Mental illness, violence and guns are deadly and each adding synergistically to the other and the end result is harrowing incidents like the shooting spree by Elliot Rodger, son of Hollywood director Peter Rodger in Isla Vista. The shooting took 7 innocent and bright young lives leaving a horrified nation seeking answers and explanation which are too obvious but difficult to be accepted.
Deranged killers like Elliot Rodger evoke intense contemplations and debate about the state of our mental healthcare system. It also leads to the question, if such incidents like the one in Isla Vista can be prevented by improving our mental healthcare system. Though comforting it is far from truth or should I say the complete truth.
The killing of six people by a deranged man has already stated a debate among competing Democratic and Republican plans in Congress to develop government’s ability to help people beleaguered by mental illness before they end up doing something horrible.
Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a clinical psychologist and author of one of the bills, said hours after news of the killings in Isla Vista broke, “Once again, our mental health system has failed and more families have been destroyed because Washington hasn’t had the courage to fix it. How many more people must lose their lives before we take action on addressing cases of serious mental illness?”
Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz who had tabled a bill along with Rep. Tim Murphy, was himself wounded in a 2011 attack in Tucson that also brought the end of the political career of Rep. Gabby Giffords. The new bill seeks to improve the nation’s badly frayed mental health system which could preempt any such acts by identifying the mentally ill person.
Elliot Rodger is the latest addition to a ever growing list of deranged killers who have gone berserk. Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 at Virginia Tech in 2007, Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooter, and James Holmes, who killed 12 people in 2012 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo, all had previous visits to mental health professionals before their rampages. It is imperative that counselors, mental health professionals and even the family members of such persons are able to identify the symptoms before the balance of the person tips over.