To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Michelle Gillett (Eagle op-ed, June 24) feels she needs to repeat the question, "Why don’t we have effective gun control in this country?" and quotes the bereaved father of one of the Santa Barbara shooting victims, "When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say, ‘Stop this madness?’ "
It is unlikely to stop until we recognize and confront those for whom gun ownership and usage is indeed a form of psychiatric disorder. In those, it is a symptomatic behavior of a paranoid mental state with the delusional belief that there are demonic people or groups out there ready at a moment’s notice to kill you, and you desperately need the power of the gun to kill them before they do.
This paranoid state appears to be present in some gun owners, some police departments, some of the military, some government security agencies, some of the psychotically mentally ill, many self-appointed militias, and many of the terrorist groups world-wide.
I have repeatedly seen these paranoid states resolve in just a few days on antipsychotic medication where the paranoid delusional beliefs don’t change, but the preoccupation with having to have a gun accessible to protect one’s self from a potentially imminent threat is markedly reduced or even cured.
Paranoid states are likely to account for most of the gun violence in America. Their identification and effective treatment, assisted by court order if indicated, should be the number one national public health priority. Until that happens, government gun control policies expected to be effective will not likely work.
AUGUSTUS F. KINZEL, M. D.