As we are now about a month out from the Parkland, Florida school shooting, the issue of mental illness in regards to mass murder and guns is still being debated instead of tangible solutions being put into place in a timely manner. And you would think that such a serious issue as this would have been addressed and steps taken quite some time ago as facts themselves have proven that every time someone with a mental illness is directly tied to an act of mass gun violence we always talk the good talk but nothing ever gets done.
So why won’t we address the mental health issue as bodies continue to pile up? Simply because mental illness still remains an issue that most feel would best be relegated to the dark recesses of the proverbial closet…unspoken of for fear of hurting the sensibilities and feelings of the mentally ill person’s family coupled with fears of legalities that might or might not come back to haunt. And also because every time there is a mass public shooting with innocent lives lost…especially when the lives lost are children…back we go to the usual ‘liberal speak’ of would have, could have, should put in place strict gun control laws that would do nothing but push forward their ultimate goal of doing away with our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
But gun control is not now nor has it ever been the solution to mass public shootings…the solution or as best a solution as we can get…is to keep all firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill or as the ‘pc’ crowd likes to say the mentally “challenged.” But whitewashing the issue by prettying up with words the mental state of those whose illness is never really cured…and I am not talking about those with mild depression or bouts of fleeting anxiety… not only doesn’t solve the problem it actually makes the problem worse.
How so…because the mindset of a mass murderer is quite different from the mindset of say someone committing a murder during a robbery, a rape, or in regards to domestic violence. Those murderers, for the most part, are not what’s deemed “clinically insane” as they usually target and focus on a single individual or two for a specific reason and with a specific retribution in mind…cause and affect if you will. They know well that what they’re doing is wrong and yet they chose to do it anyway with those killings being both justified and compartmentalized in their minds as being the right thing at the right moment to do.
However, the mass public shooter targets and kills three or more innocent individuals within a specifically chosen location and within a specific time frame that would allow them the ability to kill as many innocents as possible before they are either shot dead by the police, take the cowards way out by killing themselves, or are taken into custody. And the difference here is that they do not see what they’re doing as being wrong…they see it as righting a wrong…a self-perceived wrong envisioned in their sick minds alone.
And yet for a time these individuals do on the surface appear to function somewhat normally in society as they have mastered the game of ‘role playing’ in order to appear sane. Remember, those at the Dollar Store where Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz worked saw him as a hard working young man, and the family he was staying with at the time he willingly decided to kill children saw Cruz as being nothing more than “quirky” no matter that he had a documented mental health record dating back to when he was just three years old…a record that later on included his liking to torture small animals which he even posted pictures of on numerous social media sites. And that record of psychotic behavior only got added to as he went to and was expelled from almost every school he attended…expelled for “behavioral problems” the records show.
In fact, shortly before Cruz’s mother died around last Thanksgiving, she had taken him for yet another psych “evaluation”…an “evaluation” where it was determined that anti-psychotic drugs might be the only way to temper down his anger. And Cruz’s response was that he would not take drugs, but not because he feared possible side effects, but because he did not see himself as being seriously mentally ill. And of course he didn’t because the seriously psychotic individual never thinks they are ill…it’s always everyone else who is ill…it’s always everyone else who is insane.
And when the mentally ill person does loose their last grip on reality and decides that today is the day they will kill…and know that killing on a mass scale is not a snap decision but one carefully planned and plotted over time…the media, the politicians, and the bleeding heart liberals who care more about the perp than they do the innocent victims lost, all come crawling out of the woodwork to say ‘ooops, he slipped through the cracks.’ And while that may be true in a few cases it is not true in the case of Nikolas Cruz for his psychotic tendencies were well known, well documented, and simply not acted upon. That is not slipping through the cracks…that is outright malfeasance by those who turned their eyes away from the dangers this individual posed…person’s themselves who now have much to answer for regarding…to borrow a military term…dereliction of duty.
But no matter how incompetent others might be…no matter even the lawyers pleading said killer not guilty by reason of insanity…to place blame on others is truly misguided for the guilty party remains the shooter alone for no one put the gun in their hand except themselves.
And while in the Nikolas Cruz case there are others who must be called to task as they…including law enforcement who were called to his home numerous times…chose to ignore all the warning signs of Cruz’s impeding meltdown…a meltdown that could have been stopped in its tracks. And this is where it becomes critical that all mental health records become part of all background checks for any wishing to purchase a firearm, and the ‘so-called’ privacy issue be damned.
And why…because with current legalities denying those records be made public said system is actually denying we law abiding citizens our right not just to feel safe, but they are denying us our “unalienable rights” to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” as per the Declaration of Independence…rights given to us by our Creator, and which our government, as per our Founders and Framers, was created to protect.
So with the legal system being an intrinsic part of our government, the bottom line is that our government has failed us for they have put the ‘supposed’ rights of those with severe mental illness above the collective rights of ‘We the People,’ for those in power know well that there is a direct correlation between mental illness and mass public shootings. In fact, statistics show that mass public shooters are 20 times more likely to have a “severe” mental illness than those in the general population.
According to the highly regarded National Institute of Mental Health’s Center for Mental Health Services and Criminal Justice Research, in a paper written by Pennsylvania State University Professor Eric Silver titled, Understanding the Relationship Between Mental Disorder and Violence: The Need for a Criminological Perspective said correlation is clearly laid out starting with the fact that those deemed as having “major mental disorders”…such as schizophrenia, severe psychotic depression, psychotic bipolar illness, or personality disorders with a high level of impulsivity or lack of remorse such as antisocial personality disorder…are indeed more likely to commit violent acts than the general public, especially if they abuse drugs. And critical to this is that most of these folks have long standing medical documentation stating their illness…documentation kept from being part of one’s firearm buying background check.
And proof of this can easily be seen in the numbers cited relating to the 185 mass public shootings (defined in said report as being “any incident where four or more persons are killed with a gun within a 24-hour period at a public location minus military conflict, collective violence or other criminal activity, such as robberies, drug deals or gang turf wars”)…shootings that have taken place in our country between the years 1900 to 2017. And it starting in 1903, when mentally ill Gilbert Twigg opened fire on concert goers in Winfield, Kansas, killing nine.
And in these 185 cases, a “relatively high rate” of mental illness…as in 59% of said total…were carried out by people who had either been diagnosed with a mental disorder or demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to their attack.
In fact, as per a 2012 article by Mark Follman in Mother Jones, 61% of the 62 cases of mass public shootings in the year 2012 were committed by those with known serious mental health issues, yet 80% of these killers obtained their firearms legally. And why…because their mental health records were not allowed to be part of their background checks.
By the way, the above stated number reflects mass shootings that happened on Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s watch…a watch that saw at least 14 mass shootings including the November 2009 Ft. Hood shooting; the June 2011 Tucson congressional event shooting; the July 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting; the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting; and others during his intervening years leading up to a staggering six mass shootings from June 2015 through June 2016 alone*…all committed by those already documented as mentally ill, again with most purchasing their firearms legally.
So what was Obama’s answer to these mass killings… simply phony crocodile tears for the cameras and nothing more for did anyone see his implementing even one change of substance to make mental health records part of the required background checks for purchasing a gun…the answer to that is a resounding…no. Remember, Obama loved to talk the Democrat’s talk of more gun control and more gun-free zones, but talk is cheap for all it did was help him glorify and then tell the media to temper down its reporting of the violence while allowing a divided Congress, replete with the usual partisan bickering, to push aside the fact that the mentally ill should never be allowed to purchase or be in possession of any type of firearm.
And the only way to do that is again being that all mental health records must be made open to those conducting background checks on those wishing to purchase any type of firearm.
And President Trump in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting, unlike his predecessor, does understand the importance of keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. And that was shown during the February 28th bipartisan meeting at the White House where he stated that he thought ‘due process’ for mentally ill people was not as important as making sure that they do not have guns…which I agree with one hundred percent.
But the issue of ‘due process’ seems to have brought the releasing of mental health records to the forefront of this public discourse especially since some on our side keep referencing Benjamin Franklin’s words that, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Sadly not understanding the true meaning of Franklin’s 1775 words written in a letter to Pennsylvania’s then colonial governor…these were not words written in regards to a power struggle between said governor and the Assembly over funding for security on the frontier during the French and Indian War as most falsely believe nor were they words of a subject being asked to cede his liberty to government. Actually these were words relating to Benjamin Franklin the legislator asking the governor to renounce his power to tax lands “notionally” under his jurisdiction.
In fact, as per Benjamin Wittes the editor-in-chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, the “essential liberty” to which Benjamin Franklin was referring was not what we would think of today as civil liberties, but were words regarding the right of self-governance of a legislature in the interests of their collective security…a huge difference from equating Franklin’s words to what we now consider ‘due process’ as it applies to keeping firearms out of the hands of those medically documented as suffering from serious mental illness…illness medically noted as being serious enough as to be a risk to themselves and/or others.
So how does ‘due process’ fit into the equation of keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill?
First, know that ‘due process’ as laid down in the Constitution and applied to all states by the 14th Amendment, is simply a “fundamental principle of fairness” in all legal matters, both civil and criminal, private and public, especially in the courts, with a notice of rights that must be followed for each individual so that no prejudicial or unequal treatment will result. And second, how can ‘due process’ itself be fair when the mental health records of those documented as being a threat to the public are kept from the very people trying to keep the public safe from just these said persons.
Simply, ‘due process’ as I and others see it in regards to the mentally ill is anything but fair for the prejudice now shown is not against the mentally ill but against the public at large, because the mentally ill already received their ‘due process’ when they were evaluated by professionals who formally deemed and documented them as seriously mentally ill.
Also forgotten in this discourse…and this is critical…is that possession of a firearm by the mentally ill is already regulated by both state and federal laws, meaning those who should be enforcing the law are either not doing their job; not being allowed to do their job; or are ignorant of the law…and ignorance of the law is the most grievous excuse of all.
Federal law 18 U.S.C. § 922(d), states it is unlawful for any person to “sell” or otherwise “dispose of” any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution”…in other words…previously evaluated as being mentally ill or as per the law “mentally deranged.”
And on the state level, all 50 states have their own similar laws regarding keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill (in my state of Florida it’s Fla. Stat. Ann.§§ 790.065). But again, with mental health records not being a mandatory part of firearm buying background checks it means that federal and state laws already in place are basically useless, because if one cannot see said records because of privacy laws coupled with most not understanding what ‘due process’ means, public safety truly is and will remain compromised.
And while we have a Constitutional right to privacy that right in regards to those legally deemed “mentally derranged” should never be allowed to supersede the rights of the public to be kept safe …that’s just simple common sense.
But common sense seems to be lacking in regards to our lawmakers and guns. And even with mental health records being included as part of firearm background checks know even that will never stop all public mass shootings, but it will add another critical “layer of protection,” after all our government via the 1974 Tarasoff case, does in a way have an abstract “duty to protect” ‘We the People’ from violence and harm committed by those documented as being mentally ill…especially if the laws already in place have mental health records included in background checks as an additional tool to do just that.
So President Trump is right…mental health records…records already having had their ‘due process’ must be included in background checks for all wishing to purchase a firearm…no more ifs, ands, or buts.
* the Orlando nightclub shooting; the Kalamazoo uber driver shooting; the San Bernadino community center shooting; the Roseburg community college shooting; the Chattanooga recruiting center shooting; and the Charleston church shooting
Copyright @ 2018 Diane Sori / The Patriot Factor / All Rights Reserved.
Today, Tuesday, March 13th from 7 to 9pm EST on American Political Radio, RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS Craig Andresen and Diane Sori discuss Guns, Due Process and the Mentally Ill; why Hillary just won’t go away; and important news of the day.
Hope you can tune in at: http://listen.samcloud.com/w/73891/American-Political-Radio#history