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Deceiving Ourselves

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In my somewhat limited world whatever solution is proffered to address a problem must be judged by how well it actually resolves the problem.

In the recent cases of gun violence against groups, the weapons used were legal, the individuals using them were to a greater or lesser extent mentally ill and the use of large magazines aggravated the severity of the crime.

The proposed legislative solutions at the national level address the large magazine issue (although IMHO in a way that does not solve it). It also may address the set of weapons used but probably not because there is no really adequate distinction between those weapons and weapons used historically and broadly for hunting or personal defense. Now we could and probably will discuss outlawing the “Bushmaster” rifle but I will bet that within a year a “Tree master” rife with almost indistinguishable features will be available that will still leave us with the problem. Semi-automatic rifles are a pretty homogenous set as to operation. IMHO the only way to achieve a culture where not one child will be lost to gun violence is to totally outlaw guns and to make a very, very determined effort to capture all the illegal ones out there somewhere. If one bothers to notice this latter grouping drives the majority of our gun violence. Nothing so far seriously proposed does that.

I note little focus on mental health issues. I recognize this is a difficult issue to address but a failure to do so will almost certainly lead to further repetitions of the mass murders we have experienced in the recent past. Now, I am not certain there is anything we can do to totally negate the problem but a more rigorous tie between state mental health systems and the federal gun registry would be a good start. To do that correctly federal help is IMHO needed. Now, encompassed within that is a determination of what DSM codes should lead to an inability to acquire a firearm. I suspect that effort would in and of itself open a debate as large as the one on gun control as an end in itself.

I will avoid the issue of whether our cultural has a predisposition to violence that feeds this problem. If there is one there is nothing so far seriously proposed that addresses that issue.

Now doing nothing as opposed to doing something is not what I propose. But – big but – we need to be honest about the limitation of the proposed solutions. It would be a real disservice if our ultimate effort primarily harasses innocent people desiring to acquire a firearm they are legally entitled to own while accomplishing nothing toward limiting gun violence.

Comments

George Lippencott 1 year, 2 months ago

I sure would appreciate more effort on this.

While restricting weapons to law abiding citizens will probably in the long term reduce the numbers of weapons in the hands of criminals, I personally doubt the reduction will be quick or significant. We are unable to control our borders when it comes to people or drugs so I suspect we will be just as ineffective in trying to limit firearms transit.

IMHO we are once again being treated to loud but ineffective solutions to placate well meaning but poorly informed activists. We seem to be doing more and more of that lately (maybe always did?)..

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kawrivercrow 1 year, 2 months ago

Rather than treating law-abiding gun owners like cannabis smokers (only outlaws, by definition, can smoke weed) how about we focus on the real threat; getting guns out of the hands of genuine criminals. I propose we create a reward system where if someone knows of a convicted felon or diagnosed psychotically mentally ill person (or other legal disqualifier), they can report them to authorities and get a cash reward e.g. ($250-500) if the gun is confiscated and/or the criminal is prosecuted for the violation.

The hard cold reality is that the people who are most likely to follow gun laws are the least likely to commit a gun crime and the people who are most likely to break gun laws are the most likely to commit crime.

This report-a-heat-packing-felon system puts a laser-like focus on the real source of the overwhelming majority of violent crime. $500 is a paltry sum compared to the dividends from preventing an armed robbery, even without the concomitant injury, disability or death that accompanies violent crime.

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 2 months ago

Passing laws to control 10 mentally ill individuals out of 300,000,000 a year is futile. These laws, which I have no opinion one way or the other, are nothing more then window dressing. Nothing will change. I propose taking money from the "War on Drugs" farce and put a police officer in every school. I also believe every child should have mandatory mental health screenings through their school years.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 2 months ago

Got quiet. Wonder why? Do we know what well regulated means or do we not?

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George Lippencott 1 year, 2 months ago

Hi

  1. My rights comments was associated with mental health determination.

  2. What is well regulated?? a.) by weapon name? b.) by weapon type c. by weapon operational characteristic? d.) by other

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grammaddy 1 year, 2 months ago

Baby steps. We'll get there, but it will take ALL of us to demand it. Nobody is removing anyone's rights. Just trying to become "well regulated".

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

sorry to disagree but I think video games, movies, and most of what's suggested above are useless noise of no effect to stop the mass cas shootings, except expanded background checks/mental health functions.

overwhelmingly the shooters of mass cas incidents have been on psychotropics current or recent to the shootings and were known to psychiatrists or other mental health professionals.

if Lanza or Holmes were locked up, they couldn't have killed anybody.

sadly, we actually need lawyer control, not gun control.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

Hi George. DSM III/IV diagnostics is something I know intimately. putting a gun disconnect on a diagnosis code isn't a good plan, nor does the psych view of danger to self/others work that directly. in other words, I could treat someone who's depressed but totally safe, but same diagnostic coding that person might be suicidal.
and, there can be a fine line between suicidal and homicidal.

also, responding to above: "assault rifle" is a pejorative term that almost means nothing, in some cases it describes a difference in the grip between two identical rifles. so, I just ignore the term, and I think we all should. it truly is useless and is used only to scare people.

George, your contribution here is a good one, and right on: very little helpful change has been proposed by those in authority. of the president's speech the other day, nil. and making doctors snitches the way he does could make things worse in fact as he arogantly disregards the long history and experience of psychiatrists dealing with danger to self/others; and how nowadays it is almost impossible for them to involuntarily hospitalize the violently mentally ill thanks to the efforts of the ACLU and other "rights" groups. 30,000-70,000 people across america should be hospitalized today who are not, based on history and diagnoses. and, authorities generally know who these people are, and where they are, but their hands are tied.

as in Newtown, you usually also find a family member who's been crying for help before the event.

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 3 months ago

An approach to the weapons problem should include: 1. Thorough background checks. No loopholes. 2. Mental health services and alerts. 3. Make assault weapons illegal. 4. Open data collection and research.

As for violent influences, it's interesting to note that game producers and movie producers seemed to know that their product was in poor taste after the most recent shooting. So much for volunteers.

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Liberty275 1 year, 3 months ago

The magazines are a symptom of the the delusions these people are under. They saw it on Batman, so they have to have one when they go off the deep end.

In reality, there is no difference between a 7 round magazine and a 100 round magazine. These shooting last several minutes, so the rate of fire is irrelevant. If you walk in a room full of kids and one teacher, it's going to be the odd teacher and never the children that could make any difference in the 2 seconds it takes a slowpoke to change magazines in most modern semi-autos.

The price for that is further eroding not only the second amendment, but all of the constitution, even the parts you like.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 3 months ago

Hi,

  1. I* provided a workable solution

  2. What in your opinion is an assault weapon? IMHO that is the crux of any less than total solution!

  3. What do you think the chart means?

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 3 months ago

I find the argument that the proposed efforts will not solve or address the problem illogical. Given that discussion and data has been stifled for years, we have no idea what will or will not work. However, a hunter does not need an assault weapon to kill a deer. Just exactly what are folks wanting to shoot?

We have a problem that needs to be addressed regardless of naysayers. Incidents are increasing. This is not a time to sit on our hands.

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