By: Manny Otiko, IVN
After a temporary ceasefire, America’s killing spree has continued. The coronavirus pandemic led to a brief stop in America’s mass murders, but with society opening up again, the killings have resumed. According to the Gun Violence Archive, this year’s shootings are the highest numbers in years.
“Firearm fatalities increased significantly in April (16%) and May (15%) compared to the same months in 2019, even while many Americans spent their days sheltered at home, according to new data from the Gun Violence Archive compiled exclusively for NBC News,” according to an NBC story.
The latest massacre was this weekend in Colorado, where a former boyfriend killed six adults at a children’s birthday party before turning the gun on himself. However, the killer spared all the children at the party.
“The shooter, 28-year-old Teodoro Macias, had been in a relationship with one of the victims, 28-year-old Sandra Ibarra, for about a year and had a history of controlling and jealous behavior, Colorado Springs police Lt. Joe Frabbiele said at a news conference. Police said there were no reported incidents of domestic violence during the relationship and that the shooter didn’t have a criminal history. No protective orders were in place,” according to the Associated Press.
This massacre happened a few months after another killing in Boulder, Colo., where a gunman killed 10 people in a grocery store. The one thing connecting both of these murders is a mentally disturbed person having access to weapons. And in many cases, it’s not just handguns; these are high-powered rifles that carry multiple rounds.
Obviously, America needs to do something to stop disturbed people getting access to weapons. But in an increasingly polarized country, this is just another political battle.
On one side are gun control activists who want to do something to stop the slaughter.
And on the other side are gun enthusiasts, who think it’s a God-given right to carry the most high-powered weapons in the world everywhere. To them, any form of gun control is a restriction on their liberty. In response to potential White House action, several states have approved laws that make it easier to carry weapons in public.
However, something has to give. Americans are getting tired of turning on the TV every day and seeing another mass murder.
According to Dr. Lenore A. Tate, a Sacramento-based psychologist, there is a tenuous link between mental health and gun violence.
“Data has revealed that since the 1970s, 60% of all of the mass shooting perpetrators in the United States have displayed symptoms of paranoia, delusions, anxiety and depression. Other reported finds have shown that many of the mass shooters have either been diagnosed with schizophrenia or had been treated for a mental illness at the times surrounding the shooting,” said Tate.
President Joe Biden called the massacres a “national embarrassment” and recently announced executive actions that would make it harder for disturbed people to access weapons.
“The Justice Department, within 60 days, will publish model ‘red flag’ legislation for states. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others,” according to a White House press statement. “The President urges Congress to pass an appropriate national ‘red flag’ law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass “red flag” laws of their own. In the interim, the Justice Department’s published model legislation will make it easier for states that want to adopt red flag laws to do so.”
According to Tate, red flags laws are a start but won’t magically fix mass shootings.
“There are states that have red flag laws in which family members and/or mental health professionals can petition the courts to temporarily keep firearms out of the hands of those who are to be a danger to themselves or others,”| she said. “We do know that these laws have prevented suicides. Mental health professionals can provide expertise in risk assessments and assist courts in making better-informed decisions about the risk or the relationship between mental illness and the risk of violence.”
“Many purport that gun violence has a social context and is one that mental health practitioners cannot be expected to address. Legislatively, mental health workers have a duty to warn but it is untenable to put a predictive value on them. We can provide a diagnosis and treatment but also there can be social, economic, substance abuse and political problems that impact this issue,” she added.