It’s the illness, not the weapon

It’s the illness, not the weapon

March 31, 2013

On Tuesday, a homeless man attacked and injured five innocent victims with a kitchen knife in East Liberty. One of the victims, who is expected to fully recover from serious wounds, is a teenage girl from Chattanooga, Tenn. visiting family here in Pittsburgh. The brave reactions of several local men subdued and disarmed the attacker, Leone Walls, and prevented further havoc. Two of those heroes sustained injuries during the attack. According to media accounts, Walls’ behavior before, during, and after the attacks certainly demonstrated a high level of instability.

It is at this point that I sarcastically ask, “Why are our politicians not demanding kitchen knife control?” Or, at the very least, requiring all kitchen knife owners to register their weapons. We have the technology. Although I am a gun owner and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, this letter is not necessarily about gun control. It is about an issue far more relevant, long-reaching, and generally ignored in today’s culture.

We need to refocus, study the past history of violent mass attacks, and understand that the most common denominator in most mass attacks is the presence of mental illness on the part of the attacker. If one would go back and study many of the recent violent attacks, it becomes clear that these attackers were afflicted with some type of mental illness. It is this illness that caused these horrific acts, not a gun or knife. Although I am not a mental health professional, Walls clearly demonstrated a high level of instability. His mental state resulted in this violent attack, not his choice of weapon. Our liberal politicians scream for gun control and registration and very little attention is given to the real issue, the disease of mental illness.

Have no doubt, until mental illness is seriously acknowledged, addressed, and treated, random mass attacks are likely to continue regardless of weapon availability.

Eric Jones



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