Guns and Mental Health

It’s a well known-fact that I chart our national slide in just about everything to the reign of St. Ronnie: from fiscal insanity, political inanity, and to the rise of pundits like Sean Hannity, it all begins with him.

It’s a harsh indictment, but it is defensible.

When we talk about guns, the rise of the NRA to practically protected status started with Reagan and continues to this day. Even Mitt Romney had to pretend that he enjoyed hunting varmints to win over that craven crowd. The Stench became a lifetime member of the NRA at some point during the primaries. It is that important.

But, you say, what’s this about mental health?

One of the things that is not widely known outside of California is that Saint Ronnie closed down the public mental health institutions in California when he was the governor (and despite popular belief, they did not all become members of Congress upon release); he said that they were too expensive and he didn’t want himself nor his pals to pay for them. Prior to that, there really was not an epidemic homeless problem nor crazy people wandering the streets having arguments with the voices in their heads.

Also, there were not mass murders nor acts of terrorism, or at least not on the scale and frequency we see today. And before you say it, I’ll say it for you: “correlation is not causation.” But there is a nexus between mentally ill people and gun violence.

Susie Madrak over at Crooks and Liars has a harrowing piece up that I think is required reading. In summary, it is one mother’s experience with a brilliant but violent child and how there is nothing, nowhere to turn except to the criminal court system. It’s appalling.

Anyway, reading the post about the mother with the kid who alternates between extreme brilliance and extreme violence, it is easy to see how someone who clearly needs help could legally buy a gun. So as we (hopefully) start to discuss some kind of gun regulation following the horrific events of this past year, let’s also try to force some sensible mental health standards. These things are related somehow, we need to acknowledge that they are part of the problem, and we cannot address the horror of little children being slaughtered without discussing how this young man never got the help that he needed, too.

(BTW, not one pro-gun Senator agreed to be on Meet the Press today, and they tried to get them on the air.)

0 thoughts on “Guns and Mental Health

  1. And while he did not get the help he needed (and his mother did not get the help she needed either) what they did get was guns.

    Someone suggested she may have bought the guns because she feared her son. What a sick irony, if so.

    It’s like something that was edited out of Idiocracy for being too unbelievable.

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  2. we simply do not have enough guns. there should be one in every desk, under every airplane seat, a gun rack in the mall, hey NRA – how about allowing people to carry guns when they visit the white house and capitol —

    guns are the new dildoes

    guns! guns! guns!

    when you are born you should be given a gun before you even cut the umbilical cord

    dont like the grade – shoot the teacher, do not like the fact the garbage men left the cover off the cans – next time greet em with an AK47

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  3. And as for the Pro-GUN talking heads refusing to speak in a public forum today- cowards. Personally, I would love to hear them defend the nation’s right for this sort of thing to continue because they like guns and people who like guns give them money. It is enough that a few of the pro-gun people have already made what I perceive as very poorly worded, poorly timed, and insensitive comments in light of what happened on Friday.

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  4. It is simply untrue that hidden carry guns cannot save your life. If you go around with enough guns under your jacket — shoulder holsters, chest holsters, belly holsters and metal hip flasks, etc., etc., — there is a good chance that a stray bullet, ripping through the drywall between you and the mall store next door being shot up by a crazed former employee, will ricochet off one of your weapons and kill a sales ladies, or that wimpy kid of yours who joined Kidscall.

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  5. Who are the Gun Moguls in our country? Where are their homes, getaways and yachts? Why do these Merchants of Misery need to use NRA and US politicians to get more money. How much money do they need?

    Who are the middlemen in our communities who tip toe along the edge of legality to make dubious sales in support of the 2nd Amendment?

    And why do the first cuts to state budgets predictably fall on adult mental health and mental retardation services?

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  6. I showed a bit of a Reagan youtube video to Kiwidaughter who laughed and said “Why did they like him?” it is difficult to explain. Limbaugh rode in his coattails so I would give the Gas Giant some blame too.

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  7. I have a fervent, but unlikely to be granted wish: I wish that Wayne LaPierre had to tell the parents of the slaughtered that they would be alive if teachers were allowed to pack heat. That’s all I want is for him to peddle his line of bullshit right to their faces, and I want to watch it.

    Regards,

    Tengrain

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  8. You’re absolutely right about St. Ronnie, but I think it started even earlier when the Goldwater wingnuts lost – they couldn’t abide the Civil Rights Act and the Kennedys and LBJ. But Reagan somehow managed to institutionalize meanness and how to justify it for a generation.

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  9. Thanks TG for commenting on mental health issues.

    Seem to be another topic people don’t want to touch.

    Joesdaughter, MH funding gets cut so often because they have so few speaking up for them. Those that can or do are often parents or other loved ones left to care for them. I know because I am one. I have many times travelled to the state hearings and testified. But I only have so much time or money to do so. The legislators don’t seem to care about “sob stories”. They hear them and for the most part learned to tune them out. Rather what gets their attention is when it can be related the cost of caring for individuals becomes a burden on the system. Such as when people sell off assests or growing businesses because insurance blackballed them and the only hope for care is Medicaid which becomes predicated on receiving SSI and essentially being in poverty. Some care, many don’t. They don’t see the long term value of caring for the short term “save” to look good to the tea naggers and profiteers.

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  10. Here’s an article from The Lancet on mental health, crime, and guns. I think a lot of these rampagers are perfectly sane, but have skewed views of reality. They plan meticulously. They don’t just snap. Lots of people go through hardships, get depressed, and/or self medicate – they don’t go rampages. When your sphere of influence tells you it’s okay to horde guns and ammo for a year then go on a shooting spree, there’s something wrong with your sphere. It’s not fun reading all the copy cat stories popping up now.

    Don’t get me wrong, we need to do much, much better treating MH issues. The lack of mental health funding and provisions has caused problems with many facets of society. I’m looking more at guns, gun culture, the profiteers of said industry, and the people that hypocritically preach the us vs. them themes based on fear for pure self interest.

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