Gun regulation has to improve, but so does mental health literacy

I respect Mr Fareed Zakaria’s work as an analyst in politics and world affairs. But some of his statements in his recent (october 5, 2017) Washington Post article Talking about mental health after mass shootings is a cop-out need to be clarified.

Yes, gun regulation has to improve. But so does mental health literacy. When Mr Fareed states people who have mental disorders are not inherently highly prone to violence, he totally misses the point. His statement may well be true regarding the total population of persons with mental health problems. But there is a segment within this population which is highly prone to violence. The useful question to be answered here would be, What are the mental health conditions of a person capable of such violence against his fellow human beings? Most mental health experts, and the literature as well, would agree the shooter was some sort of psychopath or sociopath — the technical DSM–5 term is Antisocial Personality Disorder. The useful question which follows is, What can we do to prevent such violent behavior? Early detection and attention of these particularly antisocial conditions, as well as of their causes, risk factors and protective factors, should be encouraged when designing and applying safety, educational, and other public policies.

A first version of this post was published as a comment to the original article in the Washington Post.

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