The Navy Yard Shooting: Is Mental Illness Always to Blame?
On Monday, Aaron Alexis went on a shooting spree in a Navy yard in Washington D.C. So far, we know that he killed 12 people and wounded 8 others, and the rampage ended with the death of Alexis. While watching the news coverage, all I heard about was Alexis' mental health history and how he could have “slipped through the system.” Why is our mental health system always to blame? Why is it that many people automatically turn to the perpetrator's mental health as the only explanation to these heinous crimes? Are we just looking for someone or something to blame? Could it be that this person is just mean or evil? He could have had a perfectly healthy mind.
According to CNN, Alexis was “frustrated with life,” but who isn't? Who doesn't feel this way at some point or another in their lives? Now don't get me wrong – there are people out there with mental health problems who do become violent, but this is not normally the case (Are People With Mental Illness More Violent?).
People are afraid of what they don't understand. Friends of Alexis said that he was fun to be around and was always laughing, but that he had an explosive temper and had a criminal history. These traits don't necessarily mean that he was mentally ill, yet those who don't live with these traits and with mental health problems don't understand how these traits can make up a person's normal baseline behavior.
This is a debate that I think will forever exist, and this event will cause quite a few of us to shrink back in fear of this stigma, to avoid being placed in that category of violent and ready to snap.
Of course, I am in no way jumping to any conclusions about this particular case because there are still too many unknown facts.
What are your thoughts?
Poe, A. (2013, September 17). The Navy Yard Shooting: Is Mental Illness Always to Blame?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bipolarvida/2013/09/the-navy-yard-shooting-is-mental-illness-always-to-blame
Author: Alexa Poe
While I do agree with you about absolutely needing to put the stigma aside, there <em>are</em> people out there living with mental illnesses who do not know that they're crossing that line. Granted, it's not as common as the media portrays it, but it does happen. Aaron Alexis was killed in the end, so he will not be able to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Again, thank you for commenting, and I hope you're well!
Thank you for replying and sharing, and I hope you're well!
As I said in a previous reply a few minutes ago, I wasn't implying at all that he was or wasn’t mentally ill, or that these episodes don't happen. I only meant to point out that every time something like this happens, it always seems as if the first thing to get questioned is our mental health system. I have most certainly seen quite a few different types of episodes, so please do not think or feel as if I am looking at this from an unobjective point of view.
I hope you're well,
I agree with you, and I've faced the same dilemma in school as well. Perhaps someday is right!
I hope you're well, and take care!