From the start the Murphy Bill was about more than mental health. It was the Republican answer to a question they didn’t want to ask. 33,000 people a year are shot to death in this country. Over 90 people a day die. By way of comparison during the Vietnam War 11 soldiers were killed a day. We kill each other at 9 times the rate our soldiers were killed in one of the bloodiest wars in recent history. The Murphy Bill was the Republican answer to the answer of gun violence in America.
As a mental health reform bill it stinks. Many of its key provisions have been attacked strongly. As written it is unlikely in the view of many to see the light of day.
But there is another scenario. Could it pass, in effect, as a gun control act. It is progressively being packaged as a violence control act. Functionally, even though it says nothing about guns, is it not the Republican answer to gun violence?
I wonder if the mass shootings that are beginning to seem the new normal don’t put the Republicans between the rock and the hard place. On the one hand people are dying. On the other hand is the NRA. Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders are falling all over themselves trying to sell gun violence as a mental health issue.
Is it not a little like trying to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic hoping to distract people from the gaping hole in the boat??
Can the Murphy Bill pass as an answer to gun violence?? Is this the real danger? I don’t know. But I think the effort is being made and will only intensify as we get closer to a final legislative decision.
My personal opinion is that the issue of gun violence is a mental health issue not because any connection between mental health issues and violence but because the trial has started and the jury may be stacked against us. It is time to speak loudly before the verdict is in.