Gun Control: Don’t Fall for the ‘Mental Health’ Diversion

Mental illness is not a significant factor in gun crime
US News • Views: 30,454

Take a look around the right wing blogs and news sites, and watch Fox News, and you may notice that there are suddenly a lot of conservatives arguing that the real problem that leads to gun violence is mental illness — and that the solution is “better mental health care.”

While it’s true that the US does need better mental health care, your first clue that this is a dishonest diversionary tactic instead of a real argument is that the right wingers parroting it are the very same people normally vehemently opposed to any and all government involvement in health care.

There’s a reason why so many right wingers are using the “mental health” excuse - to distract attention away from the real problem: there are more than 290 MILLION guns in America, almost one for every single man, woman, and child. The right is so in love with gun culture that they’ll even make dishonest arguments that contradict their own values, to pull attention away from this issue.

There is no real evidence that mentally ill people are more likely to commit gun crimes. Columbia University psychiatrist Paul Appelbaum has found that less than 3-5% of American crimes are perpetrated by mentally ill people, and for crimes involving guns the percentages are even lower.

In fact, the mentally ill are far more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators: Focus on Mental Illness in Gun Debate Is Misleading.

Research by John Brekke and Cathy Prindle at the University of Southern California shows that individuals with schizophrenia are more likely to be assaulted by others than to commit violent crimes themselves, Metzl said.

By blaming people who have mental disorders for violent crime, the threats posed to society by a much larger population - the sane - are overlooked.”The focus on so-called mentally ill crime obfuscates awareness of a far more important set of risk predictors of gun violence: substance abuse and past history of violence,” said Metzl, a professor of psychiatry and sociology. “By blaming people who have mental disorders for violent crime, the threats posed to society by a much larger population - the sane - are overlooked.”

One possible explanation for the tendency to blame mental illness for violent crimes is the fact that the debate around gun control has become so politicized that bringing up mental illness is one of the few ways to even talk about the issue, Metzl said.

To reiterate, better mental health care is an important and worthy cause. But for the right, it has also become a way to confuse and obfuscate the issues in order to hang on to their precious, precious guns.

Also see

Jump to top

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST

LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!

Recent Pages
Great White Snark
Unprecedented U.S. Air Force Jet Deployment to Finland Is Sure to Upset Russia
Cold war chess. It's worth pointing out these are air to air combat variants. If one looks up the combat statistics the F-15 has owned the skies for decades. 104 aircraft shot down with no losses. It's a crystal clear ...

2 hours, 8 minutes ago
Views: 102 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
mishuga
Ted Nugent: Jew(ish Politician)s = Nazis
Ted Nugent singled out 12 Jewish-American politicians, complete with a graphic depicting each of the politicians alongside an Israeli flag, for supporting gun control and other crimes. The post, which has been shared more than 4,000 times and liked more ...

19 hours, 27 minutes ago
Views: 153 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
Why We Need to Think Beyond Roe v. Wade - Pacific Standard
For the immigrant mothers—Dolores Madrigal, the lead plaintiff, and the nine others named in the suit, and countless others whose names we will not know—the story was more complex, the culpable more numerous. First, there were the doctors and ...

1 day, 1 hour ago
Views: 196 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
Are Pets Really Good for Us? - Pacific Standard
We just adopted a dog, meaning I'm now a pet owner, meaning I'm now responsible for another living creature. It's weird. Her name is Bella. She's a pit bull mixed with something that is not a pit bull, and ...

1 day, 1 hour ago
Views: 203 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 1
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 1
Thanos
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War - Big Game Spot
Choose your side with the latest preview for Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," in theaters May 6! ► Subscribe to Marvel: bit.ly Watch more from Marvel's Captain America: Civil War now: bit.ly Follow Marvel on Twitter: ‪twitter.comLike Marvel on ...

2 days, 15 hours ago
Views: 383 • Comments: 3 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Thanos
DNA Study of First Ancient African Genome Flawed, Researchers Report
True science is often about finding errors, mistakes, and bad data and correcting it. As it turns out, the data produced by the program used to map Mota’s DNA came in a format that had to be tweaked before the ...

2 days, 16 hours ago
Views: 532 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 39 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Thanos
The NFL Wants You to Think These Things Are Illegal
The voiceover in the clip says: "This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent ...

2 days, 16 hours ago
Views: 684 • Comments: 4 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 93 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Thanos
Future Islands - the Chase
Filmed live at The Music Farm in Charleston, SC on April 14, 2015 by Allen Alcantara on a GoPro Hero4. US Tour Crew:Live Sound: Dan FromeLighting Designer: Phil WeinholtTour Manager: Allen AlcantaraKing of Shirts: Dan GaetaLive drums: Michael Lowry ...

3 days, 18 hours ago
Views: 361 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Thanos
Kimbra - ‘Goldmine’ a Day at Salvation Mountain Ft Nicholas Slick Stewart
My extremely talented friend Slick wanted to film a dance to Goldmine, a song from The Golden Echo that he was particularly inspired by. So on the day of my 25th birthday Kenny took us all to Salvation Mountain ...

4 days, 14 hours ago
Views: 423 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Thanos
Polica - Wedding (Live on the Current)
Polica perform "Wedding" off the album 'United Crushers' live in The Current studio. Listen to the full in-studio session: thecurrent.orgConnect with The Current:thecurrent.orgyoutube.comtwitter.comfacebook.cominstagram.com Become a member:contribute.publicradio.org Current

4 days, 14 hours ago
Views: 408 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0