A group of police officers on Dec. 25 pay their respects at a makeshift memorial in the Brooklyn, where New York police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed on Dec. 20 as they sat in a marked squad car. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
But it is time to recognize that adequate treatment for people with a mental disorder is a distinct problem from gun violence. A much better indicator of whether someone will be violent is whether they come from a violent, poverty stricken environment, and whether they struggle with addiction. Eliminating poverty, domestic violence and childhood exposure to bloodshed would likely make a dent in our problem with gun violence. It may even have made a difference in the life of Ismaaiyl Brinsley.
But these are not problems for the mental health system to solve. And neither is the big problem of availability of guns. Among developed countries, the United States has the highest number of guns per every 100 people (88 as compared to 15 in Australia, six in Britain and 31 in Canada). In a 2012 survey, 43 percent of individuals indicated that there was at least one gun in the household.