I am writing in response to the letter posted in The Columbian (“Mental illness requires treatment,” Our Readers’ Views, March 20), as it contains a commonly held societal misconception about the role mental illness plays in mass shootings.
I agree with the writer that services for the seriously mentally ill are sadly lacking, but I must disagree with her statement “in most cases, there is no motive. The mass shooter is mentally ill.” This is in fact not the case. Most mass shootings (and other acts of targeted violence) are carefully planned events, driven by any number of motivations, and are not the product of schizophrenia, hallucinations, etc.
The fact is that most people with these kinds of illnesses are much more likely to become the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators of it. For more information, go to www.secretservice.gov/protection/ntac.