March 19, 2018

Mental Health and “Gun Violence”

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From Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association:

Dear MSSA Friends,
All the talking heads are frothing over the Florida school shooting.  All this rabid attention only inspires copycat acts.
Of course school shootings and mass murder are terrible.  But, let’s ask some intelligent questions about what’s going on.
Many talking heads bring up various suggestions about mental health, from more taxpayer funding, to wider screening, to better record keeping and sharing, to using mental health evaluations to strip people of their civil rights.  So, what’s the deal with mental health and “gun violence”?  (I put “gun violence” in quotes because the issue is really about violence against people, by any method.  One of the largest mass murders in US history was done in a New York City nightclub with a quart of gasoline.)
Well, I have explored the intersection of mental health and gun violence.  I have written about that intersection and posted that Online.  Please review my analysis at:
There are important points in this analysis you need to be able to express to friends, elected officials, and in letters to the editor.
Why do most of these incidents happen in schools?  Well, duhhh!  “Gun free zones.”  I put that in quotes because these places are NEVER gun free.  They are only gun free for the law abiding victims.  But “gun free zones” are low-hanging fruit full of ripe, defenseless victims for a madman planning yet another copycat killing spree.
To cure this societal defect, MSSA proposed the Montana School Safety Act in the last session of the Montana Legislature, House Bill 385.  HB 385 would have allowed trained and qualified school employees to be armed at work, to protect themselves and our precious children and grandchildren.  See the bill copy at:
HB 385 didn’t pass.  Opponents said it’s just too dangerous to have guns in schools.  Leave defense of our children to the professionals, they said.  Oh, but keep the fire extinguishers in the buildings, they said, because the staff of a school with a beginning fire can’t wait for professional firefighters.  Yeah, right.
How bad can it get?  How many children could a madman shoot in the target-rich environment of a school?  Well, I tested that.  Read about and see videos of my test at:
It could be very bad – much worse than the recent shooting in Florida.
So, what’s the solution?  It certainly won’t prevent drunk driving to take cars away from sober people.  And, it won’t inhibit madmen to make it more difficult for law abiding people to purchase or own firearms.  That’s obvious.
One solution is to get rid of gun free zones – all of them.  They’re dangerous places and magnets for violent madmen.  When one of these incidents happens, what’s the first thing people on scene do?  They call for police.  Why call police?  It’s not because of the nifty clothes police wear, and not because of the fancy cars they drive, but because police have guns they can use to shoot the perpetrator.  The victims are calling for guns.  Why shouldn’t the intended victims have guns so they can shoot the perpetrator themselves rather than wait fatal minutes for police to arrive?
It seems that this problem of mass murder needs to be examined through the lens of sociology, rather than of law or psychology.  More gun control laws have not worked anywhere.  Calls for more or better mental health are likely to only obscure important aspects of the problem, and postpone workable solutions.
Enough rant.
Best wishes,