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18 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    A very hearty AMEN to the article from Relevant magazine about violence and mental illness. I know more than a few people who are mentally ill to one degree or another, and they are not troublesome people. I myself am on medications, and it has IMPROVED my life, not made me hostile or angry or made me go out and buy guns.

  2. JoelG says:

    Agreed, Dan.

    Roger Olson (“What’s begins the mass shootings…) writes: “Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out that most of the mass shooters have something in common, some inner psychological anxiety—whether rooted in reality or only in fantasy—that tips them over the edge into violence against people they mistakenly blame for what they regard as their “plight?””

    It seems like a giant leap to say anxiety leads to killing people. But maybe it depends on the person. ??‍♂️

    My guess is there’s something, or some “one”, evil that drives these folks to do the unthinkable. Just a guess…

  3. I was known at work many years ago as a shooter… meaning I was a hobbyist. I once asked my partner if she had an interest in owning a gun. She replied that she wouldn’t trust herself with one. I thought that an odd comment. Later, she was arrested for pulling a butcher knife on her husband. Later, she was arrested for assaulting her live in boyfriend and 5150’d. She was known at work for having a temper. She didn’t fit the profile of a mass shooter, but she certainly had deep seated mental issues that she didn’t belong anywhere near a gun, for example.

  4. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks JoelG!

    I was speaking recently with an individual who is bipolar, and they do resent how some in the media and the public in general characterize those with mental illness as dangerous.

  5. JoelG says:

    TNV, wow. At least she knew her limits.

    It makes me cringe, Dan. Most of those who struggle with some form of mental illness have a hard time doing the basics of life, never mind taking time to buy a gun and shoot random strangers.

    “That’s the thing about grief…”

    Heartbreaking and so good…

  6. Jean says:


    I my opinion, the charge that either mental illness or video games is responsible for the epidemic of mass shootings in America is smoke and mirrors for politicians and activists who don’t want to address the problem. I haven’t seen any data to support the notion that Americans play more video games than other countries or suffer more mental illness than citizens of other countries; yet, they don’t have mass shooting epidemic that we have here, so the cause-effect is just not there, much less a correlation.

  7. JoelG says:


    There’s something about our culture here. What do you think are some contributing factors? Isolation? Is there a spiritual component? These events seem demonic.

  8. Josh says:

    I don’t blame it on video games, or mental illness, or Trump…

    but there is something weird about the amount of violence in modern video games. And that’s what our kids do for entertainment. I think it does point to a sickness in our culture.

  9. Jean says:


    We are hardly the most secular nation. There are any number of other more secular countries not plagued with this epidemic.

    I think we confuse rights with freedom. Also, we have forgotten what is required to live in a community together.

  10. Jean says:

    “but there is something weird about the amount of violence in modern video games.”


    My two cents: Our culture has been desensitized to the satisfaction of mundane experience, by being marketed emotional experience. Therefore, many people feel sort of dead in ordinary life. Then they look to regain the feeling of being alive through the emotional experience of things like violent video games, horror movies, tattoos and body piercing, cutting themselves, pornography, promiscuity, shopping, getting high, etc.

    This comes into the church, too.

  11. JoelG says:

    Agreed Josh. We have become desensitized to violence through “entertainment”. We pay money to see people made in the Image of God destroyed by violence while we eat popcorn. I’m guilty of such.

  12. Em says:

    Everyone commenting – as i read there is some truth in each of the observations.. IMHO ?
    That said, somehow entitlement has become the prime battle cry. Spoken out loud or not, as Jean said, “We confuse rights with freedom.” and we ARE controlled by emotion – calling evil good and good evil? Is this a majority view? Scary
    There is something almost artificial in the atmosphere – have we become too smart for our own good? to coin a phrase….

  13. At risk kids are attracted to violence, which validates and enforces their anger. When I mentored at risk teens, a kid wore a Che Guevara shirt. Another mentor asked him, “do you know about that guy, what he did?”

    “No, but I know he was a Rebel.”

    That was it, a kid bereft of guidance, latching onto that which empowered him because he was lost with no one to guide him. That is why kids in my hood get into gangs.

  14. MrFixIt says:

    I don’t often appear here on the PP, but please permit me to jump in on this topic. I agree with Em, every one’s comments seem relevant and valid. In a WSJ opinion piece today, ( a relationship between mental illness and emotional disturbance is once again mentioned. As much as a stigma attached to those with mental health issues is of course wrong, the statistical data published by law enforcement agencies may be correct, although I will admit that I did not try and track down and validate the data.

    Attaching causation, however, statistically, to mental illness is wholly another thing. Our media wants us to accept somewhat superficial causes, as many have mentioned, however I would encourage folks to step back and look for a bigger picture.

    Administrations, both state and federal, led by various political parties,have responded to budgetary pressures over the decades, eliminating state mental hospitals, replacing them with less expensive (to the state) out-patient services, and so on. This problem is societal, not political. For example, while superficially, bullying, video games, media, other factors previously mentioned, may have a measurable correlation; an environmental component may also have correlation.

    The persistence of the lead-crime hypothesis comes to mind. Considerable research has been conducted into the toxicity of lead and other metals, e.g., manganese, in the environment.

    Back in 1998, researchers wrote, “… explore the hypothesis that uptake of neurotoxic metals may be among the many factors contributing to the unusually high and widely varying rates of violent crime in the United States. The hypothesis rests on findings that loss of impulse control and increased aggressive behavior can be related to abnormalities of brain chemistry caused by a complex interaction of insufficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals, toxic uptake, alcoholism, and social stress. After reviewing evidence at the level of individual neurochemistry, ecological data will be presented to show that, controlling for standard socio-economic and demographic variables, environmental releases of lead and manganese predict geographical differences in rates of violent crime. Although this approach to criminal violence might seem at first unduly reductionist, analysis of the complex interactions between brain biochemistry, environment, and behavior explains otherwise puzzling variations in crime rates and suggests potentially effective approaches to crime prevention”.


    The lead-crime/mental health hypothesis continues to be studied and papers are continually published on this topic, but the stigma associated with mental health issues remains.

    My thinking leads me toward learning more about not only Mental Health in America, but causal relationships between brain disease, and environmental toxicity. You see, as MrFixit, yes, formerly a mechanic, for many years I was seriously exposed to leaded fuel additives, metal particles suspended in petroleum distillates, along with only the Lord knows what other toxic stuff. Is it in me to do something so horrible? I surely pray not.

    In the end though, doesn’t it come down to what we choose to do as a society with regards to Institutions, Politics and Mental Health Parity? While researching the topic today I found this interesting paper, and the political facts and data aside, found it very informative. Institutions, Politics, and Mental Health Parity by Elaine M. Hernandez and Christopher Uggen**. I know, I know, there’s math. Skip that part… though it too, the data model, is interesting on a certain level.

    So, just some of my thoughts this day…


    * Rose, John. Environmental Toxicology : Current Developments. Amsterdam, the Netherlands]: Gordon and Breach Science, 1998. Print. Environmental Topics ; v. 7.

    ** Hernandez, Elaine M, and Christopher Uggen. “Institutions, Politics, and Mental Health Parity.” Society and mental health vol. 2,3 (2012): 10.1177/2156869312455436. doi:10.1177/2156869312455436

  15. Josh says:

    The Challenge of John’s VIsion is a great read. Much to think through there.

  16. Em says:

    New Victor @ 10:11pm… yes, i lived in a neighborhood where none of the parents policed their offspring – two of the boys ended up in jail for serious crimes as young adults
    I won’t elaborate on what these kids got away with and they did not come from underprivileged homes … well maybe they did…. sad

  17. The closure of state run mental hospitals is only one side of the picture. On the other side is that individuals were given more rights, such as not to be involuntarily committed, the legal bar for Conservatorship being set very high. Previously, it was not so, in the days of forced sterilization and ECT, those days being in the lifetimes of a lot of the readers here.

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