It is not the gun, the knife or the bomb. It is not the weapon. It is the mentally disturbed person handling the weapon. After every irrational mass murder we learn that the criminal was mentally disturbed in some way. And if that person is an adult, little can be done until after a crime is committed.

His or her family knew the person was disturbed. Friends, classmates and neighbors knew. But it has become all but impossible to have someone involuntarily institutionalized, even if the person raves and tells psychiatrists, policemen or friends that they want to kill. Psychiatrists can warn family members that a patient is capable of committing murder, but that’s about all.

When murders happen, the media jumps to gun control, how to handle grief or how to tell children. No attention is given to controlling the person who commits the crime. Legally, little can be done to remove mentally disturbed people from society.

There are few people in this horrible condition relative to the number of guns and weapons. It would be easier to control a few seriously dangerous people than to try to control millions of weapons.

We all know this is true. We have seen terrible murders right here in Charleston and Mount Pleasant committed by people known to be mentally disturbed. The legal system protects the mentally disturbed murderer, not the victim.

But something should and must be done. Laws can be changed. Perhaps with testimony from family members, doctors, priests, psychiatrists, police and judges, dangerously disturbed people could be institutionalized humanely.

Until then, we just wait for the next shooting, count the bodies and blame the gun.

Ann B. Igor

Church Street

Charleston