Mental illness and mass shooritngs in America

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In this periodical published by Justice Quarterly, Lankford, a former Senior Research Associate Dean at Duke's University in Sanford, suggests that after mental health reports have been made public, offenses committed by people with mental illness have declined. Based on his sources, Lankford is addressing the topic of gun safety in terms of background checks. He explains how background checks have helped decrease crime in certain states. He explains how having mental health records and making them accessible will help decrease the number of mass shootings because those with a mental illness will be disqualified from purchasing a firearm. Lankford suggests that the government should expand the requirement for background checks as part of gun transfers, such as at gun shows. Although this article is written by a professional researcher, the article is made simple and understandable enough for a general audience curious to learn about background checks. While reading this article it is not obvious that Lankford is an expert on this topic although he has immense experience in this area. He relies on his research to provide information on background checks and gun control. I will have to do more research on how background checks work when trying to purchase a gun. He doesn’t really mention how it works; he just mentions and builds on the aspect of mental health records. Lankford stated that crime in Connecticut decreased but never provided any statistics to support this claim. This source will help me with giving an overview on how people with a mental illness might be able to purchase a gun and therefore, this will go a long way in understanding whether laws banning gun ownership by mentally ill people are beneficial or just a waste of time and resources.

McGinty, E. E., Frattaroli, S., Appelbaum, P. S., Bonnie, R. J., Grilley, A., Horwitz, J., ... & Webster, D. W. (2014). Using research evidence to reframe the policy debate around mental illness and guns: process and recommendations. American Journal of Public Health, 104(11), e22-e26.

In this academic journal, the focus of the research is on those who suffer from a mental illness. The authors attempt to convince their readers that everyone with a mental illness is not violent. In response, they also tell how people with a mental illness are not a reason for the increase in crimes rates. The article also explains how focusing on making gun laws stricter will not help reduce mass shootings. In their eyes, the government needs to figure out alternative ways of providing help to those with a mental illness. Finally they point out that, since the introduction of budget cuts on health, most mental health patients will most likely end up in jail or the hospital. It is obvious that the authors did their research on this topic. In terms of credibility, I do think they are credible because they are doctors. However, I do not know what type of doctors they are. With further research I found out that they are affiliated with a college of physicians that specialize in diagnosis and treatment for adults with mental illnesses. Although I believe this article could have provided information on how they might approach different patients in terms of treatment. They mostly defend people who have a mental illness instead of explaining why people might have the urge to hurt people. Also it seems like they contradict their claims. This source does help my research because it gives me a different perspective of people with mental illnesses. I can use this to show that not all people who are mentally ill can be dangerous or violent.

Swanson, J. W., McGinty, E. E., Fazel, S., & Mays, V. M. (2015). Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: Binging epidemiologic research to policy. Annals of Epidemiology, 25(5), 366-376.

This scholarly journal discusses patients with a mental illness who have committed a violent crime. It explains why people with a mental disorder cause harm to others. It provides evidence explaining that in the past mass shootings most of the shooters were in the middle of an episode; showing that these individuals were not in their right state of mind. But they also state that it cannot be case for each incident. The article also provides the factors that triggered these tragedies, the factors being majorly untreated seriously mentally ill persons with access to military style weapons, and illegal psychoactive drugs. The authors provide many statistics regarding the number of crimes people with a mental illness have committed. As a reader I have to make sure these statistics are accurate. All of the authors of this article are psychiatrists. Therefore, this makes them credible because they know first-hand what mentally ill patients go through. I think they could have included what treatment they provide to patients. It would have been a good way for the reader to understand how doctors “cure” their patients. I don’t think this article is one sided or biased because they are just providing information on the mentally ill. With this information it is possible for me to explain the very few cases where mentally ill patients committed mass shootings. This is evidence that not all mentally ill patients are dangerous and generalizing the claim that mentally people is wrong and this stereotype needs to stop.

October 12, 2022

Education Law Health


Learning Mental Health

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