The Truth About Mental Illness and Guns

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In the wake of any mass shooting, there's a predictable and justified burst of public outrage and sorrow followed by a series of do-something legislative proposals meant to prevent similar tragedies from ever occurring again.

Depending on the political leanings of the politician or media figure offering the solution, the proposal often rests upon one of these twin assumptions: We must rid the world of the wrong kinds of weapons (i.e., "assault weapons"), or, we must keep guns away from the wrong kinds of people (i.e., "crazy people").  

"How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame from a national media machine that rewards them with wall-to-wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave, while provoking others to try to make their mark?" asked Wayne LaPierre, official lightning rod of the National Rifle Association, in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary shooting. "A dozen more killers, a hundred more? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?"

Even the nation's premier gun lobby believes keeping guns away from the mentally ill is a good idea. It's a sensible-sounding proposal, a logical precaution. But some forensic psychiatrists, whose jobs include the task of identifying potentially violent individuals, say that targeting the mentally ill isn't as simple as it sounds.

A recent Mayo Clinic study points out that mass shooters tend to meticulously plan their crimes weeks or months in advance, undermining the idea that the mentally ill simply "snap" and go on shooting rampages while also complicating the notion of effective gun control through gun registries, since a methodical planner has plenty of time to obtain weapons through illegal channels.

A more basic problem with a strategy that targets mentally ill people is that the vast majority of them are not violent. When you control for substance abuse, a factor that exacerbates violence in all populations, only about 4.3% of people with a "severe" mental illness are likely to commit any sort of violence, according to a University of Chicago study. The violence rate among those with a "non-severe" mental illness is about equal to that of the "normal" population.

"In the absence of a history of violence or any of the other risk factors, it is impossible to predict who will become violent," says Stephen K. Hoge, a forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University. "If we put doctors in the position of acting on behalf of the government or acting on behalf of social control, then that undermines the therapeutic mission."

In other words, by targeting and stigmatizing the mentally ill, especially in the absence of a coherent risk-identification strategy, the effect may be to discourage people who need help from seeking it, while also stripping away the rights of a huge group of people who will likely never commit a violent act.

California is the vanguard of the gun registry movement in the U.S. The Attorney General's office maintains a database called the "Armed Prohibited Persons System" (APPS), which identifies three groups of people whose guns should be confiscated: Individuals with a documented history of violence, convicted felons/wanted persons, and people with a "severe mental illness," as defined by the state. Lumping the broad category of "mentally ill people" in with criminals and violent abusers can ensnare innocent and seemingly harmless individuals in an overly expansive dragnet.

Take Lynette Phillips, a suburban California housewife who suffers from anxiety disorder. She encountered the APPS after a trip to Aurora Charter Oak Hospital's psych ward resulted in her involuntary commitment. Phillips claims she voluntarily checked herself into the hospital after a bad reaction to a new medication and that the involuntary commitment was an error made by an overzealous nurse. Representatives from Aurora Charter Oak declined to comment on the story, but she was released before the full 72-hour hold, and a letter from Phillips' personal psychiatrist confirms some of the details in her version of events, including the fact that she sought treatment herself.

But the involuntary commitment was enough to put Phillips on the government radar and make her an Armed Prohibited Person. A few days after she returned home, armed officers from the California Department of Justice entered her house in order to confiscate a gun she'd purchased as a gift for her husband. Upon finding more than one firearm in the house, the agents took all of the Phillips' guns and ammunition. They had no warrant. The CA DOJ would not comment on this story.

"They didn't need to do that," says Lynette's husband, David, who described a scene in which the officers spread all of their guns and ammunition on the front yard as the neighborhood watched. "They embarrassed us in front of the neighbors."

The Phillips have no criminal record, history of violence, or documented substance abuse problems. But it was only with the help of an attorney that they were able to get their guns back from the state after several months of effort, and only under the condition that David keep the guns in a safe that's inaccessible to Lynette. They did not return any of the seized ammo.

The Phillips have vowed never to let government agents into their home without a warrant again, and Lynette remains shaken by the experience. Since its inception in 2001, the APPS program has resulted in the seizure of more than 11,000 guns.

"To the extent that society continues to vilify the mentally ill and scapegoat them as the primary cause of gun violence, is a major step backward," says Hoge.

Watch the Reason TV video above, "The Truth About Mental Illness and Guns," to hear more about flawed gun control policies and for the full story behind the Phillips' gun confiscation experience. 

Approximately 7:30 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Shot by Tracy Oppenheimer, Will Neff, and Weissmueller.

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube Channel to receive automatic updates when new material goes live.

NEXT: How Glamour Shapes Our Lives: Q&A with Author and Former Reason Editor Virginia Postrel

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  1. Crazy is just doing things I don't understand for reasons that don't make sense to me. In that light, everyone is crazy to at least one person.

    1. Mental health is the avenue to gun confiscation...it worked for the Nazis

      http://fff.org/explore-freedom.....tally-ill/

    2. NB: There are a lot of comments from November 2013 on this thread.

      1. It's disgusting Reason and the 2013 commenters on this thread didn't use the knowledge gained from this window on the future to warn those southern white heterosexual TV news people their microaggressive chickens would come home to roost

      2. To all those commenters from 2013, bet everything you got on Seattle over Denver in the Superbowl next February. Then take all your winnings and put it on the futures prop for the Browns making the Superbowl in 2015.

        Oh, and go to hell if you think the question is whether or not the guy should have been 'allowed' to own a gun rather than who the hell should be allowed to say he can't own a gun?

        1. With a name like Flanagan? Of course he should not be allowed to own a gun. I am as opposed as anyone to gun control but the Irish? You have to draw the line somewhere.

        2. Also, the winning lottery numbers for the 29 May 2015 Megamillion Lottery is 20 27 38 49 66 2 with a multiplier of 4. You will win $233 million.

  2. Just because the mentally ill who are violent may spend long periods of time planning their outbursts doesn't mean they aren't completely irrational when doing their time-consuming planning. The time involved is just time involved in indulging in delusional obsessions.

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      1. I didn't check it out. Am I a bed person?

  3. Interesting but very misleading article (in places). The author has the wrong idea about mental illness if he thinks it involves "snapping" or going on a rampage -- this seems to confuse mental illness (a psychiatric term) with insanity (a legal term). The mentally ill are often capable of meticulous planning and also understanding the difference between right and wrong.

    Another example: "...the vast majority of them are not violent." The seriously mentally ill are indeed more likely to be violent than the general population and they contribute disproportionately (given their small raw numbers in the population) to violent acts.

    No denying that it may be impossible and undesirable to try to keep guns out of the hands of all mentally ill. But let's not also deny their violent tendencies. Controlling for substance abuse does not change this picture: It's still the mentally ill who are more likely to both abuse substances and to be violent compared to the general population.

    1. "'...the vast majority of them are not violent.'

      The seriously mentally ill are indeed more likely to be violent than the general population and they contribute disproportionately (given their small raw numbers in the population) to violent acts."

      The second paragraph does not in any way, shape, or form, refute or contradict the first.

      1. If you're talking about my post, then you're right: there's no contradiction. They understand the difference between right and wrong, and they choose to do wrong anyway. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

        1. "More likely" != "vast majority". There's nothing misleading about saying that the vast majority of the mentally ill are not violent.

          1. Yes, that's partly why the article is misleading: focusing on what the "vast majority" do deflects attention from the real issue: how the odds of acting violently increase if you're mentally ill.

            1. It's not misleading to point out that a policy which disarms the mentally ill will disarm mostly non-violent people.

              1. Agreed. That's not the misleading part. The misleading part comes when the author, when writing about mental illness and gun control, mentions how the vast majority are nonviolent but NEGLECTS to mention how the odds of violence are greater if mentally ill, compared to the general population. This is misleading because it omits a crucial fact that's relevant to the debate at hand, a fact that helps balance out the one-sided view perpetrated by the author.

                1. the point is that even with the "increased" chance of violence it is still irrelevant in the big picture. You infringe on everyone's right in "attempt" to stop a single or select few people. Are you going to piss away 10s of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people's rights to in an effort to MAYBE stop a single event? The chance of it working is a complete joke and at an unacceptable cost. This is also not really even touching the fact that it infringes natural born rights. Life comes with risks....you can't regulate and mitigated it away. Plus you create an unstoppable precedent that can be abused forever. Who defines mental illness? The State can abuse it to due away with people and control the population.....i am sure it already happens. It won't solve the small issue and causes more and destroys freedoms and liberties.

                  It is simple. Life has risks.....and people have rights...so fuck off.

              2. But then, why does everyone have to be armed?

            2. Talk about begging the question

            3. Talk about begging the question

    2. The author has the wrong idea about mental illness if he thinks it involves "snapping" or going on a rampage

      Did you even read the article? It was pretty clear that the author doesn't believe that.

    3. Another example: "...the vast majority of them are not violent." The seriously mentally ill are indeed more likely to be violent than the general population and they contribute disproportionately (given their small raw numbers in the population) to violent acts.

      Please be specific about (a) what constitutes "seriously" mentally ill and (b) the stats that back up your claim.

      1. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar syndrome, but it's the paranoid schizophrenics that appear to pose the greatest threat of violence. While it's worth noting that most are not violent, and also that most violent crimes are not committed by them (schizophrenia is rare), it's equally worth noting that they are more likely to be violent than the general population.

        1. Forgot to add these links (two of the many studies documenting the correlation between mental illness and violence):

          http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/180/6/490.full

          http://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/s.....enia.shtml

        2. You forgot to those diagnosed with anti-social (dissocial) behavior disorders.

          1. Where's Tony to clear this up for us?

    4. Mental illness and insanity are separate things. What is needed is an extremely limited definition of insanity, and a legal, not medical system for determining insanity. Such a process would require the use of the courts and most likely juries to determine that a persons mental illness makes them unable to determine right from wrong.

    5. Mentally ill people who are violent are usually prone not to methodical planning but sudden outbursts. They're also likely to already be under the "criminal" part of CA's law.

      All things being equal, merely having a mental illness doesn't make anyone more likely be unusually violent - in fact they're more likely to be victims of violence and physical abuse.

      1. There's someone who knows what she's talking about 😛

    6. Wait, are we talking about someone a shrink or other professional friend said is an unfriendly person? Or are we talking FBI crime statistics about uppity negros?

      "In the absence of a history of violence or any of the other risk factors, ..." -- from the OP

      Because all I see here is: "In the absence of a history of rape or any of the other risk factors of rape..."

      Which, in our Minority Report land of non-precognitive statistics, means we should be making eunuchs out of the melanin endowed population. Because, white wymmynz.

    7. This was actually where a local militia as the basis for defense was quite useful and far better than a bunch of psychiatrists or bureaucrats. When a town musters and trains, it is a feedback mechanism to figure out which local citizens are just a bit loopy when you put a gun in their hand. Even if the definition of 'a bit too crazy' ends up being something more ill-defined than some DSM 'disorder', its probably a bit more practical.

      Course it still ain't that easy (local militias do actually have to muster occasionally rather than blow it off - and our history proves that other illegitimate criteria than 'crazy' will tend to occur as well) - and I'm certain that there is a libertarian objection to even a militia muster. But it is probably the only way that we can deal with the most predictable violence before its too late to do anything.

  4. it is impossible to predict who will become violent

    And this is why we must ban private ownership of all guns immediately. Because it's the only way to be sure.

    /grabbertard

    1. If they had listened to you two years ago, this never would have happened!

      "If it saves one life..."

  5. After every discussion regarding this subject it becomes abundantly clear that the best method to counteract such behavior, while keeping the greatest atmosphere of liberty, is an armed populace that smokes the offender within seconds of his first trigger pull.

  6. So much for the influence of Thomas Szasz at Reason.

    1. How do you mean? Szasz long advocated against using psychiatry to take away people's rights.

      1. And Szasz debunked the very idea of "mental illness."

          1. He pointed out that the term "mental illness" was a category error and an abuse of language. This has often been misconstrued as Szasz denying that psychological disorders exist, but that's a misstatement: Szasz claimed that disease was always physical--e.g. a disease of the brain would be a "brain disease," but not a "mental," "psychological," or "emotional" disease, as none of these adjectives have meaning when used in reference to illness, which is necessarily physical. Until psychiatrists start putting patients in fMRI machines and pointing out malfunctioning areas of the brain (a process that would fail to distinguish the majority of the "mentally ill" from the "mentally healthy"), it's a category error to say that they suffer from any sort of illness at all.

            The problems of psychology and psychiatry, in other words, are social, human, and psychological. To place them in the medical arena without sufficient evidence of actual disease is asking for trouble and abuse.

            1. No question that society needs to stop being schizophrenic about mental illness. But even under an fMRI threshold, how do you get the 'citizen accused' into a magnet machine to peek at their brain?

              You have to seize their person. And that's the probable cause problem: "Your honor, probable cause was satisfied as the accused was quoting Ayn Rand and the Consitution."

              You need speech or behaviour as your metric to put them in irons. Not criminal behaviour, perfectly legal behaviour that gives Officer Friendly a sad. Or, exactly what it is now without the MRI.

              Make it require criminal speech or behavior and you get 'he resisted arrest, so we gave him a New Mexican colostomy, a forced blood draw for drugs and alcohol, a genetic swab, and an MRI to check for bulging brain parts.' Where the standard for resisting arrest is: "He didn't drop the weapon he didn't have before I asked him to drop it." Just as it is now.

    2. I felt compelled to reply to this, because I have great respect for Szasz's work, especially in relation to the deinstitutionalization movement (despite its flaws) and his abiding respect for the autonomous will of the individual, which is something that might be lacking in modern mental health care. Also, his insights about over-medicalization remain invaluable.

      All that said, it is probably true that I'm not a full-on Szaszian.

  7. Good video, though the music was obnoxious at times.

  8. We're the medication generation.
    I disagree somewhat with the idea that people who are on constant meds (i.e. mentally ill) have a similar rate of violent tendency as the "normal" population.
    What is ignored is the very high percentage of mass killers that were taking scrips. I would love to see them talk about that.
    Feeding obnoxious little Johnny Ritalin for breakfast will have it's consequences.

  9. the effect may be to discourage people who need help from seeking it, while also stripping away the rights of a huge group of people who will likely never commit a violent act.

    Ah yes, we can't possibly strip away the rights of a huge group of people who will likely never commit a violent act. So let us worry so much about the rights of the mentally ill whilst we trample all over the rights of firearms owners - a much larger group of people who are much less likely to commit violent acts.

    Sigh.

    1. False dichotomy?
      Certainly no one here endorses gun control.
      It's just sad that the NRA tries to push for measures against the mentally ill as a defense mechanism.

      1. You couldn't tell by the fucking articles. I'm a bit disappointed that the site that passes it off as THE site for libertarian viewpoints is arguing gun control based on the progressives game plan.

        I'm now to the point that every time the progressives clambor for gun control that wouldn't stop the tragedy that happened, the response should be, hell no the second amendment is fine as it is. Every proposal, every single one, is a step close to registration and then confiscation. It's their dream because it will give them the ability, once they've achieved single party rule, to jail their political opponents with no resistance.

        I'll keep my guns, because I don't trust my government.

        1. Pretty sure that the author isn't suggesting infringing upon anyone's second amendment rights.

  10. I've got a question; WTF is the mental health community doing in all of this? They are the real anti-libertarians here (much less than the NRA). Psychological science is inherently a catch-22, where anyone with a degree from a government-licensed institution is sane and everyone else is 'TBD'. Moreover, this license, as indicated in the video, doesn't make a psychological professional significantly more able to diagnose and treat the violently mentally ill (this despite the abundance of 'treatments' like drugs that cause autism and sex-changes that don't reduce or prevent suicides). Even further, these licensed professionals will provide individuals with cognition altering substances without a full understanding of or ability to accommodate the patient's threat to themselves or others.

    I suppose it's a good thing that the link between controlling human thought and government is so obviously broken and loose, but it seems like there should be a better way.

  11. I love how the gun is pointed RIGHT at my face in the picture.

    "Take my life, but spare my money!"

  12. The old USSR slapped anyone that didn't agree with them in a "mental hospital". I susppose that our Gov. could use the same criteria.

  13. I think the most important part of this is pointing out how futile taking away guns is. The sort of person who is ostensibly the target of such legislation is perfectly capable of googling any number of explosive recipes (there really are some you can make out of stuff you find at Walmart, that can be made with basic chemistry to boot).

    Don't forget that plenty of mentally ill have done this think "Unabomber" and "mad bomber". Also don't forget that the largest mass killing in a school was done with dynamite not guns.

    1. These are political solutions, not meaningful ones. By definition, they're meant to appeal to the rabble, not anyone who would offer an attempt to think matters through carefully.

  14. Alcohol and drug abuse are far more likely to result in violent behavior than mental illness by itself. In the
    National Institute of Mental Health's E.C.A. study, for example, people with no mental disorder who
    abused alcohol or drugs were nearly seven times as likely as those without substance abuse to commit
    violent acts.

  15. Alcohol and drug abuse are far more likely to result in violent behavior than mental illness by itself. In the
    National Institute of Mental Health's E.C.A. study, for example, people with no mental disorder who
    abused alcohol or drugs were nearly seven times as likely as those without substance abuse to commit
    violent acts.

  16. Mental Health is the avenue to gun confiscation..
    It worked for the Nazis......

    Politicians and Media pushing gun control in a dangerous and dishonest manner..

    Next step would be to disarm people diagnosed with anxiety, depression or even if your child has ADHD..

    300,000,000 prescriptions were written for psychiatric drugs just in the year 2009

    http://fff.org/explore-freedom.....tally-ill/

  17. Step 1: Declare that no one with a mental illness can legally own any means of lethal self defense.

    Step 2: Expand the definition of mental illness to include anyone who feels the need for a lethal means of self defense.

    Step 3: Total confiscation of any means of lethal self defense.

    1. Excluding government employees of course.

      1. Politicians are all sociopaths and as such should be prohibited from owning firearms.

        1. Politicians would be cool with that.

          Because politicians get to surround themselves with people with guns. Then they don't hae to carry two devices.

          1. Then they shouldn't be allowed to have armed bodyguards either.

        2. That is a problem I have with open borders advocates -- they want to let politicians in!!!!

      2. Police unions would join the NRA in killing any gun control legislation that banned off-duty and retired cops from using handguns.

        However, a law that makes them an even more special citizen, whose public service and dedication has earned them the special right to self-defense, which is denied to lesser citizens? They love the sound of that.

        Proggies in general love it, since they're usually "licensed expert" morons.

        1. My favorite part about progressive views of cops is that they vary depending on what the progressive is currently arguing.

          So if they're arguing about criminal justice reform, cops are evil racists who serve as willing tools of white supremacy. Furthermore, cops are inherently violent given that police officers have a much higher rate of domestic abuse than the general population.

          However, if they're talking about getting rid of guns, cops are suddenly the only people we can trust with firearms and we should place our safety entirely in their hands.

          1. Progressives are not known for consistency or intellectual honesty. It's all about whatever they feel at any given moment.

          2. They're like religious zealots who never acknowledge when their holy tenets contradict each other. Or, there's always some half-assed excuse. "Once we figure out how to regulate racism and unjustified violence right out of the police, it will all be as right as rain!"

          3. "My favorite part about progressive views of cops is that they vary depending on what the progressive is currently arguing.
            "

            And this differs from their views of anything else, how?

    2. That's quite a catch.

  18. Mental illness treatment is on the rise and gun violence is down, but lets threaten the 70% of Americans with a prescription with confiscation if they can't prove they aren't crazy.

    Great tool for disarming veterans, non-conformists, contrarians, people that turn oxygen into carbon dioxide, etc.

    What are the chances a cop with PTSD gets their right to perpetual gun ownership even in jurisdictions that forbid almost all gun possession, such as New York, of having their firearms confiscated?

  19. First!

    Well, first after the 21-month-old comments.

    1. And you didn't even manage that, you pathetic failure.

      1. It could be worse. I could be Irish.

        1. You got beaten by a mic! A sarcastic mic! Ha ha!

          1. Sucks to be beaten by a microphone.

            1. You think a guy who doesn't capitalize his name can spell? Sheesh.

    2. Or maybe not.

      Damn your nimble fingers, sarcasmic!

      1. Ha ha!

        /Nelson Muntz

  20. The problem with declaring Flanagan mentally ill and therefore not allowing him to own a gun is that prior to the shooting all the signs he was 'mentally ill' would have also applied to like 10 million SJWs.

    Didn't like white people? Saw race everywhere? Offended by everything? Allowed his neuroses to make it impossible to hold down a job? You've just described every person who posts on Tumblr.

    1. It's a left wing Taliban. We have left-wing terrorists right here at home!

    2. You've just described every person who posts on Tumblr.

      Ahem

  21. "Should Vester Lee Flanagan Have Been Allowed to Own a Gun?"

    That isn't the question. The question is "Should we develop a National database of persons judged to be too mentally ill to be trusted with their Civil Rights?"

    IF psychology was a Science instead of an Art, IF such a data base could be lock against improper use, and IF we could trust those administering the data to be impartial and apolitical?.

    That's a lot of pretty big Ifs. So, no.

    1. IF psychology was a Science instead of an Art

      Nice.

      1. Mind you, I'm not saying it isn't a USEFUL art. My wife of thirty years had a breakdown twenty years ago, and contrary to me previous opinions, the therapy subculture helped a very great deal. But there is no way for a therapist, councillor, psychiatrist, or whatever, to point to a series of yes/no signs and say "This person is suffering from A, therefore B". It's all opinion, and if opinion dictates who can own a gun (or speak his mind, or go to church) we all know where this is headed.

    2. It is "art" like a Pollock. They throw some random paint on a canvas just to see what 'sticks' as a diagnosis.

  22. It is unclear if Flanagan suffered from any form of mental illness

    Do an autopsy. If there's no brain pathology we'll know brain illness wasn't a factor.

  23. Can someone please explain to me the difference between a crazy person who kills people, and a sane person who decides to murder people? At this point, I can't tell anymore.

    1. I am not sure murder is insane.

      I would say these particular murders are the act of a mad man. He had nothing to gain from it either on an individual level or a tribal group level. It was by definition irrational.

      There is no universal morality box in the human brain that breaks and therefore allows murderers to murder. Nor is there a physical law that makes it rationally impossible for someone to murder someone and not make gain either for himself or for his tribal group.

      1. Are all people who do something irrational now crazy? I think that's a rather wide definition of crazy.

  24. I'm of the opinion that freedom is worth a shooting spree or two, and the fact that our society protects the rights of individuals--up to and including the right to choose to own a gun--despite the latest shooting spree is something Americans should be proud of.

    Meanwhile, I can live with being painted as cold-hearted by the progressives for supporting the Second Amendment in the wake of a public shooting like this; what bothers me is when progressives and others try to paint my kind of thinking as unusual.

    There isn't anything unusual about thinking that the rights of arsonists, child molesters, and rapists should be protected--including their right to a jury trial, their right to legal counsel, their right not to be forced to testify against themselves, their right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishments, etc. Hundreds of millions of Americans support all of those rights--even if respecting those rights means that arsonists, child molesters, and rapists sometimes go free.

    There isn't anything unusual about hundreds of millions of Americans standing by the principles of a just and free society despite what was broadcast on the news last night, and if my fellow Americans are still willing to stand up for our rights despite what's in the news, it isn't a good reason for progressives to disparage them. Rather, it's a good reason for honest, classic liberals to think that maybe there's hope for the American people after all.

    1. The impulse that drives average Americans to respect the rights of gun owners is the same impulse that drives them to respect the rights of, for instance, gay people--regardless of whether they're personally fond of gay people. There is no right but the right to make choices for ourselves, and every time the American people choose to protect that right--in whatever form--it is a good thing for everyone who wants their right to make choices for themselves protected.

    2. Some of us don't fetishize or otherwise distinguish guns--they are like asbestos or lead paint, a thing in the world that is useful for some purposes but that otherwise contributes to a public "health" problem. Thus the question is whether the public health issue is serious enough to restrict the thing.
      The mere presence of asbestos increases your chances of mesothelioma; the mere presence of guns increases your chances of having your brains splattered on a wall.

      1. the mere presence of guns increases your chances of having your brains splattered on a wall.

        Yeah. Because guns are magical totems that magically jump up and shoot people. They don't require people to actually use them; they magically shoot people all by themselves. The mere presence of a firearm is dangerous because, unlike other inanimate objects, they can magically splatter your brains on a wall. Guns must be banned because they are magic.

        1. If the presence of guns doesn't automatically increase your chances of being shot, then guns must not be effective for shooting people. Sort of how a knife that can't accidentally give you a cut is not useful for filleting.

          People don't successfully kill themselves or others quite as easily if there are no guns around. This is not a difficult thing to wrap your little mind around. Ken's point is that he doesn't care; the freedom is worth the cost. Admitting the cost is at least an honest first step.

          1. Guns don't shoot people. People do. Knives don't accidentally give cuts. People accidentally cut themselves. Idiot.

          2. Which is why the asbestos comparison breaks down.

            If the government bans asbestos, you can use other forms of insulation that don't cause cancer.

            If the government bans guns, so they aren't around to increase the likelihood of people getting shot, then.... you can't really go find a gun that can't be used to shoot something in self-defense.

            So, gun grabbers are like people who love cold weather, wanting to ban insulation because sometimes insulation causes cancer, and then they get all bitchy that someone who lives up north still wants to be warm in the winter.

            If you haven't noticed, we do regulate guns. If the results of our democratic system displease you, then stop the tyrany whining and go get on top of that. Because democracy tends to be the best way to govern, so this must be optimal. Or some such bullshit.

            1. "Which is why the asbestos comparison breaks down."

              Just for the record, the asbestos comparison breaks down because inanimate objects aren't people with a right to make choices for themselves--and Tony is trying to equate asbestos and paint with people and their rights.

              In fact, who's to say the government should ban lead paint or asbestos? If lead paint or asbestos weren't banned, does anyone here imagine that manufacturers would continue to produce the stuff anyway?

              Any company that did would quickly become the property of plaintiff's lawyers--like Dow Corning became the property of breast implant plaintiffs and tobacco companies effectively became the property of their plaintiffs, too.

              Is there anyone here who thinks the government should criminally prosecute adults for eating lead paint chips or asbestos if they want to? You might reasonable refer them to a mental health professional, but criminal prosecution? I don't think so.

              1. If lead paint or asbestos weren't banned, does anyone here imagine that manufacturers would continue to produce the stuff anyway?

                Most progressives feel that if it wasn't for government, every single business out there would be peddling poison. Businesses are greedy entities that seek profits at any cost, including killing their customers. The only thing standing between predatory businesses and the people is government. Government protects us from these businesses that would otherwise kill customers and workers alike. I mean, take the FDA for example. Ask any progressive out there and they'll tell you that before government regulated food, everything was poisoned. They honestly feel that way.

                1. Basically, they're like people who listened to a Teddy Roosevelt speech once and considered all thinking on he subject to be complete.

                2. The biggest thing that keeps those products off the market is the individual right--which is the arch enemy of every progressives.

                  The reason Chinese consumers are subjected to products like that is because they don't have individual rights over there.

                  If you're a factory worker, and you use a defective product that harms you or you're children, you don't have the right to take that company to court and seek damages. And certainly not of the company in question has connections with the government or the People's Revolutionary Army.

                  One of the primary ways that companies rent seek here in the U.S. is through regulation--that helps free them from product liability. Well, the government regulators say so many parts per billion are acceptable! Procedures were followed!

                  China is what we'd look like without a systemic respect for individual rights. If your company legitimately harms some individual's property or health in this country, there are a sea of product liability lawyers that will be happy to take your case on contingency. Like I said, there are a number of Fortune 500 companies that were taken over by the plaintiffs those companies harmed. That can't happen in China--because they don't have a systemic respect for individual rights.

                  1. Damn auto korrectz!

                    Anyway, even the environment in the U.S. in regards to industrial waste would be like it is in China if it weren't for individual rights. But the progressives don't see that--or if they see it, they don't care. Individual rights get in the way of progress, and we have to sacrifice the rights of the few for the general good. Progressives are as dumb as a sack of rocks.

      2. the mere presence of guns increases your chances of having your brains splattered on a wall.

        I just went and checked the guns in my closet, and none have moved from the spot I put them in. Am I just lucky?

        1. Guns? Closet? You sick fuck.

        2. You don't want to know the wild orgies your guns have when you're away.

        3. Yes. Your guns just might get up and shoot you in the middle of the night. Even if they are unloaded and locked in a safe. They're magic. You can't trust them. They can only be trusted in the hands of government employees because they have the power to control the magic. Mere peasants do not possess that magical ability.

      3. The mere presence of a bathtub increases your chances of drowning. The mere presence of a car increases your chances of being run over. The mere presence of a knife increases your chances of having your wrists cut. The mere presence of a rope increase the chances of your hanging by the neck. The mere presence of an electrical outlet increases the chances of your being electrocuted. The mere presence of a deck increases your chances of jumping to your death. The mere presence of household cleansers increases your chance of being poisoned. The mere presence of a spoon increases your chances of heart disease. The mere presence of sugar increases your chances of diabetes...

        1. Indeed. Now you're getting it. Congratulations. Now after nap time we can discuss cost-benefit relationships.

          1. Let me know when you're done with your nap. In the mean time I'm going to go clean my guns.

          2. But gun grabbers don't recognize a benefit to gun ownership. So when we try to have cost-benefit conversations, they're already too ignorant to move forward with on those terms.

            As far as cost/benefit analysis goes, libertarians engage in much better cost analysis than progressives engage in benefit analysis. So, really, you're just demonstrating the irrationality of the progressive stance.

            1. But gun grabbers don't recognize a benefit to gun ownership.

              Most progressives equate self defense with vigilante justice. They do not consider using a gun to defend your self, home, or family to be a benefit of gun ownership. Quite the opposite. They view that as vigilante justice. They would rather you die with a phone in your hand than live with a gun in your hand.

        2. The mere presence of Tony increases your chances of stupidity.

      4. what are you doing Tony that the mere presence of guns increases your chance of having your brains splattered against a wall? are you a burglar?

        1. He's not a burglar. He doesn't rob people. He's a progressive. He has government rob people for him.

      5. "Some of us don't fetishize or otherwise distinguish guns--they are like asbestos or lead paint, a thing in the world that is useful for some purposes but that otherwise contributes to a public "health" problem."

        Some would say the same about gay people and their rights, Tony. It's a good thing we don't listen to them.

        The point is that neither other people nor their rights are like asbestos or lead paint--things that should be abolished if and when they aren't useful or beneficial to you personally. Wanting to arrange society so that other people can only do things that are beneficial to you is indicative of some kind of moral failing, Tony.

        And the fact that you willfully treat people and their rights like asbestos or lead paint is further evidence of your moral bankruptcy. Isn't respecting the value of other people and their right to make choices for themselves what ethics is all about? Even utilitarians recognize some kind of moral dilemma there. You resolve it by treating people like paint?

        Ewwwww.

        1. "Some would say the same about gay people and their rights, Tony. It's a good thing we don't listen to them."

          There would be less AIDS.....

          Just sayin

          1. I don't know that the Catholic Church is in the best interests of society, but Tony has a hard time understanding that people have rights regardless of whether what they're doing benefits Tony or the rest of society.

            He seems to think we only exist to benefit him. That is what it means to be morally defective.

            Psychopaths have no qualms about doing whatever they think benefits them--regardless of whether it hurts other people--and Tony is like that.

            I thought it was bad when he wouldn't admit that Rosa Parks had the right to sit in the front of a public bus becasue that might suggest her rights derive from something other than government. I thought it was bad when he wouldn't admit that Jews had a right to their lives during the holocaust--no matter what the government said.

            The other day, he was genuinely asking for someone to explain to him why gay rights activists should care about anyone but themselves--that there was no rational basis for caring about other people! He was practically daring us to explain why people should care about each other.

            He's failed every single morality test I've ever seen put to him--his inability to empathize with other people and their rights is the only thing he's consistent about. He's a moral defective.

            1. he's a mental defective too. he says brains splattered against a wall like it's a bad thing yet his entire political philosophy is based on the threat of splattering your brains against the wall if you don't comply with his endless list of demands.

            2. About two or three years ago he was advocating for government mandated contraception.

              I really think we should consider that we stop critizing Tony as a liberal as nearly everything that one would consider liberal he is definitely not.

              Just a full blow authoritarian really.

              1. Indeed, people who self-identify as "liberals" - unless they specifically say classical liberals - are not liberal about anything. Nor are they "progressive"; what they propose is not progress, it's a regression back to the days when government (the chief, the king, etc.) regulated every single aspect of your life for you.

      6. having your brains splattered on a wall.

        yep. the founders checkmated your plans for your fellow humans 200 years before you were born.

      7. "the mere presence of guns increases your chances of having your brains splattered on a wall."

        The mere presence of kitchen knives increases your chances of having your finger chopped off or your throat slit or gut stabbed.

      8. Thus the question is whether the public health issue is serious enough to restrict the thing.

        We already answered that question with the Brady Bill. We wanted reasonable, sensible gun control laws so we passed the Brady Bill. The gun safety advocates then all packed up their tents and went home, satisfied that - having gotten the reasonable and sensible gun control law they wanted - there certainly was no need to demand more than that, since that of course would cross the line into demanding unreasonable and unsensible gun control laws. Or it would require admitting that what they really wanted all along was not reasonable and sensible and their argument for 'reasonable and sensible' was no more than 'just the tip and I'll pull out, I promise'.

        1. And this is the sad part. Gun owners absolutely do not trust progressive/liberal types when anything about guns comes up, with good reason. The "reasonable" (drink!) goal post keeps moving, and all we see is one more step towards confiscation.

          The government's idea of compromise is me only giving up some of my rights instead of all of them. You want to compromise? Make suppressors (silencers) legal; make ownership of exotic weapons less difficult. Show us that you actually believe in compromise.

          It ends up putting us in weird positions in arguments. God help me, but I agree when Tony says there is a cost/risk with firearms ownership. I just don't believe that any of the proposed solutions would make anything better.

      9. The mere presence of asbestos increases your chances of mesothelioma

        No. Airflow between the asbestos and your lungs is required for there to be an increased risk. If the asbestos is in a sealed compartment there is no risk. (Just like unloaded guns in a safe).

        1. But the point with asbestos is that the risk:benefit is obvious. You can bet your sweet ass that, if people saw a substantial benefit to having asbestos in their homes, we'd find ways to get it.

          In some ways, a better analogy is light bulbs. Our betters decided that we shouldn't have incandescent bulbs, but many of us peasants see a real benefit to them. Guess what? We find a way to get them.

      10. Look, just because you're a moral midget with no compunctions about murdering your political enemies and have readily admitted that the only thing keeping you from engaging in the most amoral acts is because there's a law about it, doesn't mean the rest of humanity is as sick as you Tonykins.

  25. Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press just said the reactions to the VA TV News murders were predictable. The left called for more gun control while the right said we need to do something about mental illness.

    I must of missed the whole right-wing "society must do something about mental illness" excuse for Vester Lee Flanagan's murders.

    1. I have shared the article Mental Health Issues Put 34,500 on New York's No-Guns List a few times in this site, but it is once again relevant, and I would think that we will see a push in this direction.

    2. Yeah, I saw that completely differently.

      In the wake of this latest shooting, the left called for an end to Obamacare, and the right called for the abolition of the income tax.

      It's always surprising when both sides are calling for whatever we wish they were calling for in our dreams, but somehow that's the way it always turns out--if you're Chuck Todd, I guess.

    3. Isn't Todd the one that committed a felony by bringing a standard-capacity magazine into DC?

      But let's not prosecute him; he meant well.

  26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iADPHWoJb0

    Australia has its own shitty version of The Daily Show. Anyone want to watch a dumb, unfunny leftist from Australia explain to us why any criticism of feminism is evidence of misogyny?

    It is physically painful. The argument seems to be that because feminists did good things in 1965, criticizing modern feminism is wrong.

    1. The only cure for that fucked-in-the-face moll is Housos, lots of Housos.

      1. Oh my God. From Wikipedia:

        " The series is a satirical parody of low income Australian residents of fictional suburb Sunnyvale, who are living in Housing Commission public housing."

        If someone made this show in America, it would be the greatest shitshow the world has ever seen.

        1. I think It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is in the same ballpark (protagonists with no redeeming qualities whatsoever) but yeah... the absurdly extreme identity politics and grievance mongering in the US would preclude a great deal of the humor of Housos. Oz has (imo) some of the greatest television in the Anglosphere. If I may be so bold as to recommend Utopia as one of the most (unintentionally?) libertarian shows since Yes, Minister/Prime Minister.

          https://youtu.be/8bFM4FwoEtw

      2. Wow. That did cleanse the palate.

      3. I think Trailer Park Boys should sue.

    2. She's tired of all the crap in the world. So it's funny.

    3. Pass but thanks anyway!

  27. Speaking of the Virginia murders.

    It was really GamerGate that did it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpcnnNHgPYA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bwL6IpYlew

    1. Dont let anyone ever call you a drama queen

  28. OT-ish: Submitted, for your approval: Execution for a Snickers bar

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-.....found-dead

    A young black man arrested by police in Portsmouth, Virginia, has been found dead in jail after spending almost four months behind bars without bail for stealing groceries worth $5.

    Jamycheal Mitchell, who had mental health problems, was discovered lying on the floor of his cell by guards early last Wednesday, according to authorities. While his body is still awaiting an autopsy, senior prison officials said his death was not being treated as suspicious.

    1. "A young black man arrested by police in Portsmouth, Virginia, has been found dead in jail after spending almost four months behind bars without bail for stealing groceries worth $5."

      How the fuck did this happen?

      1. That's for the authorities to know an for everyone else to get stonewalled trying to find out.

      2. "Judge Morton Whitlow ruled Mitchell was not competent to stand trial and ordered that he be transferred to Eastern State hospital, a state-run mental health facility in Williamsburg, for treatment...

        ...But the hospital said it had no vacancy and the 24-year-old was therefore detained in jail until his death on 19 August"

        1. "a state-run mental health facility"

          The glory of government run healthcare!

          So were there no other mental health hospitals they could have sent him to in the meantime? Or maybe they could have just released him if they couldn't find place at a psych hospital since stealing $5.00 worth of groceries isn't worth locking someone up.

          1. ""were there no other mental health hospitals they could have sent him to in the meantime?""

            Simply put = no.

            most inpatient state mental health facilities were closed permanently back in the 70s. Those that are left have almost no capacity for involuntarily-committed people. There are a lot of bureaucratic reasons that the institutions that remain do everything they can from accepting people who could become a drain on their resources.

        2. Libertarians for force feeding at the hands of the state!

          I remember the days where libertarians thought people have to have the right to kill themselves.

          1. While I agree that self-ownership includes the right to self-destruction, do you think diminished capacity via brain disease perhaps warrants coercive intervention to save a life?

    2. Also, for the record they're claiming he died of starvation.

      Criminal neglect, certainly. 'Execution' is a bit of a stretch.

      Its actually more absurd than a jailhouse shanking. People don't starve to death "all of a sudden". They knew he was off his meds and refusing food. Sure, the mental hospital might have had no vacancies, but when someone loses 65 pounds and isn't lucid anymore, the state was actively preventing the guy from getting emergency-room treatment that could have easily saved his life.

      1. I'm practicing my "Clickbait Headline" skillz.

        1. Look out Robby, someone wants your job.

        2. "I'm practicing my "Clickbait Headline" skillz."

          Man starves to death over $5.00 and that's not okay.

          1. "This one weird trick could have saved his life."

  29. So what defines mentally ill; being diagnosed with any disorder listed in the current edition of the DSM? So, someone diagnosed with one of the following will no longer be able to have guns: 1. Phobia about horses. 2. Breathing-related sleep disorder. 3. Trichotillomania (pulling ones hair out).

    A problem is that people with the above three examples of mental disorders are likely to seek treatment and therefore be diagnosed. Yet their respective mental disorders pose little to no problems for others, especially any threat of violence because of those disorders. However, those with personality disorders are far less likely to seek help or understanding. These people seem to not even realize they have problems; are very good at hiding it from others, and/or manipulating others to think there is no mental issue. They are far less likely to be diagnosed until some fateful event when it maybe too late.

    1. Presumably the gun ban should only be in effect for disorders that make the sufferer more prone to violence or remove ordinary inhibitions to violent behavior.

    2. The terms describing that are "egodystonic" and "egosyntonic."

      Psychologists and counsellors can be pretty effective when you come wanting help. I think it is safe to say that someone plotting a spree killing doesn't want that kind of help.

      "How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb?"

      "One, but the lightbulb has to ?want? to change."

  30. Uh-oh...

    Women should dress modestly or expect to 'entice a rapist' ? claims singer Chrissie Hynde

    Pretenders lead singer claims sexual assault in the 1970s was her own 'fault' because of the way she was dressed

    The book details an incident when she was 21 when she was picked up by a motorcycle gang who promised to take her to a party but instead took her to an empty house and sexually assaulted her.

    But she said: "If I'm walking around in my underwear and I'm drunk? Who else's fault can it be? ? Er, the guy who attacks you?

    "Oh, come on! That's just silly.

    "If I'm walking around and I'm very modestly dressed and I'm keeping to myself and someone attacks me, then I'd say that's his fault.

    "But if I'm being very lairy and putting it about and being provocative, then you are enticing someone who's already unhinged ? don't do that."

    Well, Chrissie, if you go around spouting such opinions, then you are also enticing someone who's unhinged, as you'll surely soon learn.

    1. need some pictures of 21yr old chrissy hynde in undies to verify the accuracy of this story

      1. some pictures of 21yr old chrissy hynde in undies

        Will reblog

    2. No one would say it's blaming the victim to suggest you shouldn't walk around in a crime-ridden area shuffling an enormous wad of cash, but somehow that doesn't apply when it comes to women trying to avoid rape.

      Of course, there's no surefire way to avoid being raped, but like theft...there is common sense and willingness to try different preventative measures. Because the ultimate goal is not to find the right person to blame, but to fucking avoid it completely.

      1. That's what's most infuriating to me about the feminists' approach to rape. They actually rebuke the notion that women can and should do whatever they can to prevent rape. They can't differentiate reality from some morally perfect state. Their logic is "women shouldn't have to worry about rape, therefore they should just pretend that the threat does not exist."

      2. There are really two views/statements here.

        One involves moral agency. The rapist is absolutely wrong in his crime, and there isn't any argument worth making about that.

        The other is risk reduction. Dressing modestly probably doesn't reduce the risk of rape, but that is something that could be debated.

        The shitstorm-like reaction that is sure to follow is the false conflation of the second view with the first.

        I realise I will regret saying this, but there is a similar set of arguments about the 9/11 attacks. Asking "is there anything that the U.S. government did that made these attacks more likely?" is not the same as suggesting that the people who did it aren't evil.

    3. It was in the early '70s. Everyone was getting sexually assaulted by motorcycle gangs in the early 1970s.

      In all seriousness, though, the problem may not have been the way she was dressed so much as trusting a motorcycle gang to...keep their word. It's really hard to believe that bikers in the '70s would do something like that!

      I was read something somewhere about sex trafficking of village Thai girls, and the activists were saying how incredibly hard it is to persuade girls/women of a certain age that the guys that are promising them good paying jobs as club hostesses, etc. maybe aren't telling them the truth.

      I think that may be a universal susceptibility. Girls of a certain age really want to believe that the wild and crazy guys they like are actually good and honest people, and their parents are just trying to keep them away from those guys becasue the parents just don't really understand what nice guys they are.

      I used to work in an office with a real jackass a-hole, and we were all sitting around the lunch room, one day, talking about what a jackass a-hole he was, when one of smokin' hot receptionists piped up indignantly, "Well, he's always been really nice to me".

      You can try to explain to somebody that just because the jackass a-hole is really nice to smokin' hot chicks like you doesn't necessarily mean he isn't a jackass a-hole, but if you have to explain that to somebody, chances are the argument has already been lost.

      1. I bet jackass a-holes never end up in the friend zone.

  31. I've been a lone voice in demanding a northern wall for years. This man might have my vote!

  32. If we're going down, may as well be entertained.

    1. I may not agree with Trump ":on the issues": but he's good, very good

      It's all worth it if he takes out Bush III

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