Media about mass murders misses the mark

by Diane Francis

Protests after Sandy Hill massacre by disturbed gunman

Coverage of the slaughter by a disturbed and violent Navy contractor took a bizarre twist this week. The point is that it doesn’t matter who hired him, and who should not have hired him: This fellow was a human time bomb who remained undiagnosed and untreated for years.

If he hadn’t been hired by a Navy contractor, he would have bought guns and killed 12 people in a McDonald’s or at a kindergarten or at a political rally.

The United States can keep its gun laws, but not without a public health push to find and provide help to those many millions of persons who hear voices, cannot control their violent impulses and who cannot function normally. Other countries, in Europe or Canada for instance, regard violence as a healthcare issue when appropriate, not as a moral issue.

Every serial or mass murderer leaves the same fingerprints behind: Failure in all regards, socially and economically. They are people who can sometimes make a living but often live under a bridge or on the streets. They abuse substances, other people and themselves. They need help, interdiction and ongoing treatment but this won’t happen until there is widespread access to health care, mental and physical, as well as widespread acceptance that as many as 10 percent of every society on earth is disturbed, disabled and potentially dangerous to themselves, loved ones or to strangers.

The ongoing media debate by senior journalists and pundits is off base. This is not only upsetting but is a dangerous distraction from the debate and conversation that Americans must have in order to reduce the human suffering amongst them.