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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KSL
129497
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KSL 12/17/13 - 01:52 pm
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And ignorant, uneducated

And ignorant, uneducated people don't need to be voting. But alas, they do vote and just look at what we have gotten.

Bizkit
31423
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Bizkit 12/17/13 - 01:52 pm
3
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This reminds me of the movie

This reminds me of the movie "Minority Report" and preemptive prevention of crime. Lots of people with "mental illness" who are taking their medications and fine-fact is huge numbers are on anti-depressants. Who decides who should be denied their rights because of a "Mental illness". I mean mental illness hasn't stopped Obama from being president so I don't get it.

deestafford
27609
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deestafford 12/17/13 - 01:56 pm
4
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If I were defining mental illness...

If I were defining mental illness as to whether or not someone was able to buy a gun I would not let anyone who voted for Obama the second time own a gun because they are obviously mentally ill and not capable of rational thought.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 02:42 pm
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"SOMETIMES The Constitution
Unpublished

"SOMETIMES The Constitution MUST BE altered for the good of the masses!!"

There is a process for that. It's called a Constitutional amendment....NOT legislation, or executive orders.

t3bledsoe
14290
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 03:30 pm
0
2
KSL @ 12;52

"And ignorant, uneducated people don't need to be voting. But alas, they do vote and just look at what we have gotten"

NOT THAT I MIND, but are you lumping mentally ill people into the extreme left??

t3bledsoe
14290
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 03:34 pm
0
3
HA @ 1:42

"There is a process for that. It's called a Constitutional amendment....NOT legislation, or executive orders"

You are very correct, BUT you are aware of just how long that would take.

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 03:40 pm
1
1
Bizkit @ 12:52

"Who decides who should be denied their rights because of a "Mental illness". I mean mental illness hasn't stopped Obama from being president so I don't get it"

FIRST, I laugh at your comment about Obama!

Second, even when we are on medication, some of us; me included; tend to "self medicate"!! I am sure that I don't have to explain that! This "self medication" interferes with our prescribed drugs, so therefore, people like me CAN NOT be trusted to do the right things!!

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 03:45 pm
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There is a reason
Unpublished

There is a reason Constitutional amendments take a long time. Because it was intended to keep the Constitution from being changed "willie nillie." If an amendment can't pass, then there is a reason it can't pass.....because it SHOULDN'T pass. The founders were quite smart, and took this into account when they wrote the Constitution. They spent a great deal of time writing it in order to get it right....and unlike legislators today, they read it BEFORE the passed it.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 03:48 pm
5
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"so therefore, people like me
Unpublished

"so therefore, people like me CAN NOT be trusted to do the right things!!"

Can you be trusted to vote responsibly, or should that right be take away as well?

t3bledsoe
14290
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 03:59 pm
1
0
HA @ 2:45

Too lengthy to copy and paste. Wouldn't it be better to keep people like me from getting guns to start with rather than, AND I AM VERY SERIOUS, clean up the bodies after a mentally ill person does something very bad??

t3bledsoe
14290
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 04:04 pm
1
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HA @ 2:48

"Can you be trusted to vote responsibly, or should that right be take away as well?"

Voting either way is a personal decision. I guess what I am trying to say is, "Gun ownership by mentally ill people MUST be outlawed because we are not always rational!!"

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 04:31 pm
4
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Mentally ill people don't
Unpublished

Mentally ill people don't always vote rationally either....and it has been proven that irresponsible voting can be VERY dangerous. Adolf Hitler won the election, after all.

t3bledsoe
14290
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t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 04:45 pm
1
0
editorial

" cried out for a re-examination of the way our country provides services to those with psychological and behavioral problems"

The only way that our country has of determining and treating the mentally ill is through The Veteran's Admin. The veterans are not likely to hide their troubled minds, where as most people find it a shameful thing to admit and talk about!! When I first started my OCD behavior, my family and I just made fun of it!! Now, looking back on it, if my parents would have taken action, then maybe I would not be in the situation that I find myself in today!!

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 04:48 pm
0
2
HA @ 3:31

"Mentally ill people don't always vote rationally either....and it has been proven that irresponsible voting can be VERY dangerous. Adolf Hitler won the election, after all"

And you conservatives still say that "dead" people are still voting!! (LOL)

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 04:54 pm
3
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Actually MANY veterans ARE
Unpublished

Actually MANY veterans ARE hiding their troubled minds in fear that they will be deemed disqualified from owning the very weapons that they were well trained to use. This is exactly what I've been talking about. Suppose you are diagnosed with PTSD, and that is one of the mental illnesses that the government determines disqualifies you from your right to bear arms. Your disorder may, in no way make you dangerous, but since the government is good at trying to paint everyone with the same broad brush, you have just lost one of your Constitutional rights. And so it begins.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 12/17/13 - 04:53 pm
3
0
"And you conservatives still
Unpublished

"And you conservatives still say that "dead" people are still voting!! (LOL)"

Because it is documented that they are!

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Dead-Voter-List-Long-Island-Nassau-...

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 12/17/13 - 05:06 pm
1
0
HA @ 3:53 & 3:54

I believe you don't think that I take your arguments seriously, BUT I do! Your argument is intrinched in The Constitution, my argument is based on my behavior when I get out of control! I see your argument about taking one right away and then probably another and so on! People say that both sides can't be correct, but in this case I see truth in both sides!

Think I will leave it there for today. Everyone have a good evening!

BHirsh
11
Points
BHirsh 12/17/13 - 08:04 pm
3
0
I agree.

But don't hold your breath.

This is mere political realignment. The anti-gun, anti-rights forces aren't going anywhere, and neither is the Gun Grabber in Chief.

Also, we must be extremely careful not to succumb to the knee-jerk impulse to paint with too wide a brush viz so-called mental health issues. It may or may not be well-known, but returning vets are being denied their gun rights by the VA. PTSD, no matter how severe the case, is being used as a one-size-fits-all qualification for disabling the right. We must insist on constitutionally mandated due process, i.e. that no one can be denied his rights without credible evidence of instability presented in a court of law, and an adjudication of incompetence.

People merely in treatment for these issues should not (and cannot, constitutionally) be lumped in with those who are a true danger to themselves or others.

And, a side effect of this blanket condemnation is that folks who have issues but are not insane will avoid treatment because seeking it will place them on the prohibited list.

The right direction? Certainly. But tread very carefully.

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