Health Experts warn most mass shootings aren’t carried out by the mentally ill

After last Wednesdays shooting at a High School in Florida left 17 dead and 20 injured, and the over the 10 other mass shootings to happen this year has sparked heavy debate on common sense gun laws and mental health. But many health experts have warned that Mental Health isn’t the primary problem behind these shootings.

Trump’s argument was bolstered last year when it was revealed that Patrick Kelley who shot up a Church in Texas, had “suffered from mental disorders” and had escaped a psychiatric hospital more than five years ago. Then it was found that the most recent school shooter in Florida, Nickolas Curz, was also said to be know by the community as angry and aggressive.

The fact that the majority of Americans (63%) believe mass shootings in the US have more to do with mental health problems than gun control laws, health professionals warn that people should not draw a connection between mass shootings and mental illness.

Only about 3%-5% of violent acts in the US are committed by individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, and the percentage of crimes they commit with a gun “are lower than the national average for persons not diagnosed with mental illness,” according to findings published in the American Journal of Psychiatry back in 2015.

Studies have also found that the mentally ill are no more likely to become violent than a person without an illness, and that only one percent of violent acts committed by psychiatric patients involved killing a “target”.

“If we were able to magically cure schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, that would be wonderful, but overall violence would go down by only about four percent,” according to Jeffrey Swanson, a professor in psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine, told ProPublica in a interview back in 2014.

The National Rifle Association, has capitalised on the public perception of the mentally ill. Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada in early October of 2017 that left 58 dead and more than 500 injured, NRA Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre also pointed to mental health.

Guns are easier to get than the American Dream:

A forensic psychiatrist at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and author of The Anatomy of Evil, has recently created a database of over 350 mass murderers dating back over a century.While Stone has found that around 20% of mass murderers have been severely mentally ill, he claims that the bigger problem is the accessibility of the weapons.In the Texas shooting for example, Kelley bought the firearms he allegedly used through a federally licensed firearms dealer, where the seller is legally required to conduct a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The 19 Nickolas Cruz that killed 17 people last week at a High School in Florida also purchased his firearm legally despite the FBI and local officials knowing he was a threat. People like this are able to get weapons for two reasons:

  1. Lax gun control laws
  2. Someone doesn’t follow protocol for submitting background information to the FBI.

His name was able to clear the system because the US Air Force admitted they failed to report Kelley’s domestic violence convictions to the FBI – a conviction that, according to federal law, bars an individual from buying a firearm.Researchers say, however, that even if Kelley’s history had been reported to the FBI, he would have still had a way around the system as not all legal firearm purchases in the US require a seller to conduct a background check, fill out a form, or even show ID.The US federal law currently only mandates background checks from firearm retailers with a federal license to sell. For private sales however that involve a seller without a federal license, including those at gun shows, only 19 out of 50 US states mandate a background check or a license or permit to buy a firearm.The private salesman argument has been around awhile and also is known as the “Gun Show Loophole”. These are holes in our legislation that need to be patched to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

According to a 2010 Department of Justice report, “…individuals prohibited by law from possessing guns can easily obtain them from private sellers and do so without any federal records of the transactions”.The NRA has effortlessly been lobbying against expanding gun laws, according to studies from both the Pew Research Center and the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research have found that the majority of Americans, 77%-85%, support background checks for private sales along with other gun-control measures. The NRA argues that “mental illness not the guns or background checks should be “the focus of any policy to address high-profile shootings”. But health experts have also pointed out that the group is also against expanding NICS to include “psychiatrist’s diagnosis, a doctor’s referral, or the option of a law enforcement officer … or seeking mental health treatment”.Including these individuals would be overreaching and “doing so would actually discourage troubled people from getting the help they need”, according to the NRA’s website.Analysts and researchers also highlight that while politicians are quick to blame mental health for mass shootings, Trump and other pro-gun politicians have not said they will increase funding for healthcare providers or mental health research.In his first months in office, Trump repealed a regulation, implemented by the previous administration, that banned gun sales to individuals with certain mental health diagnoses, including those receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses. Now this same administration is saying that mental health is part of the problem despite them removing a regulation that stopped some mentally ill from own firearms.The NRA is one of the largest lobbyists in United States politics and will prove to continue being an uphill battle for common sense gun laws. While pushing the idea that the government wants to ban and take away all guns.


Bernie Sanders comes forward saying Clinton campaign should have spoken out about Russian bots during 2016 election

On Wednesday afternoon, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders appeared on Vermont Public Radio for an interview where he was asked why he didn’t warn his supporters of the Russian bots on the internet during the 2016 election season.

Sanders suggested Hillary Clinton’s campaign should have done more to notify the public that Russians were attempting to sow division during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In the interview he said that he did not know that Russian bots were “promoting my campaign”. In the midst of all of this,” I was out campaigning very hard for Hillary Clinton”. He also went on to say that he was unaware that Russian bots were apparently promoting his campaign.

Sanders said that one member of his campaign staff did speak with the Clinton campaign in September of 2016 to warn them of “strange things happening” on social media, but suggested that his opponent’s campaign had more information about the nature of the attacks.

“If you and your campaign knew there was Russian meddling and it was trying to sow division, why not take that directly to your supporters?” radio host Jane Lindholm asked.

Sanders responded that the “real question to be asked was why didn’t the Clinton campaign do something?”

The Justice Department last week announced charges against 13 Russian nationals and three other Russian groups for allegedly interfering in the 2016 race. The charges allege that Sanders was one of the candidates that Russians sought to support through their efforts, along with the Green party’s candidate Jill Stein.

The indictments’ main emphasis is on the propaganda efforts of one Russian group that has been singled out in particular:m, which is the Internet Research Agency. That group’s operations — which included social media posts, online ads, and organization of rallies in the US — were, the indictment alleges, often (but not exclusively) aimed at denigrating Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy and supporting Donald Trump’s.

This is only a handful of internet troll accounts that the establishment is trying to push as the reason for Donald Trump being in office, when in reality it was the false hope of voting for an anti-establishment candidate that out him there.

According to GallUp 45% of Americans are registered as independent voters, not aligning with any major political party. So already we have almost a majority of our country that doesn’t believe in either of our current political parties and yet people are trying to push the Russian idea that Donald Trump is a Russian plant. People voted for Donald Trump because Hillary Clinton hid everything they hate, and that wanted a straight shooter and thats what they saw in Donald Trump.

It will be very interesting to see where this red scare is by 2020, to see if it will continue to stamp the opposition to the status quo as Russian bots, when in reality its an independent voice wanting change.

Donald Trump in talks about a minimum age requirement for rifles

According to reports Donald Trump is reportedly talking about the potential of implementing a new minimum age of 21 to buy guns similar to the weapon used last week in the deadly Florida high school shooting.

Axios first reported that President Donald Trump has said to associates that he doesn’t believe high school students should be able to purchase guns.

Currently federal law in America has a minimum age of 18 for purchases of rifles or shotguns from licensed dealers and of 21 for handguns. Federal law also says, however, that unlicensed people, such as a friend who is making a one-off sale, can sell rifles or shotguns to those of any age and can sell handguns to those over age 18. States are allowed to make further restrictions.

Handguns are thought to be a higher security risk because they are easily concealed, even though rifles like the AR-15 are more capable in terms of range and ammunition capacity.

According to a source cited from within the White House, Donald Trump has said he would consider imposing an age requirement of 21 for people to buy guns like the AR-15 used in the recent mass shootings.

During the White House press briefing on Tuesday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked whether Trump believes there should be an age limit for people who buy an AR-15.

“I think that’s certainly something that’s on the table for us to discuss, and that we expect to come up over the next couple of weeks,” she said.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Donald Trump said he has directed the DoJ to propose regulations that would ban bump stocks, which was used in the Las Vegas Shooting, devices that allow semi-automatic guns to be modified to shoot hundreds of rounds more rapidly.

Since last weeks school shooting the cry for gun control has echoed across the country with people contacting their legislators, staging school walk outs and in March there has been a march on Washington planned. Will the cries be louder than the NRA lobbyists, that is the question.

Florida House rules Pornography a Public Health Risk after voting against banning Assault Rifles in front of Students

Six days after the school shooting in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, which left 17 people dead, students from in attendance this evening were been told that pornography is a more pressing public health risk than guns. Many student survivors from Stoneman High who had travelled to the state capital to lobby their legislators for stronger gun controls were reportedly in the House gallery overlooking the chamber during their vote.

Prior to classifying pornography as a public health risk, the Florida House voted 36-71 against a motion to consider legislation to outlaw assault rifles and large capacity magazines, effectively killing the bill for the time-being, according to the Associated Press.

After voting against bringing an assault weapons ban to the House floor Tuesday evening, Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives moved on to a proposal to label pornography a “public health risk”. The measure was passed by a voice vote. The pornography bill was sponsored by Republican Rep Ross Spano, who is currently running to become the state’s Attorney General.

Following the shooting in Parkland, students began speaking up, condemning politicians who accept money from the National Rifle Association as putting their lives at risk. They have also organized a march on Washington called “March for our lives” which has spread across to other states and will take place March 24th.

Middle school student shoots himself in Ohio middle school bathroom

On Tuesday Morning at Jackson Memorial Middle School located in Massillon, Ohio the school was out on lockdown earlier that morning after a gun shot was heard. WKYC reported that a 7th grade student suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the bathroom, no other students were injured.

According to USA Today following the situation, the student was taken to a local hospital, but his identity and condition have not been disclosed. Jackson Township Police Chief Mark Brink said the incident occurred at 7:51 a.m. and besides having a firearm he also had a device in his backpack meant to cause a distraction, according to police.

While investigators said the device was not an explosive that would have harmed anyone, they also would not describe it in detail. The gun he managed to get into the school is reported to be a .22 caliber rifle. The condition of the student hasn’t be made public yet.

The middle school and high school in the town were also placed on a lockdown that has since been lifted, students were released to their parents around 10:45 a.m. All four elementary schools in the Jackson Local School District, located about 50 miles outside of Cleveland, were also closed and all extracurricular activities were canceled for the rest of the day.

Donald Trump urges Department of Justice to begin a ban on bump stocks

On Tuesday, United States President Donald Trump directed the Justice Department to write regulations on banning the use of accessories known as “bump stocks”, which allows semiautomatic rifles to be fired more rapidly, his press secretary however declined to rule out supporting restrictions on the purchase of AR-15-style rifles like the one used in a Florida school shooting last week, and other mass shootings in America recently.

The bump stock was used in the shooting last year in Las Vegas, which claimed over 50 lives, injuring over 100 people in the crowd after firing down from a hotel into a concert event. Since that shooting, calls for banning bump stocks have echoed across the country.

President Trump also said in a statement Tuesday:

“I signed a memorandum directing the attorney-general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns, I expect that these critical regulations will be finalised, Jeff, very soon.”

On Monday it was reported that Donald Trump is also supportive of improving background checks for gun owners and making sure local officials communicate with the FBI about criminal backgrounds. This is something that has came as a shock to many as someone that supports the NRA, who don’t have a record of supporting common sense gun laws.

Heres a quote from the White House Press Secretary on Monday:

“Background checks are something that the president is supportive of making more efficient and looking at better ways to improve that process.”

Her briefing was the White House’s first since the attack in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which killed 17 people and reignited calls for stricter gun control.

The suspect in the attack, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, killed 17 people in six minutes, thats basically one killed per minute of him roaming the halls. This was done by using an AR-15 rifle that he had purchased legally. Despite the police being warned of him, and the FBI being tipped off about the shooters in the past. Red flags were everywhere, but the states laws let a killer own a firearm.

On March 24th students from Florida have organized a march on Washington called the ‘March for our lives”, which calls for common sense gun control. This has sparked multiple other marches to be created across the country on the same day. This is the voice of the next generation, and they refuse to be silenced while politicians accept bribes that out lives at risk.

Make The Poor Cold Again, Donald Trump sets sights on eliminating energy assistance for low income citizens

President Trump’s 2019 budget seeks to cut all funding from a program that provides heating assistance subsidies to low-income families in cold-weather states. The administration’s argument: “the program is marred by fraud and unnecessary,” according to AP reports.

The program, which is known as LIHEAP(Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) helps families pay their heating bills primarily in the form of grants that are sent directly to the utility companies or heating fuel vendors.

This isn’t the administrations first time taking a swipe at this program. The administration is using the same arguments from a year ago when it tried to abolish the program, saying it’s rife with fraud and that no one would be left freezing if the program goes away.

Activists and politicians have came out against this move claiming that this puts the elderly, disabled and others in a fixed income at risk.

The LIHEAP program is popular in both cold weather and warm weather states, like Florida and Arizona, where it also distributes money to keep people keep cool in the summer. All told, the program helps 6 million households.

Via Decatur Macon Country Opportunities Corporation

A group of 45 senators have asked the president Donald Trump that he maintains the energy assistance programs. Bernie Sanders told the White House budget director that that the Trump administration is creating “a situation where people will go cold, some may freeze to death.”

Last year Donald Trumps administration faced a battle on Capital Hill on this proposal. It will surely be met with the same resistance this year.

Featured photo via