Associated Press
President Joe Biden, second from right, gestures as he speaks during a meeting with Sportsmen and Women and Wildlife Interest Groups and member of his cabinet, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.

Despite the many improvements in mental health care over the past four decades, there have been some terrible failures: overworked family care providers often abused by or abusing those for whom they care or jails and courts overburdened by the mentally ill.

Headline-grabbing tragedies destroy lives and change communities. Words like Gabby Gifford and Newtown have become shorthand for unthinkable horror. All acts involved mentally ill perpetrators not adequately handled by a system designed only to protect the mentally ill from society.

Now, we have apparently decided that we cannot restrict the civil rights of the mentally ill few, so we contemplate restricting the civil rights of all in order to pretend that we are safer.

Thomas Brown