In this time following the Orlando shooting, a lot of media coverage is focusing on the killer's involvement with ISIS. In previous shootings, when the killer has not been a supporter of radical Islam, the focus shifts to the topic of his or her mental health.
These discussions are pertinent, and a collective attempt to understand and process events are important components of healing.
However, it is important to be aware of the facts. In the NY Times article, "Investigating the Minds of Mass Killers", statistics show that the majority of mass killers do not have a diagnosable mental illness and that only a quarter of them could have been helped by treatment. Based on media coverage, this is a surprisingly low number. If a quarter of the shootings in this country could be prevented through healthcare reform, that is significant. However, the question then begs to be asked: What about the remaining 75% of shootings? How could they have been prevented?
The answer to many, and surprisingly not to all, is clear: gun control. Stigmatizing mental illness, however, is a clever distraction from the real topic at hand, which is how to prevent assault rifles from getting into the hands of those who should not have access to them to begin with.
Link to New York Times article "Investigating the Minds of Mass Killers".