Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When Should We Take Their Guns Away?

Those 'law-abiding citizens' who own guns here in the Land of the Free may be suffering from some form of mental disorder. Here are some statistics which my help define the problem of guns in the hands of mentally i ll citizens:

Personality disorders affect 10-15% of the adult US population. Individuals may have more than one personality disorder. The following are prevalences for specific personality disorders in the general population:*

Paranoid personality disorder - 0.5-2.5%
Schizotypal personality disorder - 3%
Antisocial personality disorder - 3% of men, 1% of women
Borderline personality disorder - 2%
Histrionic personality disorder - 2-3%
Narcissistic personality disorder - Less than 1%
Avoidant personality disorder - 0.5-1%
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder - 1%

* Widiger TA, Sanderson CJ. Personality disorders. In: Tasman A, Kay J, Lieberman JA, eds. Psychiatry. Philadelphia, Pa: Harcourt Brace & Co; 1997:1291-1317

That 'antisocial personality disorder' [ASPD] is quite troublesome and may be a key factor in the gun violence that is played out here in America. Schitotypical disorders add to this problem.

Men, it is to be noted, account for 3% of the ASPD. As America's population is 300,000,000- half men, that would be 3% of 150,000,000 or 450,000 American males. who could be suffering ASPD. When the Schitotypical numbers are added to that, it becomes statistically scary to note the number of mentally ill American men that are in our society.

Some of the common identifiable disorders are: posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depression, psychotic disorder, delusional disorder and schizophreniform disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder impacts males 50-75% more than females. This 'me first' disorder accompanies the 'male privilege' syndrome as well as an exaggeration of their own talents or accomplishments, a sense of entitlement, the exploitation of others a lack of empathy and an arrogant, haughty attitude. These characteristics are found to varying degrees in adolescent males through adulthood. Testosterone, naturally, triggers such emotions and attitudes.

Imagine all of those 'personality' disorders in your neighborhood, down the street, at the mall, at the ball game, in your work place. Men, law-abiding citizens, who are one trigger away from some anti-social behavior. One dirty look, one comment, one gesture away from the tipping point of APSD.

Then there is the gun- the ultimate equalizer. If one of these APSD men finds himself in a situation that he cannot handle, that he cannot tolerate, that he thinks is emasculating, and he has a gun or two, he might find solace, comfort, security in getting his gun and 'solving' the problem.

How many law-abiding American men are one trigger pull away from snapping? Statistically, way-too many.

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