A new Gallup poll taken after last week’s tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard reveals that Americans fault the mental health system for mass shootings, even more than inadequate gun laws. Apparently, according to Joe Public, guns don’t kill, psychotic people do. The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre echoed these sentiments on Sunday: “If we leave these homicidal maniacs on the street … they’re going to kill,” he said.
Notwithstanding a few high-profile defendants — such as James Holmes in Aurora, Colo., and Jared Loughner in Tucson, Ariz. — whose mental health issues are well-documented, no clear relationship between psychiatric diagnosis and mass murder has been established.
Mass murderers generally do not hear voices or suspect that they are being followed. More typically, they are miserable, but not to the point that they’d be hospitalized or lose their ability to purchase guns.