Guns don’t kill people, mental illness does.

In safety, do not forget danger; in peace, do not forget disorder.  – Unknown

Imagine raising a child who you know could possibly kill you one day. For those of you who haven’t read “I am Adam Lanza’s mother“,  I highly recommend you read it. To refresh your memory, last December, 20-year-old Adam Lanza drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School, fatally shot six teachers and twenty students within five minutes, and finally turned the gun on himself. The event sparked gun control debates all over the country, but honestly, I think people are forgetting the real issue.

What compels an emerging adult to savagely murder his mother and a group of innocent people that he has no personal connection with? Not the gun he steals from his mother or the “NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting” that his family kept in the house. No, what compelled Lanza was mental illness.

Put aside the gun control argument for a minute and look at the big picture. Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger’s and sensory processing disorder (SID). SID heightens sensory awareness and may contribute to anxiety and anger issues. But SID is not listed in the DSM IV, and little is known about its connection with Asperger’s. Assuming that Asperger’s drove Lanza to murder is an extreme generalization, which leaves researchers puzzled.

While investigation is still being completed regarding Lanza’s motivations for the crimes he committed, one thing is clear: he was mentally unstable.  The mixing bowl of disorder, bullying, and sensory overload pushed Adam to the edge, and when looking at this tragedy, it is important to consider these factors alongside of the gun debate. Mothers like Liza Long and Nancy Lanza struggle to control their children each day, some left without the financial support or resources needed to protect themselves or their family. Something needs to change.

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