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Irukandji's avatar

Why doesn't mental illness cause more mass shootings in countries other than the United States?

Asked by Irukandji (1711points) February 18th, 2018

If the problem is mental illness and not guns, then why is the US the only country where mass shootings happen so regularly? Is universal health care the answer? And if so, do those who oppose gun control on the grounds that guns are not the problem also support universal access to mental health services?

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22 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t think mental illness is the whole problem. It is half of the issue. The other half is guns.

We need to attack both sides.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

universal access to mental health services?
Would be a hell of a great start.

squirbel's avatar

Mental illness is a red herring.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I don’t think the US is particularly special as far as shootings are concerned. There were only roughly 30 firearm homicides per 1 million people last year. Other civilized countries with far less guns by orders of magnitude still had like 8 or 10 per 1 million. These mass shootings are headline grabbing events but most could have been stopped with relatively inexpensive security measures. Nobody wants to talk about that. We have to ban guns, violent video games and wave the mental health flag.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Because of our embarrassing healthcare setup we almost certainly suck in comparison with other first world countries in identifying and caring for our mentally ill. But it is pointless and rather thick headed to pretend that our mass of weaponry is irrelevant to our lopsided gun death rate. The issue boils down to the question of how many guns are too many, and I don’t believe anyone here is prepared (or qualified) to answer such a question. Perhaps a staggering death toll is the price required to defend the second amendment. Is it worth it? I don’t know that either. I only know that we are well on our way to finding out.

kritiper's avatar

Because suicide bombings are more efficient.

stanleybmanly's avatar

And if ever explosives become as common and easy to obtain as guns we’ll be in for a truly exciting adventure!

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Universal health care, and sensible firearm regulations would cut down the attacks a great deal but the right wing side of America will have none of that.
Tell me why does a civilian need a tactical combat style assault rifle?
That holds fifty plus rounds of ammo, what shooting sport requires that type of weapon?

How about this leave firearms totally out of it, just require individuals to be fully licensed in order to own a firearm.

funkdaddy's avatar

There are some bad stats being used here.

You can get a good look at homicide rates and total guns in the US here, sort the columns and take a look at countries you’d consider otherwise similar to the US. Maybe only having 10 times the gun related homicide rate of Canada is reassuring somewhere. Not so much for me.

We have more guns than people. So also more guns than things like cars, or houses, or jobs. It’s a fun fact to think of when you’re sitting in traffic.

The reason we have more mass shootings is because someone buying 3 guns or 500 rounds of ammunition isn’t even noteworthy. We’ve already decided as a society that it’s completely sane and reasonable, even commendable. We’ve also decided it’s reasonable to carry those weapons and transport them with you, so a shooter doesn’t stand out until they start shooting.

johnpowell's avatar

My mom killed my dad with a gun she bought at a pawn shop for 50 bucks. No Id or anything. This was 1987.

My dad needed to die. He was a monster.

Would my mother have been able to by a gun with a background check? Yup… But what about that dude that is really pissed at his girlfriend and if he can’t have her nobody can? Maybe before giving the person a gun you institute a week “cool off period” . This was actually floated but the right actually said no wait since “battered women NEED PROTECTION NOW”...

So everything is fucked and I am glad I cower in my basement.

Thammuz's avatar

Cause you need a gun to shoot people, and most countries do not have ready access to them, which makes the overall likelihood of shootings way lower.

That does not mean they do not happen (see: Italy a few weeks ago, Norway years ago), or that there are no other things that can happen due to mental illness, which is the fallacy often used to defend this point (“they’ll just use knives/petrol bombs/whatever”)

The overall point is an issue of philosophical underpinnings: European governments are based around the idea of the monopoly of (systematic) violence, the american one is not.

In Europe it’s the state and only the state that is allowed to dish out punishment. We often do not have anything even similar to castle doctrine, therefore weapons are often not legal or considered superfluous, although that varies wildly from country to country.

The US, due to its scarce infrastructure, large distances, and past of unsystematic and unpredictable settlement has grown into a completely different beast and, to be quite honest, I doubt it could adapt to the European model.

I know I wouldn’t want to have to be unarmed when living in an isolated house an hour away from any form of civilisation, and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to want to.

LostInParadise's avatar

An important factor may be income inequality Even a madman needs something to trigger anger and low status could be a significant factor. The U.S. has greater income inequality than most other industrialized nations. Link I was surprised to see Britain was higher than the U.S. The British have a much lower homicide rate than the U.S., so income inequality is not the only factor.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The vegas shooter was wealthy.

LostInParadise's avatar

Maybe he was disappointed in how little status his wealth got for him. Income inequality works in strange ways.

Zissou's avatar

The US has by far the highest number of guns per capita in the world:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimated_number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country

KNOWITALL's avatar

We don’t have to register our gun purchases via private sales or buying a rifle at Bass Pro. The fight is over, and continuing any argument is pointless as liberals caused stockpiling by true gun lovers and wackjobs.

LostInParadise's avatar

What exactly have liberals done to cause such “stockpiling”? Ending slavery? Giving women the right to vote? Providing social security? Ending segregation? Such outrageous acts.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Lost The continuous threat on their rights to defend themselves created a ‘the hell you will’ mentality.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

What exactly have liberals done to cause such “stockpiling”

Liberal politicians take any opportunity to push gun legislation. After Sandy Hook the focus on gun control caused a run on basically everything. It took a couple of years for .22 to be found on the shelves again. People were hoarding ammo, buying guns they did not need either for resale at a 200% markup or simply to have one so it could be grandfathered before being banned. For about a year and a half guns across the board were either sold out or on long backorder.
That was very real and a direct result of antigun activists and Mrs Feinstein pushing to ban semi automatic rifles. The NRA certainly played it up too.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@AreYou Abortion kills 300x more kids than guns so probably need to ban that, too.

gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL If by “kids” you mean fetus then I would agree. But then you would have to concede that when someone throws a pinecone in a fire they’re guilty of deforestation.

Mariah's avatar

Can this please not become an abortion thread?

When the Republican party passed a bill that took healthcare away from 13 million people earlier this year, they lost the right to shift the blame on the mentally ill, if you ask me. If they’re so intent on defending their precious guns by blaming absolutely anything else they can find as a potential culprit, including the mentally ill, then WHY are they so intent on making mental healthcare harder to get?

Universal healthcare would benefit us in many ways, and reducing violence is just one of those ways. I don’t suspect it would do much to help stop these mass shootings (the shooters typically believe that their problems are external and so are not likely to seek help) but studies have indeed shown that increased access to medical care reduces crime.

As this question points out, the high prevalence of mass shootings is fairly unique to the US among first world countries. We must look at what we’re doing differently and our ass-backwards healthcare system and our gun fetish both stick out like sore thumbs.

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