I am so tired of hearing people blame the Newtown shooting on Asperger’s.
Let us look at the real explanations for the shooting:
- an assault rifle
- hyper media coverage of previous mass shootings
- lack of treatment for mental health
Bushmaster Assault Rifle
Why would any human (other than military and law enforcement personnel) want or need to own such a weapon? The fact that a mother purchased this weapon and kept it in her house is shocking to me. I once dated a man, who I later found had a gun in his night stand drawer. When I discovered this, I ended the relationship immediately. I do not want to live in the same house with a gun of any sort.
I should share an important side not here. My brother bought his wife a hand gun for her birthday and I still love both of them dearly. But a hand gun is quite different from an assault rifle. There is no need for an assault rifle. Period.
Mass Media Coverage
I am the first person to admit that I love the media. I am a media addict. I watch Nancy and relate to her as my BFF (although my other half refers to her as Nancy Dis Grace). Perhaps it is the behavior analyst in me. I want to understand the psychology and the environmental events that led humans to engage in behaviors that kill. I have the same interest in the Newtown shootings. What led a young man to kill innocent women and children?
Despite my need or desire to know, I would give it all up right now in order to prevent future mass murders. But media coverage alone did not cause the shootings. Media coverage gives people the ideas to do it bigger.
Mental Health Treatment
While we are still in the dark about the events leading up to the shooting, we do know that all the other mass murderers had histories of mental health issues. It seems that only one of those killers had been receiving treatment; but even his treatment was limited. Yet, all of the parents had previously admitted that their child had issues. Clearly, our current health care system failed each and every one of those killers.
Our current health care system does not adequately address the mental health needs of individuals. I sat and listened to hours of testimony at a recent hearing on this very topic in CT. You can listen to the hours of testimony here.
Leaders in each state and in Washington DC need to take action. We need an active plan for preventing these types of violent rampages from occurring again.
There will be a bigger shooting. It is just a matter of time.That is, unless we make changes. We need changes in our gun laws and changes in our mental health treatment. The two entities must work together because individuals with mental illness should not have access to guns of any type.
Post script: Thanks to Rena for pointing out a very important missing piece.
- No Association Between Autism and Planned Violence (autism-society.org)
- Misconceptions About Autism and Mass Shooting (autismspeaks.org)
- Women Against Guns (huffingtonpost.com)
- Women’s Groups Lend Muscle (huffingtonpost.com)
- How Do We Know an ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban Would Not Have Stopped Adam Lanza? Because It Didn’t. (reason.com)