Mental-Illness Not the Sole Cause of America’s Deadliest Mass Shooting in 2023 Being the First Shooting in Maine Over 10 Years

LEWISTON, Maine – The deadliest mass shooting in the United States in 2023 occurred on October 25th, when Robert Card opened fire at a bowling alley and nearby bar, leaving 18 people dead and 13 wounded. Card was later found dead near a river 10 miles outside of Lewiston. In the aftermath of the shooting, revelations emerged about Card’s mental health struggles, with reports indicating that his family had warned law enforcement about his behavior prior to the attack. Speculation also arose about a potential connection between Card’s actions and a brain disorder known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which can result from repetitive head trauma.

Experts from Boston University CTE Center are currently examining Card’s brain to determine whether he had the disorder, with results expected within six to eight months. The examination is part of an effort to understand the potential link between CTE and the psychiatric symptoms displayed by Card leading up to the shooting. While there is evidence that CTE patients can develop symptoms such as aggression and paranoia, the exact relationship between CTE and psychiatric symptoms is still being studied.

In addressing the misconceptions surrounding mental illness and violence, experts emphasized that the vast majority of violent behavior is not caused by mental health conditions. While there are instances where certain symptoms may increase a person’s risk of violence, it is crucial to avoid stigmatizing individuals with mental illness. Instead, efforts should focus on providing better mental health care and support to prevent violence and death by suicide.

To address the risk of violence and suicide, recommendations were made for evidence-based criteria for prohibiting firearms access, such as “red flag” laws, which have been implemented in some states. These laws allow for the temporary removal of firearms if individuals are deemed to be a risk to themselves or others, without imposing criminal penalties. The importance of early intervention and access to mental health care was also underscored as a critical aspect of preventing violent behavior.

In conclusion, it is imperative to understand the complexities of mental illness and its potential impact on an individual’s behavior. By focusing on evidence-based solutions and providing better access to mental health care, it is possible to mitigate the risk of violence and support individuals in need. The tragic events in Lewiston serve as a reminder of the importance of addressing mental health challenges and implementing effective strategies to prevent future incidents of violence.