Mental Health Disorders or Gun Control

Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., BCFT, CFA, CLS

Forensic Criminologist/Police Expert

Copyright © June 19, 2015

The crime scene tape was still up and forensic technicians had not cleared the scene at the historic A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., before President Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton inappropriately put their feet in their mouths to exploit the active shooter murders tragedy in this quaint Southern city by railing against the 2nd Amendment and again pushing for stronger gun control.

The President, forever getting his forensic facts wrong, claimed yesterday that no other advanced nation in the world experiences mass shootings as have occurred in the U.S. Perhaps the POTUS has forgotten that Anders Behring shot to death 77 people in Oslo, Norway in 2011; Fried Leibacher shot and killed 14 at the Parliament Building in Zug, Switzerland in 2001 before committing suicide; Martin Bryant shot and killed 35 people in Tasmania, Australia in 1996 before being captured; and that same year, Thomas Hamilton used a handgun to murder 17 children and their teacher at an elementary school in Dunblance, Scotland before taking his own life. And there are many more international examples of this murderous behavior from other “advanced nations.”

What do active shooter murderers like Behring, Leibacher, Bryant and Hamilton have in common with U.S. mass shooters like Dylan Roof, Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook Elementary School murders), James Holmes (Aurora movie theater killings) and Jared Loughner (Tucson, AZ, murder of 6 and attempted murder of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford)? They are/were all suffering from obvious mental health disorders.

As the psychological profiles of non-terrorist mass shooters clearly indicate; the underlying cause for their homicidal/suicidal actions has clearly been some type of mental health disorder/psychosis; often with evidence of self-medication through the introduction of illicit drugs. The contributing causes for their actions have almost always been precipitating events and information that ultimately overcame any last semblance of rational control they possessed and drove these ticking time bombs to acutely explode in a burst of homicidal, destructive and merciless rage.

Those political and media pundits who would naively point to Dylan Roof’s expressed racist belief’s are merely scratching the surface of this murder suspect’s true identity and personality profile. Roof’s professed racist attitude might have been his confessed “motive” for his heinous crime; but it is far from the cause of his behavior.

Politicians and media talking heads who forward an anti-gun, gun control agenda to exploit this community and national tragedy are merely copping out. Gun control is far from the answer to America’s failure to address its problem with violence where guns are occasionally the mechanism of injury.

Guns don’t kill people; behavior kills people. A firearm in the hands of a responsible gun owner worshiping at the A.M.E. Church could have saved lives that day.

As a nation, we need to come together on several fronts and one of those is becoming united as a people in repairing our nation’s abysmal mental health system and providing care to those who truly suffer from debilitating and mind robbing mental illnesses.

Please remember that every day; everyone you meet is fighting a personal battle with something you know nothing about.

Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned forensic criminologist who directs the nation’s only civilian Forensic Death Investigations and Independent Review Team at

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