UC Santa Barbara School Shooting: Mental Health vs. Gun Control

(Editor: Gun Control Fails Again…)
By Justin Nutt, LMSW, CSW

UC Santa Barbara School Shooting
UC Santa Barbara School Shooting: Students look through a window marked with bullet holes at the IV Deli in the Isla Vista neighborhood of Santa Barbara, Calif., Saturday, May 24, 2014. A shooting rampage on Friday left seven dead near the University of California, Santa Barbara. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/MCT)
Social Justice Solutions
Social Justice Solutions

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- A gunman went on a drive by shooting spree on the night of Friday, May 23, 2014 at the University of Santa Barbara campus.

These shootings left 7 people dead and another 8 injured.

Many media outlets say that the answer to this is gun control; that banning guns, and changing the regulations connected to gun ownership, is the key. This is also often the focus when it comes to school shootings as well, the gun, not the mental health of the gunman.

Two items are of concern when it comes to this idea as the answer to prevention of events such as these.

The first concern is we have to look at the idea of banning guns or the change in regulations or gun ownership in a similar way that we look at events such as deaths caused by drunk driving. A car, when a drunk driver is behind the wheel becomes, in effect, a 2,000+ pound bullet which can murder countless people the same way that a gunman with a magazine filled with rounds can. A gun, like a car, is a tool: it can be used as good or it can be used for evil. It is not able to decide which it will do; it is the user who holds that power.

When has a death that occurred as a result of a drunk driver ever been blamed on the fact that there is the ability to have “high capacity” bottles of alcohol, or the car which was being driven been blamed the way which the gun was? Have DUI’s and the deaths are the result of drunk drivers led to a ban on alcohol or cars? We tried prohibition of alcohol, and banning guns would lead to much the same result, those law abiding citizens who owned guns would be turned into criminals simply because they want to not be penalized for the actions of others.

Having watched the video ( https://tiny.cc/0r4ggx ) , and as someone who has conducted hundreds of hospital psychological evaluations and who has a private practice, the gun issue aside, watching this video the clear cut fact is that this shooting was a result of mental health issues.

Clearly, from a 6 minute video, it is impossible to be 100% on a diagnosis for this young man, but watching the video I would present this…

It is apparent this man is highly psychotic and most likely has a personality disorder as well. This video contains statements that show both grandiose and persecutory delusions. He felt he was superior and it was his duty or calling to cleanse the misguided world of all of those who received what so clearly (in his mind) he was deserving of. Most likely, he felt that this mission would have gained him respect and admiration from others, as they would have realized his superiority.

Back to the gun issue, the idea of a calling and mission is what is most concerning when it comes to blaming on gun control for these events. This troubled young man would have used a knife, a car, a bomb, whatever he needed to complete his “mission.” Avoiding the idea of mental health as the cause to be addressed and making it a gun control issue does nothing to help change the epidemic of school and other types of shootings that seem to be occurring in America. In fact, this does the complete opposite, the misdirection being used to prove the need for gun control take the focus off the need to address mental health issues.

If we put mental health to the back burner and make it anecdotal as a part of the story, not the issue to be focused upon, we will continue to see the presence of problems which are connected to mental health issues such as this type of shooting. This is not saying that all individuals with mental health problems are dangerous, most in fact are not, but it is saying that most, if not all, violence is connected to items which are in some way connected to mental health.

This is where the focus must be placed, and where the work done to create change.


Justin Nutt
Author Justin Nutt

About Justin Nutt, LMSW
Justin is SJS’s Clinical Editor as well as Staff Writer. He is a therapist with a specialty in relationship counseling and identity issues connected to self-esteem and self-worth. In November 2012, ARK Counseling Services was opened by Justin in Paola, Kansas to provide mental health services to those in Miami, Linn, Franklin, and Anderson Counties Kansas. Justin holds an undergraduate degree in social work from the University of Kansas and a Master of Social Work from the University of Missouri: Kansas City. Justin is also the founder and Executive Director of Acts of Random Kindness (ARK), which was founded as a disaster relief organization in May of 2011 to help connect individuals and families with temporary and permanent housing, needed relief supplies, and food in the wake of natural disasters. Justin can be reached at [email protected]

About Social Justice Solutions
Is a social worker conceived and operated organization born out of the Stony Brook School of Social Welfare’s commitment to active participation in creating a socially just world. Vist: www.socialjusticesolutions.org

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Graham Lock

What a crock, watching from afar, Australia, i cannot believe you would equate a vehicle accident in which a drunk driver is involved with the murder of 7 innocent kids by some nut with a gun. The common denominator in every gun death is a nut with a gun. Puting breathalyzers in motor vehicles which have to be blown safe before the vehicle will start eliminates most of the problems with drunk driving. If you could come up with as simple a way to tell if someone has mental health problems which could lead them to commit such an act… Read more »


You can bet dollars to donuts this kid was on some kind of meds, ADD or anti depressants, anxiety pills, you know it was something deemed “the best thing” by some doctor, probably at the recommendation of one of his teachers years ago. All in the name of him being difficult to handle by educators, I’m amazed at the sheer number of kids on behavior modifying drugs. The system approves and encourages it, and then they wonder what went wrong.


I don’t want to down play, in the least, the need to address mental health issues in general. But, there is one aspect of it that is not getting the attention it must if the problem is to be solved. The wholesale misuse of anti-psychotic (mid altering, suicide and violence causing) medications is the most important mental health issue related to the tragedies we have been seeing. All of these recent, infamous, mass-murders have these in common. Correct that issue and eliminate gun-free zones and the media won’t have anything left to sensationalize! Question is, who has the courage and… Read more »


The problem is not what is wrong with his head but that he was raised and taught that everyone is to blame but him and no matter what he does, he doesn’t have to own it. The only thing sick is our society.

TSgt B

My question is: was this murderous animal on psychotropic drugs to “treat” his “disorder”?



Well reasoned and compassionate. Keep up the good work with your writing and practice.


That poor little rich bastard that couldn’t get laid also used his car and a knife to kill too. Why aren’t the liberals going after knives and cars too ? Nope just guns,don’t blame the shooter,just the guns ! To hell with the gungrabbers !

Rob Morse

Thank you, Justin. Well thought and well written. We don’t want to blame people even though people are clearly the problem.