If we continue to hope that every angry, entitled male with a grudge and an arsenal can be cured by the mental health system, we doom ourselves to watching these tragedies unfold again and again.
This past month, eleven Jewish people were shot at a synagogue by a man who had posted anti-Semitic comments online. Two African-American people were murdered at a grocery store by a gunman who had just tried and failed to enter a black church. Twelve people were shot and killed at a Thousand Oaks nightclub. Like clockwork, public speculation about the presumed mental illness of the shooters unfolded soon thereafter. As the events of each man’s past were slowly unearthed, they started to ring familiar bells: run-ins with the police, domestic violence, involvement with online hate groups, bar fights, brief psychological interventions for threats of suicide or violence. Many of these mass shooters had previous diagnoses of things like depression, autism spectrum disorders, or anxiety. But even if these diagnoses were accurate, did they cause the shootings?
When someone robs a liquor store or assaults their girlfriend, we don’t automatically assume they are mentally ill. Even people who murder neighbors, rivals or family members don’t garner such diagnostic speculation. So why is it different after a mass shooting?
. . . Psychology Today