22 October 2015

Guns, and Mental Health

“The aftermath of a mass shooting might actually be the worst time to talk about mental health, because for the record, the vast majority of mentally ill people are nonviolent, and the vast majority of gun violence is committed by non-mentally ill people,” Oliver said. “In fact, mentally ill people are far more likely to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators, so the fact that we tend to only discuss mental health in a mass shooting context is deeply misleading.”
John Oliver on "Last Week" 10/4/2015

This little piece of logic is something the far right needs to read. Over and over again, those who want to somehow sanitize guns blame mental health. It is not merely a cop out, it is amazingly cynical as these same dopes want to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act, and defund Public Health. So they use "mental health" as a target, they do not propose to fix any of the many, many flaws in our (you should pardon the words) mental health system.

In a rational world, we might notice that the number of stabbings in countries like Canada in no way represents the same level of killing as the per capita shootings just South of the border. Guns change the equation in a number of ways. They are not nearly as up close and personal as knives, and they can be operated by any idiot. Stabbing requires at least some understanding of anatomy, some strength, and an ability to overcome a victim. None of those is required for a side arm at 25 or 30 feet.

But while we are being rational, we should notice that those with diagnosed mental illnesses are actually LESS violent than those we (perhaps optimistically) call normal. Denying guns to mentally ill people solves exactly nothing.

So, should there be a national version of Illinois' FOID? Yes. Do I care if that triggers someone's paranoia? No. "Background check" should not mean that any contact with mental health professionals is a disqualifier. I think some sort of shield law permitting professionals to comment on their perception of the control issues of patients is needed. Should at least some former prisoners who have passed an investigation and have stayed out of trouble be eligible? I think so. But these are political issues and we should have an honest political discussion about them.

I think a national Firearms Owner's Identity card should be electronically linked so that a seller can check it. That would allow for restrictions for instance on .50 ammo, or 17 round magazines, requiring permits and safety classes. Again, how much restriction is a subject for political discussions. Shouting, "Second Amendment" is not. Shouting about mass shootings, also is not.


Lionel Deimel said...

Of course, often owning a gun is indicative of paranoia.

RonF said...

"This little piece of logic is something the far right needs to read. Over and over again, those who want to somehow sanitize guns blame mental health."

Actually, it's been the far left, led by the President, who keep making this claim. For example, from his remarks on the Umpqua shootings:

"We don't yet know why this individual did what he did. And it's fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds, regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people."

They do this in order to support the imposition of universal background checks under the guise that it will find mentally ill people and prevent them from owning firearms - which has the problems you identify. The vast majority of psychiatrists say "I'm not signing that! I have no way to warranty that a given person will or will not turn violent."

You ask and answer the following question: "So, should there be a national version of Illinois' FOID? Yes. Do I care if that triggers someone's paranoia?"

Here's what triggers a reaction on the part of firearm owners - of the shootings that have gained public notice, which of them would have been stopped by background checks? The answer is "Virtually none". The person who purchased the firearm(s) used in those shootings either passed a background check or would have if one had been required (there's one exception that I know of).

So now people ask themselves "Well, if the law they propose to solve a problem will not in fact solve that problem - and if that's a well-known fact - then what is their motivation for passing the law? What's the real purpose behind it?" The refusal of the anti-2nd Amendment forces to answer that question (either by ignoring it or saying "We have to do SOMETHING!") leads to speculation that you're calling paranoia but to me seems well founded.

Jim said...

Lionel, I own guns. I am not paranoid. Or at least no one I know thinks I am. ;-) There can be any number of reasons to be q gun owner. used to hunt with my dad. I developed a love of target shooting, and am actually fairly good at it. I have an Illinois FOID, and support that program. I do not have an Illinois concealed carry permit, and do not want one. I simply do not feel a need for one.

Ron, I suppose it matters which news sources and interviews one experiences. My sense was what I wrote, based on responses I heard or read. In any case, I think the NRA leaders I heard were on the "mental health" choir.

Thanks for your responses!


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