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segunda-feira, 19 de fevereiro de 2018

WE HAVE THE MEANS, BUT THE WILL IS WEAK.

And here we go again… Six weeks into a new year, ‘Business Insider’ referencing the nonprofit, “Gun Violence Archive' reports that we’ve already suffered 30 mass shootings in our nation since the 1st of the year, adding to over 1,800 deaths associated with gun violence in 2018. (By Everytown’s standard, there has been a shooting every 2.5 days this year. Using a stricter standard, there have been at least seven school shootings in 2018 — more than one each week- Washington Post)

Approximately 33,000 Americans will die from gunshot wounds this year, as they do every year.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is the most recent mass shooting event, where Nikolas Cruz, 19, armed with an AR15 semi-automatic rifle, killed 17 people and seriously injured just as many more.
And yet again, as if to cloud the root cause and tragedy of the event the discussion of mental health immediately jumped into the media and political spotlight.

What we know about Nikolas Cruz:

•Adopted by Lydia Cruz, who died in November 2017.
•Expelled from 2 private schools for generic problems of "behavior"
•County police officers had been called to the Nikolas Cruz home 39 times since 2010.
•A neighbor reported that Nikolas not only had guns at home but regularly practiced target shooting in the neighborhood.
•People within his orbit believed that Nikolas had received some sort of psychiatric treatment, but no one knew for sure for how long or for what reason.
•On social media, he'd posted photos of a rifle and various other weapons laying on his bed in the home of the family where he lived following the recent death of his adoptive mother.
•Additionally, insulting posts targeting Blacks and Muslims; Connections with groups of apparent white supremacists made it clear he wanted to become a "’professional school shooter’, openly broadcasting his intent to target police and anti-fascist groups with his AR-15 rifle.
•He’d written such telling posts so worry-some that the FIB had been alerted.

While immaterial, people may ask if this was a cry for help or the act of a ‘natural born psychopath’.

The fact is, that at 19 years of age, while he wasn’t allowed to buy alcohol, and despite all the turmoil, upset and confusion recorded in this young man’s life, he was allowed to legally purchase a killing weapon designed for warfare.

This is a failure on many levels, but first, we should ask two fundamental questions;

1.Can we avoid more senseless deaths?

The answer is yes.

Following intensive lobby by the NRA in 1996, a constitutional amendment was passed by the then Congress, called the Dickey Amendment. This amendment specifically prohibits the CDC, (Center for Disease Control) or any other governmental research entity from using government funds for any purpose associated with the advocacy of gun control.
This amendment effectively stopped all research on this subject.

This amendment must be erased to allow meaningful research into the effects of civilians having access to weaponry designed for mass killing and war.

In support of CDC research into gun safety, Mark L. Rosenberg, founding director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, commented that if the CDC can save hundreds of thousands of American lives through the introduction of meaningful automobile safety changes, then similarly striking results can be achieved through common sense gun safety.

Without sober assessment into the phenomena of US mass killings, the usual knee-jerk reaction will always point to ‘mental health’ as the primary cause of this atrocity.

Mental health contributes to this tragedy much less than what might be considered root cause. Whatever his state of mind at the time of the atrocity, the victims would be alive today had Cruz not had access to a firearm.

By definition Mental health is a condition describing a person psychological and emotional well being. This enormous field has many variables that are almost impossible to define.

Every decision, every action by every person in the world is associated with the ‘mental health' of each and every one of us.

We’re all affected. it’s a reflection of the physical, social, cultural, educational and genetic developments we all navigate throughout our lifetimes.

It affects our propensity to deal with life’s stresses, the decisions we make.. and the ones we don’t. It’s who we are.
Comprehensive background checks?

Absolutely… but such checks must include an evaluation of all applicants mental state.
Fortunately, such an assessment test was developed in the United States almost a century ago.
Known as the MMPI, (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) this assessment would highlight a gun applicants personality traits, psychopathology, and highlight the applicants' suitability to bear arms.

(See what the MMPI assessment test covers at the end of this post)

2.What is the relationship between violence and mental illness? What kind of mental illness makes a person more vulnerable to the suggestions, propaganda, and misinformation of violent and extremist groups?

Mentally ill people are more prone to become the victim of violence rather than the perpetrator. In addition, mentally ill people are also prone to succumb to any kind of radicalization or sect that makes them feel like they ‘belong'… which is one of the basic human needs.
If somebody feels misplaced in life, particularly if as a teenager, he or she will find some radical organization that will make them feel at home.

Our emotions, our judgment, instincts; Our decision-making abilities and our awareness of long-term consequence are not fully developed in teenagers and young adults.

It’s why our environment, our culture, and our education is so important, particularly during our formative years.

It’s why misinformation, propaganda and lies publically broadcast and used under the guise of ‘free speech' are so dangerous.

Violence in society mirrors a violent culture.

In the firm belief, that if I must undergo several tests to prove that I can drive an automobile, then I surely need to undergo tests to determine my suitability to carry a weapon of war.

We're not forfeiting our freedoms, simply ensuring that our freedoms cannot be weaponized against us.

MMPI (Explained)

It’s mainly intended to test people suspected of having any mental health problems.
It’s designed with 10 clinical scales that evaluate 10 major categories of abnormal human behavior and four validity scales, which assess the person's overall attitude and whether they answered the items in the test truthfully and accurately.
In summary, it works like this:

10 SUBCLINICAL SCALES:


1- Hypochondria (Hs): Shows a wide variety of vague and nonspecific complaints about bodily functioning, which tend to focus on the abdomen and back, and persist despite negative medical tests.
2- Depression (D): Measures clinical depression, characterized by low morale, lack of hope in the future, and general dissatisfaction with life. Contains 57 items.
3- Hysteria (Hy): It mainly measures five components: poor physical health, shyness, cynicism, headaches, and neuroticism.
4- Deviation Psychopath (Pd): It measures the general social maladjustment and the absence of strongly pleasant experiences. The items on this scale address complaints about family figures and authority in general, personal alienation, social alienation, and boredom.
5- Masculinity / Femininity (Mf): Measures interests in vocations and hobbies, aesthetic preferences, activity-passivity and personal sensitivity. It also measures, in a general sense, how rigid a person is in accordance with stereotyped masculine or feminine roles.
6- Paranoia (Pa): It mainly measures interpersonal sensitivity, moral self-righteousness, and suspicion. Some of the items used to mark this scale define criteria for psychosis, where there are paranoid and delusional thoughts.
7- Psychasthenia (Pt): It is intended to measure a person's inability to resist specific actions or thoughts, regardless of their maladaptive nature. "Psychasthenia" is an old term used to describe what we call obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or to have obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors. It also covers abnormal fears, self-criticisms, concentration difficulties, and feelings of guilt.
8 - Schizophrenia (Sc): Measures strange thoughts, peculiar perceptions, social alienation, precarious family relations, difficulties of concentration and control of impulses, lack of deep interests, disturbing questions of self-esteem and self-identity and sexual difficulties.
9 - Hypomania (Ma): Measures milder degrees of arousal, characterized by exalted mood, unstable mood, psychomotor changes (e.g. trembling hands) and flight of ideas (e.g. jumping from one idea to another without complete any one). It also measures hyperactivity (both behaviorally and cognitively) grandiosity, irritability, and egocentricity.
10- Social Introversion (Si): Measures introversion and social extroversion. A person who is socially introverted feels uncomfortable in social interactions and usually withdraws from such interaction whenever possible. They may have limited social skills, or simply prefer to be alone or with a small group of friends.

THE 4 VALIDITY SCALES

1- Lie (L): It is intended to identify individuals who deliberately try to avoid responding to the test honestly and frankly. It measures culturally laudable attitudes and practices, but rarely found in most people, that is, people who create these items are often trying to look better than they really are (or who they are).
2- F: is intended to detect unusual or atypical ways of responding to test items. If a person incorrectly responds to many F and Fb scale items, this invalidates the entire test. Unlike some descriptions of the scale, the F-scale items are scattered throughout the test.
3- Return F (Fb): Measures the same problems as the F-scale, but only during the last half of the test.
4- K: Designed to identify psychopathology in people who otherwise would have profiles within the normal range. It measures self-control, and family and interpersonal relationships, and people who have high scores on this scale are often seen as defensive.

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