U.S. President Barack Obama was right when he said after the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre that America had not done enough to keep its children safe. He closed his comments by reading the names of the 20 first-graders killed in the slaughter.
Newtown’s story turns up one more child who may have been, in one way, failed by America: The isolated, awkward boy who would become the 20-year-old killer, Adam Lanza. What, precisely, afflicted Lanza is not yet known. His brutal final act, however, suggests he had a mental disorder.
It took how long for you to print the obvious? Anyone who commits mass-murder of unarmed innocents clearly is mentally deranged in some form.
But then Bloomberg's View once again blows it, starting with this line of crap:
The statistics are appalling. An estimated 22 percent of children in the U.S. ages 13 to 18 suffer from mental illness severe enough to impair their daily functioning or produce serious distress. Yet only 20 percent of mentally ill children receive treatment.
Their claim comes from a cite that, unsurprisingly, comes from the very people who have done their level best to define everyone as mentally disabled in some form or fashion.
Do you actually believe that nearly 1/4 of all adolescents suffer from a mental disorder that is severe enough to produce serious distress?
I suppose it matters how you measure "distress", doesn't it? Note that anxiety and mood "disorders" were listed as the most-common. Who among us does not remember being significantly anxious or moody at some point in their teen years?
Give me a break.
First the medical profession invents a malady out of common human events, then it fleeces you to "treat" it -- and unfortunately what that industry often does is pump you full of drugs that in some cases cause more harm than they do good!
Have you wondered why it is that this mass-shooting by deranged young man thing appears to be a relatively recent phenomena? Are you going to actually argue that people haven't been nuts since, well, forever? Some of the most-brilliant individuals in recorded history were called deranged, kicked out of school or looked at as extremely odd, among them Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.
So what has changed?
I'll tell you one thing that has changed -- we didn't drug our kids as soon as we didn't like how they behaved. We recognized that young men were in fact boys and that boys had tendencies to be a bit unbalanced.
But as I pointed out in my essay On Killing most boys, by the time their testosterone level began to spike, had experienced killing and had some level of respect for it. They understood at a visceral level how food came to be on their table and that they were alive as a consequence of death. They had a reverence that went beyond an explanation in a book or their mother saying "dinner's ready!", when "dinner" came out of a box or was delivered by a pizza guy at the door.
As a species we had built into us by our creator, through the very means by which we exist, a strong inhibitory factor that was very protective against these very sorts of events! We've destroyed that through our puerile attempt to "sterilize" our environment and remove from it the essence of life.
The problem is not that video games are violent, or that TV is violent, or that the movies are violent. I cannot count how many times I saw Wile-E-Coyote blown up, mutilated, dropped off a cliff, smashed with a monstrous boulder or run over by something really big, usually a truck or train. Nor can I count how many times I watched Moe, Larry or Curley bash each other in the head with a hammer, wrap a pipe around each other's neck or otherwise deal physical violence at one another.
So again, what changed?
Well, first we must understand that these incidents, despite being horrifying, are a tiny piece of the amount of death that our youth are subjected to. 11,000 people are murdered every year with a gun, and that's 11,000 too many. But the FBI says that 1 million violent felonies are stopped or prevented with a firearm, and 98% of the time the gun is not discharged. And not one of these events makes the national news! Indeed, the Oregon Mall shooting, just taking place a few days before Newtown, featured a CCW holder who interrupted the insane man who was blasting unarmed shoppers, and who was very-likely responsible for that spree being aborted with a body count of 2 (plus the shooter who offed himself -- he doesn't count.) You still have to dig deep into the news archives to find stories about the young man (yes, a young man) who drew on the gunman.
The simple fact of the matter is that on balance guns in America are good, not bad, in that privately-held (NOT police-carried!) guns stop one hundred violent felonies for everyone who is murdered with one. If you're one of the women who would have been raped, the 12 year old girl who shot an invader through her closet door (the assailant, incidentally, had previously been busted for kidnapping a developmentally-disabled girl -- he clearly didn't "just want to talk"!), the 14 year old boy who shot a home invasion suspect, or the other 14 year old who shot another home invader who pointed a gun at him (link elided as the source doesn't want it cross-linked -- use google) you're probably rather happy that you had a gun.
So why shouldn't teachers who are both willing and able be prohibited from carrying concealed? Remember that all teachers have already passed a background check before they were allowed to teach.
You may think it's a horrifying idea to arm teachers.
Did you ever think to stop and ask why you believe that, and whether your viewpoint is rational -- or whether you're being manipulated by the media and politicians for their own ends at the expense of your children?
Let's analyze this.
Do you think it's wrong to have an armed guard in your bank? How about the guy delivering the money to your grocery store in the armored car? Should he have a gun? Does your local grocery store's cash drawer -- or that of your bank -- have a higher value than your child? If you believe that the armored car or bank should have someone carrying a gun to protect that cash drawer while your child's teacher should not, that is what you believe.
How about the President? Should he have dozens of people all around him, every minute of the day, all with guns? How about Obama's two daughters -- should they have an armed Secret Service detail at their school, with guns, every single day? Do Obama's children have more value than yours? If you believe his children should have someone with a gun available to protect them but your child's teacher should be barred by law from carrying concealed and thus able to serve as a last line of defense for your child, that is what you believe.
How important are your children? More important than a drawer full of money? As important as President Obama's daughters? If you answered in the affirmative to both you do not want to ban guns -- you want the "Gun Free School" law repealed now and you want all teachers, administrators and staff who are willing and able to carry concealed firearms in the unlikely but possible case that a bad guy may try to murder your children.
There are in fact a tiny minority of people who are nuts enough to commit mass-murder. I will note that the in this most-recent case gun laws as proposed would have prevented exactly nothing; the assailant murdered his mother to get the guns, and he had a nice assortment of them from a shotgun (which he mercifully left in the car) to a "black rifle" to two pistols. I say "mercifully" because if you've ever seen what a shotgun does at close range and how quickly it can be reloaded you'll realize that it's good that he left that one behind. Start banning guns in sufficient type and quantity to deter this guy and you'd have to ban pretty-much everything. As such all so-called "political compromise" on guns is a factual lie; the politicians are using the dead but still-warm bodies of children for political purposes. We as a body politic should be outraged all right -- we should demand that every single politician who has done so resign and if they refuse make damned sure they lose in the next election.
When it comes to mental illness the Bloomberg View solution is, of course, more government-mandated spending. That's right -- we must "demand" that health insurance spend "equally" on mental services.
How about this -- how about we stop handing out SSRIs and anti-psychotics like candy to adolescents and kids?
Do we have a desperate need to improve mental health facilities for our youth (and those who are not youth)? You bet we do. This begins with accountability -- and that means removing these drugs from the prescribing realm of family doctors and all others who are unable or unwilling to be responsible for monitoring on a proactive basis those who are using them. This, in turn, means restricting prescribing to psychiatrists and imposing proactive monitoring requirements, along with criminal penalties for violations.
It also means a renewed look at how we handle involuntary commitments -- and whether we ought to be doing more of it. Maybe yes, maybe no. But this much is certain -- cavalier "toss 'em in the nuthouse" responses are both an abuse of civil liberties (and thus unacceptable) and will no more solve the problem than will gun control. On the other hand there is every reason to believe that in the case of the Aurora Colorado shooting the accused gave plenty of warning that we was dangerously violent -- and there may have been a legitimate opportunity to get him in front of a judge for a commitment hearing before be shot up the theater. Ditto for Tucson. We don't know enough yet about Sandy Hook to know if the same could have legitimately prevented this tragedy.
The first test for any alleged "remedy" is that it must do more good than harm. There are many other tests as well, but this one is paramount. "More gun control" demonstrably will do more harm than good; when all other interdiction fails the only thing that stops an insane bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, and no amount of beating around the bush changes this fact.
More mental health services might do more good than harm, provided we don't just throw drugs at the problem and call it "fixed." Rather we need to, in my view, take a long, hard look at our use of "mental medications" and to a large degree ban them in adolescents and young adults.
The simple fact of the matter is that while many consider the "severe" side effects listed as "less than 1%" that include extreme rage and similar to be "inconsequential" compared to the number of people allegedly "helped" if you write 100,000 prescriptions for these drugs and 1% of the people taking them become dangerously violent that is 1,000 Sandy Hook murders per year that are caused or potentiated by these drugs!
Did that number get your attention?
We don't know if Adam was on medication; there are reports that he was not. But as I have said this is only part of the question; there are, indeed, people who are dangerous whether on prescription drugs or not. When there is a clear indication that someone has mass-murder of innocents on their mind then due process of law for both the accused and their intended victims demand that we follow up on those indications.
I believe we can all agree that this is one place where we can make a difference, we can do so without putting "shoot me, I'm unarmed" targets on our kids' shirts, and we both can and must demand that our politicians cut the crap and look at where the real problem lies -- and what can be done about it.
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