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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gun control

None of the gun control measures ordered by Obama or Governor Cuomo will be effective against the real problem: dealing with the criminally insane and reinstituting involuntary commitment to a mental institution. Their rules may, in fact, keep these people from seeking help. Why would they talk about violent fantasies if they know it will land them in trouble with the law, with all their guns confiscated (in New York)? Why would they turn to medical help at all?

They wouldn't. And they have a history of using illegally-obtained weapons.

The criminally insane have a general history of NOT seeking help in the first place, and these measures won't do a darn thing to prevent mass murders.  The one thing that at least does not hurt the situation is the clarification that doctors may tell the powers that be of threats to the public without breaking privacy laws. But again, the fact that the criminally insane now know that will add to their reluctance to seek help, if they had any desire to do so in the first place.

I was very glad to see Ann Coulter talking about this too, because mental health and mental health care is so poorly understood in the United States. There's a stigma against talking about it, even though it is quite common to be treated for some form of mental illess - even beyond depression and manic depression. This does not contribute to our safety, then, when we refuse to acknowledge and properly treat those who are a threat to themselves and others. For example:
Seung-Hui Cho, who committed the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, had been diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder as a child and placed under treatment.

But Virginia Tech was prohibited from being told about Cho's mental health problems because of federal privacy laws.

At college, Cho engaged in behavior even more bizarre than the average college student. He stalked three women and, at one point, went totally silent, refusing to speak even to his roommates. He was involuntarily committed to a mental institution for one night and then unaccountably unleashed on the public, whereupon he proceeded to engage in the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history.
And about Jared Loughner:
One of Loughner's teachers, Ben McGahee, filed numerous complaints against him, hoping to have him removed from class. "When I turned my back to write on the board," McGahee said, "I would always turn back quickly -- to see if he had a gun."
On her first day at school, student Lynda Sorensen emailed her friends about Loughner: "We do have one student in the class who was disruptive today, I'm not certain yet if he was on drugs (as one person surmised) or disturbed. He scares me a bit. The teacher tried to throw him out and he refused to go, so I talked to the teacher afterward. Hopefully he will be out of class very soon, and not come back with an automatic weapon."
The last of several emails Sorensen sent about Loughner said: "We have a mentally unstable person in the class that scares the living cr** out of me. He is one of those whose picture you see on the news, after he has come into class with an automatic weapon. Everyone interviewed would say, Yeah, he was in my math class and he was really weird."
That was the summer before Loughner killed six people at the Tucson shopping mall, including a federal judge and a 9 year-old girl, and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, among others.
Loughner also had run-ins with the law, including one charge for possessing drug paraphernalia -- a lethal combination with mental illness. He was eventually asked to leave college on mental health grounds, released on the public without warning.
 And Ann Coulter kindly explains the real problem behind mass murderers: even if people feel unsafe with them, most states have strict laws preventing involuntary commitment to an institution. But why wait until after people have died? Seriously.
As The New York Times' Joe Nocera recently wrote: "Connecticut's laws are so restrictive in terms of the proof required to get someone committed that Adam Lanza's mother would probably not have been able to get him help even if she had tried."

Taking guns away from single women who live alone and other law-abiding citizens without mental illnesses will do nothing about the Chos, Loughners, Holmeses or Lanzas. Such people have to be separated from civil society, for the public's sake as well as their own. But this is nearly impossible because the ACLU has decided that being psychotic is a civil right.
Yup. That sums it up. But will anything change? I doubt it. Gun control is a front for a power grab and pushing a Democratic agenda. That's all. Like anything else, they won't get to the real heart of the problem any more than higher taxes address the enormous spending problem in the federal governemnt.

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