Grab Your Pitchforks, the Mentally Ill Are Here
By: Crystal Defatte
We walk amongst you, living our day to day lives, most of us with no outward signs of the darkness that lives inside us. Clutch your pearls and grab your pitchforks, the mentally ill are here.
Or not. Don’t get me wrong, we’re here. We’ve always been here and if I were a betting woman, I’d say we always will be, at least until this country re-embraces eugenics (nothing would surprise me anymore). Maybe you don’t have to pick up that pitchfork quite yet.
I can’t help but feel a little personally attacked when another mass shooting happens and mental illness is used as an explanation for the killer’s actions. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Society wants to think there’s no real reason for it. We want to believe that the society we belong to isn’t sick, only the guy with the gun is. We want to think you’d have to be crazy to do what they’re doing. We desperately want to find a scapegoat so we don’t have to actually do anything to change society because that’s just too damned hard to do when most of us barely have the energy left to survive in an increasingly hard world. So if we the mentally ill are the problem, why isn’t there more violence?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a year. That’s 46.6 million American adults walking around mentally ill not shooting people. Now I know what your thinking, “But Crystal, those are just the ones who get a little blue sometimes or a little anxious sometimes, what about the really serious ones?” Well, guess what? 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. has what is classified as a serious mental illness. For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that’s 11.2 million seriously mentally ill people who somehow manage to not shoot up a house of worship, school, shopping center, garlic festival, concert, or (insert next target).
According to MentalHealth.gov,
“The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.”
In other words, I should be more afraid of you “normies” than you should be afraid of me.
“But Crystal,” you say, “surely it’s the video games or lack of prayer in schools that cause these bloodbaths, right?” Oh, if only it were that simple! We could just ban violent media and have mandatory school prayer and all would be grand! But, alas, it’s not those either. As reported by AP News, Patrick Markey, a psychology professor at Villanova University who focuses on video games, found in his research that men who commit severe acts of violence actually play violent video games less than the average male. About 20% were interested in violent video games, compared with 70% of the general population. Another study by Markey and his colleagues showed that violence tends to dip when a new violent movie or video game comes out, possibility because people are at home playing the game or in theaters watching the movie. As for prayer in school, according to WIN/Gallup International polls, the least religious countries are:
- China (7% feel religious)
- Japan (13% feel religious)
- Estonia (16% feel religious)
- Sweden (19% feel religious)
- Norway (21% feel religious)
- Czech Republic (23% feel religious)
- Hong Kong (26% feel religious)
- Netherlands (26% feel religious)
- Israel (30% feel religious)
- United Kingdom (30% feel religious)
The U.S. has higher murder rates than all of these, and that’s all mur0ders, not just ones involving firearms where you’d expect us to be worse simply because we have more guns. So obviously a lack of religion isn’t causing mass shootings.
Wanna know what is causing these mass killings? We don’t even have to ask, the killers are telling us through manifestos and social media posts. It’s white supremacy, xenophobia, misogyny, and other hallmarks of the radical right. It’s a president who sends out dog-whistle calls to action to his base. It’s a sick society hurtling towards jackbooted fascist hate, not a sick individual mind.