Running Amok

Last September Mona Charen wrote a very perceptive article on the nature of mass shootings in United States.  She writes “The guns-blazing mass attack has become the American psychosis…In the 20th century, many parts of the third world saw a pathological startle reaction that led to wild, dissociative behaviors called variously ‘running amok,’ ‘Lapp panic’ or ‘latah.'” From what I can see, we are experiencing something not unlike the “running amok” phenomena found in Malaysia.

She also write “We have betrayed the mentally ill by drastically reducing the availability of treatment. America has roughly 5 percent of the psychiatric beds it had in the late 1950s.” That to me is an appalling tragedy whose social costs extend well beyond the mentally ill and their families. In that light the focus on “gun control” to solve our drastically inadequate mental health system is badly misguided.

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