Saturday, December 15, 2012

I'm sick of it

I''m sick of it.  Sick of news of crazy young men massacring innocent people.  These events are at the intersection of two things that aren't working in our country:  how we deal with people with mental and emotional problems, and how we deal with gun laws.  Both of these issues are kept dysfunctional by political interests.

Decades ago, liberals, in an effort to be compassionate, closed psychiatric hospitals and made it impossible to commit a disturbed person against their will.  The mentally ill can only place themselves in a hospital and get the medication that they need in order to get through a difficult passage.  And, of course, often times, part of their illness is a paranoia and a refusal to be institutionalized out of fear that they will never be able to go free.  Understandable, but sometimes toxic to innocent people they encounter.

And the weapons industry has taken almost total control over how our country views weapons.  The NRA and true believer second amendment absolutists block as much reasonable gun control laws as possible. 

The terrible result is that sick people can and do buy semi-automatic weapons and use them to kill dozens of people in a frenzy of destruction.

I think we need to dramatically change our approach to both how we treat mentally ill people (create a system where someone who is off the rails can be committed against their will - bound to be violently opposed by liberals), and how we treat gun control (eliminate multiple magazine quick fire weapons, and at least prevent those weapons from getting in the hands of mentally and emotionally disturbed people - bound to be violently opposed by conservatives)

Although I personally am disgusted by guns, I have long been a supporter of the second amendment because it is a constitutional right of personal freedom. But society is allowed to draw reasonable lines to protect itself.  In the same way that we can outlaw machine guns and bazookas, we can outlaw these weapons of mass destruction.  I understand that doing so won't keep them out of the hands of criminals who will get them via illegal means, but just because we can't do it perfectly doesn't mean we can't improve the situation.

And it is time to put some trust in our mental health professionals, and allow them to take in the mentally disturbed and give them the medications and treatment necessary to get them back on their feet and back into some reasonable ability to go back out onto the street.

I read a headline earlier this week that a huge percentage of those killed by police in the line of duty are mentally ill people.  

I am sick of it, the intersection of bad gun laws and bad mental health laws.  People are dying who do not need to.