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View Diary: My name is Mark Damico, and I'm tired. (172 comments)

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  •  I just watched a segment of Piers Morgan (2+ / 0-)
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    tobendaro, TexDem

    I had recorded last night in which he interviewed a couple of mental health experts with long experience not only working on mass shooter cases but one of them also had long experience with the public health aspects of mental health diagnostics and care. What I got out of that interview was that we do have the capability through screening of identifying people who are mentally ill enough to be capable of committing shootings of the types we have seen (not all of them involve dozens of victims, a lot of them have one or a few). It was also said that there are already laws on the books banning gun ownership for such seriously mentally ill people but because we don't diagnose people until after the fact they are not usually enforced. One of the experts said that over the past couple of decades we have failed the mentally ill miserably, that they mostly suffer in silence because nobody knows they are having problems and there are no systematic programs for finding and helping them. The vast, vast majority never hurt anybody except possibly themselves.

    So the kinds of horrific shootings that make news are preventable, we just have to step up and start treating the mentally ill as ill rather than objects of derision (have you ever seen the term "delusional", "nutbag", etc thrown around on this site? you betcha. illness as epithet.). That would take money and a change of attitude, though. And it would also probably require that mentally ill people be provided places to be that are not out on the street. The efforts of three or four decades ago to liberate people from involuntary confinement has backfired on us and on those people themselves. Do a better job of caring for them, don't just throw the whole system overboard and be done with it.

    Ok, having said all that, I don't think that kind of effort would take care of the "run of the mill" shootings that probably constitute the majority of our 3 parts per 100,000 gun death rate. I imagine somebody has the statistics on that but I don't have time to go looking them up at the moment.

    Any alternate-NRA organization should probably start working on mental health and anger management programs, and not just with shooting prevention in mind. It's clear to me that there are a lot of people suffering in silence out there with mental problems that need help. It will take years and lots of money to do that job properly. Perhaps it will happen more easily if the Affordable Care Act develops properly.

    Also, if I had more money I might well be at the range more often. The last time I went I probably burned 300 or so rounds in about an hour and a half. If I did that a couple of times a week it would come to about 2400 rounds a month. I might get bored with it after a while myself, and I know I wouldn't want to wear the guns out so fast. But there are lots of people with enough money and desire to buy new stuff all the time that they would burn that much.

     So I don't know how an ad hoc rounds per month limit would distinguish between a lot of serious shooting enthusiasts and a spree shooter saving up an overoptimistic 1000 rounds for his big finale.

    There needs to be a dialog on this, and we're far more likely to have a shouting match. Until that changes it will just be more of the same until, as you say, a switch is flipped and we get a confiscation program. Which as I sit today wouldn't really perturb me all that much. But overall it would probably cause even more mayhem than we have developed a penchant for so far in this country.

    It would make the tax, debt limit, and fiscal cliff political football battles look like nothing.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:41:34 AM PST

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