Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's Time For a Rant.....

Parents in mourning outside the school
I wasn't wanting to talk about the recent school shooting in Connecticut, but I feel that some rumors, and the behavior of people recently needs to be addressed on this blog.

First of all, the people using this tragedy to further their beliefs make me highly uncomfortable. I don't care if you are pro-gun ownership or hate guns with a passion, I think it's inappropriate to use a situation like this to further your political beliefs. It feels to me like people are too eager to exploit these tragic deaths to make a point, and I think it's not right.

People have even been trying to use this tragedy to further their religious beliefs, like politician turned commentator Mike Huckabee. He blamed the shooting on separation of church and state. There have also been fundamentalists on social media repeating arguments along the same lines.

I'll admit, I have been sucked into the debates myself, and in fact, as I am typing this, I'm in the middle a of discussion on the very topic of gun ownership. I just wish that people wouldn't have started the discussions in the first place, at least not so soon after the killings. It shows a complete lack of respect for those who died, almost is if they are using their deaths for their own personal political benefit.

Discussions that take place so soon after a tragedy also are not productive either. People will approach the discussions in a highly emotional state, and throw all reason and logic out. It doesn't work to try and discuss such an important issue when people are letting their heart instead their brain guide them.

People tend to do this with any political issue, I honestly would rather have a discussion online on religion over politics anyway, because on average people are less emotional when it comes to religion than politics! It's sad but true, and it shows just how divided people are, especially in the US, the way people act in political debates.

Second, there have been claims in the media that the shooter was autistic. These claims to the best of my knowledge have not been verified, they are based on speculation and rumors. I sincerely hope that they turn out to be nothing more than just rumors. Why? Because it's hard enough having mental illness in the US, a nation where so many people do not understand mental illness, and can be very bigoted against people living with it.

If these rumors of the shooter having autism are confirmed, it will make matters worse. Many people in the US believe that people with mental illness have more of an inclination towards violence than the general population. Actually the reverse is true, people with mental illness are more likely to become victims of violent crime than perpetrators. The myth that people with mental illness are more violent has been debunked over and over again, yet people still willingly choose to believe it. If you want to see why this is false, check out this report from the University of Washington, which cites various studies done on the subject. Read this:

- "Although studies suggest a link between mental illnesses and violence, the contribution of people with mental illnesses to overall rates of violence is small, and further, the magnitude of the relationship is greatly exaggerated in the minds of the general population (Institute of Medicine, 2006)." 
- "…the vast majority of people who are violent do not suffer from mental illnesses (American Psychiatric Association, 1994)."
- "The absolute risk of violence among the mentally ill as a group is very small. . . only a small proportion of the violence in our society can be attributed to persons who are mentally ill (Mulvey, 1994)."
-"People with psychiatric disabilities are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crime (Appleby, et al., 2001). People with severe mental illnesses, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis, are 2 ½ times more likely to be attacked, raped or mugged than the general population (Hiday, et al.,1999)."

Yet people still believe the malicious lie anyway.....

"A longitudinal study of American’s attitudes on mental health between 1950 and 1996 found, “the proportion of Americans who describe mental illness in terms consistent with violent or dangerous behavior nearly doubled.” Also, the vast majority of Americans believe that persons with mental illnesses pose a threat for violence towards others and themselves (Pescosolido, et al., 1996, Pescosolido et al., 1999)."

Why? Why is it that people continue to believe this? It frustrates me to no end.

This is my rant for today, I'll continue the discussions for a while on Google +, until I just get tired of everything involving the school shooting, and people's arguments about it.(I'm just about to that point already)


  1. My wife and I were both concerned when we heard "autism" floated around. Even if he was on the spectrum, what would this discussion buy us? Nothing at all. It's estimated 1 in 88 boys (at least) are on the spectrum in the US. Does this mean 1/88 boys will go on shooting rampages? No!

    Thanks for posting about this. I was going to put something up on my blog but I am a a total loss for words about this whole thing. I'm usually 1 day behind the news cycle - so I just heard about it this morning. I'm still digesting most of this. It's really shocking and something must be done - it's not like this in other countries!

    1. Yes, unfortunately people will use this to justify even more hatred and suspicion of people with autism, as well as other disorders. It's not right, but that's the US for you.

      I've been telling people all day that I don't think it's so much the availability of guns, but the willingness to use them with little to no provocation that's the problem.

      I mean, after all, doesn't Canada have quite a few gun owners, especially in rural areas? Yet mass shootings don't happen on a regular basis there.

      There's fundamentally flawed about US culture.

    2. Sheldon, that is my position on this issue exactly. It's a cultural problem, not a hardware problem. You seem to be taking a different stance in your G+ posts.

    3. No, John, you seem to be misunderstanding me on Google +, that is exactly what I trying to say.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thank you Sheldon, always enlightining.


No spam, proselytizing, or personal attacks, such comments will never see the light of day around here.

Disagreeing with me is fine (I encourage it), but have some decency when writing your comment