahead of the mental needs of people who do the work to create all this profit. I suspect that if our society didn’t place quite so much emphasis on wringing every last ounce of profit from every single venture and maybe our companies put time, money and effort into employee retention rather than trending towards finding ways to get fewer and fewer people to do more and more work for less and less money, I think people might by and large be happier at their jobs. And I think that while a lot of people who end up getting fired may really be bad at their jobs, or may really be bad employees, perhaps they COULD have succeeded in an atmosphere or corporate culture where they felt more useful, less like an expendable headcount. I know the people in my experience who’ve bitched the most about their jobs are the ones who are more likely to commit little acts of hostility (like stealing pens or pissing in the boss’ coffee cup), and they are the ones more likely to be habitually late, take less pride in a job well done, and it leads to a cycle where the boss just has more and more reason to criticize the employee, when really the employee’s delicate psyche is being cracked a bit more every day by the constant stress of a job they hate….a job which they originally voluntarily accepted and even sought out by the way…one for which they were qualfied enough to be hired…something is going wrong when a person gets actually fired, and it’s probably a combination of a person who is not equipped to deal with an environment, and a corporate culture which uses up people like this.

But now days, you don’t even have to be fired to lose your job, increasingly people are treated like headcount, the CEOs who make millions look at a layoff of 2,000 people…people with families and financial commitments, as a mere 10% reduction in “headcount”, again, all because of the relentless pursuit of maximization of profit. Maybe the people who are left have to do more work for the same money. Or maybe they ALL get laid off and the jobs are shipped to a country where they can pay pennies on the dollar for the same work. The point I’m getting at ultimately is disillusionment, it’s not hard to become disillusioned in this society in America today. Because think about the greatest illusion we all hold…it’s called the American Dream. The American Dream says that ANYBODY, as long as they’re willing to work hard, can be a success in America. But yet, it’s maybe 1 or 2% of the population who really do well, who get ahead, who want for nothing (and not all of them work by the way). Yet the other 98 to 99% of us at best live paycheck and at worst don’t know where our next meal is coming from, and this has little to nothing to do with how hard we work. Even a college degree is no longer a key to success…hell, I have a professional degree AND 15 years of work experience and I’ve been out of work for 9 months. If a certain, even small percentage of people are mentally unstable and capable of snapping and going on a killing spree, when 99% of people will never get ahead in this world, despite being imbued with this nationalistic sense of pride from the day they’re born that they live in the greatest country in the world, because ANYONE can write his own ticket. It just ain’t like that in the real world, and peoples’ illusions eventually shatter.

But the bigger problem is when someone loses everything. If you have nothing left to lose, then it’s just natural to want to have the last say, to give your last middle finger to the work, the society, the ex lover, whatever who tossed you to the curb when you most needed help and compassion. And quite frankly, we don’t live in a compassionate society, we live in a voyeuristic society where what is prized above all else is spectacle, the biggest rated shows on TV are when American Idol shows the rejects. Sure, someone who believed she was going to be the next Britney her whole life is told point blank that she can’t carry a tune, it makes for good human drama, good spectacle, real entertainment for the masses, yet really this is a person having her lifelong dream and her illusions about her own capabilities shattered. We like to knock people down a peg as well, we love to see how far someone will go for say 10 grand, a mere pittance…sure, I’ll eat that horse rectum, and not even for 10 grand, but for a chance to win 10 grand! We love it, the most popular shows on TV for the last DECADE have all been ones in which people are put through really emotionally and physically trying challenges, only to see the vast majority of them EPIC FAIL.

So, think about it from the point of view of raising one’s kids. There is a cognitive disconnect here as well…at a time when we are the meanest and most voyeuristic of any point in history, we are also raising our kids in a threat free, conflict free world. We are no longer toughening our kids up…forget about spanking a child who gets out of line, hell, you pull their hair and your spouse probably accuses you of abuse and threatens to call the police these days, and GOD forbid you physically discipline a child in public, you could go to jail and have the kid taken away. We empower our kids from an early age to think that whatever they put their mind to, they will succeed, and that all that mattters is you tried. But then suddently you leave high school and BAM, it’s not so simple. Sure, a parent can tell his kid that being an adult isn’t so great, but how does that sound stacked up against a lifetime where kids are no longer allowed to “fail”. Fact is, some kids are good at some things, some are good at others…it’s called aptitude, and we need more testing of aptitude alongside testing of personality traits in schools. And let’s face it, schools SHOULD be our #1 priority from a governmental spending point of view, but they are not. We should NOT have any kids going to substandard schools…if we made sure everyone got a top notch education starting in early childhood, with assessment to lead the child to more custom tailored training and education in the later years, we would be much better off. We seem adverse to admitting that not every kid is college material (because we know how hard it is to make it even WITH a college degree these days, the thought of our kids not going to college is unthinkable). And then when it comes time for us to pick a career, we literally know nothing about it. I had no idea what it meant to be an Accountant when I picked my major…I just knew I was good with numbers, I liked my high school Accounting class and I could make a lot of money doing it. Some kids go with what their gut feeling, their preference is…in a way it’s a lot like marriage and dating, and we see how that turns out. Think about it, you go with what your instinct tells you on who to go out with and who to marry, it’s based on what you feel, but you don’t know what you don’t know. So, ½ of all marriages end in divorce, and I’ve read (even though I personally only dated one person besides my wife before I got married) that the average person dates 17 people before they marry. So, what’s that, 17 and a half out of every 18 relationships are ultimately misguided. Yet we pick our careers in the same way…but it’s even harder to divorce your career than it is to divorce your spouse….it’s how you make your money. You get divorced you might lose half of your money, you quit your job you lose ALL of your money. So, we’re I believe doing a disservice to our kids, or more accurately our future adults by not really figuring out their aptitudes as much as their interests. Even when they DO have a career preference test in high school, they ask you “would you like to do x y or z”. So, people often end up in jobs or careers they don’t like, having to deal with things that make them feel unfulfilled, just so they can survive…it’s very disheartening when you believe that all it takes to succeed is hard work, and you have gotten a degree, man you should be set, and you still end up just getting by. So, you have been led to believe one thing, delivered another, and given no mental tools to deal with crushing disappointment, and add to that, no one has ever tried to determine which of these sure to be dissillusioned people are likely to be able to roll with the punches and which are likely to shoot a couple dozen people.

Consider that the ONE thing in common with almost all of these shooters is that they feel they have nothing left to lose. My point is that society pushes a LOT of people to the point where they might feel they have nothing left to lose, particularly if they have the propensity to react badly to disillusionment. I guess to summarize I’d say we could imbue people with realistic expectations, we could have a govenrment that takes care of its people and invests in its future via its kids, in which the success of the individuals in the society were the barometer of success and not just the gross domestic product, where no one was allowed to fall through the cracks so if you DID lose your job for any reason, you weren’t this close to losing everything. We could equip people better to deal with adversity and do a better job of identifying at risk individuals, we could make mental health as important and run of the mill as physical health, take away the shame factor and make sue we know who’s at risk, and how to deal with them, and make sure that people know what they’re going to be good at whent hey grow up, and that people with delicate psyches aren’t put into roles that will make them crack. We keeep dangerous weapons out of their hands, and focus on making our culture more appreciative of literate pursuits rather than spectacle based ones. I think if we could achieve all that, we’d see these types of shooting approach, but not reach zero. I think we’d see all manner of crime go down. But there will always be sociopaths and psychopaths who work their ways around the system no matter what. There are countries (Germany for example) where the cutlure is VERY different, a lot closer to what I described than what we have in America, and yet they have had at least one big shooting in the last decade…they haven’t however had as many as we have had.

OK, off my soap box, I hope that makes sense.

Judi's avatar

@mohawkjohn ; Don’t misunderstand me. I hate gun violence. I lost my first husband and my baby brother both to gun suicides. I agree that training should be required before someone could purchase guns, but I know that with the 2nd amendment we will never get real strict about it.
@dalepetrie ; since I have dealt with mental illness and gun violence, I feel like I have a little insight to add to your comprehensive answer.
The application (in California) for purchasing a hand gun asks if you have ever been diagnosed or treated for a mental illness but it does not ask you to prove it. I have a high level of discomfort with “identifying” and labeling certain members of our society as mentally unstable, and especially with keeping a data base. People would be even more hesitant to seek treatment if they knew that they would be on some “watch list.” That’s why the privacy laws are so strict for mental health.
The real problem, as @mohawkjohn eloquently pointed out is access to appropriate mental health treatment. Hopefully, when the mental health parity laws begin (I think it’s Jan 1) Some of that burden will be alleviated. The harder problem is those who, because of their mental illness can’t work, or can’t work consistently.
My son could go to the county hospital emergency room and get billed big bucks, (and get sent to collections) and come out with a prescription. He could not get it filled though. Just one med was $1000.00 per month. He had 2 other meds he also needed to take in order to stay stable. (thank goodness he is off the most expensive one now.)
Sorry to write a book, but I just felt that I needed to reinforce @mohawkjohn point that mental health treatment is not easy to get, even if your family fears that you could be dangerous. You can get locked up, but you can’t get treatment.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m not looking to assess people and label them as crazy, I’m looking to a) make mental health something which does not carry a stigma, to educate people and make them used to it, to basically acknowledge that we’re different and different people have different ways of thinking about things, and reacting to things. And we create a culture which says, this type of person is best educated and trained for success using this paradigm, that person would respond better to a different type of education and training. This person would find the following stress relievers to be effective, while that person would think those methods were lame and stupid, but they might respond differently to different tools. I would still make categorization as broad as possible so that while still being effective, it wouldn’t be a situation where everyone in class type 1 is normal and everyone in class type 2 is crazy. There might be 10 different paths to optimal education depending on a person, and you know that a person in class 8 is probably going to do better in a creative career, but that’s as far as it goes. As for picking out specific mental illnesses, if something is identified beyond just broad preferences and propensities, then this person should have open access to psychological treatment for those disorders, but if everyone were seeing a psychologist to fine tune their personalities to optimal output and to find the way to best function in society given the way their minds operate, then when the people who did have mental disorders went to a therapist, no one would automatically assume they were batshit crazy.

DominicX's avatar

I will never support mandatory seeing of a mental health professional for all people; it should always be your own decision. That’s right, I made an absolute statement. I stand by it. The stigma can be removed without forcing everyone to see a therapist.

dalepetrie's avatar

@DominicX – I’m not saying everyone should have to see a therapist, but that a therapist should be a resource available to anyone who wants one, and that personality type testing which is designed to benefit you personally in the future should be a mandatory part of schooling, the results can be interepreted by a therapist, but no one should force you into therapy if you don’t want it. The only exception would be if you were a clear danger to others around you…then I can see someone being forced into therapy…like we do now when we commit people to psychiatric care. But everyone should be given the tools to understand themselves and schools should be given the tools to train the people who are college material in college prep coursework, and people who have a mechanical aptitude in vocational/technical schoolwork and so on. I’m not looking to invade anyone’s privacy or force anyone into doing something they’re not comfortable doing unless there’s a damn good reason, I’m looking to make sure that seeing a therapist becomes a tool for self actualization and not an automatic scarlet C emblazoned on one’s forehead.

Judi's avatar

@dalepetrie ; In theory I agree with you. The problem is, when you do all this testing and assessment and use that information to deny someone what our founding fathers decided was a “right” in the constitution.

patg7590's avatar

@DominicX, @Judi, @dalepetrie, @mohawkjohn
this is such a good thread

dalepetrie's avatar

@Judi – as in the right to bear arms in the second Amendment? OK, let’s examine that,

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

First off, even though recent rulings don’t necessarily hold with this, it seems to me that the right shall not be infringed, because we need a militia. It seems that within the context of a militia, we should not take away the rights of ownership. Buying a gun for a purpose other than maintaining a well regulated militia is imw not a guaranteed right. But let’s say it is. We have a little more wiggle room here for two reasons. One is that this is a right guaranteed to “the People”, this is a blanket, at large group, it says nothing about the rights of each individual, nothing along the lines of “no man shall be denied.” The people can maintain this right while denying it to certain individuals if there is a pressing reason which necessary for the gneeral welfare of the People, which is ALSO a protected right in the constitution. Finally, I would argue that the term “well regulated” is also in here, to give unfettered access to something is to not regulate it at all. part of sane regulation should be maintaining the right of the peoplewhile regulating the use by individuals when it is necessary for the welfare of the people to do so.

Judi's avatar

@dalepetrie ; I am not constitutional scholar and I know I am no match for you. Being as I can’t think of any other issue I have ever disagreed with you on…..I surrender!!

dalepetrie's avatar

No need to wave the white flag @Judi, I’m not a constitutional scholar either, just expressing my opinion, and I respect yours as well. I simply put forth the argument I would make, I have no idea if it would hold water.

Val123's avatar

You know, one thing that is so hard is that invariably, after the fact, people come forward with all these warning signs, and the impression is, “Well, they should have known something was coming!” But if we locked up everyone who exhibited “warning” signs we’d be in trouble. People would get sued. And I’ll bet the same people who would sue over their kid getting clocked for exhibiting signals that he or she is having some social maladjustment, are the first ones who point the finger when something does happen (not involving their child) and saying, “You should have done something! You should have known!”

dalepetrie's avatar

@Val123 – I agree to a point, but there’s got to be a way to distinguish between people who have warning signs of being maladjusted and warning signs that they’re going to pop 100 caps in people’s asses some day. And I would say, maybe we look at mental health not as a “lock up the crazies” mindset, but as a, “what can we do to help these fragile souls so they don’t snap” mindset. Unfortunately far too often you see someone who has told a half dozen people that he’s actually planning to kill a bunch of people, and then they actually go and do it, that’s a bit more than a warning sign of instability, that should get you locked up, even if you really wouldn’t follow through.

Val123's avatar

@dalepetrie I just don’t know where one could draw the line between, say, HS kids talking stupid for attention, and kids who really mean it. Same with adults. We ALL say things that we don’t mean. How do you know who’s serious and who isn’t?

dalepetrie's avatar

I think there’s a level of specificity that often comes with some of these threats that just isn’t there. It seems a bit different to tell someone “I’m gonna kill you,” than it is to post on the internet and brag to friends that you’re going to bring guns to school and kill as many people as you can. Not a catch all, but far too often I think things could be avoided. It wouldn’t ensnare everyone, but like I said in my long post, if we were to from early childhood make it just something you do to go to a mental health professional…like most parents bring their kids to the doctor for an annual physical exam, why can’t our culture make it the same for annual mental exams? That way no one would feel stigmatized if they went to a mental health professional for problems. I mean, imagine if we lived in a society where physical health was not valued, and no one went in for a routine checkup, you ONLY went to the doctor if you had a serious illness. You might be reluctant to even go to the doctor because then everyone would know you have some problem, they might even avoid you. And we test for physical abilities in gym class, we do standardized testing for reading and math comprehension, why aren’t we testing for things like aptitude and personality traits? Too much of who people are is a mystery to themselves, if you have concerns about a family history of some physical illness, you can keep an eye out for warning signs with your doctor, you have the tools for early detection and prevention, the same can’t be said for mental health, if you have risk factors that you might go postal, you don’t have the tools to know that this might happen some day nor to figure out good ways to prevent yourself from so doing.

Val123's avatar

@dalepetrie I understand and agree with what you’re saying. It’s perfectly logical. But, if a person is deemed to be an actual threat, and you take some sort of action when they haven’t even done anything yet, you’re getting set up for a law suit. If a psychologist determines that that 15 year old really is a threat, and shouldn’t be in school, and the parents don’t accept that….rock and a hard place, IMO.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Val123 – my point is though, you change the culture so you identify potential threats YEARS before they get to that point, and give the person the tools they need to NEVER get there. But I do think that it doesn’t matter what the parents think if we put appropreate legal definitions around specific threats, a 15 year old blogs about shooting his classmates and the state locks him up for observation, the parents can sue all they want, but if he broke the law, he gets locked up, whether the accept it or not…law suits still need a legal basis, a few of those suits get thrown out of court, no lawyer will touch these cases in the future. Fear of getting sued imnsho is never a reason to fail to act appropriately.

Val123's avatar

@dalepetrie Fear of getting sued is NOT a good reason for failing to act appropriately, but the fact is, people ARE wary of it, and as such often don’t do the things they should because of the threat.

dalepetrie's avatar

True. Perfect reason to start doing the right thing, let the frivolous lawsuits get thrown out of court enough times and no lawyer will even touch a case like that going forward.

Val123's avatar

Good answer!

Nullo's avatar

@avvooooooo,
You can make a perfectly good explosive out of ammonia and iodine.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@Nullo I agree, if I’m a nut case that can’t get a gun then I’ll just make a bomb in my basement.

SpatzieLover's avatar

<begin rant> Yet another one. One minute away from my home. A ridiculous situation where a restraining order is issued for 4 years against a man with a violent past. He was too “give up an guns to the sheriff”...What the actual HELL?! So now it’s up to violent people to come to their own senses? Why the F&CK didn’t the sheriff accompany him home from the court date and remove all weaponry from the home?

Who does this affect? The entire community. Every family member and friend, every client of this Salon & Spa. Sick. We’ll never drive on this road and not think of the victims, the violent act, the fact that this section of road has had two shooting rampages makes it impossible to not think about this and the insanity of shooting sprees every time we leave our home.

I don’t know what the solution is. But when it comes to me, I’ll personally take the battle on. I’m sick of raising a child in this environment.

<end rant…for today anyway>

SpatzieLover's avatar

I was so mad, I forgot to add the link to the senseless rampage that killed 3 women injured 3 others, terrorized our entire area for the day, and in the end the guy killed himself (why couldn’t he have done that first?).

He had a restraining order that stated he couldn’t have weapons, yet was able to buy a gun one day before the shooting?

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