Guns and mental health….when “doing something ” is not really doing anything

Congress has a real opportunity. They have the ability not to solve two problems at once . Even for them that is unique. According to the first post linked above there is momentum towards passing a bill that will neither address gun violence or the real needs of the mental health system. And they will call it a victory.

They will ignore the issues of gun violence in this culture, the thousands of deaths every year, and pin it on the “seriously mentally ill”. If we just manage them better in essence it will all get better is what they will say…It would make you laugh if it didn’t make you cry.

The hope, and right now I think it is their best hope, is to raise the level of hysteria “to do something ” so high and so intense that questions you may have about what they are suggesting be done can be colored to make it look like you “really don’t care.” Murphy wins by making it the mental health equivalent of voting to go to war in Iraq. The prospects are sad and more than a little scary.

Look at all the questions that they can make go away.

Is the problem of gun violence really an issue of mental health?

Are “the mentally ill” really the most dangerous people in our culture?

Is there any reason to believe that psychiatric hospitalization makes violent people less violent?

What about the increasing evidence that psychiatric medications can be involved in violent behavior?

If these laws are to be justified by supposedly controlling violent “mentally ill” people is our mental health system “reformed” if less people die?

Do these bills reflect an adequate understanding of the needs and experiences of the people that the mental health claims to serve?

Does this bill truly reflect as it claims evidence based practices or does it ignore growing evidence in favor of ideological rants and personal interests?

Once you decide to take away the rights of people because of the labels you place on them or the diagnoses you make of them where do you stop? How do you draw the line? Will not every thing in time legally become about compliance and who is in charge and less about the needs of the people the system claims to serve?

There are many, many more questions. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The point of the hysteria is to quiet them all.

The second post linked above makes a simple point. Everyone not in Congress, everyone not in state government already knows. Courage is not an entrance requirement for public officials. As scary as Isis might be, as scary as other terrorists might be none of them even begin to strike the terror in the hearts of our elected officials that the NRA does. The Murphy Bill will for some not a measure of their courage but an expression of their lack of it.

The last post is an old post of mine. It’s point is real simple. The Murphy Bill suffers from a lack of truth in advertising. It hasn’t, doesn’t and can’t do what it claims. It is a non answer to a real problem and we need more and we need better.

Hysteria is his best chance for victory. Right now it might be his only chance. Please speak out. Write your newspapers. Contact your legislators. Tell them to stop and think. Tell them to listen to you. Tell them you want real solutions to real problems. Tell them to be brave and stand for you, your family, your community and for a country trying to be a better country for all its people.


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