Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wait, you mean the gun didn’t make Loughner do it?

As I’ve heard Dennis Miller say, the nutters are always gonna getcha.

A Predictable Tragedy in Arizona from Dr. E. Fuller Torrey in The Wall Street Journal tells us that the amazing thing isn’t that the tragic shooting in Arizona occurred, but that it doesn’t happen more often. Why? Read the article.

The big picture is even scarier. Based on Arizona's 2010 population and on estimates by the National Institute of Mental Health of the number of individuals with untreated schizophrenia at any given time, there are today in Arizona over 21,000 individuals with untreated schizophrenia. Most of them, thankfully, are not violent. But a small number of them—about 10% according to my meta-analysis of relevant studies—do become violent, usually because of their delusional thoughts and what their voices (auditory hallucinations) are telling them. This situation holds in every state. It is thus not a question of if such tragedies will occur but rather when and how often. (emphasis mine. gbw)

Of course, the public policy discussion centers around gun control because, obviously the gun made Loughner crazy.

Dr. Torrey is the founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center and the author of "The Insanity Offense: How America's Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens" (W.W. Norton, 2008).