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Mass Murders, Mental Health: Two views on the epidemic of violence

APTOPIX Texas School Shooting
Eric Gay/AP
A visitor places bracelets on crosses at an impromptu memorial on May 31, 2022, as he and others pay their respects to the 21 victims killed in last week's Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

On Wednesday (June 1), in Tulsa, Oklahoma, another gunman. Another mass shooting. Four people shot to death. The shooter committed suicide. It was the 233rd mass shooting this year in the United States.

The funerals for the 21 victims murdered last week in Texas by an 18 year-old shooter wielding assault-style weapons continue today in the small, largely Latino community of Uvalde.

Questions about the police response at the scene remain, and questions as to whether or not Congress will respond with some form of federal gun regulation legislation are top of mind for Americans on both sides of the gun rights debate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled a willingness to get Republicans to agree to some sort of deal. He has authorized Sen. John Cornyn to work with Democrats on legislation. In the past, on many occasions, McConnell has indicated a willingness to strike a deal, but ultimately, he has blocked any attempts by Democrats to pass even the most broadly popular provisions of gun regulations.

Speaking yesterday in Kentucky, McConnell said he would support a deal that addressed mental health issues and had strong constitutional protections.

His focus on mental health takes a familiar page out of the Republican playbook. Ten years ago, after the massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, and again this week, in the aftermath of the shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, NY, Republicans responded to attempts to pass red flag laws, background checks, or age limits for purchasing firearms by insisting that these tragedies are the product of a mental health crisis in America, not lax gun regulations.

That is the assertion we are going to examine today, here on Midday. Is it accurate to ascribe mental health issues as the sole or primary reason these shooters commit these atrocities?

Tom's guests today will help us shed some light on this question.

Michael Greenberger is the director of the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. He joins us on Zoom from Washington, DC…

Dr. Joel Dvoskin is a clinical and a certified forensic psychologist. He joins us on Zoom from Tucson, Arizona.

Listeners are welcome to join us as well. Call us at 410.662.8780. email: [email protected] Or Tweet us: @MiddayWYPR.

Professor Michael Greenberger is director of the U of MD Center for Health and Homeland Security; Dr. Joel Dvoskin is a clinical and a certified forensic psychologist. (courtesy photos)

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.