The Life You Save May Be Your Own

DID, knitting, sci-fi, and strong opinions

Address the Root Cause January 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 8:13 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m a member of MoveOn, a progressive group. They do a lot of online petitions, and today they sent me this petition about addressing the root cause of mass shootings: poor mental health care.

Here’s the response I sent MoveOn as an explanation of why I refused to sign this petition.

It’s a good idea in theory, but the reality is that increased funding for mental health will only result in more incarceration and drugging of people with mental illness. These approaches isolate people with mental illness from their communities, and isolation–not mental illness–is what breeds violence.

It’s entirely possible for someone to be legally sane but also hate-filled and violent. We feel more comfortable blaming mental illness for violence because it provides an easy answer to what is actually a much more complex issue. That greatly increases stigma against people living with mental illness.

Most people with mental illnesses are not violent toward others; you’re more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than by someone with schizophrenia. But policy makers blame us and our illnesses for violence. During one of the presidential debates, President Obama said we need to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and people with mental illness, implying that mentally ill people are just as bad as violent criminals. The NRA wants to force us to register our mental illness. Again, these things isolate us from our communities, and that’s bad for us and our communities.

I do believe we should limit the access people with mental illness have to guns–but because we’re much more likely to inflict violence on ourselves than on others. And I do believe we need better and more affordable access to mental healthcare–but we need holistic approaches and peer services instead of more hospitals and drugs.


21 Responses to “Address the Root Cause”

  1. Pen Says:

    May I say that I love you so much for this? ‘Cause I do. You’re amazing. Your turn of phrase leaves me swooning. I would love to link this via something bigger like FB, but I’m too private for that.
    Mind if I at least re-blog?

    • Pen Says:

      I ask before doing because I don’t like to assume people want their thoughts banded about without permission, even though WordPress allows me the option without permission. ❀

    • weordmyndum Says:

      Reblog, link to Facebook, whatever. I actually wish I knew how to reach a bigger audience–my blog doesn’t get too many hits.

      I actually have several more pages in my political journal (yes, I’m so geeky I have a separate political journal) about what I see as the concrete problems with most US mental health care and what I see as concrete solutions. I have many strong opinions born out of experience. πŸ˜‰

      • Pen Says:

        My FB feed is filled with political opinion. I try not to go too in depth (except with some stuff I’m very passionate about) since I’m a Libertarian Pagan. This means my capitalism or conservative views (like gun stuff) causes my liberal or Pagan friends annoyance and my more liberal views (like how my vagina should be my vagina) causes my conservative friends confusion.

        Of course, hopefully I didn’t alienate you with that admittance. Lol.

      • weordmyndum Says:

        No, that doesn’t alienate me. I like when people have political views, even if they don’t necessarily agree with mine. Engagement with one’s world and community is a great thing.

        Besides, if you’re not annoying somebody, you’re not doing it right. πŸ˜‰

      • Pen Says:

        Exactly!! That’s how I feel about it too. Hence why I can remain close friends with hardcore conservatives and liberals (separately, of course πŸ˜‰ )
        I love the intellectual debate/discussion and people actually being aware of the world around us.

        Sometimes I forget to do that myself, but then my crazy political friends remind me with their constant links to Breibart News or Fox or ABC.

      • weordmyndum Says:


        When I was at Menninger during the whole fiscal cliff debate, at least three of the staff had no idea it was even happening, and one had never heard of the Tea Party. Granted, I’m a news junkie, but HOW DO YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR WORLD? This WILL affect you! Read/watch/listen to the news! Form an opinion! CARE, for god’s sake!

        When I was working on the Presidential campaign, I ran into a few people who didn’t even know it was an election year. I live in a wealthy, well-educated, overwhelmingly liberal town, so there weren’t many…but still. I can’t fathom that level of uninterest and uninvolvement.

      • Pen Says:

        My dad shared this radio bite where they were interviewing people before the election this past year and saying stuff like “Do you have an issue with Mitt Romney being black?” and people WENT ALONG WITH IT. They were like “Naw, I don’t care that he’s black.”
        I was floored by the idiocy. Though I suppose we should be used to it -_- Unfortunately…

      • weordmyndum Says:

        One of the major poll agencies (I forget which one) did a poll asking Americans what Mitt Romney’s real first name was. 5% thought it was Mittens. For serious.

      • Pen Says:

        It isn’t??? To be fair, pretty sure that’s the only thing SNL ever called him. I blame liberal comedies πŸ˜‰

      • weordmyndum Says:

        Still, comedy should not be one’s only source of political information. It can be an amusing adjunct, but it shouldn’t be a primary source.

      • Pen Says:

        I agree. I am always surprised how many of my friends use SNL, Colbert, as actual sources for stuff. It’s okay to gain an interest in something through an entertainment-type “news”, but follow up with some actual real research. Please. Please, dumbasses. For your own sake…

      • weordmyndum Says:

        I’ve known people who thought Onion articles were real. So much headdesking. Besides, political humor is way funnier when you actually know what’s going on.

      • weordmyndum Says:

        Also, I have some strong libertarian (lowercase L) leanings, particularly as it pertains to civil liberties issues. I see much of mental health care as a civil liberties issue.

  2. Pen Says:

    Reblogged this on pen, paper, and crazy and commented:
    This is exactly how this whole mental-health vs. violence should be viewed. It isn’t a matter of a bunch of new institutions and drugs and doctors. It’s a matter of proper therapy and treatment (that shouldn’t be so hard to get or balls-ass expensive).

  3. Reblogged this on Diversity is Art and commented:
    Why I refuse to sign petitions that link Mental Illness and Violence.

  4. Nicole Says:

    THANK YOU for saying this. I am struggling so much in this recent debate. The idea of mental illness fundi g is great but I hate the idea of portraying the idea that all mental illness causes violence. So frustrating. Such a political hot button its hard to address

  5. kate1975 Says:

    Good response to them to a complex issue. Thanks for speaking up!

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  6. i so agree! thank you so much for following my blog πŸ™‚

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