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Just a terminal flaw in the American character, the great tragedy of our times. When these mass shootings occurred in countries like the UK and Australia, people were moved and took action. In the States, even the slaughter of innocent children does nothing. We have failed a moral test here, as a nation. History will not be kind.
 

Nick in London made this comment in the New York Times last night with regard to this powerful article by  Michael Luo and Mike McIntre titled, "When the Right to Keep and Bear Arms includes the Mentally Ill."  To paraphrase teacher ken, please read this article and think about it.

What is moral about laws which make firearms ownership legal for institutionalized violent mentally ill individuals?  How many family members and police officers will be shot and killed because of gaping holes in these laws?

Most states simply adhere to the federal standard, banning gun possession only after someone is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility or designated as mentally ill or incompetent after a court proceeding or other formal legal process. Relatively few with mental health issues, even serious ones, reach this point.  
 So if someone is voluntarily committed or just have the police called about an incident, there is little that can be done to permanently remove their arsenals of firearms.
The New York Times obtained court and police records from more than 1,000 cases around the country in which guns were seized in mental-health-related episodes.

A systematic review of these cases — from cities and counties in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee — underscores how easy it is for people with serious mental health problems to have guns.

We can list the names of the mass murderers who should be forbidden to own firearms, but what about those who just shoot their families or themselves?  What about those whose families live in terror of those possibilities?  Isn't there a common sense, middle ground we can have?  Must the authorities return firearms to the mentally ill after they have been confiscated in the name of the NRA?

Please read this powerful article.  Please read the reporting from earlier in the year by the same reporters on the problems of children accidentally killing other children.  

I predict this series will be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  This is a moral issue and we need to act.

Originally posted to murrayewv on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 06:11 AM PST.

Also republished by notRKBA, Shut Down the NRA, and Firearms Law and Policy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  RKBA tag used..... (34+ / 0-)

    since the New York Times used it in their title.  Sorry, but the failure to act out of concern for elections is immoral.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 06:31:53 AM PST

    •  The RKBA club stole a diary title 15 days ago (9+ / 0-)

      from a new user but that was OK because they are coddled and pampered.

      Diary published by a new user. A good diary too. December 16.

      What's been missed about Friday's shooting.

      Diary published by KV 3 hours later.

      RKBA: What's been missed about Friday's shooting.

      Now RKBA is complaining about community because RKBA means anything they want it to mean.

      Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

      by 88kathy on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 09:32:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're half-right and half-wrong, 88kathy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JoanMar, lyvwyr101, 88kathy

        This point, which you made in Bob Johnson's diary, is true: KVoimakas did plagiarize that particular title. So he looks a bit silly, when he complains about people attaching RKBA in their titles or tags, to a diary where RKBA is clearly relevant.

        But you know, a lot of people write response diaries - KVoimakas isn't the first person to extend a pie-fight into another diary.

        I strongly disagree with your

        The RKBA club . . . are coddled and pampered.
        The truth is the opposite of this. Unless we say, freedom of speech, and diverging opinions, are "coddled and pampered" by the admins - which is only right, as fair and frank debate is the lifeblood of this site.

        RKBA get heavy pushback from the community. A large majority of kossacks disagree with many of their views, and they face frequent front-page or recommended diaries arguing vociferously against the RKBA as they see it.

        They are so beleaguered that they're becoming a loyal team of opponents. If you go into an RKBA diary, you'll find some of them being dickish in their continually belligerent comments - but anything they say gets recced by the same core of fighters. There is now a lot more shouting and refusing to listen in RKBA diaries than actual debate. I didn't ever go in them much, but now I avoid them entirely - there is no enlightenment there.

        Bottom line: RKBA are not "coddled and pampered" on Daily Kos.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 10:38:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He just stole the title and completely ignored the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, lyvwyr101

          content. Just stole the entire topic away so he could pretend he was original.

          The only reason I am bringing it up is because they are so wounded about RKBA and everyone is tiptoeing around them. Like when we used to start off the discussions, I don't want to ban guns . . .

          I just say coddled and pampered because it seems to me they have been. But I have probably been too long in the trenches and need to step back.

          Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

          by 88kathy on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 02:28:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thx, and total agreement. (30+ / 0-)

    In addition to the moral failure, I often wonder exactly to whose advantage is it really to have us armed to the teeth and killing each other daily?

  •  Failure to address (24+ / 0-)

    the number of gun deaths in this country is immoral.

    Allowing manufacturers---and the NRA is just one---to write legislation is immoral.

    Innocent people are dying---children are dying---because of this "love of guns cullture"---- and it is immoral.

    Sick of it---and if we do nothing else this year---we will bring this juggernaut runwawy NRA rolling nightmare circus to a halt---we want more restrictions---saner gun laws---and legislation that demands accountability.

    We will settle for nothing less.

    "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

    by lyvwyr101 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 06:49:48 AM PST

    •  Well said (0+ / 0-)

      I support this entire statement.

      But the immorality has other aspects, both in cause, and in ripple.  The thread discussion (so far) has focused on mental illness.  Let's look at VALUES.

      "Thou shalt not kill" is a Judaeo/Christian value stretching back about three millennia.  It reflects that real masculinity is about discretion, not so much valor. That very concept is being challenged now.

      After "Stand Your Ground" was accepted in Florida, justifiable homicides doubled immediately.  After five years it had nearly  tripled,  according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
      http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/five-years-since-florida-enacted-stand-your-ground-law-justifiable/1128317>

      I've heard "pro rights" types defend this by saying Well, the legal definition has changed.  In other words, they just re-defined murder (and ALEC quickly spread it to 33 states).

      Keep your heads up out there, folks.  And soldier on.

  •  We've been a violent, vindictive, and (16+ / 0-)

    bloodthirsty society since our inception.

    We failed that moral test centuries ago.  What we're seeing now is just the logical aftermath.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 06:53:08 AM PST

    •  If you look at mainstream culture, (15+ / 0-)

      ...movies, in the 1950's, you can see a clear difference between then and now in how the issue of guns and violence were handled.

      People were tired of violence after WWII, especially returning veterans who were beginning families, and you see that in the "resistance to violence" themes in movies like Shane,  High Noon, and dozens of others I could name.

      Just returning to that level of seriousness and thoughtfulness about guns and violence would make a massive difference in this country.

      Changing how we report on these crimes would also make a difference.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:31:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You expose a devastating truth: (12+ / 0-)

        It takes catastrophe to make societies rethink their lust for violence.  Look at what it took Germany, Europe as a whole, for that matter . . . and in parts it still never caught on.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:39:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  have you WATCHED "High Noon"? (9+ / 0-)

        At the end, Grace Kelly, a Quaker, picks up a gun and kills one of the violent people you think the movie is condemning. Since Quakers have a strict anti-war and anti-gun philosophy, this is an extreme ace, and it's being justified.

        Don't blame popular culture for the problem the NRA caused and the craven politicians who are controlled by fear of the NRA. Especially if you don't know how to read popular culture.

        •  Absolutely the guns are used in all those movies (12+ / 0-)

          to vanquish the "bad guys". But the hero is reluctant, specifically usually because he has experienced violence, and the acts are taken with considerable seriousness.

          As opposed to the mindless gun-slinging of the present era.
          Even given the seriousness of those movies, the "gun-fascination" of the 50's could be considered the precursor to the current violence of popular culture if you look at how depictions of violence evolved, and how the broader sociological context evolved.

          I was making a pretty narrow point.

          I'm not blaming popular culture. However, it offers insight into the difference between then and now.

          I agree with the culpability of the NRA and I'm not trying to divert.
          We are not going to defeat the NRA and change the laws in this country until we engage the attitudes of people with respect to firearms.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 08:24:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Culture is a very important measurement and... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joy of Fishes, lyvwyr101

        ...defining dimension to all things social (e.g., education, governance, planning, investment, self-image, public opinion) and it seems to me that we are extraordinarily incorrect and self-defeating to confuse the commercial facade and entertainment industries with our culture.

        ...mainstream culture, ...movies...
        Culture is not what we see in teh movies or on TV - those are highly designed commercial products which can make huge profits by nevertheless appealing to a very limited number of consumers for a variety of reasons none having to do with culture, meaning "human intellectual achievement".
        cul·ture
        ˈkəlCHər/
        noun
            1. the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.  "20th century popular culture" synonyms: the arts, the humanities, intellectual achievement
        I see people here refer to online comments or TV shows as defining aspects of our culture and justifying analysis of BS like Duck Dynasty in cultural terms without providing any evidence whatsoever. Just because news casters are bloviating over something or sufficient politicians have sold out to one or another lobbyist these are not necessarily representative of the culture of 314million Americans.
        •  Unfortunately, I think you're wrong. I wish you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          serendipityisabitch, lyvwyr101

          weren't.
          "Human intellectual achievement" is part of our culture but it's pretty much the province of a small minority of people.
          It does influence people to some degree, but it is drowned out by mass consumer commodification and other mass forces to a larger degree.

          For instance, last night, I watched a few execrable minutes of "Toshiba/Nivea New Year" which featured various "cultural performances" slathered very heavily with "Toshiba/Nivea New Year" glitz.

          If Margaret Mead was visiting our society from beyond the grave, I think she'd define all that as "culture". Maybe someone more schooled in sociology will respond to this.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 10:32:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So how does what you watched last define you... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            old possum, lyvwyr101

            ...and your own personal cultural index, if such a thing existed?

            In NYC you can travel very short taxi cab rides between Carnegie Hall performances and basement betting parlor cock fights. Are they both parts of our culture? Does it depend on how many people participate, who sees it, or how visible the events are?   I don't know, I'm no expert, but maybe I yearn for more adjectives when using such a loaded word like culture like popular culture, low or high culture, etc. so as to not let the lowest forms of entertainment and sales marketing be misinterpreted as American culture, to not even accidentally participate in the dumbing down of our expectations and self assessments.

            •  I think we're having the same problem (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kck, lyvwyr101

              here that scholars have:  what the heck is "culture"?

            •  Well, billionaires like David Koch (0+ / 0-)

              (and their wives) make endowments to the "fine arts" so their names can be engraved on American Institutions. Speaking as someone with a lifetme commitment to "art" I think I can say that the fine arts mainly exist to validate the power and wealth of the wealthy and powerful. Artists come and go who challenge power and try to bridge the gap between "the people" and the art, and for the most part, they're co-opted by wealth or they fail.
              The reasons I listen to Beethoven or Gershwin or get involved with a van Gogh, or a Caravaggio or a film by Antonioni or Stan Brakhage is secondary.

              We have the most diverse, culturally rich society in the history of the human race, but if we're talking about the "dominant culture" we're talking about TV., not "fine arts. Everything else comes in second.

              You can't make this stuff up.

              by David54 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 05:18:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hmm, interesting perspective. (0+ / 0-)
                •  I agree with your point about "the media" (0+ / 0-)

                  being a commercial product, made mainly for hawking other commercial products, most of which we don't need as much as they're telling us.

                  However, what percentage of people in this country are reading books? Not very many. So literature is mostly for the literary elite, art criticism for the art theorist crowd, science for the science geeks, art galleries for the rich and the hipster, painting for the painters, sculpture for the sculptors, etc. Not that there aren't some polymaths and dilettantes or old school broadly interested people out there, but when someone comes along who spans several distinct areas of art and culture, or science, they're ballyhooed as something incredible for that fact, who "think outside the box", aren't bound by "academic" categories, etc. In fact there's a distinct category for those folks, and a prescribed language and structure in which they must work, in order to signal to everyone that's in on it that they're legit and not just flailing around for gimmicks.

                  And now the big thing is the "new technology", e-books, the point of which is the purchasing of new products which are not necessary, but upon which the economy is based.

                  So, are all those people out there who don't read books (a majority) excluded from "the culture".

                  What would an extraterrestrial anthropologist or sociologist observing from a truly objective standpoint say?

                  What's the point of my gripe? I'd like to see Americans with more discretionary income, and the type of education and culture in which they'd spend some of their money on young painters and sculptors, appreciate independent filmmakers more, respect poetry, and public art such that it isn't mostly an expression of power at corporate headquarters, etc.

                  There are some things going on on the streets of Oakland or LA, for example, as it always has.
                  The brightest spot, really, is in popular music, but again, that gets co-opted into corporate profit-making pretty quickly, and then the meaning gets inverted.

                  You can't make this stuff up.

                  by David54 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:05:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  As a native American I agree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

      by lyvwyr101 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 04:38:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can't legislate morality (5+ / 0-)

    Morals come from upbringing - from the community - from educators.

    Laws can help protect those with morals from those who have none and they can also punish those with no morals with fines and incarceration or both.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 06:53:54 AM PST

    •  That is WHY I am using the term.... (6+ / 0-)

      It is immoral to be permitted to own a firearm, to risk harm to yourself and others.  You are incapacitated mentally when you are mentally ill, and others should act in your best interests.  Read the article.  The final quote, from the paper is powerful argument for such a law.
       

      As for Mark Russo, the Middletown man who is looking forward to reclaiming his 18 guns in April, he acknowledged that public records indicated that he had made threats of violence, but he said they were untrue. He said he had had difficulty getting doctors to understand the real nature of his problem, which is not mental illness but paranormal activities that have afflicted him since his youth, including objects disappearing from his home and a bird once flying out of his forehead.

      “I’ve offered to take a lie-detector test to prove what I’m saying is true,” he said. “But psychiatrists, they don’t want to hear about God and demons and all that.”

      link

      Read the story.  They are returning firearms to people and then are called again for the same sort of incident.  These folks are mentally incapacitated and should not be allowed firearms.  

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:06:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just started reading the article. The opening... (25+ / 0-)

    ...paragraphs are absolutely unbelievable.

    Do we have no standards at all on who can amass an arsenal?

    Sometimes it seems that guns have more rights than people have.

    Last April, workers at Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut called the police to report that a psychiatric patient named Mark Russo had threatened to shoot his mother if officers tried to take the 18 rifles and shotguns he kept at her house. Mr. Russo, who was off his medication for paranoid schizophrenia, also talked about the recent elementary school massacre in Newtown and told a nurse that he “could take a chair and kill you or bash your head in between the eyes,” court records show.

    The police seized the firearms, as well as seven high-capacity magazines, but Mr. Russo, 55, was eventually allowed to return to the trailer in Middletown where he lives alone. In an interview there recently, he denied that he had schizophrenia but said he was taking his medication now — though only “the smallest dose,” because he is forced to. His hospitalization, he explained, stemmed from a misunderstanding: Seeking a message from God on whether to dissociate himself from his family, he had stabbed a basketball and waited for it to reinflate itself. When it did, he told relatives they would not be seeing him again, prompting them to call the police.

    As for his guns, Mr. Russo is scheduled to get them back in the spring, as mandated by Connecticut law.

    “I don’t think they ever should have been taken out of my house,” he said. “I plan to get all my guns and ammo and knives back in April.”

    An HR from a member of the RKBA is like an F rating from the NRA
    ---We Shall Overcome (12/3/13)---

    by earlybird on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:03:01 AM PST

  •  The problem lies with the existence of (10+ / 0-)

    and accepted interprettion of the 2nd Amendment. The gun issue is very different in rural areas than it is in urban areas. The laws that would make sense in a city or suburb are different than the laws that would make sense in the countryside, and therein lies an inherent conflict. But our urban states cannot effectively curtail gun rights because of the ease of interstate transport and because of the federal Constitution which today is interpreted as requiring urban areas to respect gun rights.

    Of course, even in rural areas there should be more limits on what guns civilians should be able to own and who should be able to own guns.

    •  mentally ill people..... (8+ / 0-)

      delusional people, threatening themselves and others, should be forbidden access to firearms even in rural areas.  If you want to take your paranoid schizophrenic friend hunting, because they love the activity and their medications are working, where is the risk?  Only to you, so go ahead.  What is the mother of a seriously mentally ill man to do when the firearms are returned to him, and he then threatens her and the police.  Good news, they successfully tased him and he lived.  And after this incident, police once again took his firearms and this time could melt them down.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:47:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We're not done yet. (14+ / 0-)

    I mean that sincerely as well as ironically.

    First, we can't give up. This year marked a turning point. We finally saw movement, in that the narrative changed. Goppers like Joe Scarborough saw an opportunity for centrists to flank the Dems on the issue and came out in favor of background checks. Not only was it an opportunity, it was also a perceived imperative. That's a major shift. The gun lobby was able to successfully fight back,  but the basic dynamic has changed.

    Secondly, unfortunately, there will be more tragedies. We can't stop.

    We can't cede ground without a fight, and we can't afford to use defeatist language.

    We will make more and more progress as more and more women are elected, and as the woman electorate flexes its muscle more.

    Ultimately, the false issue, (2nd amendment rights) will fail, when responsible adults are able to prevail and convince the hysterics that background checks and other sensible reforms are not a threat to responsible gun ownership.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:14:20 AM PST

    •  we need to work at the state level.... (11+ / 0-)

      like the NRA.  A lot of regulations were loosened, at the state level.  We need to make those recalled Colorado legislators heroes for taking a stand against folks like the NRA.  We need common sense, not laws that arm the mentally ill and fail to punish those who carelessly leave firearm access for children.  We need to stand up and call them out as immoral for not taking common sense action.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:50:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, but the best time to call those recalled (5+ / 0-)

        Senators heroes was before they were recalled.

        The media is lazy, "journalism is corrupt". They repeat the narrative put in their hands by the gun lobby and the right wing, and most importantly, they cower at the bullying by the right wing on these issues.
        The right wing leverages their power by haranguing and harassing the media. They drive the narrative and keep pumping the news cycle with diversionary tactics, especially after each violent tragedy that gets national attention.
        There were laws passed in the states after Newtown, but the red states voted more gun liberalization laws into place, and pushed back hard in the purple states, so the narrative became, "the gun lobby wins the post Newtown battle".
        The gun responsibility coalition in this country is just now getting its act together and understanding the tactics of their opponents.

        It would help immensely if some other gun-owners' non-profit stepped up to challenge the NRA with advocacy, safety programs, marksmanship certification, etc. with a "responsibility" and "gun-owner's advocacy" agenda rather than a "gun-industry lobby" agenda. That could really pull some of the NRA's teeth, and I think you'd see responsible gun owners flocking to it.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 08:11:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  please wait until after the elections (0+ / 0-)

        we've kind of got a lot on our plate right now.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 09:09:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Culture is changing too: Starbucks no longer (8+ / 0-)

      wants gun toters in its stores. Many retailers have taken assault weapons off their shelves.

      Courts are upholding the constitutionality of restrictions on magazine capacity and semi-auto weapons.

      The gun lobby is on its heels and we need to keep punching.

      •  I agree. The gun lobby went on the defense for the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nosleep4u, Joy of Fishes, lyvwyr101

        first time. I don't think we should wait to keep pushing the media to have a more responsible narrative, etc.

        I don't think we should have a litmus test for our Dem primary candidates. Yet.

        Bloomberg has so far, with a couple of exceptions, gone after NRA friendly Dems rather than take on the gop. I don't trust  his effort.
        Yet.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 10:38:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes we do. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        earlybird

        Failure to pass saner more practical and more restrictive gun laws is a moral failure.

        "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

        by lyvwyr101 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 04:40:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Many Americans are well aware (12+ / 0-)

    of the slaughter of people on the streets in the US (including children) due to guns.  A sane national policy on owning and using guns has been needed for decades.  At times the profit and commercial interests of businesses take priority in many places in our country.  Even the sale of Rx Drugs in the US has been geared toward easy sale and availability to fuel the profit margins of the pharmaceutical companies, the entities who own the politicians. Medicine cabinets are lethal, like gun racks, and handguns hidden under the bed.  Any sane society would end or at least reduce the slaughter.  Americans have not done so.  It is so difficult to overcome ignorance and the gun lobby.  

    Keep your children away from guns.  And Rx medications.  It is part of parenting in the United States now.

    I am a retired Child Protective Investigator and Supervisor CPI & CPIS - and a former Foster Care Counselor.  Believe me, I know what I am talking about.

    Peace.

    •  One especially egregious anecdote about (8+ / 0-)

      Rx mills/storefronts in Florida.  When local governments and LE began major crackdowns on the strip malls where out of state license plates were seen on thousands of cars every day at storefront pain clinics, LE knew what was happening.  

      Floridians heard something unbelievable - Governor Scott was making statements that he would not interfere with commerce and the lawful practice of businesses, so he refused for a long time to advocate for data bases where Dr. shopping, etc. could be tracked in Florida.

      That shocked so many in this state.  The backlash (with LE support) was so strong, local counties went full speed ahead with the crackdowns, gaining legislative allies - finally.

    •  US desperately needs basic parenting education... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tommyfocus2003, lyvwyr101

      ...for every high schooler and every pregnant female and more far reaching primary school teacher mandatory reporting requirements. We should manage to empower teachers and health care providers more to intervene in mild cases of neglect and even irresponsibility before families fall into the abyss because there is enough abysmally bad parenting to create unnecessary and avoidable generational problems in every community, every zip code.

      •  In many states, Teachers are mandated (0+ / 0-)

        reporters, as are other professionals (Social Workers, Health Care Professionals, LE) who come in frequent contact with children.  When I had full caseloads, many of the professionals made the difference between protecting the child and allowing the abuse/neglect to continue.  I have tremendous respect for teachers & LE professionals as I worked with them for many years in two states investigating and supervising child abuse Reports/Investigators.  Invariably, they did their work with precision and care.

        Peace & Love

  •  innocent until proven guilty (7+ / 0-)

    One of the reasons that it is difficult to curtail or eliminate personal rights in the case of mental illness goes back to this fundamental right: you cannot be deprived of rights and liberties without good cause and due process.

    What is "good cause"? We as a society have to 'draw a line' somewhere. We generally draw it so as to restrict people who are incapable of following the law. Either they cannot understand the law, or they cannot control their actions even when they desire to do so. There is also consideration given to acute or chronic conditions. If someone can get better or 'recover' from a condition, we tend to err on the side of personal rights and freedoms rather than imprisonment or restrictions that 'might' be needed. So, we only permanently restrict personal freedom when the person cannot follow the law, and won't get better.

    What is "due process"? It's usually the professional opinion of someone who has expertise with the matter, and then we don't rely on just one opinion. We try to involve a number of people, with a process that allows debate, discovery, and challenges. If a number of professionals are willing to come to a conclusion after debate and challenges, it's about as good a decision as can be made.

    These are principles in this country for a good reason. We don't want one 'expert', using an untested theory, taking away someone's legal rights with no way to question the decision, and no way to ever change the decision. We don't want to make mistakes when we are deciding if someone is 'too crazy' to be trusted in society.

    How do you want those decisions made about you? Think about your social  and political opposites. Do you want them to be able to easily and permanently take away your rights?

    •  Good points, but ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, 3goldens, lyvwyr101

      Do we just tell our children that they may be gunned down by someone suffering from a serious mental defect and that if that happens, we all just have to accept that their death is the price we pay for the Holy Writ that is the Second Amendment?  It's all well and good to accept a certain amount of death in the name of freedom in the abstract, but I'm not sure how I feel about it in terms of the people that I love.

      Because it's pretty clear that we either accept the status quo as the price for absolute gun rights or we make some significant changes in how we treat mental illness in this country, including restricting access to firearms.

      •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lyvwyr101
        Do we just tell our children that they may be gunned down by someone suffering from a serious mental defect and that if that happens, we all just have to accept that their death is the price we pay for the Holy Writ that is the Second Amendment?
        More people die for the 4th and 5th than do the 2nd.
      •  every freedom carries a price (0+ / 0-)

        We seem to use cars as a compare/contrast with guns a lot. I will do so here, as it is a useful exercise.

        Cars kill people. Cars will continue to kill people, some of them children. We can (mostly) accept that consequence because we feel that we have "done everything we can"  to minimize the negative consequences of cars in our society. We also recognize the tremendous benefit of cars. After all, ambulances and police save lives with cars. We don't ban cars, or eliminate them, but we do regulate them. At the end of the day, however, we accept that cars will still kill people.

        We don't have the same feeling about guns. We place a different value on the usefulness of guns, with some denying any usefulness at all. We certainly don't have the feeling that "we've done everything we can" to make gun ownership safer. Even though both cars and guns will continue to kill people, we do not have the same feelings and sense of accepting the consequences.

        I personally feel that it is possible to have responsible gun ownership and use, with a decisive majority accepting the consequences to society. I'm not sure what that society will look like, but I feel that we have many changes to make to get there.

        Read. Learn. Think!

        by IndyGlenn on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 02:42:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We constantly work to make cars safer (0+ / 0-)

          No one fights that, other than the obvious suspects that might fight if we try to eliminate cars completely.  Talk is that we'll take cars out of the hands of drivers and again, there is no serious opposition to the concept.

          No one is fighting to make guns safer and if anything, even the slightest attempt to bring some sanity to the Second Amendment is met with such howls that elected officials run the other way.  Or they're voted out of office.  

          Responsible gun ownership isn't even the issue here, and in fact, it's the exact opposite.  And inherently, if someone is incapable of responsible gun ownership, some third party is going to have to enforce the necessary restrictions.  How that will be done and by whom are certainly valid issues, but they're going to have to be addressed.

          •  Responsible citizenship is the issue here (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KVoimakas

            If everyone were a competent, responsible community member, we wouldn't need law enforcement. Everyone would take the time to craft a good set of community rules, and then follow them to the best of their understanding. We might need the occasional arbitration for imperfect understanding, but no real enforcement.

            Since the ideal is never reached, we need an enforcement mechanism so that the majority can force compliance to a set of rules. If the rules are reasonable, compassionate, and fair, this works for the community and personal freedom is maximized (for the circumstances).

            The potential for abuse should be obvious. The majority can enforce it's beliefs, right or wrong. The majority can be cruel, capricious, and horribly unfair. So we "set the bar" pretty high when it comes to depriving anyone of their rights in order to conform to the community's "morals".

            This is a fundamental belief and principle of our nation. We are always hesitant and cautious when it comes to restricting freedoms and liberties. As a guiding principle, I feel that this is a very good one.

            Beliefs and principles are not detailed enough to be good rules, however. We have to 'work down' from the principle to a regulation that we can understand and follow. As an example, "Drive Safely" is the principle, and "Speed Limit 35" is the regulation that tells us how to drive safely at the moment.

            We have two principles here that we wish to express through regulations. The first is "we need a safe community", and the second is "we need to preserve individual rights and freedoms". As a community and a nation, we can craft laws and regulations that strike the best balance between community safety through restrictions on gun ownership, and individual rights and freedoms by not unduly restricting gun ownership.

            As always, the three rules of a good law apply:
            1) the law must actually address the issue
            2) the law must address only the issue, with as few unintended consequences as we can achieve
            3) the law must be capable of realistic enforcement

            Sounds like we have work to do.........

            Read. Learn. Think!

            by IndyGlenn on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:28:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  In other words, point a finger and say "Witch!!!!" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lyvwyr101, theatre goon
      So if someone is voluntarily committed or just have the police called about an incident, there is little that can be done to permanently remove their arsenals of firearms.
      I do not consider my ideal liberal society to be one where the police come and confiscate my possessions because some anonymous stranger phones in "an incident", and then I have to spend time and money to affirmatively prove my innocence in order to get them back.

      Your mileage may vary.

    •  Nowhere in your 5 paragraphs did you even... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nosleep4u, lyvwyr101

      ...mention guns. It isn't mentioned in the comment title, either.

      The word doesn't even appear, as near as I can tell.

      This is a common occurrence in discussions about guns, and I've often wondered if perhaps there is some reason for this.

      Why does the discussion always get so broadened to the extent that one can't even tell what topic is under discussion without looking up to see what diary it is taking place in?

      An HR from a member of the RKBA is like an F rating from the NRA
      ---We Shall Overcome (12/3/13)---

      by earlybird on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 10:58:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No need to be so polite. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lyvwyr101

        Deflection, stand gun0-toter tactic, is just another form of lying.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 12:02:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  taking away rights and liberties due to "mental (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KVoimakas, theatre goon, Shamash

        illness" is a larger issue than just the right to carry a gun. Part of what I wish to address is that if you set a precedent because you are worried about guns, the precedent can be used for cases other than guns. I kept my comment more general to highlight that the precedents used to restrict gun ownership will have wide-ranging consequences.

        Read. Learn. Think!

        by IndyGlenn on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 02:50:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gun ownership is a privilage, not a right. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lyvwyr101

          Guns are dangerous weapons, and it wouldn't make much sense to generalize policies put I place for guns to most other privileges, even, much less rights and iberties.

          Nobody in their right mind would use public policies designed for dangerous weapons such as AR-15s, for example, as a precedent for dealing with actual rights and liberties such as the right to marry or the right to vote.

          When we don't distinguish between dangerous weapons specifically designed and engineered to kill and rights and liberties such as the right to marry or the right to vote, there is very little that we can usefully say.

          They are quite different things, and demand quite different policies.

          Life is not a one size fits all affair.

          An HR from a member of the RKBA is like an F rating from the NRA
          ---We Shall Overcome (12/3/13)---

          by earlybird on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 03:46:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's the right to keep and bear arms. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theatre goon, Shamash

            No matter how many times you say it's a privilege...well, your opinion doesn't change the facts.

          •  rules of a good law (0+ / 0-)

            1) actually addresses the issue

            2) addresses only the issue with as few other consequences as possible

            3) is realistically enforceable

            I'm all for coming up with good laws to address some of the problems with guns. It's very easy to fall afoul of 2) if you are in too much of a rush to put a potential solution in place. Legal precedents and decisions often have consequences far beyond the intended scope. All I am advocating here is to make sure we put in place good laws, keeping in mind the rules above and our core values.

            A good exercise is to imagine and think through what a creative and ruthless enemy will do to screw you over with your new precedent.

            Read. Learn. Think!

            by IndyGlenn on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 04:05:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can't go down the path that equates everything.. (0+ / 0-)

              ...in sight with everything else.

              I am unequivocally in support of respecting the fundamental right to vote, for example.

              Allowing prison inmates, even those convicted of violent offenses like murder, the right to vote from their prison cells is a core value for me.

              Does it then follow that I am required to support giving such inmates privileges like the privilege of having access to AR-15s with extended magazines filled with ammo in their prison cells?

              Or does the fact that we don't give gun privileges to inmates in their prison cells constitute an argument (or precident) for disenfranchising them, also?

              I don't see how we can make rational public policy decisions without making rational distinctions between very, very dissimilar things.

              "One size fits all" just doesn't make any sense to me.

              An HR from a member of the RKBA is like an F rating from the NRA
              ---We Shall Overcome (12/3/13)---

              by earlybird on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 05:07:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  How are you getting "one size fits all" (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KVoimakas, theatre goon, Shamash

                from what I am saying? Just because all Constitutional amendments have to follow the same approval process doesn't mean that all amendments are a "one size fits all" solution.

                I'm talking about a process to make sure that whatever law we come up with doesn't make things worse somewhere else because we created a stupid precedent accidentally.

                In the area of mental illness and involuntarily removing any rights, privileges, or liberties, we need to be damned careful what precedents we set. The bar for action needs to be high, so that some asshole judge down the road doesn't decide that  he can overrule the five doctors, three psychiatrists, and two medical researchers and deny an abortion to a young girl because her liberal beliefs make her "mentally unstable". And yes, I do understand the concept of "don't let perfect be the enemy of good". I'm not asking for perfection, just thought, debate, and effort.

                We need good laws more than we need quick, feel-good, or crappy laws. This is doable with careful thought and debate to avoid mistakes.

                Read. Learn. Think!

                by IndyGlenn on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 06:38:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Answer me this (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KVoimakas

            "This senseless murder of children has got to stop and the government should do everything in its power to stop it."

            Which of these is the above statement from:
            1) an anti-abortion fanatic?
            2) an anti-gun fanatic?

            If you buy into a particular rhetoric or "end justifies the means" mentality, then the same legal precedents you want to set for other people will end up being used against you. If you claim something for you is a "right" but someone else's belief is a "privilege", then they get to do the same to you...

            You need to have a set of consistent principles that will apply to every civil liberty or aspect of consensual conduct, not just ones you approve of. Even if you disagree with Rush Limbaugh and think he is harmful enough that we would be better off with him off the air, you grant him the same free speech rights you want for yourself...until he as an individual does something with that free speech that is criminal conduct.

            Same with guns. Or alcohol and cars. Or same-sex marriage. Or whatever.

            Which is what I think IndyGlenn is trying to get through to you.

  •  We can't even take the guns out of the hands (6+ / 0-)

    of sloppy gun owners.

    NRA blames mentally ill for gun problems. No where in the NRA safety guidelines does it even mention procedure on how to get people who are struggling safe from guns.

    All Ma Lanza got from fellow gun owners was the crap scared out of her. They just want to grab your gun. She never got guidance or help in removing her guns while she got her son under control. Not from the NRA, not from the gun clubs, not from the shooting range.

    1. Improper storage of a gun - loss of physical possession of the gun - no matter the outcome - loss of privilege gun ownership for many many years.

    2. Improper handling of a gun - gun discharged inappropriately - no matter the outcome - loss of privilege gun ownership for many many years.

    Limiting of gun kill speed
    Limiting of gun ownership speed.

    In all those other countries that had a defining tragedy, did gun clubs feel justified to go to the streets and wave their guns in people's faces?

    Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

    by 88kathy on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 09:40:18 AM PST

  •  The Country seems unable to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldpotsmuggler, 3goldens, lyvwyr101

    resolve numerous, plainly manifest issues, this one being one just one of the more manifest.

    In 2014, my hope is that our power of imagination no longer fails us.

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 10:13:57 AM PST

    •  We celebrate moral failure (0+ / 0-)

      in this country.

      And we do so---because it is lucrative.

      It is about money: it is about profit.

      Sports figures are glorified for beating and raping women, bigots are rewarded as if they walked on water, the steady erosion of reproductive freedom is embraced with absolute glee---women are becoming second class citizens-----people function as apologists for shooting rampages with tremendous loss of innocent life----what the hell is going on in this county---and who are we?

      Who are we?

      Is profit---money---the answer to everything?

      We tolerate the worst conduct imagineable---then people rally 'round it--people actually actively support  it---then people cheer it on.

      What have we become?

      There are those that actually defend public shooting rampages and they have the audacity to tell us nothing can be done about it---because gun owner have rights.

      They go on and on about their "rights" while we bury our dead.

      Their arguments are shameless and conscienceless............why the hell does anyone even tolerate them?

      "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

      by lyvwyr101 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 04:58:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  who is "we"? (0+ / 0-)

        As much as Ray Pensador's writing style sets my teeth on edge, he raises some good points on how the plutocrats control a lot of the mass media, and through that control a lot of the 'public' discussion, framing, messaging, and propaganda that tells us 'marching morons' what to think. "We" aren't controlling the discussion and framing. They are. They are also amoral sociopaths chasing after profit with no other consideration. That makes them far more effective than they should be against compassionate, caring human beings.

        Read. Learn. Think!

        by IndyGlenn on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:04:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Surely- (0+ / 0-)

          you don't need me to define "we."

          Duck Dynasty supporters---Rush Limbaugh supporters---torture supporters---major oil companies' supporters----NRA supporters---rollback reproductive freedom supporters----corporations-are-people-my-friend supporters----banksters and wallstreet supporters--austerity supporters---pedophiles within the churches supporters--the list is endless....................

          "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

          by lyvwyr101 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:16:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  it was a rhetorical question......... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lyvwyr101

            The point that I wish to illustrate is that the mass media and common image of "we" is a fiction created by plutocrats and propagandists strictly for their own gain. This is how they can take an issue that 70% or more of the American public oppose and make it a 'controversy' that the minority successfully passes legislation in favor of.

            I am mocking the common perception of "we" in order to bring attention to the falsity of it.

            Read. Learn. Think!

            by IndyGlenn on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:14:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  nice, but... gun control was the litmus test? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, lyvwyr101

    i would've gone with invading a country that didn't do anything to us.

    -or- locking up millions and harming or destroying families for possessing weed.

    -or- an economic structure where many have to work two jobs to not make ends meet.

    -or- using prisons to warehouse the mentally ill.

    -or- years, even decades, of debt fostered on the majority who want a better life via education.

    -or- willfully ignoring economic slavery in other countries so we can have the latest in fashion and electronics cheaply

    -or-...

    i'm not anti-gun control, but even on the worst gun fail days, citizens of the US are, collectively, responsible for harm and death of way, way way more humans inside and outside our own borders.  All the school and movie theatre shootings combined are a small fraction of the casual harm our collective lifestyle choices make on the entire world's population.

    I'd make the argument we initially failed a moral test, a humanity test, way back when we started stealing land and killing the people who were on it first.  We could have simply continued to fail that moral test ever since by not making a serious effort to balance that scale, but instead we seem to double down every decade or so since by some new, f'd up choice where we choose material gain and a comfortable lifestyle over, you know, humanity.

    Our inability to rein in gun violence is just another "my luxuries first" straw on the camel back of morality.  (and my own metaphorical skills probably aren't helping and may just kill us all)

    elipsii: helping the masses express aposiopesis for...

    by bnasley on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 11:08:39 AM PST

    •  to the diarist: ooohh... ouch... (0+ / 0-)

      so about grinding my personal axe in your diary....  clearly, i need to check my blood sugar before logging on.

      sorry 'bout that.

      elipsii: helping the masses express aposiopesis for...

      by bnasley on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 01:24:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  History will not judge us kindly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bubbajim, lyvwyr101

    but they will hate us a lot more for our driving than for our guns. They will probably wish that we had had even more guns, so that we could have killed each other off more quickly and produced less greenhouse gas.

  •  We Failed Alright. (0+ / 0-)

    But we didn't fail any moral test, unless you mean the common sense test.

    The true moral test would have been if any knee-jerk legislation included measures that would actually affect situations like Sandy Hook. But that was too hard.

    So is it the American people's moral failure, or the failure of those in charge of our legislative bodies and executive branch?

    The answer will require looking at the situation.

    We had a school full of defenseless children and defenseless adults; made that way by design and legislative mandate.

    We had a mentally ill kid supervised by a mother who preferred being his friend. A popular parenting style these days.

    We had a state legislature that only months prior voted down legislation that would have allowed a concerned parent to commit a disturbed child. Something the now dead mother was trying to do.

    The political response was expanded background checks. and registration.  Neither of which would have help prevent the Sandy Hook slaughter.

    I submit the politicians who'd rather grandstand and jockey for position are lacking real morals.

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