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In responding to His Honor Mr. Jim Nelson's Mass Shooting screed, I acknowledge a few crumbs of food for thought. Although he dismisses mental illness as a cause for these shootings, one can suppose that people who act crazy, might be crazy; indeed, this is supposedly a criterion for gun purchase background checking. Mental disorders are defined in DSM 4, but even though actual mental illness is not much more prevalent than before, mass shootings are. So there must be other causes too.

What are they? What is the "societal cancer" Nelson speaks of?

Name calling and ridicule as used by Mr. Nelson are seldom helpful in initiating useful discourse. Use of such phrases as "cowardly, sanctimonious, and hypocritical" and "glory-seeking gun nuts who kill for the fun of it" are pusillanimous, pejorative, and highly presumptuous; they show a failure of problem analysis.

Peggy Noonan and Amy Wax, in recent WSJ articles have done the real work of looking for causes. Maybe the cycles of "homelessness, hunger, poverty, and inadequate health care" along with those of criminality and addiction have common causes. We should be trying to understand them.

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James W. Crichton, M.D.



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