Treating Mental Illness the Way to End Gun Violence; Second Amendment Rights Are Not the Problem

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 26, 2012 | Go to article overview

Treating Mental Illness the Way to End Gun Violence; Second Amendment Rights Are Not the Problem


Byline: Constance Uribe, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Having more than 37 years of experience as a surgeon has taught me the importance of using common sense when it comes to health care. Any medical disorder is best treated by attacking the problem itself, not making policies that avoid the disorder. This is especially true in the case of mental health.

Now we have a president who wipes away tears over the Sandy Hook shootings while saying, We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action ... regardless of the politics. Once again, this man, who mentioned in a debate that he was a supporter of the Second Amendment, thinks he can best handle America's gun violence through legislation, through political action, through more government mandates, perhaps through another one of his famous executive orders.

President Obama could stamp out our Second Amendment tomorrow, and there still would be gun violence in America. Taking away our right to bear arms is like putting a Band-Aid on cancer. It might cover up the tumor, but the patient still will suffer.

We must attack the problem. One of the most neglected issues in this country is that of mental health. The Sandy Hook shooter reportedly had a personality disorder. Jared Loughner, the Tucson, Ariz., shooter, was described in the media as being mentally deranged and had to undergo treatment before his sentencing hearing.

James Holmes, the Colorado theater shooter, had seen a psychiatrist and had been referred to a threat-assessment team. Wade Michael Page, the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooter, was a loner with a history of patterns of misconduct while in the U.S. Army.

A recent report conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that almost 30 percent of adults ages 18 to 25 had some form of mental illness this past year. The report showed that just 60 percent of people with a serious mental illness received treatment.

When it comes to mental illness and gun violence, Bruce Link, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal saying that even if there are elevated risks from some people who are mentally ill, they are no higher than for other differences in society. If you really want to protect yourself, go to England or hang out with old ladies, he said.

Speaking of England, Home Office figures show that in 2006 and 2007, there were more than 40,000 firearm offenses. Some people died, including children. How can this be? Firearms are supposed to be illegal in England. According to the Home Office Statistical Bulletin for England and Wales, there were four times as many violent crimes using knives as firearms between 2009 and 2011 - 62,000 compared to 15,000. …

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Treating Mental Illness the Way to End Gun Violence; Second Amendment Rights Are Not the Problem
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