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Mental Health And Murder

Mass shootings, Sandy Hook, and how we care for troubled minds.

Stuffed animals and a sign calling for prayer rest at the base of a tree near the Newtown VIllage Cemetery in Newtown, Conn., Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Six-year-old student Jack Pinto, who was killed Friday when a gunman opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School, is scheduled to be buried at the cemetery Monday afternoon. (AP)

Stuffed animals and a sign calling for prayer rest at the base of a tree near the Newtown VIllage Cemetery in Newtown, Conn., Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Six-year-old student Jack Pinto, who was killed Friday when a gunman opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School, is scheduled to be buried at the cemetery Monday afternoon. (AP)

It’s important to say right off the bat that we do not know the whole story with Adam Lanza, the young man at the terrible center of the terrible killings in Newtown, Connecticut. Reports have raised questions about his mental health before massacre and suicide. We’ll wait and learn.

But mental health issues have clearly been key in mass shootings at Virgina Tech, in Tuscon with Gabby Giffords, at Aurora, Colorado’s movie theater. To look at mental health is not a substitute for looking at guns. It’s not to stigmatize. But it’s also not to ignore.

This hour, On Point: mental health and our drumbeat of mass killings.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

E. Fuller Torrey, research psychiatrist specializing in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He’s the author of several books, including “The Insanity Offense: How America’s Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens.”

Pete Earley, author of Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.

Patricia Rehmer, commissioner for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the State of Connecticut.

From Tom’s Reading List

Huffington Post “The world has been shocked by the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where a shooting in a primary school has resulted in the loss of 20 young children and six adults, in addition to the shooter and his mother. Our thoughts and hearts go out to their families, friends, and community, as well as to the professionals involved.”

Salt Lake Tribune “Chaffetz, R-Utah, traveled to Newtown to appear on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, just two days after a young man killed 20 children and six adults at the town’s elementary school. The shooter, Adam Lanza, also killed his mother prior to the school shooting and took his own life. Friends and acquaintances describe him as troubled.”

Bloomberg “Twenty children and six adults were shot to death on Dec. 14 by a man with an assault rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The suspect, Adam Lanza, 20, killed himself at the school with one of the two handguns he also was carrying. He shot his mother, Nancy, earlier at their nearby home, Connecticut state police said.”

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