By Brian L. Grant MD
The pain of recent events bring out the best and the worst in people’s responses. It also brings out ignorance, and in the case of some advocates for avoiding looking at the downside of our gun policies, malevolent efforts to shift blame and distract us from core causes and solutions.
These recent New York Times articles lend perspective the data to the debate on the relationship between violence and mental illness in one. The other addresses autism and Asperger Syndrome. It is clear in the latter that if anything, such individuals suffer from too much empathy and caring, not sociopathic disregard. It should also be noted that the diagnosis of autism is fraught with imprecision and some controversy as to whether one being a bit strange or awkward in the case of the milder variants, warrants a diagnosis at all.
The closing paragraph in the first article referenced above, the debate on violence, states:
“All the focus on the small number of people with mental illness who are violent serves to make us feel safer by displacing and limiting the threat of violence to a small, well-defined group. But the sad and frightening truth is that the vast majority of homicides are carried out by outwardly normal people in the grip of all too ordinary human aggression to whom we provide nearly unfettered access to deadly force.”
We can’t predict human nature, or predict and prevent the dark side of individuals emerging in unpredictable ways. We can and should do what we can to make those who act out due to callous disregard for the lives of others—as well as those who would turn on themselves—less lethal.
David Knapp says
I believe the “right to bear arms” was meant for purposes of a local militia that could defend the people from tyranny. The technology at that time was a muzzle loaded gun. The 2nd amendment has been abused by paranoid types who aren’t happy unless they feel in control. The availablity of weapons only increases the chance that people with mental illness will do harm to themselves and others.
“I believe the “right to bear arms” was meant for purposes of a local militia that could defend the people from tyranny. The technology at that time was a muzzle loaded gun.”
And at the time the muzzle loader was the most advanced technology at the time. We do not have the most advanced weaponry available to citizens today. In 1934 automatic weapons were banned. “Cop Killer” bullets have been banned and we have “cool” off periods before you are able to take possession of a new gun. Granted some loop holes need to be covered in gun shows.
If you believe that 2nd amendment was to defend people from tyranny (our own government included) do you think our founding fathers think we should be limited to muzzle loaders? A technology that’s many, many times behind the time?
Peffer D.C. says
Many weapons used in these tragedy s have been, used successfully and other have been large stolen commercial trucks driven into buildings full of children. Bombs made from fertilizer, diesel, (Oklahoma), gasoline, propane cylinders (large bombs not set off Collumbine would have flattened the building). Unfortunately there is alot of dangerous stuff available even at the grocery store. Not to mention toxic substances.
What about the addictive and violent effects on neuro transmitters by violent video games which reward heinous, and ghastly behavior, and all thoughs flashing lights its like hypnosis.