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The Truth About Mass Murder and Gun Laws
This is an unpleasant topic to have to discuss so close to the holiday that even non-religious people celebrate as a time for family and friends, but the reality is people are going to be duped if they continue to get their news from the mainstream media on this topic.
To be clear, I'm NOT claiming any special insight into this except that the sheer FACTS just don't support the spin the media is putting on it.
While it is tragic that on December 14, 2012 an apparently mentally ill 20 year old young man entered a school in Connecticut and shot dead 26 people; mostly children; this wasn't the largest such event in U.S. history.
In 1927 in Bath Michigan, 45 people (against mostly children) died when a disgruntled school board member dynamited the school. (source)
The point is, while it may sooth some souls to blame these horrid events on this or that, it really comes down to very bad people doing things they shouldn't. No law is going to stop it. But I wanted to make some observations:
All of these events have some common threads:
The point is, the issue isn't guns. It isn't spoiled-rich kids (since that isn't the case in China). It is that we allow mentally disturbed individuals to roam around in society; whether it is allowing child molesters to live in our neighborhoods as long as they are on some list somewhere or we send kids with serious mental issues to "public schools" because we think it is cruel to institutionalize them. There are people that just cannot function in "normal" society and when identified, should be removed from society where they can be cared for and monitored.
How do we deal with these individuals? I know personally, when my daughter attended high school there was a kid there with mental problems that would run up and fondle girls. The staff told people to just ignore it because he had mental problems. Instead, that kid needed to be institutionalized. It is not enough to medicate these people. All it takes is going off the meds just once.
America used to institutionalize the "insane" but ever since the 1960s the idea of institutionalizing the insane has been so questioned that most insane people are simply medicated and allowed to integrate back into society without any institutionalization. (source1, source2) Of course, the image of the insane asylum is that of a haunted house of sorts where people; even sane and innocent people were put away, abused and tortured and drugged. We do NOT want that sort of system.
Further, who gets to decide how mentally disabled a person is before they are involuntarily institutionalized? Courts? Medical professionals? (all of which can and do disagree among themselves).
Now often called civil commitment, the process of committing people to a mental hospital possibly against their will is less imposed in the U.S. than in other countries. This may be the true variance between events in the U.S. and other countries rather than "gun control laws" or the banning of guns altogether, since as we saw; China suffered from these mass events even with a lack of easy access to guns.
See PDF paper on how the rest of the world relates to U.S. involuntary commitment laws: http://www.jaapl.org/content/25/2/135.full.pdf
Obviously, involuntary commitment can be and is used for corrupt purposes. For example, in China, they attempted to draft legislation that simply says someone could be committed if they "disrupt public order". (source)
Besides the example of China's possibly corrupt use of "civil commitment", some evidence shows that the nations such as Australia and Germany have laws that often do not even require a court hearing but merely a professional opinion to involuntarily commit. Again, this could be rife with corruption as well. Some of these countries rely heavily on guardianship committals; where all it really takes is a medical professional and a guardian to commit a person to an institution. While this is better, it still can be abused obviously.
Once committed, what is the criteria for release if ever?
In conclusion, it seems the U.S. needs to look more at addressing the FACT that some people cannot function within society; whether we medicate people or not -- since again, all it takes is for the person to stop taking the medication before something happens.
Focusing on gun laws misses the point. Of course there should be something in place to prohibit guns from mentally unstable people; but again -- most of these events happen when the existing laws are disobeyed anyhow.
Is America prepared to really address this issue?
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