They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, or something like that. Well, I don't think I am insane, but I have been arguing against those who think the way to prevent more Sandy Hook tragedies is by "identifying" those who are not "mentally capable", or whatever other phrase you want to use, to own and use firearms.
My reasoning was: 1), "profiling for mental illness" won't work because no one can predict who is going to do such a thing; 2) "profiling for mentally illness" is looking at the wrong cause of the problem, i.e. mental illness, instead of the un-Godly amount of weapons owned in this country; 3) such a method is not workable, and those who are advocating it the loudest now will be the ones yelling about it the loudest if we take it to its logical conclusion because they will be the ones caught in the net.
I still believe the reasons stated above are sound, but in a spirit of compromise lets see how this would work out.
What is stated below is not intended to be "snark" You may find a lot of it absurd. If you do think it is absurd, then I have done my job, because my intent is to challenge an absurd argument with an even more absurd argument. Please forgive me if I have failed.
Lets start with the easy ones, shall we?
The first group would be those who have been adjudicated as having committed a felony. It doesn't matter if it was with a gun or not. You commit a felony, you have been a bad boy or girl. You have proven you cannot play by the rules society has decided upon. I know that society makes some really bad laws, but it is what it is.
Second, no guns for those deemed legally incompetent due to a mental "defect" I am totally fine with the idea of restricting firearms from someone the court has determined is a threat to themselves or others, see also below. This group, though, are the really dangerous ones who are placed in the custody of the state, i.e. a secure psychiatric facility.
Now for some of the other classifications of people who should be banned from owning or even using a firearm. I think the criteria should be along the lines of how people who have accused Adam Lanza of being "mentally ill", which is to say that"the person has to be mentally ill (they're more likely to say crazy, nuts, insane, etc, etc) for the mere fact they did "act X". If the did "act X" they cannot be right in the head because no one in their right mind would do "act X". I hope everyone is okay with this as our determiner in who is "mentally ill". Politicians, the media, and even commentators here have been free to use this as their criteria, so lets run with it.
First up, anyone who has ever been convicted of domestic abuse. I have never hit my wife or caused her physical harm in any other way, so as I see it anyone who does act in this way has a mental defect, or other neurological issue that inhibits their ability to manage anger and control their impulse towards violent behavior. It just isn't what a normal person would do! Actually and unfortunately, given the number of deaths in this country due to domestic violence, this isn't absurd at all.
People convicted of non-felony acts of violence; misdemeanor assaults, intimidation, harassment, and so on. If pot is a "gateway drug" to use of other drugs, this "lower level of violence is most assuredly a "gateway act" that indicates that a worst violent act might be committed. Again, I am pretty sure I would never do something like this so someone who would must be touched in the head. Dang, not sure that one is absurd either, at least to me, maybe to some.
What about anyone who has ever had a restraining order filed against them? I think so. Doesn't matter what the reason was or the circumstances. Normal people would NEVER do something that would justify a court issuing a restraining order against them. Anyone who has is having a hard time keeping their trolley from slipping its tracks. Heck, another reasonable idea. Not doing too well at that absurdity thing yet.
Here is another attempt. Anyone who has ever been charged or convicted of drinking and driving. The statistics for deaths per year due to DUII, DWI, DWII, whatever it is called in your state are staggering. Personally, I think that no one in their right mind would get behind the wheel of a dangerous machine like a vehicle while their judgment was impaired, potentially threatening death or bodily harm to self or others. So how on earth could we trust these people with a firearm? They clearly have some sort of issue going on. You know, alcohol and drug abuse, are often ways a person self-medicates for an underlying mental health issue be it chronic depression, bi-polar depression, situational depression, or many other potential issues. There you have it, alcohol and drug abuse surely show a person has or could have a mental illness. No more guns for them. When we get this all set up, please do not hesitate to call the police to let them know if you know of someone who has gotten hammered and then jumped behind the wheel and driven, but hasn't been caught. Be willing to testify, but remember you are doing them and society a big favor.
Those things stated above essentially entail having a run-in with the police and/or courts. But to really prevent the use of firearms for the killing of large numbers of people (or even small numbers), we need to cast our net much wider.
If you belong to a hate group, kiss your guns goodbye. Normal people don't belong to organizations dedicated the purpose of vilifying specified groups based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, and so forth. Hate will warp your mind. It will eat you alive. It could turn you into the next Tim McVeigh or Terry Nichols. Not saying it will, but it might, and because it might, we cannot take any chances.
Next up is those with Paranoid personality disorder. This means you militia types. To the NIH web site for some enlightenment!
A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia..
Paranoid personality disorder
Personality disorder - paranoid
Last reviewed: November 14, 2010.
Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric condition in which a person has a long-term distrust and suspicion of others, but does not have a full-blown psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The causes of paranoid personality disorder are unknown. The disorder appears to be more common in families with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and delusional disorder, which suggests genes may be involved. However, environmental factors may play a role, as well.
The condition appears to be more common in men.
People with paranoid personality disorder are highly suspicious of other people. As a result, people with this condition severely limit their social lives.
They often feel that they are in danger, and look for evidence to support their suspicions. People with this disorder have trouble seeing that their distrustfulness is out of proportion to their environment.
Common symptoms include:
* Concern that other people have hidden motives
* Expectation that they will be exploited by others
* Inability to work together with others
* Social isolation
Signs and tests
Like other personality disorders, paranoid personality disorder is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms.
Treatment is difficult because people with this condition are often very suspicious of doctors. If treatment is accepted, talk therapy and medications can often be effective.
The outlook usually depends on whether the person is willing to accept help. Therapy and medications can reduce paranoia and limit its impact on the person's daily functioning.
* Extreme social isolation
* Interference with work
I think this pretty much covers all the militia types, and anyone else who thinks that the US government or the UN is coming after them to put them in concentration camps. If someone is stockpiling weapons to prevent this from happening, you have a big neon sigh over you saying, "please take my guns,. I am not based in reality enough to own these guns." Normal people don't think this way. If you think this way you have pretty much raised a flag saying "I need a psych evaluation to determine if I can have all these weapons".
We also have the delusional types. Here we have an overlapping of the NRA, hate groups, militias, and many if not most of your survivalist types. These are the ones who think that they are going to prevent the tyrannical government (US, UN, they aren't really sure who it might be) from infringing on their rights. The tyranny could be more than just coming for their guns. The environmentalists, the gays coming to convert their children, the blacks and browns coming to dilute their pure white genes) you've heard it before.
First, this is delusional in and of itself. Second, they are delusional because they actually think some MREs and some AR-15s and what not are going to allow them to defend themselves and defeat the oppressive government. Seriously? Reality is calling! And you need to pick up! You're going to defeat SEAL Team 6 or any other SEAL team? Your going to defeat a Predator Drone that you can neither hear or see? All with an AR-15 or 500. First you cannot reach it even if you see it. Second, you can only hold one at a time, okay one in each hand. Ask Al Quada and the Taliban how that has worked for them. People who think like this also have a big neon sign over them saying "I need you to take my weapons."
So lets move forward with this whole profiling thing! I am four square behind it. There will be a lot fewer people without the right to own or use a gun. And because there will be such a large group of people caught in the net, we won't really be discriminating against, or profiling, the mentally ill. And in the process, I am sure that we will make the mental health system much better when we see who really is mentally ill.
So all we'll need to do next is close the gun show loopholes, do better tracking of illegal trafficking, set up a fair and accurate system of screening all those "mentally ill" types listed above, crack down on the dealers who help the traffickers by giving law enforcement enhanced tools, implement insurance requirements for those who can own a weapon, and institute strict liability laws for dealers and owners whose guns are used for bad things. Once we have done these things, we will not have anymore gun violence.
I know what you are going to say, "Dude, you are delusional if you think meaningful measures will be implemented." Maybe so, but rest assured, I own no guns and don't intend to, so I am no threat to anyone. So let me have my delusions. I am not hurting anyone.
But for those that I listed above and any others that the smart people at DKos can think of, lets cast that net far and wide. Lets profile ALL that we can under the category of "they are mentally ill because normal people wouldn't do that" and keep the weapons of mass destruction out of their hands.