Today felt like a slap in the face with a lollipop. Donald Trump is going to “seize guns from the mentally ill.” This is being discussed despite the fact that violent crimes are carried out by people with no record of mental illness at a rate fifteen-fold higher than the mentally ill. The idea of getting guns off the street is glorious. The idea of targeting, vilifying and seizing property from a group of people arbitrarily deemed less fit is totalitarian at best. Consider three points:
First: Under HIPAA laws, a person’s mental health record is not publicly available. Are we going to make an exception for mental health only? What about your mother’s anal fissures? Your brother’s genital warts? Would we make those public as well? Doesn’t that sound embarrassing? That’s because it is! Your health is private for a reason.
Second: While figures show that 15% of the population at large will commit violence towards others in their lifetimes, less than 1% of those diagnosed as mentally ill will do so in theirs.
Stephen Paddock, who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in history in Las Vegas, was not diagnosed as mentally ill. He never sought treatment of any kind. Interviews with his friends, neighbors, and relatives painted a curious portrait. Paddock might have been financially successful, but he had real difficulty interacting with people. He is described as “standoff-ish, disconnected, a man who had difficulty establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships,” according to FBI profilers. This is what psychiatry labels “antisocial” personality disorder. Is there someone in the White House who fits that description? Antisocial personality, also known as sociopathy, is the leading cause of mass shootings. Sadly, it is almost impossible to detect, since it rarely causes the person to suffer or seek treatment. It is labeled a mental illness, but not treated like one, since the behavior is typically rewarded in Western society. Suicide, not mass shooting, is the real danger to the mentally ill. See this very cool study from the National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4211925/
Third: Mentally Ill people in crisis will be less likely to seek treatment if their health record will be or could be made public. This will lead to more suicides, since most of the diagnosable and treatable illnesses put the individual at very high risk for suicide when left untreated. Another cool article about this – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC27859/
I want America to stop seeking a scapegoat in a group of people who are largely defenseless and 15 times less likely to commit a crime. Why don’t we go after the people who have difficulty interacting with people, like Donald Trump? Let’s make his anal fissures public. Let’s expose his complete lack of moral compass and antisocial “screw everyone” mentality. That mindset is what leads to mass shootings, stock market crashes, housing market bubbles, and most of the world’s woes. The problem, of course, is that sociopaths are at a huge advantage over people with feelings, and they tend to claw their way into positions of incredible power, where their selfish decisions damn the rest of us to suffer and pay for their follies without recourse.