Newtown Massacre: Stop Conflating Violence and Mental Illness

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About xoJane, Jane Pratt's lifestyle site for women, is not about changing yourself to fit any mold of what others think you should be. It is about celebrating who you are. Like Sassy and Jane before it, is written by a group of women (and some token males) with strong voices, identities and opinions, many in direct opposition to each other, who are living what they are writing about.


  1. Stop Conflating Violence and Mental Illness? Stop abusing Mental Illness would be a better message. The Violence with which mental illness/health is approached in the USA is quite staggering.

    Just an idea – but if you treat mental illness/health with violence may that lead to people with mental illness or health issues becoming conditioned to being Violent? I can see a very distinct order of chicken and egg there!

    If your going to blame adverts you better look at how you advertise yourself to others.

  2. I agree with Mr. Smith. I’ve been working with mentally ill people, as well as people with regular problems of living, for more than 40 years. I’ve also worked with violent men, some were both violent and mentally ill and some were violent for other reasons. The last line in the article is important to hear: “I’m afraid you’re going to need to move on to other subjects. Subjects like gun control. Like sexism and misogyny. Like how we talk about masculinity. Like how we model social behaviors. Like how we interact with each other as human beings.”

  3. thanks for this. I literally screamed at the radio because of conflating this morning.

  4. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    There are usually a ton of antecedants to violent acting out whether the person is called mentally ill or not. Family members and neighbors are often aware of them for months or years. There should be a way to request an evaluation when these are identified by anyone acting in good faith. The evaluation could involve a short inpatient that could be extended if warranted. I do agree that drug use adds a scary new dimension to decompensation– when I worked in inpatient, the revolving door patients (several acute admissions per year, typically) were connecting for amphetamines or hallucinogens in the poor neighborhoods where board and care homes are typically located.

    In the case at hand, his mother should have secured or sold the guns as well as requested the evaluation. In Aurora, Klebold’s parents should have monitored his activities and requested an evaluation.

  5. As someone who has struggled with manic depression from age 40 to 67, I have felt more stigma than usual since the SH murders. I think young children understand. Bad men should not have guns. I agree with media hound that we need to stop abusing the mentaly ill.

    • I agree with media hound that we need to stop abusing the mentaly ill.

      Everywhere I turn at the moment It’s coming back the same way –

      “Insanity Culture” used to describe a culture in which abuse of and negative views of mental health are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone abuse in all forms around mental health.

      I love the double standards too – The “Lets Cut Suicide” and talk about it positively openly and learn about it. Then at the same time be so negative in language about mental health that no-one in their right mind could miss the Cognitive Dissonance, and even the people being labelled insane could not miss the irony either!

  6. ” We should also talk about the fact that all of the adult victims in this awful crime were women, and that women are disproportionately victims of violent crime, including rampage shootings like this one. It is not a coincidence that disaffected white men are targeting women.”

    Men are disproportionately the victims of crime, and why more women than men died in this particular shooting? Pedophilia hysteria, get out from behind that curtain, This was an elementary school.

    ANY job that has to do with kids, especially younger kids, will have pretty much any man even interested in doing the job judged as unmasculine, possibly gay, and definitely more sexual than comparable women also interested in same. And his interest will be seen as proof of his sexual interest in children, on top.

    Because men aren’t nurturing, they are evil – see, they have violence against women, violence against men or men caretaking people – does NOT exist.

  7. We should also talk about the fact that all of the adult victims in this awful crime were women,…
    So you’re saying that he picked a school because there were mostly women there? From what I understand he targeted that school because his mother worked there (and I could be wrong on that). But I wonder, if he had just happened to pick a work environment of mostly men would “we should also talk about the fact that all of the adult victims in this awful crime were men” have even come up or would doing so be seen as an act of misogyny?

    …and that women are disproportionately victims of violent crime, including rampage shootings like this one.
    While you may have a point on the rampage shootings I have to question the first part. What stats are you going by when you say that women are disproportionately the victims of violent crime? I know that is the case when it comes to sexual crimes, but violent crimes overall?

    It is not a coincidence that disaffected white men are targeting women.
    Its probably not. But are we just going to make the start and end of it, “They are attacking women because they hate women out of some fear of losing white male privilege.”? Or would we actually get into looking at real reasons. Maybe these guys actually were mistreated by women, thus when they lashed out they targeted women.

  8. Oh gosh. When will you Americans get some perspective? There are mentally ill people of equal levels of severity all over the globe. Hello, how you goin’ there? I’m Australian, I happen to have bipolar and yes I have in the past been psychotic for several months. I didn’t and don’t have violent tendencies-most mentally ill people are not violent from what I’ve seen from my first hand experiences within the mental health care system since the tender age of fourteen (I’m 21). BESIDES THE POINT. What is the catalyst for this article being written? The Newton massacre. It’s not new that people like me become the scapegoat, I guess its like ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ for the modern day, I live with the pain of such public option locked deep in my heart hoping it will aid in covering my ‘shameful birth defect’ Look what I’m trying to say is we, well, you the US cannot fight these two conflicting, immense battles at the same time (mental illness stigma AND gun control), especially at a time like this. Mentally ill in every country, on every continent, all over the world…yet the US is the only country where a large large majority of these massacres go down…every year. I think I’ve made my point.
    Gun laws basic maths:
    ‘Crazy people’ (like me) can’t get their hands on guns+ ‘Other people’ can’t get their hands on guns …therefore nobody has guns…=Nobody gets shot….
    Conclusion: When I finally summon the courage to visit your fine country, I can go to the movies…or visit universities…or walk past an elementary school.
    Without any fear.
    S.E Smith-good conclusion but I fear even an article addressing this public option is adding fuel to the fire of general hate for people like me and distracting from what needs to be done.
    Lets try and focus on the root the problem. Call me crazy but right now I don’t care if people discriminate against me because of my genetically inherited illness, me and my type make excellent scapegoats…but it’s okay because I may still yet live to witness the rise of my Martin Luther King of mental illness…but these children that died in you country, died at the mercy of that gun in that troubled young man’s hands without which he would have struggled to do so much damage so quickly and so easily…and those kids, they won’t see anything ever again.
    …what’s that thing you all say over there? Right. God Bless America.

  9. Oh gosh. When will you Americans get some perspective?

    We could start a sweepstakes if you are mad enough? P^)

Speak Your Mind