The Real Social Justice Issue: Taking Care of the Violent Mentally Ill
Is gun control the solution?
In the aftermath of the shootings in Newton, Connecticut, the national conversation has turned to gun control, with many calling for stricter guns and a re-imposition of an assault weapon ban. In "The Real Social Justice Issue: Taking Care of the Violent Mentally Ill," Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Affairs Dr. Anne Hendershott argues that gun control laws are only part of the solution.
“While progressives claim the moral high ground in their calls for gun control,” Hendershott writes, “they tend to ignore the fact that progressive policies on mental illness may have contributed to this dark day in Newtown.” Indeed, for more than forty years, Hendershott writes, "we have been defining down the risks posed by the violent mentally ill.”
In some cases, the results have been disastrous, particularly in big cities. “Despite a declining crime rate in New York City,” Hendershott writes, “there continue to be attacks on innocent people by violent mentally ill persons.” And historically, research has shown a link between mental instability and violence, even if only in a few cases. For example, Hendershott notes that
“Nearly half (47) of the 100 rampage killers had a history of mental health problems before they killed, 20 had been hospitalized for psychiatric problems, and 42 had been seen by mental health professionals. Psychiatric drugs had been prescribed to 24 of the killers at some point before their rampages, but most were not taking their prescribed medication when they committed their crimes.”
To ignore these facts and focus entirely on gun control would be a “mistake.” The real social justice issue is to “help the weakest among us—the unborn, the sick, the poor, and the troubled.”
Click here to read the full article on catholicworldreport.com.
Anne Hendershott spent more than 15 years as a tenured full professor at the University of San Diego. She is currently Distinguished Visiting Faculty Member at The King’s College in New York City. She is the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education and The Politics of Deviance. She lives in Connecticut.
The King’s College educates students in the ideas upon which nations rise and fall. With a focused curriculum in the liberal arts tradition, students are prepared to help shape, and eventually to lead, the institutions of government, civil society, media, law, business, education, the arts, and the church. King’s is a Christian college located in New York City.
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