Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Gun Control Is Not The Answer To Mass Shootings"

The title of an article in the June 22, 2013 U.K. Guardian:
Only a small fraction of mentally ill people ever become violent, and then, usually, when they fail to get treatment. Individuals with a severe mental illness should not be allowed to purchase guns or have access to them. Combine guns and untreated mental illness: you have a tragedy waiting to happen.

The tragic mass shootings in Newtown, Aurora, Tucson and Virginia Tech reportedly all involved untreated mental illness. After each such tragedy, I hear people say, "Those parents knew their sons were ill; why didn't they do something to prevent that tragedy?" Once your child turns 18, he or she has a civil right to refuse treatment and remain mentally ill until or unless she or he becomes suicidal or homicidal, as determined by judges at commitment hearings. State laws vary, but all states set strict controls regarding involuntary hospitalization and forced treatment, limiting it to circumstances when a person is an imminent danger to self or others, or likely to become so.

These laws give adults with mental illness the right to decide when, where, how and even if they will receive treatment. Yet, some serious mental illnesses make it difficult for those affected to assess their own need for treatment. When patient rights exceed necessary protections, individuals with severe mental illness can die. And many do. And sometimes, they harm others along the way.
The article is by a woman whose son committed suicide after a long and tragic history.  Worth reading in full.  The comments, of course, are full of "gun control is the answer" nonsense, because the Guardian is a British newspaper, and many Britons have been told this so long that is like the advertising line in Idiocracy: "Brawndo: It's what plants crave."  They have been told it so long that they are generally unable to consider any other explanation.

The fact that the Guardian, a Labour Party newspaper, is prepared to publish such an un-PC article is one of the reasons that I read and respect it, in spite of its leftist orientation. 


  1. I think that small F federalism is a reality. The citizens of any country invariably get the government that they are willing to tolerate; the actions of said government continue because of the active or tacit consent of the governed.

  2. Unfortunately it seems to me that the first real assistance some people get for their mental health problems is through the corrections system. At my facility we have an inmate who has been held for ten months and we have not been able to get him proper mental health. Recently we learned that the mental health professionals had apparently lost all of the paperwork and had no clue that they were even to treat the inmate.

    (Part of the problem is that inmates with mental health issues are a low priority for the hospitals due to the fact that they are considered "not a danger" to themselves or others because it is such a controlled environment.)