Hot Topic Tuesday | Gun Violence and Mental Illness

StacyFlutteringsCupwithSteamToday, on Stacy’s Flutterings, the hot topic is gun violence and mental illness. I can’t imagine a hotter topic. Emanuella Grinberg points out in CNN article that despite the gun debate nation wide, there may be agreement, no matter which side you are on, regarding the “need to keep firearms out of the hands of people with serious mental illness” (Grinberg, 2016). Would you believe me if I told you I’ve been on, and seen, both sides of the fence, and mental illness exists on both sides of the fence I’ve seen?

This topic touches painfully right at the heart of our home

I can’t begin to tell you how close this topic touches home for me and my family. My husband was shot in a drive by shooting that took place in Wichita, Kansas back in the 1990’s. He was among 8 survivors. Sadly, one man died in the shooting spree. Our life at that time was turned upside down. Now, years later, I usually choose not to think back on that horrific day, but I want to share with you that I’ve been there, and it was life changing. Gun violence changes people. Imagine:

  • A dear, loved and beautiful person, my husband and my children’s father, chased down while driving to work by a shooter in another vehicle
  • The man of my dreams injured by gun fire that grazed his ear and skull
  • The car, our only car, with the passenger side window blown out from bullets
  • The news that others had been shot
  • The announcement of the death of one of the victims
It does something to you. And can you imagine how Bill feels? Interestingly enough, the shooter lives with bipolar disorder, and from what we understand, he wasn’t taking his medications at the time. You can find more details about the shooting spree in the AP News Archive and in a previous blog titled Aurora, Colorado Theater Shooting: The Million Dollar Question from a Family Affected by 1990 Wichita, Kansas Shooting Spree.

Now for the other side of the fence

Would you believe me if I said that my daughter, who was 5 months old at the time of the shooting, lives with bipolar disorder? She does. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her late teens. Talk about being on both sides of the fence. I’ve felt, firsthand, the impact of gun violence, and mental illness was a part of the picture. I’ve also felt the impact of mental illness from a parent perspective, and I know that violence isn’t a part of her diagnostic picture nor a part of her story, ever.
Whose side am I on?
Due to my experiences, do I side with the National Rifle Association (NRA) or do I side with the opposition? And do I think that those with serious mental illness shouldn’t have access to guns? For now, I’ll wait on sharing my political views, especially since I respect that we each have a right to our own beliefs. However, I do want to thank Emanuella Grinberg for her thought provoking article. I encourage you to read it. Whose side are you on?

Growing stronger…

Grinberg, E. (2016, January 25). Gun violence not a mental health issue, experts say, pointing to ‘anger,’ suicides. Cable News Network, Inc. Retrieved from: