Monday, January 7, 2013

Mental Health, how far do they want to go?

Mental health is an issue which has come to the fore with the shootings at a school in Newtown, CT. Though there is a constant push to have a database of mentally deficient, the question remains how the determinations are to be made. During the early part of the 20th Century many people were institutionalized when they showed even the least sign of hysteria, such as a woman getting mad, and berating their husband even tho' it may have been deserved.

        No one can prove the mental health/stability of anyone, and mental status may change at the drop of a hat depending on circumstance. Some would say a well grounded person will remain well grounded, but suppose the straw that broke the camels back was presented to you? Suppose the very fact that you were willing to shoot another person on your own property as you felt threatened made the authorities determine that you were rash, irrationally paranoid? See, once you start injecting "Mental Health" into the gun debate, anyone can be denied permission by the state for any thing, no matter how minor. A slip of the tongue, a slight to someone who takes it personally (A mental health issue in itself), use of a word deemed inappropriate by the state, whether in writing, or speech (already Orleans County has passed a request to the federal congress to ban the use of the word "retard(ed)" in regards mental health status. How many more words have been proposed to be banned? Any slight against a minority, or even someone's ethnicity, may not have been banned, but use of words like Polock, Kike, Guinea, etc.., have been made inappropriate in our speech, even tho' few of those whose ethnicity was mocked took unkindly to these words then, and some, even now.

Your status with the person in question often plays into whether they accept the name you have called them. If one takes offense, they can be called on it, but to ban outright such things seems a might provocative, and ungainly from a constitutional perspective where speech is supposed to be protected.

        I think most here could agree, or at the surmise that to which I write. The fact is, there are people who are mentally deficient, but often that deficiency cannot be seen, or tested for in the general population. The individual is key here, and no amount of doctoring, or mentoring, or psychological profiling can get it right every time. So, these databases that the left--I suppose many on the right, as well-- would like to see created in regards mental health would seem to me to be unconscionable.

        Further, how can we allow that there is a privacy in the doctor patient relationship in regards abortion (infanticide), and not in regards mental status, and health? It would seem that only where the state agrees one may murder is such appropriate. The key here is the denial issue. How many recall the purges of NAZI Germany? Not many alive today can recall when the retarded were taken from their families, and the infirmaries they were in, these families being told they were going to work camps where they would be happy being around people like themselves, when, in reality, the NAZI's were systematically murdering them because of their mental incapacity.

        Th Soviet Union ised incarceraton of mental defectives a part of its agenda. Who were considered such? Here is a rendering entitled, "The Legacy of Psychiatric Abuse in the USSR":
"In the late 1960s and 1970s, procuratorial and KGB agencies
increasingly began to send dissidents from the scientific and
humanitarian intelligentsia as well as the independent labor
movement to psychiatric detention. The usual pattern was to
arrest a dissident on a political charge such as Art. 70 ("anti-
Soviet agitation and propaganda") or Art. 190-1 (anti-state
slander), subject him to compulsory psychiatric examination
(usually at the Serbsky Institute of Forensic Psychiatry in
Moscow), hold a perfunctory trial in absentia, and immediately
assign the defendant to indefinite detention in special
psychiatric hospitals under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of
Internal Affairs. The advantage of forensic psychiatric
detention is that no case has to be built in court, behavior can
be controlled with drugs, and the "sentence" is indefinite.
Hundreds of dissidents went through this torment."
http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/u/ussr/ussr2905.pdf

        How many recall the 1950's and 1960's when lobotomies were routinely perfermed on those who the state couldn't handle. Even one of the Kennedy's relations was lobotomized. The mental health community also used electrical shock therapy to staunch the bad behavior of some individuals, but shock therapy isn't commonly used anymore for various, and good reasons, one being that memories of the patients were erased if these shock treatments occurred enough times, and could even occur with one use.

        Certainly, medicines capacity to treat mental illness has come a long way with the research done, and drugs created to treat mental health issues, and brain chemical deficiencies, especially in those with depression, and mania. However, suppose one use of an anti-anxiety drug made you no longer eligible for state permission to carry a weapon? Would that not make you vulnerable? Suppose being right wing (constitutional belief in rule of law, republican form of governance, libertarianism, etc.) was considered a mental health problem? Could you be denied the ability to carry for being so? What if left wing meant that you were so averse to guns that if you wanted to carry you were thought to have a mental problem, perhaps paranoia, regardless of you true mental status, or regard for your own personal safety? Would that not be a "Catch 22"?

        Certainly, the mental health issue has to be addressed in this country, but it can't be used as an excuse to deny anyone who ever sought medical help for a mental health issue. Imagine if you have a cheating, or abusive, spouse with whom you cannot deal, or some other reason such as job loss, which has resulted in a mild depression. Does one lose the ability--their right--to carry for life simply because one has a short term problem? And, what provisions did the founders have for mentally defectives? How were they treated? How were they denied the ability to own and carry weapons? Some may have considered "Billy the kid" Bonnie a might 'loony tunes' for his lack of morals, and disregard for human life.
What role does morality play in the debate about gun control? What of personal responsibility? If we have a government that allows lack of personal responsibility, even promotes it through the welfare system, and other social programs, how do we counteract that? If we have a government that denies morality, prayer in schools, unless to Allah, the listing of the Ten Commandments in our classrooms, and in our halls of justice, how can we expect people to remain sane?

        When we have a government, or a portion of it, that promotes infanticide, how do we expect that they can respect the right of the individual after it is born? Since we now have a president who has voted for laws which would see to it that babies born that were meant to be terminated, but which lived, must be left to die--food, water, medical care, blanket to keep it warm, all denied--what kind of society does that promote? How disgusting are we going to allow our government to make us? How depraved is a nation which would have anyone in it consider such moral, decent, even conscionable, let alone a nation who would vote such a leader in twice? And, if that is what our president (Obama), our governor (Cuomo), think in regards life, how can we expect anyone in government, at whatever level, to have any morals, scruples, or principles whatsoever? Worse, it is my belief that anyone who would consider what I just wrote to be a sane policy are themselves 'insane."

 So, how can we have people who are insane make determinations about who should, or should not, own, or carry, firearms? How can they make determinations about what guns we should be able to own, what numbers we may own them in, what restrictions on them there may be, etc., if they are themselves, insane?

Paul Rusin

BPB note: Paul is a SCOPEny.org State Director
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