Gun Violence: When There’s No Solution

 

Every time there is a mass shooting, people on the Left and Right jump on the bandwagon; the pattern of response has become familiar. First there is the outrage, grief, disbelief, condemnation, filled with sorrow and passion and frustration. Then people begin to speculate about the shooter for hours, even when the information is scant or non-existent. The routine plays out with stories about the school/organization, the surrounding community, security measures, and law enforcement. And finally, most commentators demand that we find ways to stop these violent situations, once and for all.

Please don’t misunderstand: the horrific situations demand that we try to understand what has happened, to make sense of them, to give them some kind of meaning and clarity and potential solutions. But these efforts completely ignore the truth: we will never stop mass shootings. And putting our focus on those impossible goals misses opportunities to deal with those things we can try to address.

When we focus on gun violence and mass shootings, we feel that we are at least doing something. Our approach may be foolish, a waste of time, and not even address the issue, but we are emotionally engaged with it and that gives us a sense of relief and power. While everyone else seems to be wringing their hands, we at least are trying to solve the problem. Civic groups, legislators, administrative staff, and parents will all put in their two cents for making things better, and we will watch them with our various reactions: hope, disdain, confusion, and bitterness. But none of those reactions will change the outcome: the something we are proposing will not solve mass shootings.

Instead of trying to stop gun violence, wouldn’t a better strategy be dealing with the social, cultural, and legal policies that are damaging our country and our citizens?

For example, instead of listing all the problems that might be contributing to mass shootings, which will never be solved, how about looking more closely at the social and legal ills that are ruining our society, and treating them as related but stand-alone issues. Key areas that could fall into these categories are mental health, school security, the rule of law, family stability, and mentoring. Rather than launch huge studies to decide what will or won’t work, start some pilot programs, track them over a pre-set period, and fine-tune or eliminate them if they aren’t working. Try them out at the local level, where parents and teachers can interact and problem-solve. Solicit ongoing feedback that will encourage responding to the community, and will also serve to keep the community engaged.

The main point I’m trying to make, and it will be politically very unpopular, is that we can’t keep telling people that there are answers to this intractable problem. We must convince them that mass shootings have complicated origins and contributors and that one size does not fit all; in fact, there is no way a given community will be able to address, prevent and solve these horrible situations.

We must learn to live with the reality that life is unpredictable, even frightening, at times. We must deepen our familial relationships, stay engaged with our communities, and at the very least pay attention to the problems that are closest at hand. We no longer can assume that we can drift unconsciously through our lives with minimum engagement. Instead, we must realize our interconnectedness, open our eyes to the dynamics of our community and the lives of our children. We must see each other as a resource for solutions, for action, and for producing a better society.

Please note that this post says nothing about gun control or gun laws. The answers are not out there, somewhere, in the ether, or in more gun restrictions.

They are within each one of us.

Published in Guns
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 29 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    I took the baby out for a walk this morning, and of course one of the neighbors had a “Do Something!” sign in the front yard. The most unhelpful and inane directive ever. Addressing societal ills would mean admitting the pet groups of the moment are actually ill. There’s a lot of mental illness chic on TicTok right now. People are literally faking mental health disorders like Tourette’s and DID because it’s “cool” to suffer from mental illness. Kind of like how it was in vogue to be a victim of sexual assault durning the #MeToo movement. Until we put mental illness back in its proper place as something to be addressed and worked on, not something that’s “cool” and give people a free pass for their behavior.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Vicryl Contessa (View Comment):

    I took the baby out for a walk this morning, and of course one of the neighbors had a “Do Something!” sign in the front yard. The most unhelpful and inane directive ever. Addressing societal ills would mean admitting the pet groups of the moment are actually ill. There’s a lot of mental illness chic on TicTok right now. People are literally faking mental health disorders like Tourette’s and DID because it’s “cool” to suffer from mental illness. Kind of like how it was in vogue to be a victim of sexual assault durning the #MeToo movement. Until we put mental illness back in its proper place as something to be addressed and worked on, not something that’s “cool” and give people a free pass for their behavior.

    Excellent points, VC. I don’t visit any of the social media sites (cinluding TicTok) so I didn’t know mental illness had become a “thing.” It’s strange to say, but somehow we have to “normalize” those things that we have made cool; mental illness is difficult to deal with in all its many forms, but it is part of our social fabric and we’ve made progress and need to find ways to deal with it constructively. Being cool is not one of them. (Welcome back!)

    • #2
  3. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    VC, I like your comment, but I’m skeptical of the claim that the problem is “mental illness.”  I’m more inclined to think that the problem is criminality and evil.

    Conceptualizing the problem as “mental illness” tends to deny the responsibility and agency of the individual, doesn’t it?  It suggests that the evil and criminal behavior of a murderer isn’t really his fault, but the fault of somebody, anybody, who didn’t provide proper “treatment” for his “illness.”

    I do note that dreadful behavior, from criminality to illegitimacy, seem to have greatly increased since “mental illness” became fashionable as an explanation.  Such correlation does not necessarily prove causation, but it makes me suspicious.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    VC, I like your comment, but I’m skeptical of the claim that the problem is “mental illness.”  I’m more inclined to think that the problem is criminality and evil.

    Jerry, once again you didn’t read her comment. She derides the label of mental illness.

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn: Key areas that could fall into these categories are mental health, school security, the rule of law, family stability, and mentoring.

    Susan, this is a good starting list.

    As noted in my prior comment, I’m skeptical of the “mental health” suggestion.

    I doubt that “school security” is a productive area for focus, as these mass shootings are very rare, and only a small fraction occur at schools.

    I think that “the rule of law” is a good suggestion, though I’d like more details.  I presume that you’re referring to improvements in the criminal justice system.  This is a difficult area because, as far as I can tell, we’ve essentially succeeded in keeping violent crime rates down by incarcerating large numbers of people.  I don’t have a better solution, but it’s sad.  I do realize that violent crime has been up in the past few years, but I think that it still remains below the prior peak in the 1980s and early 1990s.

    I agree strongly with “family stability.”  I don’t have a great data source handy, but my recollection is that a very high proportion of criminal offenders come from single-parent households or broken families.  But how do we fix this?  We can’t even get people to agree that men are men and women are women.  How are we going to convince them that men ought to be husbands and fathers, and that women ought to be wives and mothers?

    I’m not sure what you mean by “mentoring.”  Parenting is probably more important.  I haven’t seen data on the effectiveness of mentoring programs like Big Brothers.  My suspicion is that in the absence of a father in the home, it’s going to be difficult to do anything to help.

    I suspect that promotion of traditional Christian faith would help reduce criminality, both directly (perhaps a believer would be less likely to offend) and indirectly (perhaps believing parents would be more likely to raise their children in an intact home).  This is what we used to do, by teaching the faith in the schools.  I’m not optimistic about this policy alternative, as we no longer share a common faith, and over time have admitted immigrant groups that objected and, I imagine, would still object.

    I remember an account from Jordan Peterson about the evaluation of a program for juvenile delinquents, in the 1930s if I recall correctly.  The plan was to send the delinquents to summer camp with a bunch of good kids, in the hope that the good behavior would be contagious.  It turned out that the delinquency was contagious.  At least, this is what I recall Peterson reporting.  I haven’t tracked down the details.

    • #5
  6. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Some human beings are stupid, and some are evil. Some are both stupid and evil. There is, and never has been a shortage of stupid and evil people.

    Some human beings are courageous regardless of whether or not they armed. There is no shortage of courageous human beings.

    Who shoots their grandmother in the head and then shoots school children and anyone else in a school? An evil person does.

    The; I’m okay and you’re okay culture is overrated. I’m okay and you’re so-so, or possibly worse has been forgotten.

    • #6
  7. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    VC, I like your comment, but I’m skeptical of the claim that the problem is “mental illness.” I’m more inclined to think that the problem is criminality and evil.

    Jerry, once again you didn’t read her comment. She derides the label of mental illness.

    Susan, I did read the comment.  It’s possible that I misinterpreted it.  VC, if I misinterpreted your comment, my apologies.

    I based my impression on the final sentence:

    Vicryl Contessa (View Comment):
    Until we put mental illness back in its proper place as something to be addressed and worked on, not something that’s “cool” and give people a free pass for their behavior.

    From this, I concluded that VC thinks that mental illness is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.  This was also one of the suggestions in the OP.  I was questioning that idea, as I’m not sure that conceptualizing misbehavior as “mental illness” is a productive approach.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I was questioning that idea, as I’m not sure that conceptualizing misbehavior as “mental illness” is a productive approach.

    I agree with you. But I think mental illness can be diagnosed and treated–although not always successfully, and shouldn’t be substituted for illegal behavior. 

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

     

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Conceptualizing the problem as “mental illness” tends to deny the responsibility and agency of the individual, doesn’t it?  It suggests that the evil and criminal behavior of a murderer isn’t really his fault, but the fault of somebody, anybody, who didn’t provide proper “treatment” for his “illness.”

    Considering this is my job, and I have worked with criminals who are mentally ill, I can categorically say that if we had a better system of treatment for mental illness, including more mandatory hospitalization, it would help the system.

    I do not need to rush to call someone “evil”. All of use have the capacity for evil and for good. I think all of us are charged with helping our brothers and sisters embrace their goodness instead of their evilness. There is much that could be done, that we are not going to do, because the left blames guns and poverty, while the right blames people and libertarians refuse to acknowledge some people need to be locked up for their own good. There is no political will in this nation to actually address the problem.

    No where, ever, have I seen anyone that worked with in community mental health say someone was not responsible for the consequences of their actions because of mental illness once it was diagnosed. People have a responsibility to take their medication once they need it. The rest of us have a responsibility to figure out how to help care for them. The left is always accusing the right of wanting people “dying in the streets” on healthcare. Well with mental illness and substance use, every single political faction is all for just that. 

     

    • #9
  10. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    VC, I like your comment, but I’m skeptical of the claim that the problem is “mental illness.” I’m more inclined to think that the problem is criminality and evil.

    Jerry, once again you didn’t read her comment. She derides the label of mental illness.

    Susan, I did read the comment. It’s possible that I misinterpreted it. VC, if I misinterpreted your comment, my apologies.

    I based my impression on the final sentence:

    Vicryl Contessa (View Comment):
    Until we put mental illness back in its proper place as something to be addressed and worked on, not something that’s “cool” and give people a free pass for their behavior.

    From this, I concluded that VC thinks that mental illness is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. This was also one of the suggestions in the OP. I was questioning that idea, as I’m not sure that conceptualizing misbehavior as “mental illness” is a productive approach.

    Jerry, it is possible, even likely, that some “misbehavior,” as you term it, is a result of untreated mental illness. Heck, it could even be the result of medications used to (unsuccessfully) treat mental illness.

    I freely admit that mental illness is not the sole cause of these incidents, nor even that it is the main cause. But it is likely a contributing factor. A years-ago friend of the shooter in TX said that the shooter had what looked like scratches on his face one day. Shooter said a cat scratched him, but later admitted he cut his own face with a knife. If true, there was surely something going wrong in that boy’s head. But we just say (as @dougwatt put it), “I’m ok, you’re ok.” But clearly some are not.

    • #10
  11. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I was questioning that idea, as I’m not sure that conceptualizing misbehavior as “mental illness” is a productive approach.

    I agree with you. But I think mental illness can be diagnosed and treated–although not always successfully, and shouldn’t be substituted for illegal behavior.

    Exactly. First the conduct of the offender must be considered and judgement rendered, then if there is illness it can be considered with regard to the consequences the offender, i.e., jail, restitution or hospital. As Susan says, mental illness is not an excuse.

    • #11
  12. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    VC, I like your comment, but I’m skeptical of the claim that the problem is “mental illness.” I’m more inclined to think that the problem is criminality and evil.

    Jerry, once again you didn’t read her comment. She derides the label of mental illness.

    Susan, I did read the comment. It’s possible that I misinterpreted it. VC, if I misinterpreted your comment, my apologies.

    I based my impression on the final sentence:

    Vicryl Contessa (View Comment):
    Until we put mental illness back in its proper place as something to be addressed and worked on, not something that’s “cool” and give people a free pass for their behavior.

    From this, I concluded that VC thinks that mental illness is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. This was also one of the suggestions in the OP. I was questioning that idea, as I’m not sure that conceptualizing misbehavior as “mental illness” is a productive approach.

    I think mental illness, when it’s real, does need to be addressed, unlike in the past when things were swept under the rug. I think we should take it seriously. But I also think we need to stop encouraging young people to see mental illness, victimhood, and depravity with being cool. It’s become very “look at me, I struggle so much. Give me attention, pity me.” I think it may be a symptom of how affluent our country is and how little adversity there is. People need to struggle with some thing, so when there is no struggle they manufacture it. We need to stop allowing people to manufacture their own adversity by glorifying mental illness.   

    • #12
  13. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    so I didn’t know mental illness had become a “thing.”

    There is a difference between online signaling of illness and having an actual illness that is fomented online and acted upon offline.

    • #13
  14. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I doubt that “school security” is a productive area for focus, as these mass shootings are very rare, and only a small fraction occur at schools.

    I think it is important to attack all sides of the means+motive+opportunity triangle.  Fix culture/males, age limits on weapons, fortify schools. 

    • #14
  15. She Member
    She
    @She

    I think most inadequate responses to circumstances in life fall into one of two areas: forced errors, and unforced errors.  Coping with the presence of evil in the world, and thinking about the best way to prevail against it, is magnitudes more difficult than looking for those things that might be within our more earthly and reasonable control to engage with and overcome.

    The maltreatment, mistreatment, distreatment, and lack of treatment of the severely mentally ill (something I know more than a bit about) is one of those unforced errors that twenty-first society seems to want to sweep under the rug.  It matters not (to me, at least) whether the aforementioned unforced error accounts for 80%, or 25%, or even just 10% (I think that estimate is ridiculously low) of the mass shootings in the US over the past several decades.  What matters is that it’s a fixable problem, had we but the will to fix it.  And that if we had such a will, the instances of the problem would very likely diminish by that amount, rather quickly.

    The same is true for many of the ills that afflict us.

     

     

     

    • #15
  16. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    She (View Comment):

    I think most inadequate responses to circumstances in life fall into one of two areas: forced errors, and unforced errors. Coping with the presence of evil in the world, and thinking about the best way to prevail against it, is magnitudes more difficult than looking for those things that might be within our more earthly and reasonable control to engage with and overcome.

    The maltreatment, mistreatment, distreatment, and lack of treatment of the severely mentally ill (something I know more than a bit about) is one of those unforced errors that twenty-first society seems to want to sweep under the rug. It matters not (to me, at least) whether the aforementioned unforced error accounts for 80%, or 25%, or even just 10% (I think that estimate is ridiculously low) of the mass shootings in the US over the past several decades. What matters is that it’s a fixable problem, had we but the will to fix it. And that if we had such a will, the instances of the problem would very likely diminish by that amount, rather quickly.

    The same is true for many of the ills that afflict us.

    How would you fix the problem?  Commitment.

    • #16
  17. She Member
    She
    @She

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    I think most inadequate responses to circumstances in life fall into one of two areas: forced errors, and unforced errors. Coping with the presence of evil in the world, and thinking about the best way to prevail against it, is magnitudes more difficult than looking for those things that might be within our more earthly and reasonable control to engage with and overcome.

    The maltreatment, mistreatment, distreatment, and lack of treatment of the severely mentally ill (something I know more than a bit about) is one of those unforced errors that twenty-first society seems to want to sweep under the rug. It matters not (to me, at least) whether the aforementioned unforced error accounts for 80%, or 25%, or even just 10% (I think that estimate is ridiculously low) of the mass shootings in the US over the past several decades. What matters is that it’s a fixable problem, had we but the will to fix it. And that if we had such a will, the instances of the problem would very likely diminish by that amount, rather quickly.

    The same is true for many of the ills that afflict us.

    How would you fix the problem? Commitment.

    The mental health problem?  Or the “existence of evil” problem?  I don’t know how to fix the “existence of evil” problem.   But I think the mental health problem is pretty clear. Those who’ve accumulated a history of mental health issues should not be permitted to procure firearms.  Those who’ve not accumulated a formal history of such, but who’ve used social media or other 21st century means to pronounce their dysfunction should be looked at.  (I think this might be the legitimate intent of “red flag rules.”)  I’m with Andrew McCarthy, who believes that the Left might use such license punitively, but–again–I think that right-thinking individuals should be able to preclude that reasonably and with appropriate forethought.  Otherwise, we just give up.  And then–what?

    • #17
  18. She Member
    She
    @She

    Cassandro (View Comment):
    How would you fix the problem?  Commitment.

    Do you mean the mental health problem?  And are you suggesting that “commitment” might be the answer for that?

    Sorry, these days, that’s a joke, as any family member with a dangerously mentally ill family member might testify.  Generally, “commitment” lasts a day or two, and is pretty much analogous with “detainment,” as it’s exercised among those who’ve recently been indicted for mass murder in these United States and are subsequently let go.

    I know that, these days, mental illness is a state in which self-harm, or harm-by others-against-the-sufferer is recognized as something that society can’t mitigate against.  That’s why my stepson is dead. Because if those who had the power to do so had heeded the warnings of those who had the knowledge (but not the power) to prevent the awful outcome, he might be alive today.

    And yet. I still believe that it might be healthy to try to prevent mentally ill persons from acquiring weapons of mass murder, or acting on their delusions to perpetrate such. Very often, for those who have eyes to see, or ears to hear, the signals present themselves.

    Why do we not heed them?

    • #18
  19. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    She (View Comment):
    Do you mean the mental health problem?  And are you suggesting that “commitment” might be the answer for that?

    Yes.  I was thinking about long-term commitment.

    I don’t mean to be too far off-topic here.  But I’m skeptical about commitment.  Today I’d think that it would be used for political control.  Dinesh D’Souza was ordered for psychological treatment as a consequence of something like a $25,000 illegal campaign contribution that is looked the other way for anyone else.  So it has started already, small time.

    YET I was thinking of long-term commitment for those who due to mental illness really can’t care for themselves, or who can survive alright but mess up society for others, as homeless do with rat infested, drug flooded homeless camps.  I know someone who is mentally ill and also unemployable, but who can at least care for himself.  The last thing in the world I would want for him is to be confined within a psych hospital.  Especially since seeing the current state of so-called in-patient rehab centers.  But long-term psychiatric care was looking to be the only choice for him for a while.

    But beyond homicidal thinking, what can we do for those who are really in physical distress due to their psychiatric incapacity that is better than either living in a near-psychotic world in which mass murder seems attractive, or living in homeless camps in ever expanding squalor and third-world conditions?

    • #19
  20. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: Every time there is a mass shooting, people on the Left and Right jump on the bandwagon;

    There is a difference.  The left jumps on its bandwagon to further their anti-gun agenda.  The right jumps on its bandwagon to protect our freedom . . .

    • #20
  21. JuliaBach Coolidge
    JuliaBach
    @JuliaBach

    Can’t agree more with the (unpopular) opinion that we can’t stop at least some of these events from happening, because evil exists, and that shootings are a tiny minority of deaths in this country.

    On the other hand, schools used to have gun clubs, and almost no mass shootings occurred, so we do need to at least think about why we are seeing some now. But obsessing over it takes our focus away from other problems that do more damage.

    To think that “the curve is exponential” and we may all be seeing mass shootings daily in our own lives within a few weeks or months is COVID panic all over again. Mass hysteria, carried over the internet through social media, may be the biggest enemy our society faces at this time. Kids should be reassured that this is a rare event, and that they should not worry about it. Placing them in maximum security facilities (formerly known as schools) will be damaging, as it will reinforce the hysteria that they are all under daily high risk of being shot by a random nutjob.  They are not.

    • #21
  22. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    This issue is being discussed by The Assistant Village Idiot, who works with mental patients and government officials, the thoughtful blogger Grim and his commentators, and the substack writer Jeff Carter.  All worth reading.

    • #22
  23. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    There are sick folks who don’t know reality and there are deranged folks who know what they’re doing but live in a strange world I can’t understand.  The kid was mostly deranged.  How about the inner city kids  belonging to groups who kill daily, some for turf and drugs others for the hell of it and, of course, frequently to get stuff.  Are they sick or evil?  Does it matter?    Are they knowable sufficiently to put them away, either for treatment or simple incarceration?   There is only one thing that stands out for me, we’re too big and too bureaucratic, too much run by folks with narrow overpaid patches, folks too far from us who have, like all of us, other interests.    The folks at the top think ordinary folks are simply too stupid to govern their own affairs.  The problem is that when governed from the bottom up we created the modern world and what these new folks  want is what the world had always been.  They’re wrong but we don’t know how to get back there.   Leaders on all sides like the top because it gives them power and wealth.   Yet countries governed from top down have always been top down and  while they can’t be creative or enrich people’s lives, they can run states capable of survival .  We won’t be able to because the people who support the self aggrandizing centralizers  are either profoundly stupid, lack understanding of who we were and why or are  influenced by our principal enemy.  

    • #23
  24. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    The sad truth about this mass killing was that the police apparently were there but for what ever reason failed to engage the shooter for something like 40 minutes to an hour while the schoolchildren were being murdered.

    The Uvalde police have a lot to answer for. There apparently was clear gross negligence. 

    For a variety of reasons from  indulgent parenting, to dysfunctional families, to brainwashing at schools, to a lack of fathers in the first place, and  to a decline in religious and moral beliefs among a long litany of societal problems, mental illness is on the rise. Dramatically.

    But all that said, an armed school is a school that is a most unlikely place to be a scene of a mass shooting.

    • #24
  25. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    She (View Comment):

    Cassandro (View Comment):
    How would you fix the problem? Commitment.

    Do you mean the mental health problem? And are you suggesting that “commitment” might be the answer for that?

    Sorry, these days, that’s a joke, as any family member with a dangerously mentally ill family member might testify. Generally, “commitment” lasts a day or two, and is pretty much analogous with “detainment,” as it’s exercised among those who’ve recently been indicted for mass murder in these United States and are subsequently let go.

    I know that, these days, mental illness is a state in which self-harm, or harm-by others-against-the-sufferer is recognized as something that society can’t mitigate against. That’s why my stepson is dead. Because if those who had the power to do so had heeded the warnings of those who had the knowledge (but not the power) to prevent the awful outcome, he might be alive today.

    This is from Clayton E. Cramer’s excellent My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill .

    In short, states where involuntary commitment was easy, had roughly a third less murders than states where it was very hard. (Steven P. Segal, “Civil Commitment Law, Mental Health Services, and US Homicide Rates,” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, November 10, 2011, http://kendras-law.org/national-studies/commitmenthomiciderates.pdf)

    He goes on to say this

    When the New York Times did a detailed study of rampage killers in 2000, they pointed out that there was often plenty of warning: An examination by The New York Times of 100 rampage murders found that most of the killers spiraled down a long slow slide, mentally and emotionally.  Most of them left a road map of red flags, spending months plotting their attacks and accumulating weapons, talking openly of their plans for bloodshed. Many showed signs of serious mental health problems.

    The Times’ study found that many of the rampage killers… suffered from severe psychosis, were known by people in their circles as being noticeably ill and needing help, and received insufficient or inconsistent treatment from a mental health system that seemed incapable of helping these especially intractable patients. …

    The Times found what it called “an extremely high association between violence and mental illness.”  Of the 100 rampage murderers, forty-seven “had a history of mental health problems” before committing murder, twenty had been previously hospitalized for mental illness, and forty-two had been previously seen by professionals for their mental illness.  While acknowledging that mental illness diagnoses “are often difficult to pin down… 23 killers showed signs of serious depression before the killings, and 49 expressed paranoid ideas.”

    Cramer gave the history of how civil commitment became nearly impossible: An activist lawyer who allied himself with politicians who genuinely wanted to reform public mental institutions—and who didn’t understand the activist’s agenda: ending civil commitment to protect the civil rights of the mentally ill.

    • #25
  26. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Well I have now drug over the coals by two Karens.  It seems since I am a gun guy that I am personally responsible for this event.  The only answer is to get rid of guns from everybody.  Conversation was me explaining how the real world works and them yelling at me for blame shifting, killing children, and about everything else. 

    • #26
  27. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Unsk (View Comment):
    The sad truth about this mass killing was that the police apparently were there but for what ever reason failed to engage the shooter for something like 40 minutes to an hour while the schoolchildren were being murdered.

    I understand they did handcuff and tase parents who tried to go in and rescue the children . . .

    • #27
  28. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    That activist lawyer was with the ACLU. He was influenced by radical psychiatrist R. D. Laing, whose Wikipedia entry says

    Taking the expressed feelings of the individual patient or client as valid descriptions of personal experience rather than simply as symptoms of mental illness, Laing regarded schizophrenia as a theory not a fact. Though associated in the public mind with the anti-psychiatry movement, he rejected the label. Politically, he was regarded as a thinker of the New Left.

    If schizophrenia is just a theory, it’s clearly unjust to deprive “schizophrenics” of their civil rights. So you help genuine reformers pass well intended laws as you Cloward-Piven the government and make civil commitment and public mental health hospitals financially unviable. That’s what Bruce Ennis did. Higher standards imposed by reforms make it easier.

    It needs to be said that civil commitment and state hospitals have historically been troublesome. Prone to abuse of process, prone to deserved scandals for many reasons. They are not good, they are at best less bad. That’s intolerable to people possessed of a theory.

    When that theory say that if the USA cannot provide perfection it doesn’t deserve to exist, people  possessed by that theory must, to be true to their beliefs, work to destroy the USA. They now permeate government and related entities at every level.

    • #28
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    When that theory say that if the USA cannot provide perfection it doesn’t deserve to exist, people  possessed by that theory must, to be true to their beliefs, work to destroy the USA. They now permeate government and related entities at every level.

    True. And somehow we have become subservient to them. A terrible outcome.

    • #29
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.