The Trump administration is considering “novel” approaches to stop mass-shootings. Of course, the administration is not considering restricting the sale of military armaments to the nation’s average HVAC installer or PE teacher. No, the latest ideas focus upon monitoring the “mentally ill,” perhaps from their phones. Via the Washington Post: Advisers to Wright quickly pulled together a three-page proposal — called SAFEHOME for Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes – which calls for exploring whether technology like phones and smart watches can be used to detect when mentally ill people are about to turn violent. Under no circumstances will you ever hear me make light of the ravages of mental illness, or pass up an opportunity to highlight the need for better, more compassionate healthcare for such insidious diseases. And we do certainly need to discuss mental health issues with regard to the mass-shooting epidemic. However, fighting mental illness as the primary approach to decreasing mass-shootings is, well, insane. As you might guess, it is exceedingly difficult to effectively predict which people needing care are the type that will soon turn to violence. “I would love if some new technology suddenly came along that would help us identify violent risk, but there’s so many things about this idea of predicting violence that doesn’t make sense,” said Marisa Randazzo, former chief research psychologist for the U.S. Secret Service. True. Nor does it make any sense to take a gun designed to mow down fifty enemy fighters on a battlefield and sell that gun to the average produce section manager in Tulsa. There are a few other pragmatic concerns about monitoring the phones of select at-risk people: Beyond the civil liberty concerns about monitoring people through their gadgets, Randazzo said, there’s the problem of false positives. Even if the technology could be developed, such a program would likely flag tens, or hundreds of thousands, more possible suspects than actual shooters. How, she asked, would you sort through them? And how would you know you were right, given the difficulty of proving something that hasn’t happened? Yes, I can see how it might be a difficult correlation. However, I have no difficulty correlating mass-shootings, especially those involving double digit victims, with the AR-15 and variants thereof. Indeed, we are getting to a point where it is a near 1:1 “correlation.” This nation once had the good sense to ban assault rifles like the AR-15. Of course, addressing the AR-15 correlation is off the table, a non-starter. This country lacks the requisite mental health to gauge cause and effect, benefits versus costs, freedom to arm versus freedom to go out in public. I would like to be able to take the Administration’s concern about mental illness and its role in mass shootings more seriously. But Republicans have been indefatigable in their effort to rid many Americans of access to healthcare generally (especially those with pre-existing conditions, such as mental illness). It is exceedingly difficult to imagine Republicans funding medical interventions that both help the sick and protect the innocent. The current focus on mental illness” seems designed primarily to distract from the real question about deranged thought. Just what the fck are we doing selling military weaponry to the average Dorito-eating American? **** Peace, y’all Jason firstname.lastname@example.org, and please follow me on Twitter @MiciakZoom […]
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, and Evangelical ambassador to Trump, has the answer to ending mass shootings. Stop teaching evolution. Because if kids learned that they were made in God’s image, they wouldn’t shoot people, or something. Make us cry, HuffPo: “We’ve taught our kids that they come about by chance through primordial slime and then we’re surprised that they treat their fellow Americans like dirt,” Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, said on “Fox & Friends” Presumably, Perkins did not address the obvious. How to explain how it is that primordial slime manages to simply grow peacefully without shooting off its extended southwest end. Perhaps primordial slime evolved ahead of us? Which is the most highly evolved species in this discussion? Regardless, this is straightforward, according to Perkins: “I think we have to go back to the point where we instill in these children, at least give them the opportunity to know that they’re created in the image of God, therefore they have inherent value,” We absolutely should be teaching children that they have inherent value, but I totally disagree that public schools need invoke God to do so. After all, there are many nations that remain far more secular in governance, that don’t teach creationism, nor religion in their public schools, and yet they are not undergoing a mass-shooting epidemic. Under Perkins’ theory, their children do have an inherent sense of value. Perhaps we need to ask Canada, the Netherlands, or Germany, how it is that their more secular society instills sufficient morality, how they do not have rampant gun violence? Except, if we did ask, the answer would likely be something like: “Nothing, we just don’t allow AR-15s and powerful handguns to flood our streets. Don’t overthink this.” We know this because they have laws addressing this exact problem. But, Tony Perkins will not do so, because he is forced to look for an answer that A) Fits his personal faith, which I don’t mock, and B) Doesn’t upset the gun manufacturing lobby that is the NRA, which I most certainly will. But, alas, Twitter says there might be hope. We should give Perkins another chance at this. The latest shooting in West Texas is tragic. We need to come together from all sides to have a discussion as to how to end this. But we can’t just discuss the instruments of violence – we must address the inspiration. We need a return to faith & morality.https://t.co/OqoluqSE4j — Tony Perkins (@tperkins) September 1, 2019 We can’t “just discuss” the “instruments of violence”? Is he saying he is willing to discuss the instruments of violence? Because if he is, if he is willing to back a ban on high capacity, high powered, guns, then I am willing to listen to his thoughts on instilling morality. I will not go so far as to support teaching creationism in schools, or any religion, (because whose creation story are you going to use? Native Americans? Hindu? See the problem?) But, if Perkins is willing to set aside the gun lobby in search for an answer, I would be willing to reach out to him, and hear his thoughts on addressing the inspiration. After all, even primordial slime finds a way to evolve, searching for a better life. Perhaps it can teach us lesser […]
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