Guns aren't the primary problem

May 6, 2013 

Whenever a tragic mass shooting occurs, the first focus of politicians, celebrities and special interest groups is gun control. The latest example is U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart's gun control advisory task force.

I, on the other hand, look at this from two perspectives: as an engineer trained in problem solving, and as one who has struggled with bipolar disorder for the past 15 years.

It doesn't take formal education or experience to see that the shootings are just the end game. The perpetrators, almost without exception, have been found to have some form of mental disorder. But these perpetrators weren't properly managing their disorders, and that made the difference between living out fairly normal lives and committing unthinkable acts on innocents.

In my case, there were times I stopped taking medication and stopped regular visits to a doctor, thinking I was doing fine, only to slip back into depression or mania due to some trigger event. Finally, two years ago I found the right combination of medication and therapy to get back and stay on a normal path.

Despite many people knowing the true root cause of these tragic events involving guns or other weapons, awareness and funding for mental health care has declined in many states, Illinois included.

I applaud Enyart for including a mental health professional on his task force, but believe it, and others like it, should be a mental health task force to put the focus where it really belongs.

Joe DiGiovanni

Belleville

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