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Heavy as Lead
  • Guns in the hands of mentally ill people, does that scare you? It doesn’t scare me. “Mental illness” is a fairly broad and vague term. I could have an obsession with eating hair, or stealing, and the gun would be no issue. After all, it’s not like I have to rob someone for hair to eat. I could go to a barber and pay him for floor sweepings. I could meet someone down a dark alley behind a wig shop for some “fresh, sweet-smelling” hair, no questions asked. Or, combined with kleptomania, i might feel compelled to steal the hair, to get a rush from the transgression. Snatching the wigs off people’s heads at dimly-lit Bingo parlors and making haste into the night and its wild embrace. stealing guns and hair. or stealing guns. Not really a big deal. Stealing is bad, but it’s not crazybad.
  • Shooting people is crazybad. Someone involved in the transaction gets hurt. That’s basically a guarantee. If a supersonic bullet hits you, it’s time to get your ticket punched on the Pain Train.
  • So, take someone with a history of violence, or a person taking medication that is plagued with a history of being associated with mass killings and rampages, and you have a tool in the hands of a potentially violent individual. That makes it worse for everyone.
  • Selective serotonin-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are notoriously associated with murderous crimes. When that strange child in Newtown, CT killed all those people at Sandy Hook Elementary last year, this debate came up, was bandied about, and dismissed. Should a physician have access to a gun registry? Should a psychiatrist or a family member of a mentally-disabled person have a right-to-know of the dangers associated with an illness or the possible adverse affects of medication? Should medication with a history of side effects of an acutely violent nature be prescribed to people suffering from delusions of persecution, from extreme psychosis, from schizophrenia?
  • Would we let politicians make this decision?
  • In what way are legislators qualified to make clinical care plans for individuals who suffer from illnesses that foment violent behavior?
  • In what way are responsible gun owners affected by a medical professional’s decision to deny a dangerous, unstable person certain medication because they own a gun? If you have to demonstrate you can drive a car before a license is issued to you, why would a gun be any different? Do you demonstrate driving skills for safety sake? Yes.
  • Kids are not allowed to operate certain commercial machinery, to drive cars, and to have access to certain data because of the risk of increased public danger.
  • Violent felons and people convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse are denied access to purchase of firearms. People who are fighting at home shouldn’t have guns.
  • Stand Your Ground is stupid. It allows for a “perception of danger” to supersede any physical evidence admissible as proof of intent to harm. In Richard Thompson’s scathing 1952 crime novel The Killer Inside Me, a seemingly average guy kills someone, then has to kill more people in order to protect his alibi. In the end, the protagonist is running down the street like a gibbering lunatic hellbent on killing everyone. He was – gasp, oh horrors – a deputy, one of us.
  • In the 1950s, mental illness was swept under the rug. These days, we just bus their asses from city to city on Greyhound buses. A large event like The Olympics is the perfect pretext for shuttering the doors upon people with disabilities, upon entire communities. One way bus tickets to No Help. This is not a new problem. The public, historically, like to take special people and hide them away. If they can make money off you, they’ll call you eccentric. If they can’t, they call you crazy. If they give you meds and eds to get you working and buying stuff, they’ll call you a “consumer”, because a mark of sanity in this country is to literally buy the bullshit Uncle Sam is shoveling.
  • People who are trying to live by moral codes sometimes commit crimes. It is foolish to follow bad laws. The responsibility of society is to best determine what works and what doesn’t and codify laws to keep things humming along. But, as they say, “When the machine breaks down, we break down.” So, occasionally it is time to examine the machine to see what can be done to fix it, to get society chugging forward again. But what of the individual, of transient flesh and febrile emotion, of doubts and cherished desires? What of logic built upon ideology? Machinery seeks robotics so it may repair itself. Humans seek medicine in order to repair themselves. Robotics is organized, purposeful cybernetic design to facilitate mechanical and noological dynamics. robotics is based upon human desire and observation, verifiable and demonstrable.
  • Human behavior, wherein total conformity is neither desirous nor productive, follows similar guidelines. If people were treated like software, then you could say that when someone goes bad, they are “quarantined and reported” for verification of breakdown. Substrates of activity are explored…and then the person is left in quarantine until it is able to demonstrate corrected behavior.
  • But, if a program is unable to be “debugged”, it has to be jettisoned and replaced with a working replica. In real life, there are no replicas for dead people. If a person has the mental malware that allows him or her to decide to act upon crazybad thoughts, then they should have a limited access to firearms.
  • HIPAA laws would provide for the legal protection of such an agreement. I think it would encourage responsible gun ownership. I know lots of people with guns. I live in the USA, and that’s the way things are here. But if people were to look at the amount of gun violence, we would see there is a silent, crazy war going on with no winners. The percentage of violent crimes that go unsolved is sickening. Last I checked big cities were clocking like an average of 30% or more violent murders going unsolved. That’s why big murder cases get the headlines. It’s not that the crime is so heinous, it’s that people are capable of being crazybad, any of us. With the amount of firepower lying around, it seems appropriate to limit “crazybad” access to weapons.
  • When I go to a gas station at ten in the morning to buy a cup of coffee and see a bunch of drunken frat guys strapped with pistols and bragging about how much they’ve been drinking, I don’t feel any safer waiting in line with my kids. Not there or anywhere. Guns bring pain, and death, and questions.
  • Why are you carrying a gun? I would like a good answer. Are you carrying guns because crazybad people have guns? How is this safer than crazybad people not carrying guns? Are you carrying a gun to protect yourself from large predators, or from racists? What’s the difference? Stand Your Ground actively pursues intangible grounds for murder, and that is crazybad. There’s no end to that escalation.