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Mental Health is the Issue, Not Guns and Armed Guards in Schools is not the Solution

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Jeff White, Dec 26, 2012.

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  1. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    And how much do you we spend every day in this country to incarcerate and run through the legal system those who are so dysfunctional that they end up in the system because they can't care for themselves?

    We are probably spending close to that nationwide now. And while they are in jail they get little, if any treatment because your average county jail is not staffed and funded to provide it.

    I would estimate 40% of the people in jails today are in need of some kind of mental health care which for the most part they aren't getting. If you figure an average cost of $80.00 per day just to house them and then add in the cost of the police manpower to arrest them, prosecutors, public defenders, court clerks, probation officers and all the other ancillary costs of running them through the system, I would bet the cost is just as staggering.

    We need to decide what the proper role of government is. When we closed the mental hospitals and sanitariums we simply transferred transferred the cost from one department of government to another. And we endangered the public by doing so.
     
  2. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    The biggest problem with the whole mental health idea is that the so called professionals have shown they are completely incapable of separating out the dangerous to others from the merely kooky.

    As for the cost, I think it may well be in the $40,000/year range rather than $40,000/day.

    One of the things that is rarely touched on is that one of the reasons that the ACLU went after the warehousing of the "insane" was that a lot of them just were not dangerous, at least when they went in.
     
  3. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

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    What Bob said. $40,000 per year is much more reasonable than $40,000 per day. $40k/day translates into $14,600,000 per year, and I can't imagine many treatments that run that much.

    It's important to use the proper units here.
     
  4. Millwright

    Millwright Member

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    Mr. White, I humbly submit you are "part of the problem"; as you admit. Our justice system is broken ! We're turning loose dangerous individuals in plea deals every day. And, thanks to "feel good legislation", we're not - as you admit - not restraining dangerous individuals with serious mental health issues. All will find a way to inflict their delusions/animus upon someone, somewhere, sometime.

    The "upside" is historically, these incidents are decreasing. And with increasing levels of CCW these deranged individuals are increasingly thwarted in their goals. The "downside" is recent events may bring about some temporary restrictions in how Joe Citizen protects himself and others. But I suspect this is a debate the "pros" will win.

    And, FWIW, due to my employment I'm also a "part of the problem", too. >MW
     
  5. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    Agreed.

    And in this one.
     
  6. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Here I go with another half-baked opinion. While the mental health aspect of this is surely not to be overlooked, it is a battle that is almost unwinnable due to the nature of the enemy. The enemy isn't the criminally insane guy, yet, it's the very establishment that would be responsible for "warehousing" or keeping the violently unstable out of society. They have no will or desire to do it and the law tells us the mentally unbalanced have a right to be ill. They cannot be forced to get treatment. Unless, of course, they've already committed a crime and it's court mandated. But then it's a little late.

    In a perfect world, we'd be able to help these people to some extent, either getting effective treatment or segregating them from the rest of society as much for their safety as ours. But it's not going to happen. It should, but it won't.

    So we're left with the blunt instrument of stopping them, rather than the preferred instrument of prevention. And then we're right back to square one in this argument.

    In theory, Jeff, I agree with you 100 percent. But having a mother that retired from a hospital that dealt with physical and mental health issues, as well as having one friend who's a psychologist and two friends who have a socially dysfunctional child apiece (one violently so, the other just a little strange), I see the determination of the "system" to force these people, sometimes against their own wills and usually against the will of family, to be mainstreamed.
     
  7. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

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    If your argument that mentally ill shooters in schools are too rare to justify securing all schools is accepted, may we not also argue that such shootings are too rare to justify the expense of tracking or incarcerating all America's mentally ill? The same logic applies to both; if you make the two mutually exclusive or accept one but reject the other, your proposal fails on logical grounds.

    Your argument against armed security also depends logically on acceptance of your premise of excessive expense. I would make two points here: one, that merely allowing teachers and administrative staff to exercise a legal right to carry creates no added public expense; two, that the idea of "excessive" expense is not a fact but a value judgement on your part. You have effectively decided how much monetary value a child's life should carry to society.

    The idea of stripping any citizen of civil rights or physical liberty on the basis of what they might or might not do in the future is an absolute violation of the 5A; our justice system is predicated on the assumption of innocence and the requirement of due process of law.

    These arguments for "better" mental health care merely trade one sort of police state for another. Further, penalizing voluntary seekers of treatment and then coercively institutionalizing people who don't voluntarily seek help is both logically unsound and (in my purely subjective opinion) very poor public policy.

    It is time to dust off "Freedom isn't free" and take a hard look at it... sometimes the price of our freedom is enduring others' abuse of theirs. Freedom isn't free; freedom isn't even entirely SAFE. The problem is, tyranny is a lot less free, and no matter what a sweetly spoken would-be tyrant tells you, it isn't any safer, either.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  8. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    I think the CO theater shooter was in treatment at the time. So probably was the CT shooter.

    I think it's more about awareness and identification, as others have said. There are programs where kids have learned enough to identify other dangerous kids. I think parents are probably more blind to it in their families, if anything. We need to develop more awareness, networks, and support organizations. Develop legitimate ways to address the people that we are 'losing' to mental illness or social exclusion.

    I dont support further restrictions on guns, I dont support unfair taxation when those with kids could turn to private funding, I dont support invasions into people's rights to privacy.

    Please see my signature, the 2nd one.

    Edit: and for anyone who didnt know it, I'm a Democrat and liberal....liberal by most of the people's opinions on this forum anyway :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  9. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    In all those sources, including many mass shooters (who plan and plot, as evidence by diaries, letters, blogs)....they do a great deal of planning. A few armed guards will not stop an attack. The attack will just shift as necessary.

    C'mon, even with my tinfoil hat on, I dont believe that a real coordinated attack would not include forward recon and genuine planning & strategy.
     
  10. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    Exactly. We need to be more responsible for our own safety, by whatever (legal) means necessary. If we need to change laws re: cc and gun-free zones, great.

    If parents need to protect their kids by proxy...hiring armed security...so be it.

    Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own safety as much as it is possible for each of us. To think of our own solutions, get our own training, develop our own awareness...extending that to family.....use our own methods, choose our own places to pray, shop, drive, learn.

    If schools are really that dangerous, why do parents even send their kids there? (Someone else here on the forum had a very good post on this elsewhere). If they really believed it, would they still send their kids to public school everyday? Or make the lifestyle changes that would enable something else?
     
  11. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    From the mid 19th century until the 1970's it was routine for the barking insane to be housed for life in asylums. The great experiment in deinstitutionalization has returned them to our streets. Most are harmless enough. But some aren't. The ones who are dangerous are usually well known by their providers, so this isn't some great mystery. It's exceptionally difficult to put people away even when they're screaming insane and biting people. They're more likely to be put in jail, and that doesn't really work for anyone.

    Waiting until they threaten someone and then killing them isn't really a solution either. Ever received one of those letters telling you a psych's patient is dreaming of torturing you or someone you love? The dude who was going to come to our office and kill at least one of us per his own psych's report was going to get shot dead by me if I ever saw the guy and he so much as twitched. That's not really a solution to the problem. Someone like that should be in a rubber room for life. He was following a co-worker around for many months, waiting for an opportunity to kidnap, torture and murder her. Such a person should never be at liberty. And there's nothing unconstitutional about putting them away. Their brains are just wrong, and that sort of illness is incurable. So we either do something about reinstitutionalizing them or just keep waiting till they kill someone or are killed before they can.

    And the problem is MUCH bigger than a few high-profile shootings. These folks are involved in a lot of smaller scale killings. The dude who axed his family to death, stole a handgun and went on a shooting rampage through Anchorage a few years ago is a good example. Or the nutcase in Hoonah who was given a break after assaulting a cop and rewarded the kidness by murdering most of the police force on the island. These people were well known as violently insane, but there's no procedure for locking them up long-term on that basis. They're supposed to be treated and released instead. That doesn't work when your illness causes you to murder people. Releasing them is like rolling grenades around.

    None of this applies to the much broader category of those who have depression, PTSD, or whatever. These weren't even considered psychological conditions until recently. I'm talking about people who hear voices in their head or have fits of homicidal rage so severe they can't be allowed near knives.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  12. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    It's true, Mental Health is the issue.
    The guy that set up and murdered the firemen was in jail for 17 years for killing his 92 year old Grandmother with a HAMMER.
    Obviously a mental incapasitate, WHY was he released?
    Also if the Left wanted to they could call anyone who took so much as a depressant drug a mental case.
    What's the answer?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  13. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    Not really, they would make the case that you were infringing on their civil liberties...that they had paid their debt to society. That there was no further legal grounds to keep them incarcerated. That you cant keep people locked up based on 'what they might do' without very strong medical and evidential precedent.

    This thread is starting to sound like people want to just throw some civil liberties out the window just to be a bit safer. Hmmm.
     
  14. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    They have to be released because we made the policy choice to toss out the insanity plea or render it almost impossible to use. What we forgot is that when you convict someone for a crime they must be released after the imprisonment is finished. The murderous insane should never be released. So part of the solution is to rework our penal codes to permit for true lifelong confinement for insane criminals.

    As far as gun ownership, if you reinstitutionalize the violently mad, you solve the problem in the process. If they're in the asylum they can't buy firearms.
     
  15. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    And to begin worrying about "We can't lock them up before they do something" is a red herring. Send a very polite letter to your congressperson about how you'd like to stalk and murder them. See how fast you get a knock on the door, then use the "But I didn't DO anything yet" line. Let me know how that works for you. I'll send you birthday cards while you're cooling your heels in the joint. Most of these truly whacko people have made similar threats or statements.

    To be clear, most of the mentally ill fall into the "crazy cat lady" category. They're very eccentric but harmless. They live in their own little world and want the population to be exactly one.

    The small minority, however, are the criminally insane. They are a little odd, to be sure, but coupled with that is a bent on harming others. Sometimes out of paranoia, sometimes out of nothing but malice toward every other person on planet earth.
     
  16. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    Requiring that armed guards be positioned in every school is overkill for the risk in my opinion. It should be handled by the school district on a case by case basis as it is now.

    The mental health issue is sticky. I just wonder who's opinion merits reaction by law enforcement or the judicial system? Parents? Neighbors? Fellow school kids? Teachers? School administrative staff?

    I don't like schools making mental health prognoses. Parents are conflicted (especially good parents). Many single parents don't know one way or the other. The kid is often a meal ticket for the lower income folks. Law enforcement is generally reactive versus proactive.

    I agree that mental health issues relative to violence need to be strengthened. But I don't want too much power entrusted to individuals other than parents and what laws might be crafted need to be very sensitive to folks who have a mental illness that is being dealt with via mediacation.

    If new laws are crafted that make firearm ownership illegal for people on meds.... it won't be good for psych business, and it won't respect individual rights sufficiently, and it won't be effective in stopping truly violent people before they do something that law enforcment typically would handle. Each would have to make an informed decision about their own mental health if a more stringent law was crafted.

    Being required to get a "good boy letter" before buying a gun from a "mental health professional" is a slippery slope, costly, and one I would try to avoid.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  17. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    The mentally ill are not the problem, though mental illness and institutions may have some part to play in all of this.

    But the mentally ill are not the only mass killers. What about Beslan? What about the Pearl, Miss shooter who, by his own claims at least, was not crazy - just pissed off?

    If we decide, as a nation, that mental health care is the solution to this problem, we will be looking at only one facet of what it will take to keep children safe at school. If that is truly the goal, then there can be only one answer - armed good people at the school. They don't have to be paid armed security, or police, or anything. The Pearl, Miss shooting was stopped by an armed, courageous school administrator.

    Mental health care is an issue, and a serious one. But is it really this issue?
     
  18. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    First, threatening a person is a crime and often a greater crime when made against an elected official so you would have "done something". Second, if the note is just creepy but not an actual threat the knock on the door will likely be just for an interview, unless you fail it.
     
  19. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Justin, we agree completely and you just made my point for me. These people (the mentally unstable and violent) usually HAVE done something. They have often made threats but it winds up being swept under the rug because they're "different". No, they're crazy, violent and have made threats. So lock them up and we need to put an end to the false argument of "they didn't do anything".
     
  20. labhound

    labhound Member

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    Giving the government more power to declare people mentally ill and remove them from society scares me more than shooters in schools. As far as the shooters being mentally ill as the public and press love to claim, don't kid yourself. There are sane evil people out there that will kill and not think twice about it. I'm personally all for armed police, guards, or administration in all our schools as a last resort against stopping people from killing our defenseless children and teachers, when all other methods have failed.
     
  21. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    So the mentally ill are the new whipping group for eliminating violent crime. Since the only way to prevent future crimes from happening is to lock them before they break any laws.

    The first issue will be to decide who to lock up.

    The second is what the criteria will be.

    The third issue will be suspension of writs of habeas corpus.

    Another issue will be whether to make the committments a criminal or civil process.

    A new Government Gulag with broad authority would have to be created along with it’s own law enforcement arm.

    A nationwide system of detention centers will have to be built.

    Since mass arrests and involuntary commitments will quickly overwhelm mental health professionals the Government will have to create training programs for M.H. professionals .Cases awaiting hearings will be measured in years with the accused remaining in custody.

    Since the real goal is to change the individual’s way of thinking and to convince him to obey all Government orders they will be housed in reeducation centers. All contact with the outside world and family will be prohibited to avoid taking the chance of interfering with the education program.

    A massive nationwide P.R. program will be implemented with the help of a willing media. Talk radio will be taken off the air.

    Welcome to the new, brave world.
     
  22. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    There are truly evil people that walk our streets who have no compunction to kill someone; no remorse. These people have always existed, but in my opinion, they are more plentiful now. Some would say that anyone like this has to be mentally ill? I believe they are simply evil and socialized by our culture not to feel. These people do not care about "right and wrong", there is only gain and loss.
     
  23. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    Couple minor points to consider. Not one off the last 5 mass shooters had ever been arrested or committed to an institution. Not one had committed a prior violent act.

    Thanks
     
  24. tpaw

    tpaw Member

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    Jeff White writes:

    I disagree. Saving one child's life is worth any cost. You would beg, borrow and steal, and expend every asset you had to save YOUR child if he or she were at the end of a gun. Money should NEVER be an issue when it comes to protecting our children!
     
  25. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Arrgh, personalizing tragedies makes for terrible public policy. It's the same fallacy that gets people playing the "Mega Millions." The ODDS of winning make spending a dime on the game utterly absurd, but the STAKES trick folks into spending their hard-earned money on a game they will not ever win.

    We look at a school shooting and say "what if it was MY kid?" And that ruins our objectivity, which should be telling us this is not a prevalent enough problem to divert billions of public dollars to combat. When you realize that dying in a school shooting is less likely than being killed by lightning -- or any number of other absurdly rare accidental deaths like being killed by a goat, or dying on an escalator, or being strangled in your own shoelaces -- you can then contemplate the fact that any public dollar diverted from, say, cancer research or developing heart disease treatments, or traffic safety, or hundreds of other VASTLY more common causes of death, toward dedicated prevention of school shootings is UTTERLY FOOLISH.

    Hard cases make for bad laws. Exceptionally rare tragedies make for HORRID public policy.
     
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