Friday, October 02, 2015

Oregon Shooting

I'm going to put this out there and you can agree or disagree but normal, mentally healthy people DON'T GO ON SHOOTING RAMPAGES!! Blaming the weapon and not the user is like blaming a woman's rape on her looks! More importantly the stigma associated with mental illnesses in this country and the lack of treatment options needs to be addressed. Many insurance policies don't cover the cost of mental illness or mental health. Seeking treatment is often viewed as a weakness rather than a strength. It's not easy admitting a mental illness exist.

In my profession it can be detrimental. Per the nurse practice act of Florida if a nurse has a mental illness it can cost them their license (Section 464.018).  However, if a person is receiving treatment, a person with mental illness can function in society without any restrictions or limitations.  It is only when a person who has mental illness does not receive treatment, or doesn't follow the prescribed treatment plan, that they become a danger to themselves or others.

Every time I hear of a mass shooting I am immediately curious at to the mental status of the person.  What is it that caused them to not seek treatment or to deviate from their treatment plan and snap.  As a nurse it baffles me that the media or the leaders of the nation can't see or understand that the real issue isn't the weapon of choice but rather the person behind the weapon.

This particular shooting also brings into sharp focus another issue plaguing this country.  Racist bigotry is defined as the intolerance of people who hold a different opinion from oneself.  In the Oregon shooting it has been reported that the shooter asked the religious preference of each person before shooting them.  How is this not viewed as an act of terrorism against the Christian faith?  Why is the first and primary discussion about the use of the weapon?  During 9/11 was the plane the main issue or topic of conversation?

Acts like this one are very polarizing causing each side to stake a claim to their side of the argument.  Either pro stricter gun laws or pro arming the public for defense against such acts.  I have had a hard time finding anyone addressing the mental health aspect of this act.  To me it is glaringly obvious.  As I stated before, no mentally healthy person considers taking the life of someone else to further their agenda.  Maybe if we had better access to mental health treatment, and a public that was willing to have conversation about mental health without facing the stigma attached to it acts like this will decrease.  Friends and family members of other mass shooting perpetrators have been reported to state that they knew something was wrong with the perpetrator but weren't able to get help for them.  I haven't heard anything about this particular shooter, but I wouldn't be surprised if the reports were similar.