Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Americans Fear Mental Illness Stereotyping

There is no doubt that new laws must be passed to better deal with the psychotic actions of people who are mentally ill in America today. Down deep inside, we all know that it is not guns or video games or a lack of prayer in the public schools causing these massacres of innocent people. Instead, it is severe mental illness and a healthcare system that is not equipped to deal with the problem.

The truth is most Americans fear mental health stereotyping more than being a victim of a shooting. History is littered with stories of people labeled as mentally ill simply because they are different from what is considered the norm. Even today, there are Americans who wrongly believe homosexuality is a mental illness. Sadly, there will always be people using mental illness to try and control the behavior of others they disagree with.

In school I remember reading about the Salem Witch Trials hundreds of years ago. Back then, even the accusation that a person was a witch caused them to be burned at the stake. Has human nature really change that much over the centuries? I think not. Sadly we humans continue to make the same choices over and over again expecting a different result. So I think it's likely if tougher mental health laws are passed in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut - there is a high likelihood millions of Americans who are different from the majority will likely be considered mentally ill and punished.

So what can really be done to stop massacres in shopping malls, movie theaters and public schools? First I do not think you will ever stop them all. Some politicians and gun control activists believe that banning all firearms will magically solve the problem. I do not agree. In the final analysis, since mankind will not come up with laws and treatments that focus solely on real mentally ill people - these tragic crimes will continue.

The only thing we can change is the ever increasing death toll. Whether it be more police officers in public locations or more of our citizens carrying concealed firearms or more magnetometers in high traffic venues, something must be done to lower the numbers of people who are killed.

The real solution is the treatment or incarceration of mentally ill sociopaths who do not have compassion for others. However, since there is a high likelihood that tougher mental health laws will be abused and used against innocent people - reducing the numbers of people killed should be the current focus of politicians and law enforcement.

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