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The Problem With Blaming Mass Shootings On Mental Illness


In a typical knee-jerk reaction to the tragic shooting earlier this month at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, that left ten people dead, President Obama is reportedly considering executive action to strengthen gun-control laws.

On the other side, leading GOP candidates are turning their attention to mental illness. The general idea seems to be that increasing mental health treatment will reduce the number of mass shootings.

“We can talk about the guns, but there’s a much deeper issue,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich. “I’m open to anything on mental illness… Look, it’s part of the reason I expanded Medicaid, is so that people could get help, so that the mentally ill could get some help.” Sen. Marco Rubio said new gun-control laws would not have prevented the Oregon shooting, and that, “in cases of mental illness or in the cases of someone who just wants a gun to carry out a crime, they’re not going to follow the law.” Donald Trump’s reaction was characteristically candid: “It doesn’t matter how well you fill them in, at some point, some wacky, crazy guy with a high IQ, but who’s totally nuts, is going to get through that crack.”

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