Psychology/Psychiatry

Stopping Mass Murderers Would Be Easy If Psychiatrists Were Psychics

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A front-page story in today's New York Times notes how difficult it is to predict which of the country's many weird or troubled people will be tomorrow's Adam Lanza:

No one but a deeply disturbed individual marches into an elementary school or a movie theater and guns down random, innocent people.

That hard fact drives the public longing for a mental health system that produces clear warning signals and can somehow stop the violence. And it is now fueling a surge in legislative activity, in Washington and New York.

But these proposed changes and others like them may backfire and only reveal how broken the system is, experts said.

"Anytime you have one of these tragic cases like Newtown, it's going to expose deficiencies in the mental health system, and provide some opportunity for reform," said Richard J. Bonnie, a professor of public policy at the University of Virginia's law school who led a state commission that overhauled policies after the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings that left 33 people dead. "But you have to be very careful not to overreact."

The gun control law signed yesterday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for instance, requires "mental health professionals" (including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses) to report any patient/client whom they think "is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others." Based on that report, that person may lose his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. In addition to the constitutional issues raised by this provision, there are practical problems. It is not hard to see how this requirement might "backfire." As I suggested yesterday, it may deter troubled gun owners from seeking help, exactly the opposite of what mental health reformers say they want. Or it may discourage them from being candid about their problems. And if the motivation for the reporting requirement is preventing mass shootings, why include people who might harm themselves? That casts a pretty wide net:

"The way I read the new law, it means I have to report voluntary as well as involuntary hospitalizations, as well as many people being treated for suicidal thinking, for instance, as outpatients," said Dr. Paul S. Appelbaum, director of the Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry at Columbia University's medical school. "That is a much larger group of people than before, and most of whom will never be a serious threat to anyone."

That is true even of people diagnosed with schizophrenia, the vast majority of whom do not commit violent crimes. Furthermore, mass murderers typically receive such diagnoses (often rendered at a distance by op-ed pundits) only after they've committed their crimes. Mental health reforms based on the premise that psychiatrists can predict the future are bound to fail, violating the civil liberties of many harmless people in the process. As Northeatern University criminologist James Alan Fox, an expert on mass shootings, observes, "People cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they look strange or act in an odd manner." 

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  1. So the Times are against some “solutions” that won’t work but support other “solutions” that won’t work.

    1. ’tis the thought that counts, no?

    2. Give the “solutions” a little time. Gun control and mental illness solutions work like a gloved hand.

      “The Nazi euthanasia program, code-named ‘Operation-T4,’ set out to eliminate ‘life unworthy of life.’ It rapidly expanded to include individuals with mental illness, with Hitler’s 1939 decree allowing physicians to decide that certain individuals ‘be accorded a mercy-death.'”

      http://ajp.psychiatryonline.or…..eID=177988

  2. The gun control law signed yesterday by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, for instance, requires “mental health professionals” (including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses) to report any patient/client whom they think “is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”

    Like voting Libertarian. We all know where this goes.

    1. I had the same thought when I caught Giuliani saying this shit when surfing the radio on the way home last night. Yes, let’s report the unmutual and lock their asses up. Because this is the sort of thing that absolutely screams slippery slope.

      Some people maybe are crazy enough to lock up, but some sort of due process other than “He thinks differently than we do” is necessary, I think.

      1. From the average liberal’s point of view, if you do not agree with them on everything then you are crazy.

        1. Right, “reality-based community.” Possibly the stupidest and least self-aware meme of all time. Well, maybe after “Hitler is actually good for the Jews” in 1933.

      2. And these people’s family and friends bear some responsibility. In Lanza’s case, he had become so angry her mother had started to fear him and was in the process of having him declared incompetent. I understand she never dreamed he could do what he did. No one could have foreseen that. But it was foreseeable that he might harm her or himself. Why the hell didn’t she do something with her weapons? How do you leave that many weapons around the house when your obviously unstable son lives there?

      3. Rudy seems pretty nutty to me. Off to Wards Island with him!

        1. You know, I was seriously thinking that last night, that he’s a little mentally disturbed. But I didn’t think about shipping him off until this moment. Thanks!

  3. And could Reason stop putting that pathetic little weirdo’s picture up. His entire existence needs to be erased from human memory.

    1. I really hate this practice.

      1. There is always an attempt to shift responsibility. To society, guns, mental illness, violent videogames, whatever.
        Responsibility lies with the killer. It is a shame we can’t try the corpse and sentence him to be buried in unconsecrated ground or something.

        1. Wayne Lapew deserves a bitch slap for promoting conflicting interest between gamers and gun enthusiasts. I haven’t been able to go to game news sites without links and write ups on articles from pro-gamer pundits writing up the usual, ‘shouldn’t we be concerned about real guns instead of simulated ones?’ HOLY FUCKING FALSE DICHOTOMY, BATMAN!!!

        2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Cromwell

          After his death in 1658 he was buried in Westminster Abbey, but after the Royalists returned to power in 1660 they had his corpse dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded.

          1. The old ways are the best.

            The Cadaver Synod:

            Probably around January 897, Stephen (VI) VII ordered that the corpse of his predecessor Formosus be removed from its tomb and brought to the papal court for judgement. With the corpse propped up on a throne, a deacon was appointed to answer for the deceased pontiff.

            Formosus was accused of transmigrating sees in violation of canon law, of perjury, and of serving as a bishop while actually a layman. Eventually, the corpse was found guilty. Liutprand and other sources say that Stephen had the corpse stripped of its papal vestments, cut off the three fingers of his right hand used for consecrations, and declared all of his acts and ordinations (including his ordination of Stephen (VI) VII as bishop of Anagni) invalid. The body was finally interred in a graveyard for foreigners, only to be dug up once again, tied to weights, and cast into the Tiber River.

            1. Old school. Really, really old school.

              1. They didn’t have TV.

      2. I don’t know. I’m always interested to know what these evil nutjobs look like. I don’t give a fuck what they want.

        1. I think that not showing the picture is worse, actually. It lets people forget that it was this asshole and no one else who is responsible for the horrible thing that happened. It wasn’t gun laws, it wasn’t video games, it was this asshole.

          1. That doesn’t help at all, as the current effort to suspend gun rights shows.

            1. Maybe, but I think that complaining about people showing his picture is about as effective and useful as trying to get a new assault weapons ban passed.

              1. As is advocating libertarianism.

    2. I agree. Please please please stop attaching pictures of this freak to your posts.

      As an alternative, you can attach pictures of Episiarch. I don’t have the link handy, but just google the term “gunt” and he should be in the first few results.

      1. That’s a great idea. For every horrific human being who commits some heinous crime, CGI Episiarch into whatever stills or video you plan to use. In fact, do it everywhere.

        For instance, when trying Casey Anthony, the jury should’ve only been able to see her through Augmented Reality glasses. Instead of her, they’d have seen Episiarch. Convicted.

        1. I’m completely down with this. Free publicity! Woo!

          1. Who would’ve thought you could save lives?

      2. I’m really not clear on why you guys object to pictures. That’s kind of stupid. It’s a fucking picture. It is what it is.

        1. Because it gives the shithead fame and notoriety. Not that he cares, he is dead. But other shitheads who do these kinds of things might.

        2. I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline. I object to power without constructive purpose.

          My issue is that I think a lot of these mass murders are done in part for the publicity. I’d deny it to them like you deny women (rightfully) your essence. Not by law, of course.

          1. You’re a towel!

            1. A towel with five times your strength. You’re no match for my towel.

        3. That’s easy for you to say because you can’t see it over the pile of microwave burritos. Believe me, from everyone else’s perspective it is sickening.

          1. I’m hungry, Hugh! And the burritos are cheap! Screw you!

            1. What’s in those frozen burritos that you can buy five for a dollar, anyway?

                1. Anacondeer?

                2. Ah, python meat. With an unending supply.

        4. Seriously. Nobody goes on a killing spree just so they can get their picture in the news.

          1. What about Warty? Isn’t that why he hunts his prey?

            1. Partly. But a lot of it is just to see the look of abject terror in their eyes.

            2. I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just…do things.

          2. I think some do. So people will think about them and try to understand their angsty ways.

            Fuck that.

      3. I googled it. Now I know the word for that horrible thing I usually only see in it’s natural habitat; Walmart scooters.

      4. I find the photo interesting. Other kids would instinctively reject this kid, bully him, and drive him away. Adults think it wrong and try to teach them to ignore their instincts.

        Turns out the kids were right and maybe the adult coddling got a bunch of kids killed.

        1. Could we get the picture of Smiley Guy up instead? That one always cheers me up.

  4. Signing up to become a cop is probably as good a “red flag” as any.

    1. I firmly believe that anyone who seeks power should be disqualified from having it.

  5. As I suggested yesterday, it may deter troubled gun owners from seeking help, exactly the opposite of what mental health reformers say they want. Or it may discourage them from being candid about their problems.

    Replace “may” with “will definitely.”

    1. Note how this fucking retarded law will result in exactly the opposite results than what it is supposed to do. It’s not rocket science to see this. Yet no one cares (except us). Results do not matter to the animists; only words and (supposed) intention. We are surrounded by the incredibly stupid, superstitious, and emotional. We’re fucked.

      1. What probably scares me most is that they not only do this, but many of them really think that shit like this helps the “mentally ill.” How do you think that? How fucking stupid do you think people are?

        Seriously, fuck them all for making it impossible for people to have a good-faith relationship with a doctor or counselor.

        1. Doctor-patient privilege? Why would that be important?

          1. I mean it’s way beyond anything like “foreseeable consequences are not unintended.” This is like, “how can we design a law that will discourage people from seeking medical care?”

        2. They think people like that are all like, “Stop me before I kill myself or someone else.”

      2. An advocate of it on the radio this morning said he didn’t think it would deter them from seeking help, because those seeking help recognize they have a problem, and recognizing such, they would want to be kept from having guns.

  6. “Mental health reforms based on the premise that psychiatrists can predict the future are bound to fail, violating the civil liberties of many harmless people in the process.”

    That’s the intent. The more innocent people whose natural rights are violated, the better Cuomo will look to all the little DNC Eichmenn in 2016.

  7. Obama today: “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try,” Obama said. “When it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now. … Let’s do the right thing.”

    So children are no longer allowed to ride in cars, ride bikes or go swimming or do anything that might cause one death among them? Ok then.

    1. And most gun crimes are committed with handguns. Why isn’t Obama banning those? Why does he hate children so much?

    2. “…we must act now. … Let’s do the right thing.”

      Yeah, the right thing

      “Drone Strikes Are Causing Child Casualties — 178 So Far”
      http://www.alternet.org/world/…..178-so-far

      1. That’s not the same cause Bush started the drone program. And starting something is WAY worse than continuing it and turning the dial to 11.

        /shrike

    3. We should also repeal the 4th and 5th Amendments since they make it more difficult for police to catch criminals.

      1. I thought they already had along with the 6th.

  8. The Governor of NY is Andrew Cuomo. Mario was his father.

    1. Mario thought he was out, but he got pulled back in.

  9. More Union dues for the DNC coffers to help make children safer:

    -$4 billion to hire more police officers

    -help schools hire up to 1,000 resource officers and mental health professionals

    1. There is no problem that can’t be solved or made better by some political patronage JB.

    2. I think this is stupid, but can’t help but notice the silence from the same people who mocked Wayne LaPierre’s less elegant way of proposing the same thing.

  10. I can’t wait for the first prosecution of a mental health professional that fails to predict the future.

    1. See also Italy: Earthquakes

      1. I was stunned by that, given how the conviction was based on such shaky evidence.

        1. It wasn’t their fault!

  11. There are some in the “mental health community” who have expressed a view that certain political viewpoints are “mental illnesses” which probably suits these NY State authoritarians just fine. For example, expressing doubts about global warming is one sign, being in favor of small government seems also to be a sign. Being against Obamacare is a big sign, it merited an article of its own in Psychology Today. In this same author’s view, of course, Obama is the picture of mental acuity, since he is “a nuanced, multi-faceted thinker who can see things from several different perspectives simultaneously. And he isn’t preaching fear, either.” http://www.psychologytoday.com…..m-insanity

    1. Being homosexual was considered a mental illness until just recently. Pretty much all of psychology is voodoo anyway. I see no reason why they wouldn’t declare political viewpoints to be sings of insanity.

      1. That sounds paranoid.

        1. Even paranoids have enemies.

          1. In this case, divisions of them.

      2. I see no reason why they wouldn’t declare political viewpoints to be sings of insanity.

        You think this is a new thing?

    2. “William Todd Schultz is one of the world’s most respected practitioners of psychobiography (the application of psychological theory and research to individual lives of historical importance)”

      I think that’s something akin to being one of the world’s most respected blockheads, but I’m not quite sure.

      1. Check it out: I’ve got this theory that Napoleon might have had a, and this might be tough to follow here, Napoleon complex. Crazy, right?

  12. “requires “mental health professionals” (including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses) to report any patient/client whom they think “is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”

    This would requiring reporting of any NY state legislator that voted for the law, no?

  13. “There’s the television. It’s all right there – all right there. Look, listen, kneel, pray. Commercials! We’re not productive anymore. We don’t make things anymore. It’s all automated. What are we *for* then? We’re consumers, Jim. Yeah. Okay, okay. Buy a lot of stuff, you’re a good citizen. But if you don’t buy a lot of stuff, if you don’t, what are you then, I ask you? What? Mentally *ill*. Fact, Jim, fact – if you don’t buy things – toilet paper, new cars, computerized yo-yos, electrically-operated sexual devices, stereo systems with brain-implanted headphones, screwdrivers with miniature built-in radar devices, voice-activated computers…”

    1. “North America’s getting soft, patron, and the rest of the world is getting tough. Very, very tough. We’re entering savage new times, and we’re going to have to be pure and direct and strong, if we’re going to survive them. Now, you and this cesspool you call a television station and your people who wallow around in it, your viewers who watch you do it, they’re rotting us away from the inside. We intend to stop that rot.”

  14. To be perfectly safe from “blowback” (e.g. “Dr.Shrink, you failed to report Youth X and now he’s gone and shot people, so we are suing you for failure to report, etc.”) wouldn’t a prudent psychiatrist just go aheand and report every patient? That way, no lawyers could come back at him. And this would strongly discourage anyone from talking with a therapist so they don’t end up on some government “hit” list.

    1. Pretty much. Look no further than the over reporting of child abuse that has resulted from mandatory reporting laws to see how this will work.

  15. Common-sense solutions. Have doctors collect intel on you for the Feds.

    “16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors from asking their patients about guns in their homes.
    17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.”

    http://www.washingtontimes.com…..z2IABp9PmK

  16. The gun control law signed yesterday by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, for instance, requires “mental health professionals” (including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses) to report any patient/client whom they think “is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”

    Das Leben der Anderen

  17. Jacob, it still says ‘Mario.’ Is there a joke we

    1. less than 50types aren’t catching.

      Used an

      1. Aw, too bad. But you can use ampersands now.

  18. , it may deter troubled gun owners from seeking help

    Biden: If you’re a gun owner, you’re troubled.

  19. Dude jsut looks liek a real kook to me.

    http://www.anono-web.tk

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