By: Mark Hyman
Last week’s Connecticut school shooting was indeed horrific. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims.
Whenever there’s a tragedy there’s invariably a call to do something. But what?
First, we must acknowledge we will never be able to eliminate all violence. Tragic incidents will still occur. We can never achieve perfection in society.
But there’s a common thread. Adam Lanza, the 20-year old behind last week’s horror was like Red Lake, Minnesota’s Jeffrey Weise, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine, Virginia Tech’s Seung-Hui Cho and James Holmes who perpetrated the Colorado movie massacre.
They’re like so many others. Mentally ill. Many diagnosed long before they committed tragedy. Some — after the fact.
There was a time when the mentally ill were institutionalized. To protect themselves. And society. By the 1970s there was a drive to mainstream the mentally ill. States closed institutions and dumped the mentally ill among the general public. Some were given prescription drugs but with little or no supervision.
They comprise many of today’s homeless. Drugs, alcohol and mental illness.
Unfortunately, mental illness rarely enters the public debate following tragedies such as this.
Sane people don’t commit acts like last week’s. It’s time to rethink how we handle the mentally ill.
Mark Hyman hosts "Behind the Headlines," a commentary program for Sinclair Broadcast Group.