A man visited a mental asylum and asked the director as to what the criteria was in deciding if a person needed to be institutionalized. The psychiatrist replied that they fill a bathtub with water and then asked the individual to empty it, giving them three choices – a tea spoon, a tea cup, and a bucket. The visitor said, “Oh, I see, using the pail would be the sign that the would-be patient was normal. “No,” stated the head shrink, “pulling the plug would be the sane thing to do. Now, do you want a bed near the window?” It is well-documented that in the early 1980s, a radical shift occurred in treating the mentally ill. Rather than continuing to institutionalize them, the preferred method became main-streaming (having such individuals function in normal society through the use of a wide array of new anti-psychotic drugs developed by the pharmaceutical industry). And just as from 1980-2015 the total sum of prescriptions written by medical professionals for formerly incarcerated psychiatric patients tripled, so, too, correspondingly has the total number of mass shootings, with the latest killer, Dylan Roof, on such medications.
The bottom line? From the first mass shooting at Columbine to the latest one at Charleston, and in between Newton, Aurora, and others, almost all were on anti-psychotic drugs – individuals whom 25 years ago, would not have been out in society with access to deadly weapons. Call me crazy, but the idea of main-streaming the mentally ill has proven to be just plain nuts.