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View Diary: Dementia and guns don't mix (17 comments)

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  •  The wrong question (2+ / 0-)
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    Mayfly, Powered Grace

    I suggest that applying issues of mental illness and psychiatry to the gun problem in this country is a dangerous distraction that will not bring us any further to reducing shootings.

    First, psychiatry has ZERO power to predict who will suffer a future mental illness and who will not.  Psychiatry can only identify mental illness after the fact.  Additionally, there is not one single psychiatric treatment that cures any psychiatric disorder.

    And of course, AFTER the fact, all shooters look like crazy people, because we as a society label any and all acts of extreme violence as madness.

    The fact that all episodes of violence are seen as crazy allows the gun industry to say "not our fault, it's the crazy people".  This takes the burden off the gun industry to make a non-lethal product.  

    And because the world of psychiatry has no predictive power, we cannot identify dangerous gun owners until after they have pulled the trigger.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:44:59 AM PDT

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    •  Again, quite true (2+ / 0-)
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      Mayfly, FloridaSNMOM

      But note that my blog makes a point about this. In Spooner's case, a legal defense of mental illness failed. Nor did doctors agree with this assertion. Even so, it's reasonable to ask why the aged Mr. Spooner got himself into position to create this tragedy. Did it have nothing to do with his age and mental acuity? Possibly. But even without formal diagnosis (see, I'm agreeing with you), it ought to be obvious that as people age and their faculties dim, guns become even deadlier weapons. It's like letting a kid play with a gun. The child then becomes father to the man, or should.

    •  One other point (2+ / 0-)
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      Mayfly, FloridaSNMOM

      Predictive power zero? I disagree. Police and intelligence agencies have all sorts of profiling abilities. And social science has already provided us plenty of profiling on senior citizens. Some will be robust mentally and/or physically well into their 80s. Others will become infirm sooner. Overall, statistically, their ability to handle powerful machines of any kind -- cars, guns, bulldozers -- trends to the problematic and then the impossible.

      So, my point (and I do have one) is that in all manner of education, our population should not just learn about growing up, but also about growing old, and how to do it gracefully and responsibly. That might well include having a life plan for handling weapons of any kind, after some point. But if society has a hard time determining when a danger point is reached, the individual has an even harder time determining that point for himself or herself.

      This wouldn't be such an issue if our society still revered the elderly and if extended families were still capable of providing economic and physical security to their senior members.

      •  Profiling vs. diagnosis (2+ / 0-)
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        FloridaSNMOM, LilithGardener

        Profiling a population group is different from making a definitive diagnosis about an individual.  These are two different activities that seek different ends.

        Yes, some abilities decline with old age.  As a society, we have yet to evolve laws that address those declines: old people are still allowed to drive a car even though their eyesight, reaction times, and muscular coordination and control may all suffer (and with driving a car, one must actually demonstrate ability and knowledge to the state, which is not required for operating a gun!)

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 09:25:00 AM PDT

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    •  Jared Loughner, among others (0+ / 0-)

      had clear mental problems that were known to responsible parties prior to the shooting.

      Look squirrel!:

      psychiatry has ZERO power to predict who will suffer a future mental illness and who will not.
      Strawman. It's about who has mental problems obvious to all concerned RIGHT NOW.

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