Recently, I heard news that 12 people had been killed by a man in Virginia Beach. The man, who's name I don't want to share because I don't want to glorify or publicize him, was described as a "disgruntled employee" who came in and shot down 12 people, injuring several others in the process.
Like everything else that happens after a mass shooting, the gun control debate came up yet again, despite the fact that the shooter was using a legally owned .45-caliber handgun with a silencer. Most gun control debates involve limiting the type of weapon, usually automatic weapons, available for sale to the public.
BUT WHY ARE WE SO FOCUSED ON THE TOOL OR METHOD OF KILLING RATHER THAN THE PERSON BEHIND IT?
MENTAL HEALTH IN MASS SHOOTERS
As I mentioned before, today's post does not intend to take blame away from the mass shooter. However, there are very limited resources and a strong negative stigma associated with mental illness all over the world and in the United States.
A lot of people either have no money to be treated for mental health problems, or they are told to just "get over it" by relatives, friends, classmates, teachers, and church officials.
I have general anxiety disorder. This means that I get anxious about certain things. I still operate normally in life and try to keep my reactions behind closed doors between trusted people like my mom, best friends, or my husband. However, I have had to fess up to my disorder to a church official who told me that, despite physical ailments that were coming to light because of my anxiety disorder, I still needed to come to church every single service, even if that meant distracting others.
I've had family members shrug off my issues. I've had coworkers unknowingly say things about my nervous energy in a bit of a negative way. Unless you've experienced my illness full-time, you don't know what it's like. Even if I told you.
WITH MANY SIDE EFFECTS OF MENTAL ILLNESSES TRANSLATING TO PHYSICAL HEALTH, MOST PEOPLE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS WOULD GLADLY "GET OVER IT" IF THEY COULD, BUT OUR BRAINS ARE SICK
HOW WE CAN ALL HELP
1. STOP REACTING BADLY WHEN SOMEONE TELLS YOU ABOUT THEIR MENTAL HEALTH
Mental health problems are becoming increasingly more common as the years go on. If someone tells you they have a major mental health issue, don't get "creeped out." Many people who have major health issues are getting treatment of some sort. Don't villainize those who are upfront about their struggles.
3. CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT AND WORKER'S RIGHTS
Your representative can bring up your concerns in front of other representatives. They can help normalize the mental health talk in your country.
But another big thing that needs to be handled is worker's rights. A lot of other mass shooters are people who worked at the place they shot up, like the Virginia Beach shooting. Some employees who may have a hidden mental illness will try to take things into their own hands if their issues aren't being handled, if they feel there is a problem in the workplace, or if they feel unfairly compensated.
There are companies that don't give lunch time to their employees, don't provide proper breaks, and threaten to black-ball the employee if they leave for a new job. Americans need more time off and need to be compensated fairly to avoid mental exhaustion which might lead to depression or general anxiety disorder.
BE THE CHANGE
Speak out about unfairness toward those with mental illnesses and disorders. Instead of droning on about what gun someone used, look at that person's humanity and ask if we as a nation did enough to prevent what happened not at the gun store, but in the school, workplace, and the home.
I will say once again that while mental illnesses can't be "controlled," most reactions from them can be. Those who have committed a mass shooting should not be excused for the awful atrocities they've committed. I just think there is a better way to handle this issue.