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One Easy Reform
Townhall.com ^ | May 28, 2014 | Mona Charen

Posted on 05/28/2014 12:06:13 PM PDT by Kaslin

The latest mass-casualty shooting spree -- this one in Santa Barbara, California -- has touched off the usual debate about how to put a stop to these hideous spasms of murder. These random massacres have become, as I wrote in a previous column, an American psychosis.

Some, including the anguished father of one of the victims, point to guns and the National Rifle Association as the villains. Defenders of guns respond with the usual arguments -- which I find persuasive. That much having been said, I wish people who defend the Second Amendment wouldn't talk about their guns with such lascivious pleasure. Guns are necessary to self-defense. The right to own them is enshrined in the Constitution. Enough said. Let's not worship them. Gun worship -- by the Hollywood left which uses it to sell tickets, and by the conservative right, which fetishizes guns -- are both part of our national problem.

Some criticize our overly libertarian approach to mental health treatment as partially to blame for the murderous rampages we've suffered. I've made this point many times. Critics respond that a focus on the mental health status of shooters can contribute to an unfair stereotyping of the mentally ill. Jeff Deeney argues in The Atlantic that involuntarily committing someone for mental health treatment can be an unpleasant as well as arbitrary process.

Some young women have responded to the shooter's fury about his sexual frustration and loneliness with a focus on misogyny. "Many women interviewed on this sun-splashed campus," the New York Times reported, " ... said they believed that some of the attitudes toward women expressed by the gunman ... in his perverse manifesto of rage and frustration reflect some views that are echoed in the mainstream culture."

When a gunman mows down innocent people, isn't it missing a step to interpret this as a gender equality issue? Mental illness to one side, doesn't it suggest a basic moral collapse?

Let's talk about what's realistic: This country is not going to restrict guns in any serious way. Even if new laws were passed closing down every gun shop and show in the country, a) they wouldn't pass constitutional muster, and b) an estimated 310 million guns would remain in circulation.

Violent TV, movies and video games are protected by the First Amendment, and are probably too broadly popular to curtail, though I suspect that we'd have a gentler society if we entertained ourselves with less gore and blood.

We should reform our mental health system, including changing our standards for short-term involuntary commitment and instituting assisted outpatient treatment. But progress is bound to be slowed by civil libertarians and others who will insist that the right to refuse treatment (even among those too sick to make rational choices) is sacrosanct.

Women should worry about misogyny. They should also worry about the decline of family stability, which has produced more deracinated young men raised without the anchoring presence of a good father. Divorce and multiple relationships by adults, especially when children see many adults come and go before they reach the age of 18, are associated with higher rates of stress and mental illness in children.

But the problem of family dissolution isn't going to be easily addressed either.

There is one reform that could be adopted immediately, that would cost nothing, and that might have an impact on the American psychosis: The press can choose not to publish the names or show the faces of shooters.

A quick survey of popular news sites in the days following the Santa Barbara atrocity showed that all used the name of the murderer. The New York Post, CBS News, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, ABC News, TMZ and the Washington Post all used the man's name, showed his face or both. The Post was perhaps the worst offender, publishing the shooter's "manifesto" as well on its website.

In a celebrity-drunk culture like ours -- one that, moreover, frequently makes no distinction between those who gain fame for good reasons and those who deserve infamy -- invites the unbalanced to bid for attention with huge crimes. In the shallow world of news sites and social networks, everyone jockeys for attention. All the petty egos stretch for their moment of glory. The YouTube video apparently filmed by the killer was the ultimate "selfie" guaranteed to reach a mass audience.

Pull the plug on the publicity machine for killers. It's cost-free. It's easy. It can be done immediately, and it might very well remove one of the chief lures of the killing spree.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: California
KEYWORDS: mentalhealthcare; secondamendment; shooting

1 posted on 05/28/2014 12:06:13 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

“Deracinated” now there’s a word I’ve never seen before.


2 posted on 05/28/2014 12:11:53 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (The tree of liberty needs a rope.)
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To: Carry_Okie

Neither have I.


3 posted on 05/28/2014 12:22:19 PM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin
We're not supposed to "demonize" the mentally ill...even when we find that most of the mass shooters are...mentally ill, but it is OK to trample the rights of gun owners...even if they aren't mentally ill. Liberal logic.
4 posted on 05/28/2014 12:30:12 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Kaslin
There is one reform that could be adopted immediately, that would cost nothing, and that might have an impact on the American psychosis: The press can choose not to publish the names or show the faces of shooters.

Why? So they can hide the inevitable discovery that the shooter was a mentally ill liberal Democrat on psychotropic drugs? That really is the bottom line in most instances. Charen advocates covering up for the criminal and trampling the rights of the law abiding gun owner.

5 posted on 05/28/2014 12:33:37 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin
Yep. Daddy Buttshots would likely be the first to decry the ‘involuntary commitment’ of his mentally ill son, but how is that any different than ‘involuntary commitment’ (after trial by judge or jury) of going to prison?

As long as due process is adhered to, what's the problem?

6 posted on 05/28/2014 12:38:31 PM PDT by TurboZamboni (Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.-JFK)
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To: Kaslin
"Many women interviewed on this sun-splashed campus," the New York Times reported, " ... said they believed that some of the attitudes toward women expressed by the gunman ... in his perverse manifesto of rage and frustration reflect some views that are echoed in the mainstream culture."

I think the NY Slimes decided to track down a group of feminists for that quote! This whole "misogyny is the norm" crap is just about as old and worn out as the word "racist!"

Obviously, the NY Slimes, ALL feminists and several women have not noticed that EVERY SINGLE TV SITCOM has an ignorant, no-nothing slob of a husband/father with a strong, all-knowing and always right wife/mother! Hell, even the cartoon sitcoms (The Simpsons, American Dad, The Family Guy - all mainstream shows) have the exact same scenario! Even most modern movies have this same scene, where it takes the strong maternal nurturing to repair all that is wrong in the male-dominated world!

So, I ask, from where in the HELL is this BS narrative coming?!?!
7 posted on 05/28/2014 12:51:17 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: ExTxMarine

could easily have just made up the quote


8 posted on 05/28/2014 12:55:23 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: ExTxMarine
So, I ask, from where in the HELL is this BS narrative coming?!?!

Well, she has a new book on "hard choices" coming out...

9 posted on 05/28/2014 2:16:04 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: TurboZamboni
I think the problem is the left wants to give the mentally ill a pass and strictly stomp on the rights of gun owners. They don't want to deal with the actual problem of mentally ill persons committing crime. It's easier to smear everyone as being unworthy of keeping and bearing a firearm. The same blindness applies to ignoring shooters from the black population. You don't dare criticize a protected class.
10 posted on 05/28/2014 3:02:09 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: ExTxMarine

just more ‘war on women’ crap.

time to pass another Lilly Bedwetter Act.


11 posted on 05/28/2014 6:00:58 PM PDT by TurboZamboni (Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.-JFK)
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To: Kaslin
I wish people who defend the Second Amendment wouldn't talk about their guns with such lascivious pleasure

How else would I ?

12 posted on 05/29/2014 4:54:32 PM PDT by onona (I’ve pretty much given up on sanity returning.)
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To: Myrddin

Stood up this week did just that:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2641027/Right-wing-icon-Joe-Plumber-rants-families-Elliot-Rodger-shooting-victims-Your-dead-kids-dont-trump-constitutional-rights.html


13 posted on 05/29/2014 5:27:21 PM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: Biggirl

Martinez going off with a blank check to “do something”.
Joe the Plumber has it right. Martinez’ grief is not
blanket permission to trample the 2nd Amendment. There
is a jackass in the CA assembly that wants to empower
the police to confiscate all your firearms on a flimsy
claim of concern from nearly anyone. Get me out of this
place before that tyranny is enacted.


14 posted on 05/29/2014 11:12:53 PM PDT by Myrddin
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