Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dealing with Mental Illness

Written : Jan. 18, 2011

The Jan. 8, 2011 shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona has prompted many of us to think about how to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Let’s assume that guns will not be outlawed, as two prominent liberals have done. I usually don’t agree with radio talk show host Ed Schultz, or with liberal TV pundit Dylan Ratigan, but they were both correct as each focused on mental illness during their shows last week. Their assumption about guns was based upon the strength of the gun lobby, but my argument is that guns don’t kill, people do. As New York Post columnist S.E. Cupp said, similar acts of violence primarily occur in gun-free zones, such as schools. When weapons are fired at a gun show, as S.E. says, the other side may have an argument worthy of consideration.

Accused Tucson shooter Jared Loughner was allegedly face to face with Pima County deputies several times prior to the Jan. 8 episode at the Safeway shopping center. He was also turned away by his college and by the military. Why are people who exhibit signs of dangerous behavior before they commit crimes, able to purchase guns so easily? Could we value people’s personal rights over the safety of others? Is this something we should reconsider? We want a quicker diagnosis of people with mental illness, but should a person see a psychiatrist at the suggestion of someone he or she doesn’t know?

Would it be fair if someone accused you of mental imbalance, and as a result you were imprisoned or committed to an institution? We don’t want that to happen, but we might want to prevent someone rejected by the military to experience a delay in purchasing a firearm. Perhaps someone who confronted law enforcement in their past might need additional time added onto his or her waiting period.

Let’s not be silly here and accuse anyone for stoking violence with images of targets. Both sides have used military terminology to describe their struggle for votes. Let’s not stoke fears about guns for political gain. You may recall that Juan Williams was fired from NPR when he said that he’d be afraid on an airplane if he saw someone dressed in Muslim garb. Yet, last week Tom Brokaw, the former NBC News anchor, said that with the current Arizona gun laws, he’d be afraid to go into any bar in that state. No, he shouldn’t be fired, but do statements like his effectively deal with the mental health issues raised by the recent violence in Tucson?

For more information about Mark A. Cohen, see The Castle Rock, CO Gathering Place, Writer of the Month for Nov. 2010


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Keywords: Conservatism, Conservative blog, politics, political, Mark Cohen, Mark A. Cohen, From The Left to the Right, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Tucson Tragedy, Mental Illness, S.E. Cupp, Jared Loughner, Ed Schultz, Dylan Ratigan

Keyword Phrases: "Conservatism", "Conservative", "blog", "politics", "political", "Mark Cohen", "Mark A. Cohen", "From The Left to the Right ", “Rep. Gabrielle Giffords”, “Tucson Tragedy”, “Mental Illness”, “S.E. Cupp”, “Jared Loughner”, “Ed Schultz”, “Dylan Ratigan"

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1 comment:

Jack said...

You have to make a decision here. Is access to guns more important to us than public safety. If your second amendment rights are more important, then you must accept that the death of anyone killed with firearms acquired legally by the mentally ill is unfortunate by acceptable collateral damage. If not, then you must accept that anyone's personal mental health is something that society as a whole must evaluate and decide what rights must be rescinded, just as we do, for example, with felons and voting rights