(NBC News) Thursday’s theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana was the third mass shooting in the United States over the past 37 days by a suspect said to have mental or emotional issues.
In Charleston, where nine died, the shooter was Dylann Roof, in Chattanooga, where five died, Mohammed Abdulazziz.
All three killers were able to get at least one gun, and President Obama says his failure to tighten gun controls is the greatest frustration of his presidency.
Still, some suggest the fix is better mental health care.
Experts say our nation’s mental health system is overburdened and poorly funded.
“We probably have 3.5 million adults in the United States with serious and sometimes disabling disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who aren’t getting any treatment at all,” says Duke University’s Dr. Jeffery Swanson.
But experts say care for everyone might not mean spotting potential mass shooters.
“We do not have the data that would show that improving mental health for the general population would have any impact in terms of these isolated, very rare, high-casualty mass violence incidents,” admits Paolo del Vecchio of the Center for Mental Health Services.
Colin Goodard, a survivor of the 2007 Viriginia Tech massacre, says the focus must be on the guns.
“Unfortunately I think a lot of elected officials in the country, after mass shootings, talk about mental health as a pivot, getting away from the real issue of how to improve gun policy,” Goddards says.
Advocates of gun control and better mental health care also note far more Americans are killed by guns or by mental illness every day than in these high profile mass casualty incidents.