The Agitator #86 - Guns and mental illness
by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
September 20, 2013 04:27 PM | 1758 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

It seems that each time there is a mass murder involving some kind of firearm, every pop psychologist and special interest is ready with an answer.  I doubt that any two subjects can work up the American people to take a position on one side or the other that guns and abortion do. 

Lots of things went wrong in the current case of Aaron Alexis, the Washington Navy Yard shooter.  For starters, his military record, which included a less than honorable discharge should have been a red flag.  Then there were two reported shooting  incidents, neither of which ended with a prosecution.  One involved an “accidental” discharge of Alexis’ weapon into his upstairs neighbor’s apartment as he was “cleaning” it, despite evidence that the two were feuding.  The second involved shooting out someone’s tires.  Both would seem to have deserved to go the distance in the court system, but for whatever reasons they didn’t.  There was also an arrest in DeKalb County that somehow got disposed of.  Arrests don’t show up on data base searches; only convictions do. 

But law enforcement and its components have access to computerized arrest records that would have picked up all of Alexis’ arrests.  How that got passed the agency that did the background check for Alexis’ security clearance is a mystery.  It was also documented by police in Rhode Island that Alexis thought that he was being bombarded with some kind of rays by people out to get him.  That should have prompted a little more digging, but it didn’t.

What I have provided here is nothing more than a little background, which is really a red herring that the reactionary radio spinmeisters are using to deflect the problem of ready access to weapons to almost anyone who wants to get their hands on one.  The talking heads are blaming the whole shooting on Alexis having some sort of mental illness, that mental illness is the cause of these shootings, that if the security clearance check had been properly done all the victims would be alive.  Oh really?  How do they know that Alexis, without access to the Navy Yard wouldn’t have displaced his anger and taken it out somewhere else that had no security?  Another point they have repeatedly hammered at is how the “liberal media”, (never mind that Fox was part of the same reporting), initially broadcast that the shooter was armed with an AR-15, when it turned out to be some kind of shotgun.  I’m sure the victims and their families are relieved that the killer weapon turned out not to be the assault weapon that only “liberals” want to eliminate. 

The focus de jure among Second Amendment defenders is mental illness and how we need to do something about it, how this is the real problem, and that most of these mass murders wouldn’t occur if we just dealt with the “real problem.”  I’m fine with that if only the same opinionators would come up with a solution instead of just identifying the problem, if they would realize how silly they come across as masters of the obvious. 

I don’t advocate gun confiscation, and I do believe homeowners and others with legitimate needs have the right to possess firearms.  However, I stand with Justice Antonin Scalia’s position that the government has the right to regulate and control certain weapons.   But as long as those who believe in the unbridled right  to own and possess any kind of weapon, and as long as these people feed the campaign coffers of our elected representatives, just eliminating some of the gigantic loopholes in the current gun laws won’t happen.  Despite polls after the Sandy Hook shooting that showed a majority of Americans wanted to close or tighten these loopholes, our two Georgia senators voted against such legislation.  Then I saw a chart of how much money they got from the special interests to defeat the legislation. 

Yet there are those who believe that politicians can’t be influenced by campaign contributions.  The past victims and future victims (to include their families) of these shootings deserve better, but they won’t get it.  Congress only moves when it’s to their advantage, when things affect them.  Recall that when the sequester first kicked in and the FAA reduced the number of aircraft controllers at airports.  This hit our peripatetic representatives directly, so what did they do?  They passed a law that allowed the FAA to prioritize how they cut their budget and to eliminate the furloughs for the controllers.  You can expect the same immediacy if the worst happened and a gunman went off on our legislators and their families at some gathering.  That would be tragic beyond imagination, but it would be a game changer overnight. 

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