Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guns and Madness: The Adam Lanza Story

How could someone as “troubled” as Adam Lanza ever be allowed to buy a gun?

It turns out he wasn’t. He borrowed his mother’s guns. In his case gun control laws worked... except that they didn't.

Today, the loudest voices in the media are proclaiming that we can stop the senseless violence by banning guns. In particular, by banning assault weapons.

The fault, we are told, lies in the gun laws and especially with the National Rifle Association. In certain precincts the NRA is being held culpable for America’s gun violence.

Of course, the attack is part of a cultural assault on Republicans. If we could show that more liberal souls bore some responsibility for the gun violence, no one would pay attention.

When a politician rails against the NRA he has an issue that will keep on giving. There is no real way to ban guns, even to ban assault weapons.

Charles Cooke explains that trying to ban guns would be another Prohibition, and we know how  that worked out. The War on Drugs, he offers, has not worked out very well either.

Cooke explains:

There are at least two hundred million privately owned guns in America, and Connecticut regulates access to them more strictly than most. To believe that yesterday’s crime could have been prevented, you have to presume either that a man willing to go to such grievous lengths could have been deterred from doing so by stronger laws, or that those stronger laws could rid America of privately available guns completely — thus making the killer’s task an impossible one. I believe neither thing. To pass a law is not to achieve its aims, and one suspects that any attempt at gun control in America — which outlaws and the deranged will naturally ignore — would be destined to be filed next to Prohibition and the War on Drugs in the annals of man’s folly.

This morning, in a pungent irony, Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of America’s gun violence capital, Chicago, declared that we need tougher gun control laws.

When your city is out of control, why not shift the blame to the NRA. It’s certainly better than admitting that you are not doing your job.

Chicago has some of the nation’s toughest gun control laws. If they haven’t worked there, why would they work anywhere else?

The sad fact is that most of the gun violence is not committed by psychotic loners like Adam Lanza. It is committed by gang members in America’s cities. Often, it is part of an ongoing criminal enterprise. Strict gun control laws do not deter criminals from getting all the guns they want. .

But, if we can’t get the guns off the street, why not get the dangerous psychotics off the street?

By all accounts, Adam Lanza had always been “troubled.” Everyone knew it. His mother was not working because she felt a need to stay at home with her “troubled” son.

Adam Lanza was twenty years old and could not be left home without adult supervision.

We have been told that Lanza was suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high functioning autism. Yet, Asperger’s has never been associated with an increased threat of violence.

We have also been told that Lanza suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD has no real association with  the threat of violence.

And then, we have learned that he had a developmental disorder, whatever that means.

Finally, we have heard that Lanza was on some kind of medication. More details, hopefully, to follow.

I have seen more than a few psychiatrists and psychologists on television explaining that Lanza should have been in treatment. It appears that he had consulted with a psychiatrist, and had received treatment. Either the psychiatrist made a mistake in diagnosing him or had offered the wrong treatment. Then again, outside of a mental health facility what guarantee do you have that a patient would be taking his medication. 

We do not know whether Lanza was a psychotic or a psychopath. James Holmes seems to have been the first. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold seem to have been the latter.

One suspects that Lanza suffered from a psychosis. Most people, upon encountering a psychopath, do not see him as “troubled,” or as so completely out of control that he cannot be left home alone.

Why was Adam Lanza walking the streets? Why had he not been hospitalized? Perhaps the answer lies in our policies about mental health. 

Civil liberties attorneys have made it nearly impossible to commit people to psychiatric institutions against their will. Wouldn’t it be better to treat such patients against their will than to wait for them to commit crimes and then put them in prison?

Hospitalizing such people would serve them by offering treatment and would serve society by getting them off the streets.

Thanks to civil liberties activists, you cannot do it.

Clayton Cramer explained:

Unsurprisingly, emptying out the mental hospitals and making it difficult to hospitalize people with serious mental illness problems meant that society as a whole became a bit more like a low-grade mental hospital. Supporters of gun control argue that we need stricter laws because ordinary, law-abiding people just “snap” and go on rampages. There are people who indeed snap and go on rampages (and not just with guns) — but they are seldom ordinary. Often, they are people with long histories of mental illness who in 1960 would have been hospitalized before they killed someone. Gun control is in some respects an attempt to make all of America into a low-grade mental institution, where we don’t trust people with deadly weapons.

For those of you under 40 — it used to be startling indeed to see people begging in the streets or obviously insane in public. Homelessness and various forms of urban degradation were byproducts of deinstitutionalization. A more ominous result: murder rates rose in response to this emptying out of the hospitals, and the poor solution was to increase the number of mentally ill murderers we sent to prison.

Cramer has a longer essay here.

Somehow or other, in our national zeal to condemn the NRA we refuse to hold the civil liberties lobby accountable for the consequences of its de-institutionalization program.

We have been induced to believe that the NRA is the Devil while the ACLU is doing God’s work.


Anonymous said...

NO ONE needs assault rifles, military weapons, body armor, cases of ammunition, rapid fire rifles & handguns!! NOBODY!!! We HAVE a military & do not need to form millions of them within our homes & on the streets! ANYONE can get any of these weapons... ANYONE & it is WRONG! End of discussion.

Brian said...

Anonymous, Sorry to burst your bubble! I am Brian Stone and I have the guts to post this comment and use my real name. It could be the military is the reason we need assault rifles and the rest of the items you mentioned. If someone a.k.a. busts into my house with a gun trying to harm me or my family or steal my possessions do you expect me to defend them with a frying pan? This is NOT the End of discussion. Feel free to comment.

Anonymous said...

I need guns and ammo cuz there are people like anonymous who would dictate to us. I own guns because of you and your zealotry to punish me for something I didn't do.


Stuart Schneiderman said...

Apparently, Anonymous would have us repeal the second amendment to the constitution. They if he ever starts thinking he might notice that the issue raised in the post was: how do you propose ridding the nation of over 200,000,000 guns... without getting into a situation that resembles prohibition.

n.n said...

With over one million aliens illegally entering this nation annually, there is no defensible position to enact further controls or regulations.

As for the Second Amendment, it is intended to increase risk and opportunity cost to both the minority criminal and government population from infringing other people's rights.

It is competing interests which keep honest people honest and others from running amuck. This is why monopolies and monopolistic practices, especially enforced through granted or coerced authority, or so intolerable.

The initial deterrent exists when you lack knowledge of your opponent's capability. The second continuing deterrent exists when your target mounts a response. While it is often impossible to prevent an act of involuntary or fraudulent exploitation, it is possible to increase the risk and opportunity cost to a potential or active criminal.

Neither a citizen's right to vote nor their right to bear Arms should be infringed without cause and due process.

Malcolm said...

Also a good article

"On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs"

by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

Van said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dennis said...

Before we start trying to blame an inanimate object for human failures we need to think about a number of things that this society does to create these situations. NOTE: "In fact, the high point for mass killings in the U.S. was 1929, according to criminologist Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections. . . .
With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns." national


1. How much of the feminist war against boys contributes to their alienation from society? NOTE; Almost all of these are perpetrated by boys.
2. How much of feminism's war on men contribute to this alienation from society as a whole? When your future seems to portend disaster because one is a male then one might fail to positively connect with that society.
3. How much of unions, especially teachers unions, rhetoric about doing damage to those who might disagree with them even to the point of tweeting about killing them contribute?
4. How much of the easy availability for abortion, partial birth abortion and leniency towards those who commit infanticide contribute to a "death culture" and the devaluation of other human beings?
5. How much of the Obama administration actions to create a division among Americans by intimating that anyone who disagrees with it humanity is in question? The desire to ultimate destroy others.
6. How much does the Congress and the Obama administration cut in security funds for schools contribute to the "death culture?"
Does having "gun free" zones create a place where those who are alienated from society in one form or another can go knowing that there is little chance for them to get hurt or stopped in their actions?" NOTE: Here the person killed himself when the police arrived.
7. How much of the Left's identification with terrorists, violent protest groups and revolutions contributes to a growing "death culture?"
I could go on with a large number of questions asking how the "death culture, anti male culture, the Obama administration, et al are where the problems and its solution lie. This is not with standing the damage that has been done to those who are mental ill or on the way to suffering from it.
Would we have been better off had this been explosives, which are quite easy to make, or any object that can be used to kill innocents were utilized? I would posit that those who want to blame inanimate objects are trying to absolve themselves of their part in making this possible. An object or tool cannot defend itself much like an infant who survives a botched abortion which Obama and feminists believes should to left to die. How can one grow up with this growing devaluation of life and not be affected?
An alienated individual will find a means and will have a far better chance of accomplishing his goal if there is no countervailing ability for others to protect themselves and others. As much respect as I have for police forces and the difficult job they have they are reactive and ergo almost useless in this kind of scenario. They serve as NO deterrent. When seconds count the police are minutes away.

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, I think that Rahm's brother was Michael Moore's agent.

Kristi said...

The laws regarding the mentally ill are insane (not really trying to make that a joke).

Even without these crazies attacking like the Sandy Hook killer, we are not doing the mentally ill any favors in our society.

For example, I have seen around our downtown area a homeless woman who pushes a shopping cart that is about 5 feet tall full of junk. She is always mumbling and occasionally screaming out and does not act like a sane person. My DH asked a cop about her and the cop just shrugged and said there was nothing that could be done. She is most likely not a threat to society, but how is it helping her to be on the street, filthy and probably prey to the various predators out there?

Stuart is right that the questions shouldn't be centered on weapons, but rather on how to stop aberrant people ahead of time.

Anonymous said...

Adam Lanza should be spend in psychiatric hospital for treatment and care and not inside home!! Adam lanza's depression handle and care not supported by busy mother..