Once the dust settled, and the initial shock and panic abated somewhat after yet another mass shooting, traumatized Americans once again began to seek answers. “Why did that happen?” and “who could do such a thing?” Fanatical gun advocates once again chided in with their harmful, dangerous myth. “The shooter must’ve been mentally ill.”

Perpetuating the myth that mental illness is the cause of mass shootings only serves to stigmatize the mentally ill even further. It also distracts from the conversation that needs to be had over gun-control in America. Studies show that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illnesses aren’t violent, just like the overwhelming majority of all people aren’t violent. Only 4 percent of the violence of any kind in the U.S, is attributable to mental illness. Therefore, 96 percent of the violence in America has nothing to do with mental illness.

“We have a strong responsibility as researchers who study mental illness to try to debunk that myth,” says Jeffrey Swanson, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University. “I say as loudly and as strongly and as frequently as I can, that mental illness isn’t a very big part of the problem of gun violence in the U.S.”

Research has also long debunked another common explanation among conservatives that violent video games are driving the mass shooting crisis. There’s absolutely no statistical link between playing violent video games and shooting people. Only 12% of the school shooters showed any interest in video games.

All other developed countries also have mental illness, video games, “godlessness,” etc., but only America has frequent mass shootings because only America’s awash in firearms including many made strictly for war. The gun homicide rate in the U.S. is 21 times higher than the average rate of any other developed country. The gun suicide rate is 7 times higher. The suicide success rate for guns is 90%. The success rate for all other suicide attempts is 1 to 2%.

Meanwhile, the NRA continues to have more influence on our legislature than 90% of our population.

America! It’s a gun problem! Do something!

Ron Hurst


(1) comment


I grew up in Nacogdoches in the 1950s and 60s. Many of us young boys had long guns as early as 13 or 14. no one was ever shot or injured with a gun. GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE DO. I guess the reason for this may be attributed to the fact that most us had two parents at home that didn't smoke pot or have an affinity for authority , we said a prayer daily at school, did the pledge using under God, song patriotic songs, said Merry Christmas at school and most of us attended church on Sunday. This was the norms for most young black men during that time. The times haven't changed people changed often for the worst.

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