From 1992 to 1997 I lived next door to a crazy lady. Her name was Dee. When we first moved there my brother was 5 years old. That first year Dee accused him of breaking into her home to put cobwebs in the corners of her house and chased my brother with a lawn mower. She regularly had altercations with the German lady at the end of the block. The German lady was old and had some small language difficulties, but she was tough and didn't take shit from Dee. Dee physically attacked her several times. Dee made threats against everyone in our little culdesac. The police were called to our small neighborhood almost every day and sometimes 2-3 times a day. They couldn't do anything. Their hands were tied. Dee understood the legal system. She was taken away once when the altercation with the German woman was seen by someone else. The other times she attacked the woman the police couldn't do anything because both women had marks and no one was there to witness who attacked first. These days they would probably both be taken in and charged with assault. But the police new that Dee initiated the attacks. And the police didn't have a lot of options. Dee owned guns. Even when she was dangerous she never used her guns.
In 1991, before we moved to that neighborhood, my mother had her first psychotic break. She was finally diagnosed with the bipolar disease that had plagued her all of my life. She was also diagnosed as psychotic schizophrenic. We were able to get her to go to the mental hospital herself that time. Once she checked herself in they were allowed to hold her against her will for only two weeks. That was because she entered the hospital voluntarily. If she had been taken there by police they could have held her for longer. But to be taken by police she had to be obviously a danger to herself and others. She was hallucinating. She was hearing God through Enya. She was drinking gallons of water a day. She actually got water poisoning from drinking too much water. She was also drinking an ungodly amount of alcohol. We later found dozens of empty bottles she had hid around the house. She was dangerous. But she hadn't done anything to show that she was dangerous. Law enforcement cant take any legal action until the person does something to warrant the legal action. Many years later I had to ask for adult wellness checks on her whenever she would go off her meds, which was often. Yet the police were only able to take her to a hospital once out of those many times because that time she became belligerent (hostile and aggressive) and did something which warranted being detained. They took her to the regular hospital for a mental health check and they determined she should be committed into the mental health facility.
The drugs don't cure her. They moderate her behaviors and give her inhibitions she doesn't have without them. They take away the voices in her head and the hallucinations. But... the regular person would assume she was 'bat shit crazy' if they heard her talk even when she is on her medication. The medication doesn't stop her from making threats or wanting to harm people. The medication makes her less likely to go through with her desires to hurt people. My mother doesn't own any guns but I know that she knows how to use a rifle with a scope on it. My mother might go off her meds one day and track me down and might even try to kill me. She won't do it with a gun. That wouldn't be painful enough. She might use a knife. And there isn't a single thing that anyone can do about that potential threat.
People who have never experienced the law and mental illness systems working together have no idea how broken they are. Police and law enforcement are limited in what they can legally do.The point of every mental health hospital is to rehabilitate and to release. There are no prison hospitals in the US anymore. For many people with mental health issues this is good. But for people who have psychotic breaks and other chemical imbalances in the brain it means that they are still insane and walking among us. Many people who are insane never kill. But for those who want to kill or harm the only thing standing between us and their choice to act on their desires is them taking their meds. If they are like my mother, they don't believe they need the meds. She usually reduces her medications until she just stops taking them. She once told someone she had schizophrenia but was in remission. You can't be in remission from a chemical imbalance in the brain. You also can't be rehabilitated from it. Oh... also... sometimes the meds just stop working. My mother was on lythium to start with. But that stopped working. They had to change it. Regular people have NO IDEA. The mental health system is so much worse than you ever thought it was. But, to be fair, most mentally ill people don't go out and comitt murder or go on a killing rampage. You hear about those in the media, but they are a very small percentage of the mentally ill.
The issue is far more complicated than most people realize. And most people have no experience with mental derangement and violence. Someone in a psychotic break is often actually much physically stronger than normal. When my mother was being held against her will that first time she broke through the restraints (like extra wide and extra strong seat belt restraints) and it took 3-4 large men to restrain her. They showed us the restraint that she broke through. There was a case in England where adult twin women had potentially psychotic breaks at the same time. They ran into traffic and were both hit by cars. One woman broke both her legs and was still conscious and screaming and spitting at officers trying to help her. The other twin had minimal injuries but hit her head. She remained conscious and started attacking an officer. It took multiple officers and bystanders to restrain her. So... one officer against one deranged person is not a fair fight. The odds are in favor of the deranged person.
What happens after a mass school murder is that people get scared. Rightfully so. When people are scared they lash out. It's practically a mob mentality. Ms. Gonzalez and all those kids who were there are understandably angry, scared, hurt, and traumatized. They should not be asked to weigh in on gun control and mental health at this stage. They are also children. They see the world through the eyes of children and yet have a lot of misinformation right at their fingertips. They have access to point fingers anywhere they want and the political agendas are giving them just that place. Politicians always jump to push their agendas in these situations. The media jumps to cover and instigate arguments on whatever brings them the highest ratings. And regular adults jump to weigh in on what went wrong. This all could have been averted if just this one thing were different.
No. No one thing will stop this from happening.
In China a man went into a kindergarten and killed almost all the children with a knife. He then killed himself. And while that is bad enough... China then had a spate of at least 20 copycat instances. People thought it was contagious because it just kept happening over and over again in rapid succession.
The US experiences mass murder school violence more than any other country in the world, but it does happen occasionally in other places. The example in China was much more similar to what happens in the US except that the occurances happened in a shorter time frame than the school shootings happen in the US. I think we need to study not the weapons used but type of crime being committed. I think it is a more specific type of crime than people give it credit for. And I think that the type of crime it is includes every instance, not just one instance alone.
If you want to stop mass murder like this there are a lot of things that have to change. You have to look at more than just the mental state of the person committing the crime and they type of weapon used. Consider the fact that in the instances in China the perpetrators were all adults but in the US, the mass murder crimes are all committed by children/young adults.
Consider also this... There is a gun culture in the US. There are entire communities (mostly in rural and midwest or southern areas) where children grow up with guns in their homes used for hunting. Those children grow up being educated about guns, gun safety, and why you use guns. The last time I looked it up, only one shooter had been raised like this. Some shooters have been hunting but they weren't part of the culture that takes a responsible stance on guns and they weren't discouraged from glorifying guns the way children who grow up in responsible gun use mentality are. Do they kill people with guns... yes, some of them do. Or knives, or axes, or whatever the hell is available to them. But they don't go hunting their peers at school. It seems like that is something we should look at.
We need to implement more than just drills of how to escape an incident in our schools. These aren't dangers like fire or tornadoes. They aren't threats like nuclear bombs. We should stop pretending that ducking and covering is the best we can do for our children's safety. We need to stop arguing about things that won't solve the problem and get working on solutions that will mitigate the problem.
I am not for taking guns away from people, unless specific people are danger to society. I don't think that everyone with a mental illness of any kind should be prevented from owning a gun. I think that people with mental illnesses who are a danger to society should be locked up, and I think that the mental health system should stop pretending they can cure or rehabilitate crazy. But I also don't think that gun control or mental health will stop mass murders in schools.