Last week when I wrote about violence in our lives, I mentioned my concern that the immediate focus after mass shootings is so often the mental health of the shooter. I also mentioned that the mentally ill are no more likely than the public at large to commit acts of violence.
This morning, my partner Seth mentioned his concern that the focus on the possible mental health issues of individuals who want to own and carry guns potentially presents a whole raft of HIPAA concerns. After all, how do we define mental illness? And who has a right to know what diagnoses have been applied to which people? How do background checks access this information?
Also this morning, a feminist therapist friend shared a link that I had to pass on to you. The speech to which this link will direct you is written by Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D. Dr. Caplan is an articulate and often entertaining psychologist who frequently points her sharp and well-focused eye on the inequities of our culture. She too has concern about how we utilize the issue of so-called mental illness to divert ourselves from the issues of violence in our culture.
Please take a look at her speech on stopping gun violence given yesterday. I would love to hear your comments.
0 thoughts on “P.S. on Gun Violence in our Lives”
Dave Zachau says:
Yesterday a client seeing one of our counselors expressed serious concern and reservations regarding remaining in therapy as he is an owner of several guns for hunting and target shooting, and is now nervous he could lose his right to own his guns if caught up in a future screening process for those with “mental illness.”
I totally am in the same camp as Dr. Caplan on this issue. I have included a few links below that also speak to the problem of focusing on mental illness as a way to quell the national violence related to firearms.
IMHO, to inject mental illness into the debate/discussion on gun violence is to inject a red herring that will, as Kathy indicated, “divert ourselves” from the real causes of gun violence.
Dr. Caplan’s statement that some 50% of us now have psychiatric diagnoses in our records makes this especially concerning.
How did the early research on children modeling violent behavior demonstrated by adults they viewed on TV get suppressed? Videogames?
Thanks for your comment, Dave.