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View Diary: Stop Blaming Newtown Tragedy On Mental Illness (301 comments)

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  •  This killer's access to guns is the more important (28+ / 0-)

    factor.

    Some killers suffer from mental illness, some do not. That is not the cause, just a factor of the individual.

    The real cause is someone intent on shooting gets their hands on a gun.

    •  how would we avoid this? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      As I note that both Norway and GB have strict gun control but also have their share of murders. (BTW if frequency of such events is an argument for the efficacy of their gun laws, I would argue that their prison system is also more effective in rehabilitating inmates and not having as many recidivists.  While massacres occupy the headlines I would observe many killers have killed previously and cycled through a punitive system which focuses on punishment rather than rehab, if we are establishing a norm or profile of murderers)

      •  In the USA, we avoid it by locking down guns. (8+ / 0-)

        This young man got his guns from his mom, who as a responsible parent should not have allowed him to get his hands on them.

        We also must require insurance on guns, and a term of the policy is correct storage of guns.

        So that when you're sleeping, someone not authorized can get their hands on your guns.

        Pretty much that's where we start.

        •  I would observe that, as my father observed, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          boudi08

          that locks are for honest people; locks will not deter any thief but will only slow him down.  this inconvenience will cause him to seek other, softer targets.

          You point out that the mother should have locked down her guns.  Her son was 20 years old, so these observations that she should have kept her guns out of reach make it seem as if he were a toddler.
          He used the guns, from reports, and even if the guns were locked down, probably had access to the keys.  Even assuming he did not have the key, locks can still be frustrated with time and patience and a little skill, such as an on line locksmith course.

          Even if we assume the guns were locked in a vault in Fort Knox, I would observe that a gun (such as a zip gun..remember those) is not difficult to fabricate and the shooter was described as highly intelligent.

          •  Yes, a lock should have been used in this case. (8+ / 0-)

            Too bad is wasn't. Maybe her 20 yr old son would have stopped long enough to think.

            Just because it might not have stopped him, doesn't mean it shouldn't have been done.

          •  False (8+ / 0-)

            So that's why your father never locked his house or car?

            Not having access to the key is part of locking the gun, just like not leaving your keys under your Welcome mat.

            A proper gun lock will not yield to tampering. Indeed fingerprint scanners are cheap enough that millions of notebook computers include them gratuitously. There is no reason guns can't be cheaply and effectively locked to only their registered owner. Which reduces the chances of their being fired.

            As for making your own gun, nearly none of the guns used to kill people in the past 5 years were homemade. Those are also less reliable in harming people. So if gun control forces shooters to make their own, there will be less harm.

             Harm reduction is never perfect, but it's better than nothing. The cost:benefit for locking guns is absolutely compelling.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:02:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wrong (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              entlord, Silvia Nightshade

              A lock will yield to tampering eventually, period - it's just a question of whether it takes five minutes or five weeks or five months.  There is no 100% safe lock-down method that can absolutely, positively not be defeated.  Regarding the fingerprint locks -- he could have killed his mother with a knife in her sleep, then "borrowed" her finger to defeat the fingerprint lock on the gun safe, and then went and shot up the school, for example.

              Locks buy time and increase inconvenience.  If a lock is sufficiently inconvenient to a perpetrator they will either give up or seek another path to their goal.  

              Please note that I'm in favor of the lock-down strategy, my point here is just to note that contrary to what you imply here, no lock is utterly fool-proof and invincible, given a sufficiently determined and clever perpetrator.

              •  Locks Don't Need To Hold Up Indefinitely... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DocGonzo

                ...just long enough for the would-be thief to attract unwanted attention.

                In this case, detecting an attempt to get into the gun safe (either red-handed or via traces of tampering) would have been grounds to get the perp locked up before he was able to actually do anything.

                On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

                by stevemb on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:41:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Perfect Enemy of Good (0+ / 0-)

                I said:

                Harm reduction is never perfect, but it's better than nothing.

                Gun locks will reduce harm. They're not 100% perfect, but they're good enough that they're worth doing.

                "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:40:19 AM PST

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            •  actually he did not; you have to remember a (0+ / 0-)

              different age in America when my grandfather's home did not even have a working lock or a key and people routinely left their key in the ignition so as not to have to search for it

              •  What does any of that have to do with (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DocGonzo

                the here and now in 2012?

                •  the question was if my father locked his car (0+ / 0-)

                  I answered the question

                  •  So? (0+ / 0-)

                    The point of my question was whether your father's advice is a good argument against gun locks. It is not. You just admitted that his advice was operational in a time when locks weren't necessary. Now they are. My point.

                    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                    by DocGonzo on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:41:24 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  it remains good advice since you cannot rely on (0+ / 0-)

                      locks; any lock can ultimately be defeated given time and sufficient will.  For an example, we had double locks on a rental unit and had the door barred on the inside with an old fashioned bar across the door.  the thieves took the entire door frame loose from the studs and set the whole unit, with the door still locked and barred, to one side and entered the building.

                      Now exactly how was I supposed to lock the building to frustrate those guys?

                      •  Relative Locks (0+ / 0-)

                        When your house is locked but the neighbors are not, thieves will probably rob theirs instead of yours.

                        The point that no lock is 100% secure means only that you cannot rely on locks alone and expect perfect security. But as I explained (several times now) locks are not expected to be the "silver bullet" (pun intended) for protecting us from gun violence. It is simply a measure that obviously targets the critical moment in the Newtown shootings: when Lanza took his mother's guns. If they were locked, it might have stopped him, or slowed him enough to possibly let him calm down. Meanwhile if magazines are locked it can slow down a shooter's reloading enough that even unarmed people could stop them (as happened in Tuscon).

                        Gun locks are cheap and mostly effective. They even protect the gun fetishist from someone messing with their stuff. It should be completely noncontroversial. Yet even you, who seem very much in favor of violence reduction by restricting guns and access to them, are debating it.

                        Like I said, America is not serious about reducing gun violence. Americans are more interested in tiny disagreements about abstractions than in protecting the next couple dozen children from murder.

                        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                        by DocGonzo on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:03:23 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  report says today that the guns were locked in (0+ / 0-)

                          a cabinet and kept secured so Lanza evidently either frustrated the locks or knew where the keys were

                          •  Locks Etc (0+ / 0-)

                            1. Until I see the details, I don't know what about her locks were insufficient. Probably a $350 fingerprint lock would have been more effective.

                            2. Maybe no lock would have stopped Adam Lanza. Maybe he held a knife to her throat and forced her to unlock the guns. But we're not now focused on solely the specific path Lanza took to murder. More and better locks will reduce violence, in other cases where they are more effective.

                            As I said: "But as I explained (several times now) locks are not expected to be the "silver bullet" (pun intended) for protecting us from gun violence." They are part of a solution, as are other parts that wouldn't have stopped Lanza specifically, but would stop others.

                            Just as locks today are not much more effective than in your father's day, nor are they at all 100% effective, but most of us lock our doors because they are usually much better than nothing.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:16:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  depending on the cabinet, an ax or torch (0+ / 0-)

                            or zawzaw can defeat almost any lock

                          •  So What? (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't understand why you're arguing that no lock is 100% perfect. I never said they were. I've agreed every time you've said it. I have pointed out every time that it doesn't matter; that we're not looking for 100%.

                            It's perfectly obvious that the lack of 100% perfect locks is not a good argument against using locks at all. I'm not going to repeat myself anymore. Bye.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:01:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I thought my comment agreed with yours (0+ / 0-)

                            If it did not, I apologize

        •  not sure that's constitutional. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RonV, VectorScalar

          if its a burden on the right, it won't fly.

          OTOH, we probably can keep guns from the mentally ill.  while some people, like the diarist, seem to feel strongly that the.mentally ill should be able to own guns on the same terms as anyone else, I think therea enough support from the citizenry to restrict their ability to own guns.

          •  What? that her policy required safe storage of her (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DefendOurConstitution

            guns while she was unconscious?

          •  deliberate misinterpretation of the diarist`s (10+ / 0-)

            point Doesn`t move the discussion forward. At no point did the diarist suggest that mentally ill people ought to have access to guns. The argument is that the focus should be on access to guns. The NRA and their supporters would rather distract the conversation from the issue of the availability of guns to demonize people with mental illness. Anything to take the discussion off guns.

            If I had my way, I would repeal the 2nd Amendment. Since I can't have my way, I support a ban on all assault weapons. Now!

            by Tchrldy on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:49:30 AM PST

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          •  Which Constitution? (9+ / 0-)

            How does a mandatory gun lock prevent the good supply of weapons to a civilian militia necessary to protecting the liberty of the state? Of course it doesn't.

            The actual Constitutional protection in the 2nd Amendment is very narrow. Indeed, vanishingly narrow, and in fact based on a fallacy. A well armed militia is now proven by centuries to threaten the liberty of a free state more than protect it.

            Yes, most of the Supreme Court and the Congress, and probably the president all would say otherwise. But they're wrong. The 2nd Amendment's perversion into absolute right to unencumbered gun access is as wrong as many other perversion of the Constitution (eg. tax-free churches). But it's now compellingly urgent to fix. The willful misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment is now obviously a suicide pact.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:06:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You misrepresent what I wrote (11+ / 0-)

            Quite glaringly

            Hopefully others won't fall for this spin

            The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

            by Brit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:08:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It seems to me people are conflating & confusing (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              poligirl, Oldestsonofasailor, Brit

              symptoms with causes.

              Obsessive playing of any game is not a good thing, whether the game at hand is violent or farmville. That's because obsessive behavior is unhealthy.

              A tiny minority of mentally ill people will harm others. Doesn't mean we don't need to address mental illness on a broader level. I do think Breivik is mentally ill or unstable or suffering from some disorder and I don't think it's useful to say someone who is mentally ill can't plan and execute a shooting spree.  Something was wrong with Lanza, that's pretty clear.

              It strikes me that the official definitions of mental illness work to deny and lead other to fail diagnosing mental illness (there's an odd parallel in that the NRA has messed with the definition of assault weapons such that the Bushmaster isn't classified as one even though it is a rapid fire weapon).

              But being able to easily buy and resell a rapid fire or legally classified assault weapon and ammunition and having them in your home seems ridiculous. Lanza's mother would not have had them if they were illegal.

              As I said above, I'm for very strict gun control, but don't think we can get that passed in the U.S. Right now, I'd settled for expanded definition of what constitutes an assault weapon and the ammunition that goes with that, a ban on these weapons for sale or resale, and a massive government buy back of existing assault weapons that fall under new definitions.  

              Proactive and retroactive measures. It did some good in Australia.

              BagNewsNotes: Visual Politics, Media Image Analysis

              by ksh01 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:13:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  this is right on: (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                salamanderempress, LaEscapee
                A tiny minority of mentally ill people will harm others. Doesn't mean we don't need to address mental illness on a broader level. I do think Breivik is mentally ill or unstable or suffering from some disorder and I don't think it's useful to say someone who is mentally ill can't plan and execute a shooting spree.
                the can plan and execute complicated plans. and many of the mentally ill folks are also extremely smart and can be very capable people with proper treatment.

                to dismiss someone who is mentally ill as incapable of  doing something like Columbine or Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech is misguided big time. and that can be a dangerous assumption too.

                A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

                by poligirl on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:14:21 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Huh? There can be no burdens on gun rights? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kamakhya, Brit

            You've got to be kidding.  Even the right wingers on the Supreme Court didn't go that far when they suddenly decided that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to keep and bear arms.

            Even First Amendment rights can be burdened in certain circumstances, and we sure as hell know that things like the right to vote and the right to reproductive choice can be burdened -- quite substantially, in fact.  The right to own a gun is no different.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:34:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Gun Locks or Die (6+ / 0-)

          If we do not at least require gun locks on every gun after this shooting, we indeed have learned nothing from it. Locks are by far the least controversial remedy, and in Newtown probably would have been the most effective, since the shooter took the guns from someone else.

          Since yours is the first mention of it I've seen (other than in my living room), I believe we're not serious. As usual, Americans are now worked up into some fit of revenge, not remedy.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:58:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Semantics, (0+ / 0-)

      Or the hogwash of professional mystique. It's as big an obstacle to progress as the insistence that gun ownership is about rights, and not toys.
      This is our dialog, and our result.

      and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

      by le sequoit on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:45:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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