The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewIlana Mercer Archive
School Shootings: A Moral-Health, Not Mental-Health, Problem
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Something Here
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

The tele-experts assert that to do what he did—kill 10 and maim 13, at Santa Fe High School, in Texas—Dimitrios Pagourtzis had to be insane.

Likewise, Nikolas Cruz—killer of 17 in Parkland, Florida—and many shooters before him: All were victims of mental disorder. Or, so say the experts.

Come to think of it, the structure of argument coming from conservative and progressive corners is the same:

Conservatives blame mental health.

Progressives blame the National Rifle Association.

Both factions see the locus of responsibility for these murder sprees as beyond the reach and bailiwick of the individual and of what were once formative and corrective institutions: the church, for example.

As the language deployed in the culture might suggest, crimes aren’t committed, but are caused. Perpetrators don’t do the crime, but are driven to do their deeds by a confluence of uncontrollable factors.

The paradox at the heart of the disease theory of delinquency is that causal theoretical explanations are invoked only afterbad deeds have been committed. Good deeds, however extravagant, are in no need of extenuation.

The evidence our tele-therapists advance for a killer’s “madness” is … the murder or murders he has committed.

Whatever the logical fallacy the psychiatrists commit—circular reasoning or backward reasoning—thinking people can agree: This is bad logic.

Fact: When they suggest a shooter is sick, they do so based on the fact that he committed murder.

Let’s run with this “logic”: The reductio ad absurdum of what the mental-health mavens are saying is that to kill, an individual must be deranged.

Does that not imply that the default condition of humanity is goodness?

Indeed, evil has been cast as a symptom of illness. It’s certainly so if to judge by the language used by the experts.

This is dangerous, because evil responds to punishment, not to kid gloves, which is what medicalizing misbehavior amounts to.

The more we medicalize dysfunctional conduct, the more of it we will get.

Why? Because the therapist’s couch—the chaise longue sofa in the movies—or his hallucinogens are a lot more pleasant than the hard work involved in reforming conduct and character.

Pleasant is a reward. Reward evil and you’ll get more of it.

That’s where the disease theory of delinquency leads. It rules out evil and brings us closer to marginalizing goodness.

By all means, scan the brains of shooters in search of significant pathology. You’ll find none—not when variables like drug-taking are controlled for, and when the absence of baseline measurements for comparison purposes is factored-in.

Moreover, most individuals classified as mentally ill do not murder.

See, evil is part of the human condition, always has been, always will be. Evil can’t be wished away, treated away, medicated away or legislated away. Evil is here to stay.

Bad people—little Damiens included—do bad things. All the more so when barriers to bad behavior are removed across the board, and when everything goes.

The infamous Nikolas Cruz was a feral boy bereft of family, friends, faith and church affiliation. Cruz was loosely attached to a sprawling, impersonal, school system that taught him and his peers about safe sex, but shielded them from the Ten Commandments.

His example of systemic institutional failure typifies instances of school shootings across America.

Failure of state institutions—FBI, education and social services—and failure of familial and faith-based institutions came together to dreadful effect. The latter, in particular, are no longer there for bad boys in the forceful, firm way they need.

Ultimately, the disease theory of delinquency is as morally fraught as it is logically wrong. You will never solve pervasive problems of character and morality, personal and societal, by medicalizing them.


Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook,Gab & YouTube

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Guns, Mass Shootings 
Hide 19 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Yes thank you. There is evil in the world. But I think what drives these kids over the edge is new math.

  2. JackOH says:

    Ilana, thanks. I, too, have sometimes wondered about the mental health explanations for these school shooters. Likewise, I cogitate a bit that these young people survey through the media the same gratuitous cruelties and lunacies of American political discourse, with who knows what consequences for their mental hygiene.

    I think it’s at least a possibility that some of these young shooters have concluded that America itself is a nutter nation. Schools are, of course, places of teaching, and, unfortunately, indoctrination, too. That may be a backdrop for their awful decision-making.

  3. Are females immune from the pervasive problems of character and morality, personal and societal, since there are absolutely zero female school rampage killers in the US?

    • Replies: @Gordo
    , @Joe Stalin
  4. it goes w/o saying (if not writing) that

    in Jew-harrowed ‘Murka

    mass murderers will be petted, coddled, and (((psychoanalyzed)))

    instead of quickly executed.

    One also notices that

    each and every one of these school massacres occur in

    “gun-free zone” public schools and never in

    private schools (where the (((gun-grabbers))) send their spawn) that are crawling with armed guards.

    Finally, let’s never forget that the

    “Gun Free Zone Schools Act”

    was put over by Newt Gingrich and a Republican Congress.

  5. Gordo says:
    @Echoes of History

    Tell me why?
    I dont like wikipedia?
    Tell me why?

  6. unit472 says:

    Murder, once upon a time, was done for a reason. Jealousy, greed, sexual pleasure, hatred etc. They may not have been good reasons but they were human ones. The school shooting phenomenon seems to be driven by a need for notoriety as much as anything else.

    Since students did not shoot their classmates 20 years ago something has changed. Are kids different today than in the past? It certainly can’t be guns as, if anything, they were more available and easier to bring into a school buildings in the 20th century than the 21st. Schools haven’t changed either. While I might suggest that putting 1500-3000 adolescents into a building might have an economic utility it probably doesn’t have much social or educational advantage.

    So, if we are to look for a ‘reason’ why we should look to what has changed in American society since Columbine. My guess it is the internet and social media. If a teenager could feel socially rejected and alienated in a 20th century high school what friends he did have were his classmates. There was no alternative ‘universe’ a teen could live in.

    • Replies: @Chris Mallory
  7. The writer is partly correct. America is a society in decline, decay (moral and economic) and denial combined with despair over our deterioration of our once great nation among broad swaths of the public.

    These mass killers are sometimes just plain evil and sometimes are deranged. Most of them come from broken homes and many have been doped for years on ritalin and other “behavioral health” drugs by so called child psychologists to keep them quiet and manageable until one day they explode. Traditional morals and Christian virtues have been expunged from the curricula at most schools and in many homes. Society as a whole encourages “victimhood” for ethnic and religious minorities, perverts, atheists, etc. Human life has been cheapened and degraded by abortion on demand, street crime and euthanasia along with constant and extreme violence in movies, television and video games.

    The public schools in the larger towns and cities today have become mostly holding tanks/training grounds/indoctrination centers for servants of the One World/New World Order. Education in most urban public schools has been dumbed down and consists mostly of babysitting/keeping them off the streets and indoctrinating them in the wonders of “multi-culturalism” and “pluralism” and “diversity”. Then when the lower class pupils drop out or graduate they are directed to low paying dead end service jobs in fast food, retail and construction. Guns are cheap and widely available to anyone who wants them. All of these factors mixed together translates into a virtual witches’ brew/perfect storm that becomes a breeding ground for crimes of all kinds including the horrific school massacres that have become more and more common in the last few years. The question now is what to do to curb these outbreaks and restore respect for human life? Much is self explanatory regarding censoring sex and violence in the media, restoring Christian virtues to the classroom and home, and increasing school security. Also there needs to be an unofficial policy of summary execution on the spot by police of any and all school shooters. Let the Left howl. It will work.

  8. Giuseppe says:

    While there is a cogent point to be made about a connection between the collapse of morality and school shootings, there is also an important, often overlooked mental health connection as well, and it’s definitely not because school shooters are ipso facto insane. The widespread prescribing of psychotropic drugs has had an enormous impact on the rise of mass murders. This is because psychotropic medication distorts normal brain function; the idea that it corrects a chemical imbalance is medical myth and complete lie. Among the side effects of this chemical induced brain dysfunction are suicidal and homicidal impulses, hence, the increase in school shootings. The public of course will never know the full truth about which medications these shooters were taking, because that information will never be released due to privacy laws and the opposition of the pharmaceutical companies. Nevertheless, there are several fine books by medical experts disclosing the true effects of psychotropic medication, such as

    Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, by Robert Whitaker,
    Broadway Books, 2011.

  9. The individual responsibility argument fails to explain why the USA in particular has so many of these shootings.

    On another tangent: it al makes much more sense when you simply treat “cluster B personality disorder” as being medicine’s polite way of saying “human evil”.

    • Replies: @Dave Bowman
  10. @unit472

    Since students did not shoot their classmates 20 years ago something has changed.

    Yes they did. 1997 was when the mass shootings really took off, but there are instances going back decades.

  11. Anonymous [AKA "motive1"] says:

    Bravo once again Ilana. This line of thinking/reasoning? has so infiltrated/ permeated the supposed direction of culture in the West for so long there is little else left. Virtually all of the laws,regulations and sundry other edicts emanating from the alphabet soup that passes for authority in this country have over the last 100 years or so been nothing more than excuses to absolve someone’s/anyone’s accountability and responsibility for any and all violations of the eternal moral standards. The morass we find ourselves in contact with everyday and in every facet and venue of private/public and personal/professional life is the direct and cumulative result of the abdication of moral and mental integrity by so many for so long that every moral evil is excused as a defect for the party/parties involved and carries no responsibility,retribution or restitution at any or all junctures.

    • Replies: @Dave Bowman
  12. @Dave from Oz

    fails to explain why the USA in particular has so many of these shootings.

    Simply because the USA has BY FAR the least-checked, improperly-recorded, and rarely age-verified instant availability of automatic and semi-automatic weapons to anyone walking in off the street – theoretical (and easily-avoided) State-based regulations notwithstanding.

    I am no apologist whatever for the Jew-funded gun control lobby – I believe now that even in the police-state UK every single White citizen should have personal ownership at the very least of a handgun – but in respect to automatic/military-grade weapons, the one and only problem is PUBLIC availability. Since the NRA has a total block in force on this specific aspect of the debate, nothing will change – and over time, sadly, many thousands more will die. There is now, simply, no way back.

    • Replies: @Chris Mallory
  13. Maybe the “government” and military establishment are to blame?
    They think its acceptable to take what you want from whoever by way of war and mass murder.
    Solve all problems with bombs and bullets.
    How many innocent people have been killed by the goons from WW1-Syria? Billions?
    Still going on and expanding to Africa, Iran, and Venezuala. What we’ve done to the entire world is sickening, and for what exactly? Sure as hell ain’t for freedom and democracy.. Wars for the rich, fought by the poor against the poor. Sad!
    Not to mention DC’s unwaivering support for genocidal Israel, who were busy sniping unarmed protesters while the MSM is screaming about the school schooling, but no mention of Israels crimes against humanity, or calls to stop sending them $$$ and free weapons.

    I’m still sticking to most of the school shootings/mass shootings/terrorist attacks being CIA/Mossad run psyops though. The evidence is there.


  14. @Dave Bowman

    Simply because the USA has BY FAR the least-checked, improperly-recorded, and rarely age-verified instant availability of automatic and semi-automatic weapons to anyone walking in off the street

    And you are simply wrong. No one buys any firearm from an FFL dealer without an age verified background check.
    In some states person to person private sales are legal, as they should be. Not many mass shooters are buying their weapons in private sales.

    But honestly ALL gun laws are unconstitutional and should be overturned. “Shall not be infringed” means what it says.

  15. anon[204] • Disclaimer says:

    Nailed it on the head. It is indeed a moral failing rather than a mental health issue.

    The main culprit is we have far too many psychologists in this country. It’s like never ask a barber if you need a haircut, never ask a psychologist if anyone needs mental health counseling. Every other person in America has mental health issues if you listen to these scam artists. Everything is a mental health issue now, including all manners of addiction and bad behavior. Blaming it on mental health takes away the blame from the individual — oh it’s not his fault, he is just a victim, of mental disorder, and didn’t get the care he needed. Bollocks!

    By declaring addiction a mental health, instead of just plain old weakness of character, psychologists then allow these addicts to claim disability due to mental health, so they can collect disability and use it to pay for their drug habit, and to pay the psychologist for continued “counseling”. It’s all a giant scam.

    We need a real test for anyone who psychologists claim to be mentally ill. Send them into thick wooded forest buck naked. If they happily roam around without fear of wild cats, they are probably nuts. If they freak out, they are not mentally ill.

  16. anon[204] • Disclaimer says:

    Why is it that whenever a muslim commits a mass shooting, he is called “evil”, but when anyone else commits a mass shooting, he is “mentally ill”? Why the double standard? Either all mass shooters are evil, or they are all mentally ill, which is it? If they are all mentally ill, then are all terrorists mentally ill as well? Or are they just evil?

    And why was Dylan Thomas called “evil” instead of “mentally ill”? Because his victims were black? So if your victim is in a protected class aka blacks, jews, muslims and homos, you are pure evil, if your victim is not in a protected class, like, a bunch of white people or asians, then you are just mentally ill? Does that distinction extend to the shooter as well, i.e. if a black person mass murdered a bunch of whites, is he evil or mentally ill? What if his victims were all muslim?

    Could someone please define for us when it is evil and when it is mental illness?

    I would like to see Trump come out and call a spade a spade, from now on refer to every single mass shooter as PURE EVIL, because that’s what they are, they are not “mentally ill”, they are just plain evil SOBs who deserve the death penalty and nothing less.

    • Replies: @GourmetDan
  17. @anon

    Could someone please define for us when it is evil and when it is mental illness?

    Definitions vary… only the cultural decay is consistent… Who is Elon Musk anyway?

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Ilana Mercer Comments via RSS
Analyzing the History of a Controversial Movement
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.