Texas Shooting Was
Both A Mental Health
And Gun Issue
While in Japan, Trump said the latest mass shooting was "not a gun issue".
Texas Shooting Was Also A Gun Issue
While visiting Japan on November 6th, 2017, Donald Trump told the press that the latest mass shooting at a church in Sutherland, Texas was "not a gun issue". Critics and media immediately jumped on Trump's statement to dispute its accuracy. In this case, Donald Trump's statement cannot be regarded as fully accurate, making most criticisms of his statement valid.
Although the Texas gunman, Devin Kelley, was not legally allowed to own a gun due to a past history of violence and a dishonourable discharge from the military, human error allowed him to possess the weapon he used to massacre more than two dozen churchgoers. The very fact that Kelley was able to come in possession of a firearm, despite lacking the legal right to do so, makes the Texas shooting in Sutherland a valid "gun issue" in the ongoing debate about gun control. Questions about due process, human error and the illegal possession of firearms all fall within the realm of the gun control debate in the United States.
Kelley's troubled past and history of bad behaviour may not yet be linked to mental illness, but his mental health cannot be discounted from any debate.
In his statement, Donald Trump blamed the shooting on a mental health issue. This point is highly relevant and should not be disregarded in the overall debate about gun violence and violent crime. Media and critics have largely dismissed Trump's statement about mental health, but the topic should be regarded and considered equally important to gun control in any debate about violent crime.
In a report by James L. Knoll and George D. Annas entitled "Mass Shootings And Mental Illness", mental illness is regarded as a highly possible, but not consistently identifiable trait among those who commit mass shootings:
Although no research has reliably established that most mass murderers and
mass shooters are psychotic or even suffering from a serious mental illness, individual
case studies often reveal paranoid themes in these persons’ cognitions
(Knoll and Meloy 2014). The paranoia may not rise to the level of psychosis;
however, many are found to have been preoccupied with feelings of social persecution
and fantasies of revenge against their perceived tormentors. Some appear
to be driven by strong feelings of revenge born of social alienation or a
perceived injustice. For example, one 15-year-old who shot and killed his two
parents and two high school students and wounded another 25 students in 1998
in Springfield, Oregon (Frontline 2000) suffered intolerable anguish over feelings
of social rejection. His peers described him as morbid and preoccupied
Others may in fact suffer from severe depression or, rarely, psychosis. For example,
in 2009, a 41-year-old naturalized Vietnamese immigrant killed 14 people,
wounded another 4, and then killed himself at the Binghamton, New York,
American Civic Association. The man’s father reported that in the 2 weeks leading
up to the tragedy, his son had stopped eating dinner, stopped watching television,
and become increasingly isolative (Chen 2009).
Therefore, Donald Trump's statement about the mass shooting in Sutherland, Texas being a "mental health issue" is...
Donald Trump's statement claiming the mass shooting in Sutherland, Texas is "not a gun issue" is...