It’s time to take a different tack with violent mental illness
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
Our Declaration of Independence says that although “our Creator” endowed each of us with “certain unalienable rights” including “life” (the right not to be murdered), we need governments “to secure these rights.”
This idea is in the Bible, where God tells Noah to respect and protect the life of every human being. And where Moses sets up a system of laws and judges.
When government failed to protect the lives of 20 kindergarten pupils and six school staff members in Connecticut last week, it completely failed in its most important mission.
But what exactly did government do wrong that it must now do right?
Should it have better security at every school? It appears the armed murderer shot his way into a locked school and killed at least two unarmed adults who tried to keep him away from the kids he wanted to kill. But even if we armed those adults or hired armed guards, someone with or without a gun who wants to kill small children can find them in many other places completely unprotected.
Should government outlaw all private gun ownership and take all guns away from the 77 million citizens who now legally own them? Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. The killer had no permits to own or buy the guns he had, and the killings took place in a “gun free” school zone.
Whenever the government makes it illegal for people to have guns – or drugs, or untaxed cigarettes – people who want them find ways to get them. The tougher the laws, the bigger the profits for the criminals who supply them.
When only criminals have guns, they are even more dangerous – and we are less safe. Especially when many communities are cutting back on police, whose big salaries, pensions and benefits they can no longer afford. And when Muslim terrorists can kill Americans at any time if they don’t feel like going through airport security.
Should we do a better job of supervising of young men with dangerous mental disorders? Absolutely. According to the left-wing magazine Mother Jones, there have been 61 mass murders involving guns in the United States since 1982. Most killers were young, white males with long, documented histories of violent mental illness.
The killer of 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 was described as a ticking time bomb by several teachers and professors. So was the killer of several people at an outdoor meeting held by Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Gifford in January of 2011. So was the killer of 23 people at a movie theater in Colorado last July. And so was last week’s killer in Connecticut.
And of course, dangerous mentally ill people don’t need guns to kill. Last May, a woman with a long history of violent schizophrenia killed two tourists with a knife during the day on a crowded sidewalk in Atlantic City. In 2009, a man with a long history of violent threats, outbursts and mental illness killed an 88-year-old woman with a knife in Linwood. (The prosecutor called her death “unpreventable.”)
At one time, Americans had common sense and protected ourselves by confining and treating dangerous, mentally ill people in state mental institutions like Ancora.
But after Jack Nicholson’s 1975 movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “progressive” politicians and judges closed or downsized our state mental institutions and put thousands of very dangerous, mentally ill people on our streets and in our cities, towns and neighborhoods.
Often, the first victims of these dangerous, mentally ill people are their parents or other family members. A mother who fears her son may be the next mass killer gave a gripping and chilling firsthand description of the problem in a Dec. 14 posting at http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/2012/12/thinking-unthinkable.html.
“I live with a 13-year-old son who is mentally ill. I love my son, but he terrifies me. We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum. ADHD. Oppositional defiant or intermittent explosive disorder have all been tossed around …
“I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I need help … In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.”
It’s also time to get rid of ridiculous “progressive” laws that punish any doctor, teacher, counselor or police officer who shares vital information that can save lives – by calling it a breach of medical confidentiality.
(Reprinted from December 19, 2012 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/politics/32841-its-time-to-take-a-different-tack-with-violent-mental-illness.html)
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturday. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor Township.