It’s Not Mental Illness Stupid. It’s Guns!

By Dr David Laing Dawson

Each day the newspapers, CNN, Google, these last few days, headline the question of motive for the most recent mass shooting in Texas. Little has been released save the man’s name and a bit of background, presumably because there are multiple “crime scenes” to be investigated first.

But what struck me was this hunger for motive, for reasons and explanations. We need the reassurance of specificity, of explanation, of cause and effect. We need to understand. And we want to understand in a manner that will reassure us that we are not vulnerable; that we will not find ourselves at either end of that rifle.

But it is also a way of deflecting from some uncomfortable answers, some simpler explanations. So I thought I would take it upon myself to spell those out once again.

This man was angry and depressed and he had a loaded gun in his car. Obviously he was angry, and depressed because he would know as we do that taking that action is suicidal.

Why angry and depressed?

Does it matter? Lost a job? Lost a partner? Developing mental illness? Years of grievances? Broke? Friendless? Paranoid?

There are many people driving around or sitting in chairs angry and depressed.

It’s the loaded gun that makes the difference between getting a ticket, having your car impounded and taking a taxi, breaking down and crying at the side of the road, railing at the cops, being reminded of the unfairness of life, and what actually transpired that morning in Texas.

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