Skip to comments.Who Is Too Unbalanced to Be Armed?
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.
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.
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.
Anyone who voted for Obama the second time around and anyone who voted for Romney in the primaries while there was still another choice.
If Biden didn't have a mouth what would he do with his feet?
“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!
“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 youve 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.
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.
I wouldn’t say she “made them available” to him.
They were locked in a safe.
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.
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,
Fanapt is also used for people with mood swings.
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.
“Who Is Too Unbalanced to Be Armed?”
Anybody with a badge. Followed by anybody who wants to be in politics.
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.”
Agreed the last thing this nation needs is a Democrat run Psycho prison system like the old Soviet Union had to deal with dissidents.
And I think we can include a guy who killed his grandmother with a hammer. Or am I setting the standard too high here?
Where did you hear that?
Where did you hear that?