12.19.2012

Guns and Mental Health, a Proposal

(h/t Dominion of New York)

Let's broaden this discussion for a moment, shall we?

Some of you are, as I am, beyond sick and tired of people playing the Crazy Card whenever some white boy goes on a killing spree.  Oh yeah, POC get slapped with the Crazy Label too, but it's always to a far lesser degree and in a less sympathetic light.

Take Adam Lanza, for example.  Friends of the family, neighbors, and his former babysitter all claim something was wrong with this kid from the get.  His former babysitter was specifically instructed to never let Adam out of his sight for any reason, not even to go to the bathroom (seriously).  These were the instructions of Nancy Lanza herself.

So say there was something deeply wrong with Adam from birth, something sick enough to drive him to kill his own mother, massacre a bunch of children (and the teachers defending them, of course), and then take his own life.  Say there was...okay then, what was Nancy's excuse?

Moms, you know your kids.  You know your kids better than they know themselves.  If this was your kid, why would you keep loaded guns in your house with him?

M. Gibson is more than correct to state that Nancy Lanza lived by her sword and died by her sword.  This isn't meant to be sarcastic or mocking.  I'm not chuckling about anything pertaining to this story.  This is serious.  Nancy had a survivalist mentality and reputedly talked about her gun collection nonstop.  She took her kids to the firing range and personally taught them how to shoot.  And while gun enthusiasts may flock to her defense and shed crocodile tears about her passing, this doesn't change the fact her allegedly "troubled" son whom she personally trained grew up to kill her with the very guns she ironically bought to protect herself.

Somewhere, Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Euripides are all bitter they never got to scribble this down.

Meanwhile, I maintain this should not go quietly, not like all the others.  No lather, rinse, and repeat here, no sirree.  America has literally reached a point where we're not safe anywhere.  Mass shootings are fairly common, and they are becoming a deterrent to going anywhere because you can be in a school or a movie theater or humbly worshiping God, and get your head blown off...just 'cause.

This blogger here has a proposal to stem the social madness.  From Rage Against the Minivan:
We cannot legislate treatment or isolation of people with Antisocial Personality Disorder or Schizophrenia. They will always be in the general public, and most of the time they will go undiagnosed. We cannot force them into treatment. We cannot isolate them. We cannot go on a witch hunt, trying to diagnosis every person we know who struggles with intimacy or empathy as being a sociopath.

So what can we do?

We can change our gun laws to make sure that only mentally competent people can own a gun.

Would this be challenging? Yes. Would it require people to pay more out of pocket to obtain a gun? It would. Might I have to pay some more taxes for this? Yep, but I’m willing. If I have to take a test to prove my ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, it only makes sense that we would apply the same criteria to gun possession in our country. It’s the best way to rule out people with mental health issues that are highly correlated with antisocial and violent behavior.

Here are some ways that we could do that, while maintaining 2nd amendment rights for a majority of the population.

Require an MMPI to possess a gun. The MMPI is a time-tested, scientific diagnostic tool widely used by psychologists to determine a person’s mental state. It is excellent at catching antisocial tendencies, as well as psychotic tendencies. It would be an easy and cost-effective way to rule out people who shouldn’t be gun owners, and I think this step would be a small price to pay for those who want to own a gun, but who have enough decency to want to keep them out of the hands of people who would misuse them. And while I’m focusing on mass shootings, I will note that the MMPI could also rule out people who have issues that are highly correlated with suicide or other violent behaviors.

Require three references to possess a gun. This step is required in many countries, and could be very effective. Most people with antisocial behavior are loners, and those they are in relationship with them probably see some of their sociopathic tendencies. Requiring a reference letter from three people that asks pointed questions in regard to their mental state would be one more measure to ensure that sociopaths are weeded out.

Require that gun owners be educated on APD and other violent markers. In most cases, perpetrators of mass killings either obtain a gun themselves, or use a gun owned by family or friends. It would be helpful, then , to require that anyone seeking to own a gun be educated for the warning signs of violent tendencies. Many people may not connect the dots, and requiring education could be the measure that clues a parent in on a potential threat and is therefore more careful with their weapons.

Require that gun owners demonstrate how their firearms will be inaccessible to family, friends, and roommates. Too often, personal firearms are stored in ways that allow access to others. My parents were gun owners, and I knew exactly where the gun was in our house. This can encourage not only intentional, violent crime, but also unintentional gun accidents. I think we need to change laws so that guns must be on your person or in a lockbox. Better yet, require that guns be sold with a lockbox.

Limits the types of firearms and the amount of ammo that can be purchased. As I mentioned before, most mass shooters have purchased both their guns and their firearms legally. In most cases, assault rifles have been used to carry out mass shootings. It makes sense: that’s what these guns were created for. I have to ask, then, why is such a weapon available to the general public? Guns should be used for hunting or for self-defense. I don’t think our forefathers had any concept that their words would be used to invoke a person’s right to own a machine that allows them to kill dozens of people in a few seconds. There are many compelling arguments to banning assault weapons, and I think it’s time for us to assess, as a nation, why we are allowing such guns to be legally sold in our country. I would agree that a madmen hell-bent on killing a lot of people is going to find a way. But we can make it harder for them but not having these guns available. I think the comparison of the man in China who attempted to kill children with a knife is an example. If you compare the death toll between Newtown and this incident, it’s a compelling reason to outlaw assault rifles. I also think we should limit the amount of ammo that can be purchased, and the amount of bullets that a single gun can shoot before reloading. I can’t think of a single legal incident that would require a gun owner to shoot off 50 rounds before reloading. And yet, this week certainly reminds us why this kind of ammunition is problematic. Senator Feinstein is introducing a bill to the Senate that will ban the sale, transfer, and the possession of assault rifles, as well as big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets. I think this is reasonable. If you do, too, I urge you to let your political leaders know.

I’m not going to pretend like these measures will solve all of our problems. We will always have madmen living in the general population. However, we can make it more difficult for them to obtain guns. And while it may not keep guns out of the hands of all criminals, it might keep them out of the hands of sociopaths. See . . . sociopaths are not common criminals. They don’t run in circles of criminals. They are loners, and usually buy their weapons legally or take them from a friend. They don’t have connections with people who sell illegal firearms. They don’t have many connections, period. And while they could still obtain a gun illegally, I think it could be a deterrent.

Of course, the common criminal will still have access to guns, but the common criminal is typically not bent on killing random civilians. And again, I’m not saying we criminalize guns. I’m saying we rule out the people who shouldn’t have them so they cannot buy them legally.

I do believe that making mental health treatment more accessible will prevent some types gun violence. Suicide, domestic violence, “crimes of passion” . . . there are many types of violence that could potentially be circumvented by counseling. In addition, better access and support of families and children with mental health issues could even prevent some children from developing APD, which begins in childhood. But we can’t end there. It’s not enough. It doesn’t address the horror that can be wreaked by a sociopath with a gun. We need to talk about mental health. And we need to talk about gun control.

This isn’t a partisan or a political issue, though some will pretend it is. This isn’t a 2nd amendment issue, though some will cry that it is. I think the ideas I’ve outlined above are things that can keep both gun enthusiasts and gun control ideologists happy. But we’ve got to do something. The events of last week illustrate that we can’t keep making excuses. We need to call our legislators into action. If you agree, I hope you will share this with your friends, but more importantly with your congressional leaders. It’s time to speak up. If my child was one of the fallen, it’s what I hope you would do for me. It’s what survivors are asking us to do, too. Even pro-gun, NRA-promoted politicians are calling for change.
I'd also like to add to this list, "Stop coddling the white boys. Stop rushing to their defense or sitting quietly and dodging the media whenever they go on these sprees. Stop making them your priority over their victims. Stop being more concerned with preserving your gun collections over preserving the lives of unsuspecting innocents."

24 comments:

  1. *hugs*

    Sorry, I don't mean to get into your personal space but you took the thoughts right out of my brain. I was reading the comments over at the source page and this particular comment made me snort my orange juice:

    Jay · 4 hours ago
    Guns are created for a lot more than killing people. People use them for self protection and to hunt. That doesn't change the fact that people use them to kill people. Knives were also created to cut things, but people still use them to kill others. Should we get rid of them?

    People are...uh....not hearing themselves. BTW, the comments aren't horrible but nothing new nor interesting was said. Parrots from their cages preaching their privileged point of view.

    Stop being more concerned with preserving your gun collections over preserving the lives of unsuspecting innocents

    I love you.

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  2. I find it telling that the only time mental health is brought into the equation by the media/general public is when a white man ... or woman does something horrible.

    When a person of color does something horrible no excuses are made for them. They're considered a criminal and shipped off to the nearest prison. NO QUESTIONS ASKED!! Shoot even our innocents (Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, etc.) get the third degree.

    BUT a white person does something horrible and people just. can't. grasp how someone with that background could do such a thing. Mental illness, they were bullied,etc.

    The crazy (and almost funny thing ... almost) is that the media is so invested in maintaining and supporting white male privilege they're willing to have other whites suffer. Just so long as a white person isn't painted as evil.

    Also as someone that loves more than one autistic person I am livid that many are saying his autism caused him to shoot those people. LIVID.

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    1. The crazy (and almost funny thing ... almost) is that the media is so invested in maintaining and supporting white male privilege they're willing to have other whites suffer. Just so long as a white person isn't painted as evil.

      BINGO.

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    2. Leo Princess12/20/12, 1:08 AM

      "Also as someone that loves more than one autistic person I am livid that many are saying his autism caused him to shoot those people. LIVID."

      I hope the autistic community comes out swinging at that assertion by the media. Whatever his problems were, autism sounds like the LEAST of it. You're right, however - they needed a convenient excuse as to why this 'nice boy' snapped, and they hopped on the nearest available disorder. Much like how they blamed everything from 'The Matrix' to Marilyn Mason's music for why two other 'nice boys' shot their classmates to pieces back in 1999.

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    3. Leo Princess12/20/12, 1:28 PM

      ^Manson, sorry.

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  3. You know, all this gun business really should be a clue for white people about the side effects that racism has had on them. In their efforts to crush POC and profit off of anything they can, no matter the consequences, they've created a group of people who can't handle the loss of any sort of privilege without going on a rampage.

    Think about it - even that NYT(?) article about their loss of privilege touched on this, disgusting though the angle of the piece was. They've spent so long being in complete control of everything and defining themselves as a culture by their power to destroy, that when the time inevitably came that that power waned (as it has for everyone who has ever been in their position) some among them are having psychotic breaks over it.

    White power was all good in the hood until it was time to let some of it go.

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  4. I'd also like to add to this list, "Stop coddling the white boys. Stop rushing to their defense or sitting quietly and dodging the media whenever they go on these sprees. Stop making them your priority over their victims. Stop being more concerned with preserving your gun collections over preserving the lives of unsuspecting innocents."

    That's it, that's it, that's it.
    Basically this bright, precious (insert gender here) was beset by circumstances beyond their control (Coddle), so we in law enforcement and the mental health field must Look Beyond the victim of this tragic condition to find the answer elsewhere so that this doesn’t happen to another gem from of our community.

    Which is why I must bring this up. Because sometimes the denial can run so deep, even in the company of such overwhelming evidence whites will still say, Not my child.

    A perfect example of white denial took place in an affluent suburb many years ago: The same pathology we witnessed from the parents of Columbine and Connecticut operated here. Stuff like this only happens in the bad neighborhoods, amongst non-white kids. Whites believed.

    The Lost Children of Rockdale County: Its a short clip, but you might be able to find it on Netflix.

    "The Lost Children of Rockdale County" explores how a 1996 syphilis outbreak in a well-off Atlanta suburb affected over 200 teenagers and revealed their lives unknown to parents: group sex, binge drinking, drugs and violence. Some were as young as twelve and thirteen years old.”

    You can find the Transcript Here:

    This is what we’re dealing with. Its corporate, and its engrained.

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    Replies
    1. I remember that! I used that as an example in a paper for Experimental Psychology!!!!!

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    2. First the Borg reference and now this. This is starting to get weird. Next thing you'll tell me is that you're the owner of the other half of the amulet I'm wearing.

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    3. *raises eyebrow*

      What's it look like?

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    4. I wasn’t expecting a reply but if you must know:

      It’s a burnished bronze medallion (carbon dating reveals it to be over 3000 years old give or take). Reddish in color (with some oxidation around its edges). Its about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, about 1/8 of an inch thick.

      In its center there are two opposing asps crossed at their mid-section, their tails pointing to the tip of an ancient pyramid. Eye of Ra is written in hieroglyphic script at the top and Soul Makossa at its base. Surrounding the scheme is a laurel wreath struck of gold inlay. Along the heads of the crossed snakes is this inscription:

      For who so takes on form must wear the chain
      Who so brings the heat must bear the pain
      Heir of the sun rise, yoked with she of the moon so wise…
      When the two are made whole
      So shall…


      That’s it. The remainder of the inscription continues on the other half I guess. Should the two halves be joined, legend has it the sun will fall into eclipse, the firmament will shake. The mountains will tremble and Amazon.com will lower its online store prices 80% below retail. So the legend goes…

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    5. Alas...I do not possess such a treasure.

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    6. That's ok....
      Turns out it came from Sea World's Lost Raft Adventure Ride. Part of the Pyramid Treasure Excursion Package. Knew it wasn't real. I mean it was so obvious. Really...I knew. Honest!

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    7. Leo Princess12/20/12, 1:33 PM

      So that's the real life event that sparked that Lifetime movie! Not surprised that the town was in denial, even as their children turned out to be petri dishes of STIs. The belief that Those Things only happen to Those People in Those Cities/Neighbourhoods, etc. still holds sway, even in the face of the contrary.

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    8. Oh God! Conyers, ga...didn't surprise a bit at the time.My sister worked once down there and those days, them kids were all over the place hanging out at the grocery store parking lot'committing lawless stuff. There was nothing to do down there at the time I guess that was why they did all of that stuff...trying to be the perfect White children.

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  5. Leo Princess12/19/12, 7:34 PM

    So she went as far as to warn the babysitter about not letting him out of sight, but thought nothing about teaching that unstable child how to fire a weapon?

    *blink*

    Right.

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    Replies
    1. This is the same babysitter who flat out said he wasn't surprised something like this happened.

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  6. I was reading a past article about how some GOP members took their kids out hunting. One thing I noticed about their experiences we're that the parents didn't focus on what they did as a family, but they ..along with their supporters..was talking about gun rights. Though the content of the discussion wasn't unexpected to using your kids for political pawn is despicable.

    With Adam's mom, it was said that she was a gun enthusiast. A part of me wondered was she was one of the countless people who also bought guns out of fear that she was going to "lose" her gun rights? One thing was certain her hobby or paranoia not only took her life but that of those kids at Sandy Hook. Those poor kids didn't even get a chance to enjoy their Christmas. Shame.

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  7. "So say there was something deeply wrong with Adam from birth, something sick enough to drive him to kill his own mother, massacre a bunch of children (and the teachers defending them, of course), and then take his own life. Say there was...okay then, what was Nancy's excuse?"

    As the details were coming out, I knew that rampage wasn't as "random" as the media wanted us to think it was.

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  8. Perla Buttons12/20/12, 12:25 AM

    I agree totally. In Australia, we had our Sandy Hook-esque moment in gun control in 1996 when Martin Bryant carried out a massacre in Port Arthur. Many varieties of guns were banned. Ammo and guns must now be stored separately in some/most states (IIRC).

    I was only a kid at the time, but I do remember that our neocon PM felt the need to be seen wearing a bulletproof vest to a rally of farmers/gun owners and that there was a lot of legislation-related media scaremongering about the possibility of prospective paintball participants requiring a gun licence.

    It limited the possibility of another "troubled" White boy killing 35 people, but it didn't curb violence. Other murders are carried out - it is just that they often don't involve guns.

    I'm all for tighter restrictions and mental health checks, but I worry that they may not prevent some domestic violence or family-related shootings.

    To use a recent Aussie example, a man in Tasmania killed his ex-partner - the mother of his child - and her new partner. He then shot himself on the side of the road with his infant son in sitting in the car he was standing beside.

    If he already owned a gun (it was a rural area), I'm not sure how screening could occur. Mental health orgs here in Oz are struggling to cut through an entrenched blokey culture that shuns the very idea of mental health treatment. Progress is slow, but it is still costing and affecting lives - mental illness, DV, suicide and homicide.

    I've benefited from lifesaving, subsidised treatment* for my depression and anxiety, but counseling is ruled out immediately by many people who would benefit from it.

    I feel that many people with possessive or violent tendencies would also be able to get references from friends and acquaintances. The arsehole who murdered people in the Sikh temple in Oak Creek was described by a friend:

    "He would talk about the racial holy war, like he wanted it to come...But to me, he didn't seem like the type of person to go out and hurt people." http://www.shakesville.com/2012/08/here-is-thing.html

    I want tighter restrictions and more medical help to come through. I'm just scared they won't work to the extent I want them to.

    *my meds are partially subsidised, but my visits to my psychologist are free due to the profound nature of my batshittery. I only recently took the visits up again after years without them.

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    1. Leo Princess12/20/12, 1:35 PM

      Motherfrakker was going on and on about 'racial holy war', and they thought nothing of it? Typical.

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  9. K

    This is nothing more than the chickens coming home to roost.

    ReplyDelete

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