Thursday, October 05, 2017

Ignorance and opportunism

Why do some people do evil things? Are they born evil, or become so later? The one thing we do know is that mental illness is not the cause.

ThinkProgress published a really good piece about this, “Debate around gun control suggests mental illness is the cause of violence. It’s not.” From the article:
"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website states that the vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely than anyone else to be violent. Only three to five percent of violent acts can be attributed to people who have serious mental illnesses, the department website states. In fact, those with mental illnesses are also much more likely to be victims of violent crime."
The article suggests that the Left uses mental illness in the gun debate out of ignorance, while the Right uses it to try and block any and all attempts at common-sense gun law reforms. I think they’re correct about both.

The reality is that there are a whole bunch of reasons why some people do evil things, but, statistically, having a mental illness is unlikely to be one of them. In fact, people who have a mental illness being treated are probably least likely to do something like this, as opposed to, say, some guy who just had a fight with his girlfriend and "snaps". As trivial as a fight with a girlfriend may sound, the truth is that violent crime is often sparked by such petty things—can we really be so sure such petty things don’t play a role in evil acts?

We simply don't know enough about why people do evil things like terrorism and mass murder, or even if some people are just plain evil—and, if so, whether they're born evil or made that way. Considering the wide range of differences in and among humans, isn’t it logical that some people actually might be born evil?

However, we do know that mental illness of and by itself is not the cause of such heinous acts.

It's obviously human nature to try to explain the unexplainable, and sometimes we try too hard to do so. As the investigation of the Las Vegas mass murder unfolds, we'll eventually find out more information to help us understand the why, but right now it truly doesn't matter. We should only think and care about the 58 people that guy murdered in cold blood, and the 527 he injured. THEY deserve our attention and our thoughts, not the monster who did it.

Related: “Portraits of the Las Vegas shooting victims”CNN

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