The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

December 19, 2012

Our View: Mental health treatment

We have yet to learn exactly what mental disorder may have triggered Adam Lanza’s terrible act of violence Friday when he shot 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn.

But amidst the speculation, there is agreement that just as we need discussions about the types of weapons and ammunition available for sale, we also need to talk about the treatment of mental illness in this country.

We agree with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., an avid hunter and a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association who advocates for an honest discussion about reasonable restrictions on guns.

“This is bigger than just about guns,” he said in a news conference. “It’s about how we treat people with mental illness, how we intervene, how we get them the care they need, how we protect our schools. It’s just so sad.”

Just about every mass killing in recent decades in America has been caused by someone who we later learn was mentally ill.

The overall issue of violence in America is far more complex than simply control of firearms.

We as a nation should be able to provide effective care for the mentally ill. Unfortunately, too often their plight is handled through law enforcement, the courts and our jail system.

President Barack Obama has said he will meet with law enforcement officials and mental health professions in coming weeks.

It’s going to take a comprehensive approach to understand the root cause of mass killings like we saw last week.

America needs an intervention now.

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