In yesterday’s town hall meeting about gun violence, the NRA’s Dana Loesch called the Douglas school shooter “crazy” and an “insane monster.” These aren’t clinical terms, of course. Loesch isn’t a mental health professional. It is possible this teenager might have benefited from better mental health screenings and intervention, but Loesch isn’t qualified to judge. Anyway it can take months to get an appointment with a therapist. You can buy a gun in an afternoon.
Loesch argued that all we need to do is put all the crazy people on a registry and keep them from buying guns. First, she should know that it’s offensive to categorize mentally ill people as “crazy.” Also, most people who suffer from mental illness are not violent and never will be. Second, it’s easy to talk about red flags and missed warning signs after the fact, but it is tough to diagnose a killer before he kills. What criteria will we use to identify potentially violent individuals? I suppose we could start by using the checklist for warning signs of youth violence from the American Psychological Association. One of the signs? Access to or fascination with weapons, especially guns. One of the key active signs of violence? Obtaining and carrying a weapon.
In other words, we should keep guns away from people who like guns, who try to buy guns, and who enjoy shooting guns. I assume Loesch and everyone at the NRA will be on board with this. The checklist I refer to is directed at identifying potentially violent youth, but the warning signs for adults are much the same. Add a history of domestic or partner violence and you’ve got a great start on identifying potentially violent people of any age. Let’s keep guns out of their hands, shall we? I’m looking at you, Ms. Loesch. You exhibit too many of the warning signs to own a weapon. Turn ’em over.
Earlier today, CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) turned its stage over to the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. LaPierre used his time to rail against “elites” and accuse liberals of politicizing the latest mass shootings. It’s rich when the man who heads a $350 million dollar political gun lobbying organization gets bent out of shape over “elites” and the politicization of guns on the heels of a shooting that killed 17 people, most of them children. You might say LaPierre is being callous and lacking empathy for others—yet another warning sign of violence. Give up your guns LaPierre; you don’t display enough empathy to own a firearm.
If we’re going to start a registry of dangerous individuals, let’s start with the most obvious people, shall we? People like Loesch and LaPierre don’t care about your constitutional rights. They surely do not care about your mental health. They don’t care about self protection or hunting or sport. They don’t give a damn about your children’s safety. All they care about is raking in money and buying votes to benefit the nation’s gun manufacturers. They are crazy and dangerous individuals working to perpetrate a massive fraud on the American people.
In the words of the fiery future President of the United States Emma Gonzalez, I call B.S.