Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Blame JFK for the Rise in Mass Shootings

Once, again, we had another mass killing.  This time at a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility.  The killer is obviously mentally ill and a loner.  While the Democrats and President Obama want to focus on gun control as a means to stop these events, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, is the only adult in the room to call for stronger mental health laws and reporting.

In 2014, the Washington Post published this graphic showing the mental status of mass killers since 1984:

With only 26% of the above labelled "With No Mental Health Issue", it is obvious that the majority of murders were committed by people with mental problems (areas in black and possibly grey).  For example, all 6 of the mass killing events in 1999 were committed by mentally ill people.  The same was true in 2012.  Of course, if the "Unclear" group was assumed to possibly have some mental illness (otherwise, they would be in blue), then the vast majority were mentally ill in some way.  This proves that Paul Ryan is on to something by calling for better mental health laws in this country, in order to control their access to guns. 

The problem with mentally ill people being on the streets actually goes back to 1963 when then-President John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act.  Under that law, people would no longer be institutionalized against their will unless they were either found to be a threat to themselves or others, or if they themselves, requested to be institutionalized.  Thus, the practice of scooping people off the streets was stopped and nearly 90% of beds at state mental hospitals were emptied. This is also why so many of the homeless, that walk our streets, appear to have mental problems. It's no coincidence that the enactment of that law has resulted in a rise of mass killings into the 1970's and beyond.  Note these statistics that show the number of these events by decade since the 1900's from the "History of Mass Shootings" (linked in "References" below).

                                                    1900s: 0
                                                    1910s: 2
                                                    1920s: 2
                                                    1930s: 9
                                                    1940s: 8
                                                    1950s: 1
                                                    1960s: 6
                                                    1970s: 13
                                                    1980s: 32
                                                    1990s: 42
                                                    2000s: 28

Thus, there is a clear correlation between the passage and implementation of the Community Mental Health Act in the 1960's/1970's, and the rise of mass killings.  Before the Planned Parenthood shooter went on his rampage, he shot his neighbor's dog.
Pre-1960, that act may have landed him in a mental institution, or he at least would have been flagged so he could no longer own a gun. Not shown above is the 2010s, where mass killings are already double what they were in the Bush years of the 2000s (also linked below).

Additionally, another law is allowing the mentally ill to possess firearms: HIPAA or the Health Insurance and Portability Act of 1996.  The privacy restrictions of that law make it nearly impossible, under federal law, for mental health providers to notify authorities of a patient who probably shouldn't own a gun.  That law was passed by another Democrat President, Bill Clinton.

How Paul Ryan and Congress would effect changes to the original JFK Community Mental Health Act and the privacy provision of HIPAA are anyone's guess.  But, I believe that keeping guns out of the hands of certain mentally ill patients would definitely save lives and would be a lot easier to implement than trying to take millions of guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens that responsibly own them for sport or their own protection.


Paul Ryan: 'Clearly we can do more' to address mental health issues: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/01/politics/paul-ryan-colorado-shooting-mental-health-issues/

Washington Post: Weapons and Mass Shootings (statistics): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/weapons-and-mass-shootings/

History of Mass Shootings: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130112/NEWS02/701129949

Community Mental Health Center Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Mental_Health_Act

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_Insurance_Portability_and_Accountability_Act

HIPAA Privacy Rule and Sharing Information Related to Mental Health: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/special/mhguidance.html

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