The most fortunate of us, if not professionally mandated, probably are not familiar with the DSM-5. It is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders currently in its fifth edition which categorizes and describes mental illness.

The point I wish to make is that “homicidal” is not in the DSM and is not a form of mental illness. Although it is not impossible that a person with mental illness might be homicidal it is certainly not more likely than that a person without mental illness might be homicidal.

I make this point because it is incorrect to suppose that all mass murderers are people with mental illness. They are not. People with mental illness are our neighbors and friends, members of our church and our family. As with all chronic illnesses, their lives are not easy and it is a grave injustice to them to suppose that they are dangerous. They are actually more likely to be the victims of crime, than the perpetrators. 

While it most certainly is an excellent idea to fund and make available mental health services, to suppose that this and not reasonable gun regulation will solve our national problem of mass shootings is sadly mistaken. It is a gun problem and the solution must address the prevalence, deadliness, and easy availability of guns, especially weaponry designed for military use.

So while it is laudable to improve mental health services, some of which are seriously aggravated by gun violence, such as anxiety and depression, regulating gun accessibility and would certainly be a more effective approach to eliminating gun violence by getting to the root of the problem. 

Sandra Shimon
Gun Responsibility Advocates
Oak Park

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