Friday, December 14, 2012

Brief thoughts on Connecticut

We know violent crime is on a secular decline, and yet there are still far too many of these horrific stories. This suggests to me that we probably shouldn't be talking about guns so much as mental health. This seems to be the real causal bedrock of these sorts of things.

If we want to talk about regulating gun ownership to avoid them getting into the hands of people with serious mental health problems, I'm amenable to talking about that. Regulating how we exercise rights and denying rights are two quite different things, in my opinion (which isn't to say there aren't gray areas sometimes).

1 comment:

  1. I think there are some fundamental problems with restricting people's rights based on mental illness. Ultimately, mental illness is nothing more than deviation from subjective parameters of normalcy. More recently, this can be seen over the withdrawal of homosexuality from the DSM. That was not prompted by new empirical evidence that homosexuality does not exist or isn't diagnosed by the proposed tests but simply by a subjective decision that homosexuality with an acceptable behavior instead of an illness. Historically, homosexuals aren't the only ones whose now-acceptable behavior was once classified as mental illness. Women who challenged a once much-more patriarchal system and certain dissidents in Soviet countries also had that displeasure. This makes me leery of using mental illness as a legal classification.

    I am also unsure as to how practical or effective it would be. One could in theory require that those who purchase weapons submit to a mental health assessment, but that doesn't necessarily tell you a lot. People can develop even serious mental illnesses over time. Also, people with mild mental illnesses can have very violent reactions in high-stress situations. (A bad break-up for instance)

    Finally, these are exceedingly rare events. While horrible, I am not sure they justify a specific policy reaction. (Though I also realize this may be a politically untenable position.)


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