March 8th, 2012
07:23 PM ET

Overheard on Psychiatric hospital shooting 'isn't some abstract tragedy'

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Two people died and seven are being treated for injuries after a shooting Thursday afternoon  inside the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Readers expressed their frustration with this event and shared their opinions on the genesis of it.

2 dead, 7 hurt in shooting at Pittsburgh psychiatric hospital

We heard from some people in the area. This commenter noted a somewhat close call.

PGH1980: "I was putting my jacket on and ready to go there to grab a quick bite for lunch when the first officer pulled up. If I had gotten my work done only a minute earlier, I would have walked right into it."

This reader called on others to hold off on the politics in discussing the issue.

rapier1: "I want you all to know that the people involved in this are real people. Two people are dead and seven injured. Shot. They were going about their day and now they are dead or wounded. Maybe this isn't 'real' for you, but I heard the sirens go by. This is happening blocks from me. This isn't some abstract tragedy, but real people who are now in pain, crippled, bleeding, and dead. There are people who will not be going home to their families tonight. People who don't have any more hopes and dreams. People, people just like you that are now *dead* and crippled. That *most* of you want to use this as a platform to spout off your inane pronouncements on gun control is just disgusting. It's the height of crassness. At least give it a day before you politicize the death and mayhem that happened here today."

Another commenter offered a local perspective.

Adnan Khan: "Very fortunate that this was during Pitt spring break, this could have been so much more of a tragedy if this was during school. The hospital is located right on a road that is heavily used by students to go from upper to lower campus and vice versa."

One reader talked about the issue of whether people with mental illness are dangerous.

Brandt Walkertexasranger Curti: "There is quite a bit of difference between a psychopath (antisocial personality disorder) and someone struggling with depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar, etc. The fact of the matter is those who suffer from a mental disorder other than antisocial personality disorder are no more dangerous than those who do not suffer from an illness. Two people represent absolutely nothing and your generalizations are in fact degrading."

But guns were by far the most popular topic among commenters. We heard from several readers who were afraid that the incident would stir up interest in gun bans.

freedomdem: "A handful of people die each year from shootings and it's Armageddon. Yet thousands die each year by cars ... and people say, an accident that was sad. 300 million people and only a handful die from a rampage shooting ... statistically the USA is very safe with the ownership of guns."

Poipounder: "Some of the comments on here really irk me. I have owned guns my whole life - so did my dad and same with his dad. The problem is not the guns, it's the people who use them."

A few advocated stronger gun laws.

Zoglet: "The fact that this gun is in circulation tells me that the gun laws are too lax. It's the same every time. The U.S. has gun crime like no other civilized nation yet you guys are blind to the reality that it is the ease of gun availability that is the only reason there are so many gun deaths. Don't give me the usual mumbo jumbo about your rights. My right not to get shot far outweighs your right to play cowboy."

This reader said they think laws won't make a difference.

turtle995: "Almost all gun crimes are committed by people who don't have the legal right to own guns (mentally ill, drug dealers, convicts, etc). Passing more laws isn't going to make any difference in kooks getting their hands on guns, it only diminishes the rights of responsible citizens to defend ourselves from them."

What's your take on this incident? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. SP00N MAN

    Wow. It sounds like somebody went crazy.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • ??!

      Doof alert. ^

      March 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    This is a tragic thing and NOTHING is funny about it! Shame on you for making fun of others suffering! As long as i live i will never understand how people enjoy making people suffer like this nor those who can make fun of it! God bless these families.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    Every day now you hear of man made tragedies resulting from violence on top of what fury of nature does to us.A tragedy like this and unnecessary loss of life is heart wrenching. I feel for the families who go through suffering which we who are blessed in one way or the other cannot imagine.

    What you point at @ chrissy, the dark side of us humans, is difficult for me to understand too.

    March 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cynthia

    i currently work in a psych hospital and an ER. and ive worked in a couple psych hospitals. this is a reality. i worry about my safety every time i walk in to work. people that work in mental health know exactly what i am talking about. this story scares the crap out of me. i dont blame guns. i just dont. anything is a weapon to a person with a mission, may it be real or delusional.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. gary

    People who work in psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric emergency rooms risks their lives every time they enter the doors to go to their place of work. We knew there were risks when we were hired and most of us chose this profession because we want to make a difference in peoples lives. People with severe mental issues can be very dangerous and often try to physically abuse hospital staff. To show them compassion and that you care is often not appreciated nor wanted by some of them. However, we still do this because we are all God's children!

    March 9, 2012 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. P3D0-B3AR

    Abstract?! More like Realism.

    March 9, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Guinnea Pig

    Thats right. We are all Gods special little creatures

    March 9, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. Billionstars

    Why is it that so many of these multiple murders are committed by people who are taking psych meds?
    Aren't they supposed to be getting better, not worse?

    March 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. starviego

    This is another MKUltra covert op, using a mind-controlled Manchurian Candidate to create the excuse for more noxious anti-freedom laws.

    March 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |