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 […]
I wish Republicans would just settle on one alternative to “anything BUT the guns” causing mass shootings. I have just written that Trump-supporter Tony Perkins insists it is because we teach real science and prevent his idea of prayer in school. Now, Tucker Carlson weighs in to assure us that marijuana contributes to the cause. “In the aftermaths of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, the country scrambled, justifiably, to understand what motivated the killers,” said Carlson. “Ideology seemed like an obvious reason and we picked that apart at some length. But it could it just be part of the answer? “A toxicology report on the Dayton shooter, for example, revealed that he had several drugs in his system including cocaine and Xanax. He was also known to be a longtime user of marijuana. It turns out, in fact, that many violent individuals have been avid marijuana users. Is there a connection?” Apparently Carlson believes marijuana contributes more than guns, since he never got around to discussing the gun laws that allow such slaughter. Notice that he never got around to noting that the Dayton shooter did not have marijuana in his system at the time? We only get the second hand assurance that he was “known” to be a longtime user of marijuana. Cocaine and Xanax? A strange choice, at odds with each other, but we presume that people make strange choices, and that is why those of us not under the sway of the gun lobby want much stricter gun laws, precisely because we presume the obvious, guns inevitably fall into the hands of someone “not right.” With respect to El Paso, we need not delve even that deep, because the El Paso murderer went out of his way to assure us as to what motivated him. Apparently we aren’t supposed to talk about the disgusting views about immigrants propounded by Trump. Tucker was not done: “I don’t think it’s going way out on a limb to draw that connection then between cannabis use, particularly I assume chronic use and acts of violence,” You are going much further out on that limb than you need. “Why is this not something that we’re pursuing more aggressively?” Because most of us prefer to stay aggressive on the one cause we can really do something about? Keeping guns out of the hands of all people disturbed enough to murder fellow citizens. Regardless, influential Republicans seem chock-full of answers to the mass-shooting epidemic. They just cannot seem to agree with each other, except for agreement that gun laws that keep guns off the street is not something to be discussed. They are becoming increasingly complicit. **** Peace, y’all Jason email@example.com, and come aboard the Twitter Train, @MiciakZoom
Appropriately, it certainly is Time. You will find here, a picture of their cover. Along with the word “Enough” you will note the scrawled record of every memorable mass shooting … in tiny hand-written print. The print must be small, because unlike in New Zealand, we have done nothing about the 253 mass shootings they list … all of them from this year. This is the 220th day of the year 2019. Only in America, and it certainly is about time, and even they readily admit that the time came long ago. In other words, this is not the first time they have cried “Enough” on the cover. It might, however, be their most powerful call. They back it up, with equal conviction: We do have a choice as a society. Not a perfect choice. Or a guaranteed solution. But doing nothing in the face of repeated mass murder in our society is indefensible. More than 250 mass shootings in the first 220 days of 2019 alone, it’s hard to believe that this doesn’t go without saying. Enough. Over 90% of Americans favor background checks, though I sincerely doubt that even background checks will put a dent in the number of mass shootings. Of course, if the background check saves 10 lives, it is worth doing. That goes without saying. I have not seen figures on the percentage of people who favor a ban on assault weapons, and the clips that carry 100 rounds. But I would bet it is well over half. This ban actually would put a large dent in the numbers killed. True, a person with a handgun can commit a mass shooting. But, that person cannot load that handgun with 100 rounds. Additionally (forgive me for being graphic, but this matters), a handgun shot in the upper leg will usually not kill. A shot in the same spot from a high-powered assault rifle almost always will. Mass shootings would go from a possible 21 victims dead, to 4-5. Sick, still, I know. But if you’re one of the 15 that survives, it is, quite literally, a life saver. You and I demand lives saved. In past issues, Time has not minced words about where the vast majority of mass shootings – and violence generally – originate; White nationalism, or white supremacy, two terms, one meaning. White nationalism has reflected a coarsening of mainstream politics, where debates on national security and immigration have become rabbit holes for the exploitation of fear and bigotry. Trump has played a significant – as opposed to sole – role in the rise of white supremacy, or at least white supremacy shooting to action. It is more than time to do something about guns and mass shootings. It is also time to rid ourselves of the other underlying cause, Trump. **** Peace, y’all. Jason Most will never know the honor of having words from the heart read by others. Anyone seeking more, something I put three years into, rather than three hours, might find my novels interesting, refreshing, soul searching, and funny. Sometimes only laughter can cover tears. It is an honor.
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