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Who Is Too Unbalanced to Be Armed?
Townhall.com ^ | December 26, 2012 | Jacob Sullum

Posted on 12/26/2012 10:20:02 AM PST by Kaslin

The day of Adam Lanza's murderous assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mike Rogers said stricter gun control would not be an appropriate response. "The more realistic discussion," said the Republican congressman from Michigan, "is how do we target people with mental illness who use firearms?"

Last week, another Republican congressman, Howard Coble of North Carolina, agreed that "it's more of a mental health problem than a gun problem right now." And last Friday, when the National Rifle Association broke its silence on the Sandy Hook massacre, the group's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, called for "an active national database of the mentally ill."

Psychiatrically informed policies aimed at controlling people rather than weapons are popular in the wake of mass shootings, especially among those who rightly worry that gun restrictions will unfairly burden law-abiding Americans while failing to prevent future attacks. Yet treating gun violence as "a mental health problem" presents similar dangers.

An "active national database of the mentally ill" clearly would not have stopped Lanza, who used guns legally purchased by his mother. Even if he had bought the guns himself, it appears he would have passed a background check because did not meet the criteria for rejection.

Federal law prohibits gun ownership by anyone who "has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution." Neither seems to have been the case with Lanza.

Acquaintances reported that Lanza might have had Asperger's syndrome. That label, which soon won't even count as a mental disorder anymore, is not much more informative than saying he was a shy, socially inept loner (which people who knew him also said).

It seems safe to assume that someone who murders randomly selected first-graders is psychologically abnormal, but that is not the same as saying that a specific "mental illness" explains his behavior. Given the subjective, amorphous nature of psychiatric diagnoses, we might as well say the devil made him do it.

In any event, mental health professionals are notoriously bad at predicting which of the world's many misfits, cranks and oddballs will become violent. "Over 30 years of commentary, judicial opinion and scientific review argue that predictions of danger lack scientific rigor," notes University of Georgia law professor Alexander Scherr in a 2003 Hastings Law Journal article. "The sharpest critique finds that mental health professionals perform no better than chance at predicting violence, and perhaps perform even worse."

So even if the mental-health criteria for rejecting gun buyers (or for commitment) were expanded, there is little reason to think they could distinguish between future Lanzas and people who pose no threat. Survey data from the National Institute of Mental Health indicate that nearly half of all Americans qualify for a psychiatric diagnosis at some point in their lives. That's a pretty wide dragnet.

Should half of us lose our Second Amendment rights, at least for the duration of whatever mental disorder (depression, anxiety, addiction, inattentiveness, etc.) afflicts us? Assuming a prescription for Prozac, Xanax or Adderall is not enough to disqualify someone from owning a gun, what should the standard be?

Even under current law, mental illness can become a label for unconventional political beliefs. Remember Brandon Raub, the Marine Corps veteran who was forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in Virginia last summer based on his conspiracy-minded, anti-government Facebook posts?

The malleability of mental illness was also apparent at a 2007 debate among the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. After seeing a YouTube video in which Jered Townsend of Clio, Mich., asked about gun control and referred to his rifle as "my baby," Joseph Biden said: "If that's his baby, he needs help. ... I don't know that he is mentally qualified to own that gun. I'm being serious."

So perhaps excessive attachment to your guns should be grounds for taking them away. Biden, by the way, is in charge of formulating the policies the Obama administration will pursue in response to Lanza's horrifying crimes.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: 2ndamendment; banglist; guncontrol; newtown; sandyhook; secondamendment
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1 posted on 12/26/2012 10:20:07 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

This is treacherous as it is too easy to define owning a gun as being of symptom of unbalanced.


2 posted on 12/26/2012 10:22:34 AM PST by WriteOn (Truth)
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To: Kaslin

Adam Lanza was taking Fanapt - FOR ACUTE SCHIZOPHRENIA


3 posted on 12/26/2012 10:26:43 AM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
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To: Kaslin

The FBI defines mass murder as four or more murders occurring during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders.

In 2012, out of a population of 313 million, just 6 people chose to become mass murderers.

That is the proverbial microscopic spec on the point of a needle lost in the biggest haystack you’ve ever seen.


4 posted on 12/26/2012 10:29:24 AM PST by umgud (No Rats, No Rino's)
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To: Kaslin

I’ve taken part in psychology studies for pay, many because I’m willing to say in the questionnaires that I am conservative.
There are surveys / studies that seek to link political orientation to lower compassion, less sensitivity, lower rationality, seeking authoritarianism, less willing to help others, less charitable, not as open minded. Though I do agree with the TED talk that found that liberals are more likely to be novelty seeking and have a lower disgust threshold.
There is already data and a series of studies seeking to prove that conservatives lack traits liberals prize and consider necessary for a “good” society like tolerance of everything.


5 posted on 12/26/2012 10:30:29 AM PST by tbw2
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To: Kaslin
"Who Is Too Unbalanced to Be Armed?"

I would start with registered Democrats.

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

6 posted on 12/26/2012 10:31:00 AM PST by Joe Brower (The "American People" are no longer capable of self-governance.)
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To: Kaslin

Given the historical fact of how despots have used “mental illness” as a way of controlling political opponents, I think this article points out some clear hazards. The simple understanding that life has inherent risks that cannot be controlled to a 100% certainty would be a good start toward sanity for those who become emotional in their inability to understand firearms as just one tool (among many others) for personal security.


7 posted on 12/26/2012 10:31:08 AM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: Kaslin

The question is moot since the lunatics are now running the asylum.


8 posted on 12/26/2012 10:36:50 AM PST by TADSLOS (I took extra credit at the School of Hard Knocks)
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To: umgud; Kaslin; mylife

Anecdote from Holman Jenkins column, WSJ, Dec. 19, 2012:

“Dean Martin was once pulled over on a Los Angeles freeway and found to have an unregistered pistol. A reporter asked if the singer thought everyone should be allowed to carry a gun.

“’No, just me,’ he answered.”

Eminently sane, refreshingly honest—lol!


9 posted on 12/26/2012 10:39:08 AM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: Kaslin

The response to Newtown should simply be mourning. All of the ingredients that allowed these things to take place existed 20, 30, 50 years ago, and throughout human existence. They’ve only started happening with regularity in this country recently. Why is that? I think the answer can be found in this quote by John Adams:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”


10 posted on 12/26/2012 10:40:14 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: Kaslin
It is the sole responsibility of people like the late Nancy Lanza to keep guns out of the hands of unbalanced people. It's been reported that her son had violent outbursts. When she fails, then society has to step in. In this case it should have been armed and trained volunteers (admins and teachers) who would have cut short the rampage, or more likely deterred it altogether.

Easy answers are unrealistic unless one wants confiscation and the associated increase in crimes (other than murder and mass murder) seen in Britain.

11 posted on 12/26/2012 10:41:43 AM PST by palmer (Obama = Carter + affirmative action)
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To: Kaslin

The kid who did the killing in Ct did not own any guns.

Unfortunately, his mother did, and she made them accessible to her son.

We will always have the mentally ill among us. Predicting which of them will become killers is certainly not an exact science.

I was taught in psych class in nursing school, that when it comes to mental health, that mentally, there is no “black” or white” and that we’re all just a different shade of gray.


12 posted on 12/26/2012 10:42:13 AM PST by basil (Second Amendment Sisters.org)
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To: Kaslin
I have to disagree with the author. Aspingers syndrome is a much more specific and informative label than "saying he was a shy, socially inept loner", as the author states.

I recently correctly diagnosed a friends 4 year old with Aspergers Syndrome after our first meeting. I noticed that she walked everywhere on her tiptoes, and noted other behavioral quirks that are common to the disease, such as inability to make eye-contact, inappropriate modulation of her voice, abnormal sensitivity to noises.

Most Aspies are smarter than average and are often the first kids to read and know numbers at her age, but are not socialized at anywhere near their age level. The four year old girl I met is still in diapers.

I know there is some battle going on withing the psychology community (which is a very liberal and trendy community given to all manner of progressive nonsense) to delist Aspergers as a syndrome, but it's one of the most obvious and unique congenital mental impairments.

Here is the Wikipedia article on it, which is pretty good.

13 posted on 12/26/2012 10:45:04 AM PST by Jack Black ( Whatever is left of American patriotism is now identical with counter-revolution.)
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To: Kaslin

The IRS and Homeland Security.


14 posted on 12/26/2012 10:46:20 AM PST by tennmountainman
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To: Kaslin
Joseph Biden said: "If that's his baby, he needs help. ... I don't know that he is mentally qualified to own that gun. I'm being serious."

Which raises the alternative question: Is Joe Biden mentally qualified to own a mouth? I'm being serious too.

15 posted on 12/26/2012 10:54:56 AM PST by Bernard Marx
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To: Kaslin

The problem is abuse.

Shrinks are notoriously liberal and would report anyone walking through their door as “unsuitable”.

This would only work if there were some minimum standards, such as an expressed threat.


16 posted on 12/26/2012 10:56:49 AM PST by G Larry (Which of Obama's policies do you think I'd support if he were white?)
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To: basil

Where do the rights of society begin and the rights of the individual end? A psych class question.
When society can no longer compel medication that help the identified mentally ill function, then the violent rampages against the most vulnerable will continue. Thanks ACLU - not. Obviously not all mentally ill needing medication are going to be violent, but for sure the identified mentally ill not taking their medication have been the source of our national grieving.


17 posted on 12/26/2012 10:56:49 AM PST by pacpam (action=consequence and applies in all cases - friend of victory)
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To: Fightin Whitey

One time, David Crosby of Crosby-Stills and Nash was caught with an unlicensed pistol. He was asked why he had it. He responded, “John Lennon”. He was institutionalized for thinking he was a Beatle.


18 posted on 12/26/2012 10:57:43 AM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Bernard Marx
Which raises the alternative question: Is Joe Biden mentally qualified to own a mouth tongue? I'm being serious too.

There. Fixed it

19 posted on 12/26/2012 11:00:03 AM PST by NathanR
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To: basil

Yes, sanity is quantitative, not qualitative. It’s never a question of whether a person has mental problems or not, it’s a question of how serious a person’s problems are.


20 posted on 12/26/2012 11:00:25 AM PST by Boogieman
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To: Kaslin

Yes I have been warning those who want to blame this on mental health. this is a slippery slope I don’t want to go down... putting our constitutional rights at the mercy of shrinks, judges, politicians, and/or family members.


21 posted on 12/26/2012 11:04:38 AM PST by wolfman23601
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To: Kaslin
I would wager that almost all of Adam Lanza’s would-be childhood playmates and fellow students (even though it's reported he was home schooled, that's another story) thought he was a psycho but their parents said “That's bullying! Don't say that, it's mean and uncalled for! He's just different.”
22 posted on 12/26/2012 11:20:43 AM PST by MrBambaLaMamba (This Message Contains Privileged Attorney-Client Communications)
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To: Kaslin

What bothers me the most about this idea is the probability the psych database will be prone to the same problems the NECS has: No way of knowing how you got on the list, no way of knowing how to get off the list if you’re on it (Hint: you can’t), and no way to know if you’re even *on* the list, short of being rejected.

It’s much too secretive for my liking. It’s gun banning by another means.


23 posted on 12/26/2012 11:26:49 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.)
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To: Kaslin

Anyone who voted for Obama the second time around and anyone who voted for Romney in the primaries while there was still another choice.


24 posted on 12/26/2012 11:28:41 AM PST by freedomfiter2 (Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.)
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To: Bernard Marx
Is Joe Biden mentally qualified to own a mouth?

If Biden didn't have a mouth what would he do with his feet?

25 posted on 12/26/2012 11:35:56 AM PST by bigheadfred
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To: massgopguy

“He responded ‘John Lennon.’ He was institutionalized..”

My answer is going to be “Vlad Lenin.”

I bet I’ll get a smiley-face sticker and an extra dessert at lunch!


26 posted on 12/26/2012 11:40:17 AM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: Kaslin
Who Is Too Unbalanced to Be Armed?

Chris Matthews.

5.56mm

27 posted on 12/26/2012 11:44:48 AM PST by M Kehoe
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To: umgud

“In 2012, out of a population of 313 million, just 6 people chose to become mass murderers. That is the proverbial microscopic spec on the point of a needle lost in the biggest haystack you’ve ever seen.”

An important point for the liberals. The bigger the haystack, the more people you can disqualify from owning guns.

There is also the definition problem. Obama has redefined the official terrorist profile by DHS from Muslim male between 15 and 30 to white, Christian, and concerned with the size of the federal government. Not too hard to redefine mentally ill in light of that.

Finally, combine a mental illness standard with Obamacare. Dept of HHS will have information about every doctor’s visit and psychiatrist visit you make, ever. The secretary of HHS already has the authority to share your information with any “federal, state, or local” government agency, in their discretion. Go to a shrink for anxiety and get put on the no-gun list. Remember, no doctor will be able to practice medicine if they are on the HHS s##tlist. How many will go along to keep their jobs.


28 posted on 12/26/2012 12:59:55 PM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: Kaslin

Yet treating gun violence as “a mental health problem” presents similar dangers.

gun violence is a political term.
What we need to deal with is VIOLENCE and the fact that we have so many people that see it as a solution to their problems.
The guns that Adam Lanza used had no will of their own. The did not hate Lanza nor any of the 26 other people killed. The guns had no violent intent towards anyone. The hate, the violent intent was all Lanza.


29 posted on 12/26/2012 1:01:56 PM PST by SECURE AMERICA (Where can I sign up for the New American Revolution and the Crusades 2012?)
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To: basil

I wouldn’t say she “made them available” to him.
They were locked in a safe.


30 posted on 12/26/2012 1:02:56 PM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Kaslin

Ah, I see a two pronged attack going on here...

Those who “cling” to guns are insane,
and, according to Michael Moore’s latest burp - racist.


31 posted on 12/26/2012 1:05:03 PM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Kaslin

Simple: who is too unbalanced to be on the streets in the first place? The answer nowadays is, unfortunately, a lot of people. They haven’t all turned into mass murderers, yet, but many or them have murdered individuals, particularly family members, or made these people’s lives so miserable and terrified they probably wished they were dead.

That said, most of the nutcases wouldn’t qualify for a permit even now,
and in fact most didn’t have permits or legally owned weapons.

The thing to do is get the insane into institutions,


32 posted on 12/26/2012 1:20:14 PM PST by livius
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To: struggle

Fanapt is also used for people with mood swings.


33 posted on 12/26/2012 1:30:05 PM PST by gitmo ( If your theology doesn't become your biography it's useless.)
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To: MrB

I’ve read newspaper reports which stated that her guns were in various rooms of her house, and that none were locked.

Who knows which is true?

We do know that he obviously gained access to them one way or another.


34 posted on 12/26/2012 1:43:39 PM PST by basil (Second Amendment Sisters.org)
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To: Kaslin

“Who Is Too Unbalanced to Be Armed?”

Anybody with a badge. Followed by anybody who wants to be in politics.


35 posted on 12/26/2012 2:00:53 PM PST by gfbtbb (Ladies and Gentlemen, we are on our own.)
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To: Kaslin
Re: “Nearly half of all Americans qualify for a psychiatric diagnosis at some point in their lives.”

Years ago I saw a psychiatrist interviewed on the old MacNeil-Lehrer Report.

I was stunned by his honesty.

He said there are only two scientifically valid mental disorders:

Schizophrenia and Clinical Depression.

Then he said:

Everything else is caused by “Unrealistic Expectations” or “Personal Inadequacy.”

36 posted on 12/26/2012 2:24:29 PM PST by zeestephen
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To: WriteOn; All

Agreed the last thing this nation needs is a Democrat run Psycho prison system like the old Soviet Union had to deal with dissidents.


37 posted on 12/26/2012 2:27:59 PM PST by Nebr FAL owner
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To: struggle

And I think we can include a guy who killed his grandmother with a hammer. Or am I setting the standard too high here?


38 posted on 12/26/2012 2:31:55 PM PST by Let's Roll (Save the world's best healthcare - REPEAL, DEFUND Obamacare!)
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To: struggle

Where did you hear that?


39 posted on 12/26/2012 2:34:51 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them.)
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To: struggle

Where did you hear that?


40 posted on 12/26/2012 2:35:15 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them.)
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To: freedomfiter2

See my tagline


41 posted on 12/26/2012 2:38:41 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them.)
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To: struggle

Source please


42 posted on 12/26/2012 2:43:31 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them.)
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To: Kaslin
Who Is Too Unbalanced to Be Armed?

The majority of American journalists.
43 posted on 12/26/2012 2:44:52 PM PST by Vision (Obama is king of the "Takers." Don't be a "Taker.")
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To: Kaslin

Who is to balanced to NOT be armed?


44 posted on 12/26/2012 2:49:38 PM PST by eyedigress ((zOld storm chaser from the west)/?)
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To: tbw2
"There is already data and a series of studies seeking to prove that conservatives lack traits liberals prize and consider necessary for a “good” society like tolerance of everything."

What a joke. Liberals are the most intolerant people on the planet when it comes to white, Christian, Conservative men.

45 posted on 12/26/2012 3:13:51 PM PST by Godebert (No Person Except a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN!)
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To: Kaslin

http://www.businessinsider.com/adam-lanza-taking-antipsychotic-fanapt-2012-12


46 posted on 12/26/2012 3:32:44 PM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
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To: struggle

Thanks for your reply.


47 posted on 12/26/2012 4:46:57 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them.)
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To: Kaslin

I’m not unbalanced, I’ve got a gun in each hand.


48 posted on 12/26/2012 4:49:28 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Kaslin
Even under current law, mental illness can become a label for unconventional political beliefs. Remember Brandon Raub, the Marine Corps veteran who was forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in Virginia last summer based on his conspiracy-minded, anti-government Facebook posts?

The Soviets jugged and drugged dissidents regularly. Thorazine, you name it -- all administered under color of psychiatric diagnoses that were driven by KGB.

49 posted on 12/26/2012 5:04:23 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: Kaslin

Most people who’ve attended universities know that most psychs lean radically to the social left.


50 posted on 12/26/2012 5:36:29 PM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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