It’s still very early in this incident, and the scene, as I write this, is currently active.
Many people are already blaming the mentally ill for today’s shooting at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, which provides social services for developmentally disabled people.
Some things to be aware of before blame is laid:
Reports from the scene are saying up to 3 heavily armed individuals walked in and started shooting during an event at the center. That doesn’t sound like mentally ill people. This sounds like some kind of well-coordinated attack, and reports say the shooter or shooters have already made their escape from the scene.
But it’s most important to point out that the vast majority of the mentally ill are not violent.
Many mentally ill people have been left high and dry with the cutting of funding and closing of facilities and have been dumped on the street to fend for themselves, with no access to family, help, or aid. On top of that, they already face the stigma of being presumed dangerous and deadly, so others treat them that way, which only further adds to their isolation.
I confess that it’s very easy to blame the mentally ill. And sometimes the perpetrators of mass shootings are mentally ill. It’s an easy answer, as easy as blaming foreign terrorists, domestic terrorists, or any group of people before all the facts are in.