A knee-jerk reaction to the hot button issues of gun control and mental healthcare reform is to presume reformation of gun control laws and mental healthcare would be solutions to the crisis of mass violence. Could better gun control laws enacted, and more psych hospital funding be the solution to our epidemic of mass shootings? These are two different questions, and at the heart of them, the same answer, but for different reasons.
Gun Control is Not the Answer
Preventing access to guns is always going to be a challenge. Throughout history, plenty of criminals who weren’t qualified to handle a weapon found them. There are already laws in place to make it very hard or at most, illegal, for those with a history of violence to purchase a gun. Making it harder for people who have mental illness to carry a weapon isn’t necessarily helpful. Plenty of people have a mental health diagnosis and are well enough to handle a gun. If they’re medicated and stabilized, there is generally no need to be concerned.
Since gun violence is so prevalent in America, compared to other nations, it may be that because guns are more widely owned that we have more violence in the US as a result. Will passing and enforcing more laws decrease the likelihood of guns being used for mass shootings? The guns are already out there, folks. The amount of guns owned in private residences is not going to decrease. The ability to access guns will stay the same.
One Answer: A National Call to Revival
The problem we have here is not a matter of “bad people” getting ahold of guns. Nor is it mental illness. Mental illness is not the only factor in most cases of abuse of firearms. The issue is the heart of the person who chooses to commit such an act of terrorism. The heart of the matter, is the heart.
So what does this mean for America? Unless the American Christian church (people called by God), turn from their wicked ways and repent (2 Chronicles 7:14), and pray to God for healing, our nation will continue to suffer tragedy after tragedy. The outcome of a society is dependent upon its presence of Christians.
The key is the revival of our souls in the American church, to embrace the gospel fully, to preach and teach and live it out. Without talk of Christ’s message, who will hear? (Romans 10:17) Without hearing who will be changed? It is up to me to tell my neighbor. Open my mouth and share the good news, for which my Savior died to bring me. Thereafter, we aren’t made good by our obedience, we are made good by Christ’s death that gave us His righteousness and a new heart of flesh. It is His Holy Spirit and heart of purity that changes ours, and that creates a new desire in us – for goodness and peace. It turns our sinful, evil, immoral and corrupt nature into the complete opposite. That’s the power of the gospel. That’s the result of transformative salvation.
Better Psych Hospital Funding is Not the Answer
Psychiatric units and behavioral hospitals are not the answer to the national epidemic of moral corruption and decay. Mental illness is not a moral fault or shortcoming. Mental illness is a sickness of the organ of the brain, and like any other organ requires medical treatment.
Mass shootings are not a thing of psychological dissonance or mental illness. In most cases, mass shootings are a decision and plan acted upon by a person who may struggle with mental illness, but their heart is the culprit. Their mind and sense of personhood may be warped and their conscience numbed, but that is not the same as brain chemistry of mood disorders.
Evil Character is Not Mood Disorder
Mental illness medication cannot change a person’s heart, will, or intentions and motives. Medication is there to help slow down the brain’s processes to be able to use more sense and reclaim more stability of regulating moods and emotions that can influence them to behave irrationally or impulsively. You may wonder what the difference is between someone being rash in a mass shooting, and someone being impulsive in mental illness. The difference is the heart.
If I am mentally ill, I will have a harder time controlling impulses and reactions to things that trigger my behavior, whether good or bad. When the illness is pervasive, it’s harder to distinguish between evil thoughts and motives and poorly managed moods. Having a mental illness is not an excuse for poor choices. It is an explanation at times, but not an excuse. The illness may be helping my sinful nature to quicken the behaviors I want to carry out from the evil intentions of my heart, but it is not the reason I carry out the evil desires. One carries out evil desires and make that an evil act due to the immorality in his heart, not the mental illness in his brain.
Another Answer: Put the Fear of God in Them
Aside from individual inner-person soul transformation, the most practical approach to treating those with the evil desires to kill and destroy may partly have a mental illness component. However, as with morality and mankind, justice should be enforced to deter those who have it in their hearts to carry out mass violence. For starters, governing entities should enact the death penalty, and concerned citizens ought to complete due course of action for reporting suspicious activity and persons in their neighborhood. Community healthcare and psych hospital reform is not really the issue. That’s another discussion.
Katie Dale is the mind behind BipolarBrave.com and GAMEPLAN: Mental Health Resource Guide. She enjoys her long runs and long naps to keep her bipolar in remission and resides in central Missouri with her husband and cat. You can follow her activity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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