Jason Dollar: Blaming mass shootings on mental illness is a cynical ploy to protect guns | COMMENTARY

Another day in America, and another day of mass gun violence. And another day of headlines screaming the alarm about the alleged mental health of the shooter. Before I continue, let me make it perfectly clear before the haters descend on me to claim I have sympathy for that murderer. I do not. Although my faith teaches me to love my neighbor, and my training as a lawyer guides me to believe in due process of law, that murderer deserves no positive thoughts from any of us. That said, the circumstances leading up to a heinous act and how policies are crafted in response to these tragedies demand scrutiny, not exploitative and sensationalized headlines. For example, at the time of the event, the Daily Beast rushed to post an article online with the headline: “ ‘Bipolar’ San Jose Shooter Was Accused of Rape, Spooked Neighbors”. Their editors chose the subheading in red bold capital letters: “LONER”. Such headlines amount to clickbait and do not pass for civil discourse. We need to consider the impact that the rush to deadline is having on how we discuss urgent social issues facing our country. A quick breakdown shows that the headline makes a direct association between a mental illness (“bipolar”, not bipolar disorder), the murders themselves, and other violent crime (rape). In other words, he did bad stuff before, so it is no surprise he did this too. Although it may seem to make sense, such correlations are red herrings and do […]

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