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Not a mental health problem

September 03, 2019

To the Editor:

It was good to see you taking responsibility (Our View: Reducing mass violence) for the mess we are in by saying “We have a mental health problem”. Unfortunately you are wrong about our problem of violence. It is not a mental health problem; it is a characterological problem. The violence you decry as an individual problem, is in reality, a characteristic of our country’s belief that violence can solve problems. If we didn’t believe this, why would we have the largest military organization in the history of the world? The use of violence is a basic part of our history. The earliest militias were formed, not to protect local communities from an oppressive government, but to kill the Natives who objected to us taking their land. Later when the Natives had been subdued, the militia were used to hunt, capture and/or kill runaway slaves, and then, still later, to oppress workers who were asking for a better deal. No, you do not have a mental health problem, you have a character problem, which as your opinion piece demonstrates, you refuse to recognize and accept. You would rather blame those among us who are afflicted with a mental illness than to take responsibility for your own views. If our mass violence were the result of a few mentally ill people, as you seem to think, we would not be the only country in the world with the level of mass violence we have. The mentally ill are to be found all over the face of the earth, and no matter where they are found, deserve our love and care, not our blame.

Jim Leschke




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