Naturally, we got the attempt to ban “assault weapons” and large capacity magazines. Ban the scary looking guns! Make mass murderers go black market to get a lot of bullets into one magazine, or carry several magazines, or several guns. The difference that will make? Approximately none.
We got more cops, which isn’t bad… Other than the fact that it makes cities and towns more dependent on the federal government to supplement their revenues (at the same time the cities and towns are always having to deal with federal unfunded mandates that deplete their resources).
Of course the background check is going to be emphasized. Because, you know, there is no black market for guns or magazines. But, I’ll give him this one, even though it’s unlikely to make a difference, it’ll just make it more of a pain in the butt for law abiding citizens, but then, law abiding citizens are going through the background check the vast majority of the time anyway. Cooperation between agencies to put mental health red flags into the system is actually a good idea.
The most frustrating thing for me is that he addressed the mental health issue, but did it in a typical liberal touchy-feely way, providing more “opportunity” for mentally ill people to get counseling. More school counselors. Doctors talking to patients about gun safety (what a joke that is… “Well, your lungs seem clear… Where do you store your handgun?” Or, “You seem to have anger toward your father. Do you have trigger locks on your rifles?”)
Is there anyone who is less likely to seek help than a psychotic? Is there anyone less likely to stay on their medications than someone suffering from severe mental disorders?
Therein lies the rub. The only way to deal with dangerous psychotics that actually addresses the problem is to put them somewhere, out of society, and force them to take the meds. Of course, when they are on their meds, they become less of a danger to society, so it’s difficult to keep them under lock and key. Let them out, tell them to take their meds, and many of them simply won’t do it. Part of being a psychotic is not making good decisions. Ask homeless people, most of whom are mentally ill people, not just poor people who’ve lost their home, but mentally ill people who are off of their meds and, when off of their meds, can’t function in normal society well enough to hold a job or even to take advantage of government help.
It is far too difficult to lock away psychotic people, even when they are clearly very scary people. When you look at the recent mass killings, every one of the shooters was trouble waiting to happen. They were scary to people around them. There were all kinds of indications that they were deranged. But there was no quick and simple way to get them put away (and likely no place to put them). Read Ann Coulter’s column today (http://www.humanevents.com/2013/01/16/ann-coulter-guns-dont-kill-people-the-mentally-ill-do/).
Note: you need to cut and paste the URL into your browser because for some reason (possibly the problem with Java) my WordPress is not allowing me to create links… sorry.
Here’s an excerpt:
James Holmes, the accused Aurora, Colo., shooter, was under psychiatric care at the University of Colorado long before he shot up a movie theater. According to news reports and court filings, Holmes told his psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, that he fantasized about killing “a lot of people,” but she refused law enforcement’s offer to place Holmes under confinement for 72 hours.
However, Fenton did drop Holmes as a patient after he made threats against another school psychiatrist. And after Holmes made threats against a professor, he was asked to leave campus. But he wasn’t committed. People who knew he was deeply troubled just pushed him onto society to cause havoc elsewhere.
Ann lists the warning signs that should have led to institutionalization for several of these maniacs.
Yet, what we get from the touchy-feely left is increased availability of help for the mentally ill. One of the problems with any mental illness is that the seriously mentally ill person does not see himself as the one with the problem. And, as Ann demonstrates, some of these guys had seen counselors. Even threatened them. Seeing counselors didn’t stop them. What would’ve stopped them was the counselor being able to say to the authorities: “This dude needs to be locked up and medicated long term. If he’s not, he is going to hurt someone. If he’s not forced to take medications, chances are great he won’t take them.”
It’s a serious issue, because we are talking about depriving people of their liberty. I understand the reluctance to do it. As I said in a previous post, it is something that requires discernment and wisdom, which is something government is not good at. That’s how we arrive at a standard of “harmful to themselves or others” which is extremely difficult to prove until it is too late. What’s more, the process takes so long that the psychotic can get wind of it and, as appears to be the case with the Adam Lanza, it can set them off. How do you manage to err on the side of caution (locking away people you perceive as dangerous), without getting into a situation where too many non-dangerous people are getting institutionalized?
It’s a tough one to deal with. So, naturally, the president isn’t going to deal with it. The ACLU would be all over him. The politically correct thing is to whip up your base by demonizing the weapon and not the shooter, and to do the touchy-feely thing regarding mental health. The problem, of course, is that neither of those things will make any difference at all. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about the appearance of doing something. And, of course, spending some taxpayer money while you’re at it. Couldn’t have a plan without that!