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Erik B
  • Erik B
  • Sacramento, CA
  • United States

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How can we as a society better care for these highly functional mentally ill people who holds the potential for creating mass shootings?

In the last 12 months, there has been 11 mass shootings across the USA. All of these were committed by highly functional persons who were in the 'grey area' of mental illness. These people choose to self destruct into their own delusions. Their family and friends turned a blind eye towards them since they dont know how to work with them. How as a society can we better care for these people to prevent their own self destruction?

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  • Nov 7 2013: There are two possible solutions I can think of:
    1. Have the entire population regularly screened by psychologists. This would involve a massive invasion of privacy, a hell of a budget, more psychologists then you currently have trained, and still wouldn't get all the nut jobs (some are very adept at hiding it). In other words, completely unfeasible, and probably not a good idea even if it was feasible.

    2. Make it more difficult for people to gain access to guns.
    You may still have an occasional stabbing or bludgeoning by those same nut jobs, but its not nearly as bad. The whole "defend against tyranny" aspect is null void anyway. A modern military with access to things like artillery and aircraft can wipe the floor with any civilian militia. Honestly, strong militias are even worse when they do work, because then you have armed citizens ruling parts of the country instead of the government, which leads to failed states (just look at Somalia for example).
    The problem here is overcoming the anti gun control lobby, an obstacle that has thus far proven insurmountable.
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    Nov 15 2013: Few years ago, I was listening about mass shootings in one small vilage, and the killer is one respected man, with good reputation, remembered as a nice and affable.
    Repressing stress causes unstoppable anger, and black out- that finishes tragically.


    Mine opinion is that we need to raise up the culture of visiting psychiatrists,and to research and improve knowledge about emotional intelligence. One part of it is self-control. Stability of self-control is based on some kind of exercise. But we are in minus with that knowledge. We need more facts to improve that knowledge, and it can contribute solving this problem.
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    Nov 11 2013: We still, even now, stigmatise and fear mental illness. If someone is behaving oddly, the common reaction is to ignore that person, to run away and mock him.

    Just picture what that might be like for a high-functioning person whose mannerisms, thinking style, or phrasiology may be slightly different to most other people's, and who in turn becomes a victim of stigma in his community - and even family. (Stigma tends to feed on itself, making matters significantly worse as time goes on for the person who is the subject of derision).

    Is his mental illness ever likely to get properly diagnosed if there's no support for him? Is his mental illness therefore likely to get worse? Is he likely to become more and more isolated and lonely, on top of the overt stigma attached to him?

    Some point along the scale of self destruction is actually a very likely outcome for this person in later life, especially if he has been abused, ignored or stigmatised by those closest to him during his formative years, and where social bonds have become severed.

    Mass shootings are more frequent in individualistic compared to collectivistic societies, where destruction is turned outward:

    http://www.popularsocialscience.com/2013/01/04/why-do-people-commit-mass-shootings/

    Mass murderers are often 'lone wolves' who over time have built up aggression towards to the society they feel isolated from. It would appear to be no coincidence that they are also privileged white males - though I've yet to come up with a plausible explanation as to why that should be. The individualistic vs collectivistic societal argument may be a partial explanation combined with psychological propensity resulting from stigma at an early age - but there are many more complex issues involved.
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    Nov 11 2013: when we combine a species that often expresses emotional anger violently with a gun complacent culture and then add in easy access to weapons of mass slaughter such mayhem would appear to be inevitable.. National statistics in the U.S. show that these 'mass shootings' pale in comparison to the daily carnage being committed with guns. Or is there a perceived difference between those who shoot others one at a time and those who shoot multiple people?

    While it is suggested above that the shooters were "highly functional persons who were in the 'grey area' of mental illness" it then really does beg the question of what does that say about the population as a whole? .
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    Nov 11 2013: don't we have pretty good systems in place? In a society of 300 million people,you just can't get to everyone, if you could, we wouldn't have three million people in jail or prison.

    On a micro level, I would encourage people not to always go along with the crowd. For example, if you see that people are shunning one person, that doesn't mean you have to do it, you could go talk to that person.
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    Nov 11 2013: Erik,
    There are a LOT of steps we can take toward caring for mentally ill people. When your topic connects mentally ill people with mass shootings, as it does, there is one very logical step we could be taking, and that is to get weapons which are often used in mass shootings off the streets and out of the homes of people who do not need them. At least two of the shooters recently got the guns from their own homes, and the weapons were readily available to them.

    Nadav makes some good points....we can psychologically evaluate ALL people, which does not seem very realistic, or, we can make it more difficult for people to gain access to assault weapons.

    I agree that the "defend against tyranny" argument does not make any sense, because as Nadav says...a modern military with heavy artillery and aircraft can overcome any civilian militia. I believe the first, reasonable step for a society to take, is to get the assault weapons out of circulation for the general public.
  • Nov 11 2013: we can help people by making sure there are resources for them to provide food and clothing for themselves and from an early age teaching everyone various means of self-expression such as art, articulation, writing, editing, acting, competative athletics etc
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    Nov 8 2013: Are you talking about the congress?
    • Erik B

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      Nov 11 2013: No. I am talking about all levels of society. What nonprofit or other organizations are out there and how do they serve the greater good?
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        Nov 11 2013: Yes I am aware of your intentions however I could not think of four words to better describe congress than "highly functional mentally ill" and they certainly "hold the potential for creating mass shootings" since they can and do start wars at will. As for other citizens, they don't get that way over night. Most of them have long histories of abuse in one way or another, so if we really want to solve the problem maybe we should stop the abuse.

        "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated"- Gandhi
        150 billion animals are slaughter every year so how great is that???
        Einstein said doing the same thing over and over then expecting different results is crazy.
        That is precisely what's going on here, we abuse people and animals so eventually they strike back, then we wonder why... "Insanity is hurting for pleasure"- Keith W Henline

        How often do you see people hurting others for pleasure.... The training starts young, look at our games, movies, news or think about how families treat each other or what they experience in school or even church (Muslims and Christians make up the majority and they are the most vile and violent organizations ever on this earth and they have a lot of nerve to even mention God).

        It is everywhere so I would naturally expect the violence to continue and get worst until we become aware of our own actions and the obvious consequences.
  • Nov 7 2013: I think being nicer to everyone, polite, and following the Golden rule might be a good start.