Last night, a mentally deranged man perched in a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, fired automatic weapons to shoot, kill and wound hundreds of innocent people enjoying a concert. Over 50 unsuspecting people were killed, over 500 were injured at this concert attended by an estimated 22,000 people.
The deranged terrorist who committed this inhuman act was Stephen Paddock, a 64 year old white male retiree with no criminal history. There is no apparent reason behind his committing these vicious, coldblooded murders though he did apparently shoot himself to commit suicide after doing so which at least testifies to his deteriorated state of mind.
It’s too early to know too many concrete details about the motivation for these mass killings but being allegedly holed up with ten rifles and/or automatic weapons and using them to kill and injure innocent people, Paddock was deranged.
When such an act happens, it is shocking to the senses. The news channels exploit this by instantly filling every minute of every hour with know-nothing pundits making up theories about the perpetrator and showing endlessly looping footage of the terrible incident like they’re The Clockwork Orange News Network.
The focus by the media is obsessive and tunnelvisioned, there is no sense of perspective or perhaps we might notice that this may be the most deadly of attacks by a deranged white man recently…but it is not the only one. It is actually another in an ongoing string of mentally ill white Americans attacking innocent people.
Is this part of a pattern? Are more Americans becoming mentally unstable or are they just acting out more on their derangement? Has insanity become mainstreamed?
The country was outraged by what happened just 6 weeks ago in Charlottesville, when an Alt-Right follower and marcher plowed his car into a crowd of peaceful, anti-hate protesters in Charlottesville, killing 32 year old Heather Heyer.
However, just days before that, there was a terrorist-styled bombing of a mosque in Minnesota:
Minnesota Mosque Bombing an ‘Act of Terrorism,’ Governor Says
The Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in suburban Minneapolis, like other U.S. mosques, occasionally receives threatening calls and emails. Its leaders say they’re more frightened now after an explosive shattered windows and damaged a room as worshippers prepared for morning prayers.
Last month, as reported by Willamette Week in the state of Washington:
Police in Vancouver Detain Man for Nearly Running Down Antifa Protesters With His Truck
Police in Vancouver this afternoon handcuffed and detained a man after a Patriot Prayer rally when he nearly ran his truck into a crowd of antifascist counter-protesters.
What this may reflect is that more and more mentally deranged “lone wolves” seem to be acting out on their derangement. It is compelling to consider what has changed in the last year that might contribute to more people to be driven to follow their demons.
Donald Trump is a psychiatrist’s goldmine. His almost daily display of paranoia, sociopathy, narcissism, hatred of “the others” and unrepentant intolerance of any who criticize him or support opposing views is beyond anything Americans have ever seen in a President. Even including Nixon. Trump’s behavior may actually “give permission” to the mentally unstable to similarly act on their worst instincts.
The mindlessly, hostile supporters of Trump have been a reminder that one of the most neglected and widespread medical issues in the U.S. is mental health. Not only are the numbers of mentally ill Americans rising, 50% of those with mental illness go untreated.
What percentage of people would you guess have reported mental illness at least at some time in their life? 5%? 10%? The percentage is closer to 20%. Yes, around 6 million Americans have reported they have or are experiencing mental illness and around 3 million of them are never treated for it. Now consider, how many more Americans have mental illness but haven’t reported it? The percentage of all Americans with mental illness in their past, present or future is much higher than that because of the stigma attached to mental illness (might it match the percentage of Trump supporters???). And the numbers of those afflicted with mental illness are growing.
Here’s some interesting info as of 2016 on mental illness in the U.S. from Mental Health America:
Adults with Any Mental Illness (AMI)
18.53% of adults in America reported suffering from a mental illness, a slight increase in percentage from last year (18.19%). While this is only a .4% increase, the estimated number of adults with mental illness increased by 1.2 million individuals.
All states that had a statistically significant change in percentages of mental illness experienced an increase in rate from last year’s estimates. These changes occurred in Texas, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Nevada. No states experienced a significant decrease in percentage rate of Adults with AMI.
What we do know is that over 20% of Americans have or have had some type of mental illness and that percentage is rising. We know that millions of Americans don’t tell their doctors or seek treatment for mental illness. And we know that we have a president who exhibits in a profound way, many of the symptoms of mental illness. There’s even a book out about this:
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
In THE DANGEROUS CASE OF DONALD TRUMP, twenty-seven psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health experts argue that, in Mr. Trump’s case, their moral and civic “duty to warn” America supersedes professional neutrality. They then explore Trump’s symptoms and potentially relevant diagnoses to find a complex, if also dangerously mad, man.
His madness is catching, too. From the trauma people have experienced under the Trump administration to the cult-like characteristics of his followers, he has created unprecedented mental health consequences across our nation and beyond.
One must recognize that opinions aren’t facts, this book is a summation of opinions from professionals on Trump’s being mentally ill. That said, there are many respected professionals in this field who share that opinion of his mental state.
If the leader of your country and the man who gets the most press coverage every day in the country acts like someone who is mentally ill and it becomes routine, could that encourage others to grow more comfortable acting out on their mental issues?
We have seen that Trump’s blatant bigotry has opened the floodgates for his supporters to openly display their own bigotry with the insincere cover of “speaking my mind” or “not being politically correct”. Perhaps it is having the same effect on those with mental illnesses.
One can only hope not because horrific incidents like this one in Las Vegas can’t keep happening. They are a vicious cycle, the more that unhinged people attack innocent people, the more unhinged people will become. Trump is trying to tear down our government and society to horde power and wealth for himself and others who are among the 1%. Whether or not it’s intentional, his madness can’t be allowed to become contagious and normalize the occurrence of violence by others who are mentally ill.