Administration's aim getting better?

A year late, it's finally targeting mental health reform instead of guns

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One of the lower points in our nation’s history occurred a year ago, when a clearly disturbed 20-year-old man shot and killed his school teacher mother, and then drove to an elementary school where he used legal weapons stolen from his mom to murder 20 children and six adults before shooting himself.

A year later, have we learned anything?

The Sandy Hook tragedy, like many others involving those with serious, untreated mental health issues, cried out for a re-examination of the way our country provides services to those with psychological and behavioral problems.

Instead, however, the Obama administration, like many others on the knee-jerk, blame-guns left, reflexively loaded the anti-Second Amendment ammo.

The effort misfired, and new polling released at the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre shows a majority of Americans oppose tougher gun laws – perhaps demonstrating an instinctive understanding that stricter laws affect only the law-abiding.

An announcement last week by Vice President Joe Biden, then, isn’t just a pragmatic admission that Congress won’t buck the people in pushing more gun restrictions, but that it’s time to focus on a less-polarizing issue that actually could reduce such violence: Biden said the administration will shift around already-available federal funding to provide $100 million for improving access to services for those with mental health problems.

Such vital reforms are precisely what this page recommended back in September, after the mass shooting at the Washington Naval Yard by a man who had been treated for mental illness at a Veterans Administration facility.

The shooter, Aaron Alexis, reportedly suffered from paranoia and heard voices in his head, yet the VA did too little to diagnose and treat his problems beyond handing him self-help prescriptions.

The administration’s announcement, in Alexis’ case, is an example of shutting the barn door long after the horses have galloped away. Might mental health reforms have prevented him from harming others if they’d been implemented after Sandy Hook, rather than the administration wasting its time bogged down in pointless attacks on gun rights?

We’ll never know. But we do know that our nation’s mental health treatment is woefully lacking. As Biden said in announcing the new funding, “The fact that less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need is unacceptable.”

He’s correct – even if he seems to be a late convert to the issue. Additional funding isn’t just badly needed; it’s so far overdue that much of the money necessarily will be spent making up for the time frittered away instead on anti-gun demagoguery in the year since Sandy Hook.

After the Naval Yard shooting, we noted that such a focus on guns is a distraction from the issue of dealing with the small number of the mentally ill who pose a danger to others. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult to talk about the nuances of fighting mental illness than to just propose more gun laws.

It’s too soon to tell whether the Obama administration finally understands that. But at least it’s taking a step in a more sane direction.

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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/16/13 - 11:42 pm
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While you're at it . . .

. . . how about hardening school entrances such that visitors must be recognized, authorized, and escorted. Doors and doorjambs should be hardened such that high-caliber bullets cannot readily penetrate the locks.

deestafford
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deestafford 12/17/13 - 12:29 am
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I sure hope...

I sure hope that some of that $100 Million being shifted around includes the treatment of Joe Biden. That man is border line mentally ill. He and Obama are the worst combination of president and vice president the US has ever had.

We can thank Jimmy Carter for the number of mentally ill walking the street because it was a push by his administration that changed the mental health laws.

bubbasauce
20573
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bubbasauce 12/17/13 - 04:23 am
7
1
Thanks Jimmy Carter for now

Thanks Jimmy Carter for now dropping to the second worst President in United States history!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/17/13 - 06:33 am
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Sane Policies

Because insane individuals and criminals have guns killing innocent people it makes no sense to disarm the innocent and law abiding population.

When the judicial system instigated policy to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill and put them on the streets occurred, America was placed in danger.

Rhetor
995
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Rhetor 12/17/13 - 08:17 am
1
9
of course, but...

I would sympathize with this editorial except for two things: 1. Conservatives have consistently opposed funding increases for mental health care and 2. The NRA consistently opposes simple procedures to screen out mentally ill people from buying weapons.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 08:20 am
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Comment about editorial

As much as I don't normally agree with the ACES, I have to agree with this editorial! As many of you know, I make no secret about my having multipul mental disorders. The very big problem with trying to keep guns from the mentally ill, is that our illnesses don't have outward signes of illness! How can MORE laws possibly stop the mentally ill from getting guns??!!

t3bledsoe
14250
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 08:28 am
1
2
Rhetor @ 7:17

"I would sympathize with this editorial except for two things: 1. Conservatives have consistently opposed funding increases for mental health care and 2. The NRA consistently opposes simple procedures to screen out mentally ill people from buying weapons"

If mentally ill people would take themselves out of the work place by taking SS Dis., many of us would not be so stressed which almost always brings out our violent episodes!!

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 08:46 am
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I agree that it is a bad idea
Unpublished

I agree that it is a bad idea for the mentally ill to have weapons, however, who decides what mental illnesses disqualify you from exercising this particular Constitutional right? PTSD? ADD? Depression? And what other rights can be denied to a person because of mental illness? Free speech? Freedom of religion? Freedom from unwarranted search and seizure? Something for you to think about.

t3bledsoe
14250
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 08:56 am
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1
HA @ 7:46

"I agree that it is a bad idea for the mentally ill to have weapons, however, who decides what mental illnesses disqualify you from exercising this particular Constitutional right? PTSD? ADD? Depression? And what other rights can be denied to a person because of mental illness? Free speech? Freedom of religion? Freedom from unwarranted search and seizure? Something for you to think about"

I don't reveal my mental disorders to get sympathy. I reveal them, especially in this forum, to shead some light on this vs. ounership of guns! Believe me, there ARE disorders which some mentally ill people MUST stay away from guns!! I happen to have one of these which the name is "Intermittent Explosive Disorder"!!

Gary Ross
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Gary Ross 12/17/13 - 08:57 am
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Biden should be the first in line!

For mental heath treatment. Remember the "Three letter word J O B S" campaign promise that was never intended? This administration cannot get what the want with gun control, so what are they doing (that won't make the news)? Spending taxpayer money to buy up all the ammunition! What in the world will the government do with .22 shells?

teaparty
11313
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teaparty 12/17/13 - 08:57 am
7
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" I agree that it is a bad
Unpublished

" I agree that it is a bad idea for the mentally ill to have weapons, however, who decides what mental illnesses disqualify you from exercising this particular Constitutional right?"
HA, many of us believe liberalism is a mental illness so they should not be able to have a gun.

Gary Ross
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Gary Ross 12/17/13 - 09:03 am
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And a second thought...

Isn't it the NSA's job to make us safe from terrorism? I remember a comment made during the government shut-down, that without funding the NSA couldn't guaruntee our safety. Heck, they can't guaruntee it anyway, by evidence of these shootings.

t3bledsoe
14250
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 09:16 am
1
4
Teaparty @ 7:57

"HA, many of us believe liberalism is a mental illness so they should not be able to have a gun"

We liberals believe that if only conservatives are allowed to own guns, then "OUR" safety will be indangered!! (LOL)

deestafford
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deestafford 12/17/13 - 09:58 am
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I think HA is hitting at a good point...

I think HA is hitting at a good point. Let's assume mental sanity is represented on a straight line bar graduated from 0 to 100 with completely mentally ill on the left end at 0 and fully sane (if there is such a thing) all the way to the right at 100. Where along that scale is the cut off point for getting a gun?

Definitions and who is doing the defining are the sticking points when we look at making laws. What does something mean and who decides on that meaning? You can see where someone may have good intention and compassion can really cause problems because of the law of unintended consequences when something is implemented. That perhaps is the main problem of all the laws our elected leaders pass.

grouse
1635
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grouse 12/17/13 - 10:00 am
0
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Well, then. How about a full
Unpublished

Well, then. How about a full psychiatric battery of tests and interviews prior to the issuing a gun license? You know, like a drug test before a person can get public assistance?

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 10:01 am
3
1
So T3...do you believe that
Unpublished

So T3...do you believe that there are any other rights that can be taken away due to mental illness? Can someone be too mentally ill to vote?

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 10:03 am
3
1
Until the 70's homosexuallity
Unpublished

Until the 70's homosexuallity was considered a mental illness. It's all about who is setting definitions.

Bizkit
30591
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Bizkit 12/17/13 - 10:58 am
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Rhetor where do you get your

Rhetor where do you get your misinformation. "Since 1966, the National Rifle Association has urged the federal government to address the problem of mental illness and violence. As we noted then, “the time is at hand to seek means by which society can identify, treat and temporarily isolate such individuals,” because “elimination of the instrument by which these crimes are committed cannot arrest the ravages of a psychotic murderer."
So now I cleared that up for you I assume you are in complete agreement?

nocnoc
41065
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nocnoc 12/17/13 - 12:20 pm
3
1
Its too close to election campaigning

to GO ALL OUT ANTI-GUN, and tick off 50+ Million Gun Owners who vote.

The Liberals and Socialists will only wait and try again, right after the next election. After all, the way they want to run the country, they cannot have citizens having 2nd Amendment rights.

BTW: Given the Mass shootings, I am beginning to wonder about the more Liberal state's populations, like Colorado. Do liberal states in general, have more Mental Health problems.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 12:31 pm
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1
Bizkit....unlikely you will
Unpublished

Bizkit....unlikely you will be able to use actual quotes and facts to get a liberal to admit that they were repeating untrue statements, if the untrue statement further's their ideals.

t3bledsoe
14250
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 12:46 pm
1
2
HA @ 9:01

"So T3...do you believe that there are any other rights that can be taken away due to mental illness? Can someone be too mentally ill to vote"

I thoughly admir your adhereance to The Constitution, BUT take it from a mentally disordered person, Intermittent Explosive Disorder is a mental condition that we suffers never asked for, BUT it is real and we do not need permission to carry guns!!

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 12:46 pm
3
1
I would sympathize with
Unpublished

I would sympathize with Rhetor's post if it wasn't for just one thing. It isn't true.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 12:49 pm
3
1
OK T3....but are their any
Unpublished

OK T3....but are their any other guaranteed rights that you feel should be taken based on mental illness? Is Intermittent Explosive Disorder the ONLY illness that would disqualify a person? If not, what other illnesses? Who decides which illnesses? Can you see the slippery slope that is being stepped on?

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 12:51 pm
3
1
And by the way...you already
Unpublished

And by the way...you already DO have permission to carry a gun. It's called the Second Amendment. It states that your rights to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT be infringed....it's not followed by "unless you suffer from a condition that some bureaucrat determined disqualifies you."

t3bledsoe
14250
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 12:53 pm
3
2
HA @ 9:03

"Until the 70's homosexuallity was considered a mental illness. It's all about who is setting definitions"

I thoroughly believe that homosexuality is a predetermined condition at birth, not necessarly a mental disorder! With all due respect, Men do not practice behaving like females!! You are correct again, BUT what else is new!!

t3bledsoe
14250
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 01:04 pm
2
2
HA @ 11:31

"Bizkit....unlikely you will be able to use actual quotes and facts to get a liberal to admit that they were repeating untrue statements, if the untrue statement further's their ideals"

I consider myself as a moderate liberal and perhaps that is the sole reason that I am not reluctant to say that I am mentally ill more than one time over!! Please take it from me, we are quite capable of hiding our conditions until the right trigger comes along!!

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 01:07 pm
3
1
BUT T3...I ask again. Just
Unpublished

BUT T3...I ask again. Just which Constitutional rights should be denied to someone because of mental illness.....and who determines which illnesses apply?

As for predetermined at birth...... mental illnesses are often determined at birth as well.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 01:15 pm
1
2
HA @ 11:49

"OK T3....but are their any other guaranteed rights that you feel should be taken based on mental illness? Is Intermittent Explosive Disorder the ONLY illness that would disqualify a person? If not, what other illnesses? Who decides which illnesses? Can you see the slippery slope that is being stepped on"

First, since you believe in The 1st amendment, I am not ashamed to say that I like you very much!! There, I have said it in public!! As for the Intermittent Explosive Disorder, you would NOT LIKE to be around us when we have an episode!! THAT IS WHY we must have laws to exclude mentally il people from getting guns!! Again, BELIEVE ME!!

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 01:23 pm
2
2
HA @ 12:07

"BUT T3...I ask again. Just which Constitutional rights should be denied to someone because of mental illness.....and who determines which illnesses apply?

As for predetermined at birth...... mental illnesses are often determined at birth as well"

You said a mouth full of truth!! I will always believe that homosexuality and mental illness is present at birth, even though it may not be evident until much later in life!! I don't know the magic bullet of who and what constitutes bad enough mental illness to resticet gun ownership! I do agree it is a slippery slope, BUT SOMETIMES The Constitution MUST BE altered for the good of the masses!!

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 01:34 pm
2
0
When the Constitution was written

If admitting to being mentally ill is somewhat "taboo" now, then what do you think it was like 240 years ago!! I know The Constitution gauantees many rights under the law, BUT what do WE SAY about ALL of the shootings that have been going on in just the past 10 years??!! WE MUST realize that some mentally ill people DO NOT NEED access to guns!!~

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