Keep the issues of gun violence and untreated mental illness separate

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  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 11, 2013 1:09 p.m.


    Please read the last paragraph:

    None of this is to say this is the right thing to do. Lots of things could be controlled to good effect but should not be, especially where fundamental rights are involved. Also, the ownership and use of firearms is part of American independence and self reliance. Beyond the rights issue, getting rid of guns would fundamentally change America well beyond issues of violence. Something I and many others would regret.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 11, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    To "Twin Lights" you said "I actually think a total ban would cut down on violent crime but it would be only over time because guns would have to filter out of the system slowly."

    In England they have such restrictive gun laws that in effect guns are banned. You said that if we banned guns then violent crime would be lowered. The facts show that in some of the countries with the total gun bans that violent crime is significantly worse than in the US.

    If you don't want guns banned, why did you say that you think that banning guns will lower crime rates.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 11, 2013 11:10 a.m.


    Interesting data. Not sure how it correlates country to country (might need to refine for particular crimes like murder) but interesting nonetheless.

    As to banning firearms being what I want. Please reread my posts. That is not my position.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 11, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    To "procuradorfiscal" unfortunately the term well regulated is part of the militia clause. The way that the sentence is written, the term "well regulated" does not apply to the right to bear arms.

    To "Twin Lights" unfortunately what you want to do has already been done elsewhere, and has failed. Here are the stats for violent crimes (2009) per 100,000 people, where most countries have banned guns:

    England: 2034
    Australia: 1677
    South Africa: 1609
    Sweden: 1123
    Belgium: 1006
    Canada: 935
    Finland: 738
    Netherlands: 676
    US: 566

    Judging by the facts, banning guns only will lead to an INCREASE in violent crime.

    To "UtahBlueDevil" so then, you agre that the problem isn't the guns, but that the mentally ill are not better treated. No, there is no magic pill, but there are better ways to deal with mental illness than are currently employed because most people just want the magic pill and don't want to actually have to put the effort into fixing themselves.

  • the zamboni Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    This problem isn't going away.

    Nobody REALLY cares about gun deaths and nobody REALLY cares about mental health issues until they are directly affected.

    If you think anyone here cares enough to actually do anything about either of these issues, you are deluding yourself. It's apparently even too much to ask people to show any level sensitivity or empathy towards those affected by these issues.

    People are too self-interested for either of these issues to ever be resolved. Don't kid yourself.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    June 10, 2013 8:48 p.m.

    How do you keep them separate when mentally ill can buy AK 47 at saturday swap meet gun shows.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 10, 2013 8:35 p.m.

    Redshirt.... hardly paranoid. But thanks. I just don't like the math. The shooter in Colorado was under treatment. The chap in Santa Monica was under treatment. I guess if there were a magic pill that we could give the "mentally ill", it would be a simple problem to solve. But bi-polarism, depression, and other like problems aren't nice tidy little problems to solve. It isn't 'take two pills and call me in the morning" easy.

    How people like you think restricting guns from the mentally ill is a sign of "paranoia" beats me.

    Lets put this really simple. I like the recourse if a mistake is made. If a sane person is denied a weapon because there is reasonable or unreasonable suspicion they might be stable... that problem can be corrected. Annoying, but easily fixed in time.

    You let the mentally ill have weapons - we have seen now 4 instances in the outcome of that over last couple of years - and the results of these mistakes cant be fixed.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 10, 2013 7:31 p.m.


    I actually think a total ban would cut down on violent crime but it would be only over time because guns would have to filter out of the system slowly. Alcohol and tobacco are legal. There is no total ban. So, there is always new product to cross into the illegal markets.

    Under a total ban, criminals could get guns on the black market only at very premium prices. As the legal supply dwindles, prices would rise. There are no other countries in the world I am aware of that has such a large private gun market to supply the black market.

    None of this is to say this is the right thing to do. Lots of things could be controlled to good effect but should not be, especially where fundamental rights are involved. Also, the ownership and use of firearms is part of American independence and self reliance. Beyond the rights issue, getting rid of guns would fundamentally change America well beyond issues of violence. Something I and many others would regret.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 10, 2013 5:48 p.m.

    I really don't know the answers to all of this. I do believe in the second amendment but gun ownership comes with responsibility.

    Take the Sandy Hook shooting. The mom has a cache of weapons and even has them locked away, if accounts are accurate. But it should be obvious to her that her son has some issues. But people often live in denial about their own children and their mental health. So her kid gets his hand on this cache of weaponry, kills her then kills 26 other innocent people, 20 of them small children.

    I'm not sure what this all means but people, especially with young people living in their home, need to take real look at their situation and whether they should have firearms in their household. I mean a real close look.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    June 10, 2013 4:17 p.m.

    Re: "Please site [sic] anywhere in the article this total ban of all guns was referred."

    Why limit inquiry to the 4 corners of the article? I'm sure you don't disingenuously suggest that most liberals DON'T want to ban all guns, and would, if they thought they could get away with it, do you?

    That would be laughable.

    But my point is illustrated by a more modest proposal, as well. Let's ban drinking, driving, and taking medicine by anyone designated as mentally ill by some distant, unaccountable Washington bureaucrat.

    Of course there would still be a total ban on all cars of a particular color, or with fuel capacity greater than 10 quarts. After all, who really needs a white car, that could be lost in a snowstorm, or more than enough fuel to get to the next gas station?

    Your more radical liberal friends will undoubtedly bleat that this modest proposal doesn't go far enough, but surely rational, intelligent liberals such as yourself wouldn't oppose such a reasonable approach, would they?

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    June 10, 2013 3:30 p.m.

    Re: "The 2nd Amendment includes the term 'well-regulated' . . . . This suggests to me that the government has some responsibility to ensure that gun owners are properly trained."

    No doubt.

    But that doesn't mean there is anything in the Constitution that would justify that suggestion.

    There isn't.

    In fact, the clear language is exactly to the contrary -- "the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED [my emphasis].

    NO honest reading of the Constitution suggests that the words "shall NOT be infringed" should be read to mean "shall" or "may be infringed," so long as liberals can come up with the right magic incantation.

    Liberals that want to change the Constitution should just be honest about it, rather than hide behind language that was never intended to nullify important rights.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 10, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    To "Twin Lights" all the regulations to control access to guns will not stop those intent on harming others from getting them. Just look at much of Europe for an example. Many parts have banned guns from being owned by most people. Even with such a ban, criminals and those intent on doing harm can still find a way to get guns.

    One thing to think about is this: The feds have been trying to control access to Alcohol and Tobacco for decades to those of a specific age. Do you really think that with their track record they can stop people from getting guns?

  • Shane333 Cedar Hills, UT
    June 10, 2013 2:28 p.m.

    On the one hand, we have irrational people blaming crimes on inanimate objects (firearms). These irrational people push for laws banning pistol grips or folding stocks, or limiting magazine size, in the vain and irrational hope that firearms without such features can't be used to harm others.

    A rational person realizes that a firearm is a tool, and thus is as good or bad as the person using it. So rationally you'd want as many good people as possible to be armed.

    On the other hand we have problems with ineffectively treated mental illness. The shooter at Sandy Hook, the shooter who nearly killed a Congresswoman, the shooter at the theater in Colorado, etc. Over and over we see crimes involving multiple victims where the perpetrators have ineffectually treated mental illness.

    Now, as long as we have irrational people who push for irrational laws infringing on Constitutional rights, the law-abiding citizens will have reason to point out the obvious: the fact that law-abiding citizens aren't the problem, nor are Constitutional rights the problem. Thus the discussion goes back to criminals and ineffectually treated mentally ill.

  • techpubs Sioux City, IA
    June 10, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    Yes there were incidents in the 1800's. And some of it is probably linked to Video Games, no parent at home, no discipline at home or in school, etc. But there is also the fact that we have much better reporting of news today and 6 times the population of 1880 which was nearly double that of 1850. We also have 3 times the pop. of 1910. So the potential for more mental illness has increased also.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 10, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    We have two rights at odds. Personal liberty (applies to the mentally ill unless proven dangerous) and the Second Amendment.

    I'll bet most of us know more than one person who worries us just a bit. Should we put them in a secure facility? Would we do that with the relatively young? If we do, there is a huge expense in providing state housing (they are not volunteering, so it is a state function and would be state paid).

    As to firearms. There is no doubt (arguments otherwise are idiotic) that, despite other options for killing, firearms are built for the purpose and easily accessible. How do we control access to those who really should not have them? If I am competent (mentally and with a firearm) does that mean I cannot own them if I have an incompetent person in the house? I would say get a safe to keep them in, but I think Adam Lanza's mother had one. Yes, the NRA can seem hysterical, but all rights must be guarded fiercely from forces that would erode them. A little here, a bit there, and soon there is no right remaining.

    Sorry, no answers. Just thoughts.

  • Fender Bender Saint George, UT
    June 10, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    RE: 2 bits

    I didn't write anything suggesting the government should restrict gun ownership.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 10, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    Keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill is a no-brainer IMO. I don't think ANYBODY's pushing for the mentally ill to have MORE access to guns.

    The interesting thing to me is.. why Democrat leaders keep focusing so much attention on keeping guns out of the hands of concealed-carry permit holders, etc... while they coddle the gang-bangers with guns that are doing most of the day-to-day murders (mainly for drug turf in Chicago, LA, etc). The murder numbers in Chicago are HUGE compared to the number killed by lone wolf gunmen in schools, etc. But how much attention is being given to the murders by Gang_Bangers in Chicago, LA, etc?

    It all seems so backwards to focus so much attention on keeping guns away from legal gun owners... and not be concerned at all about gang-bangers that all have guns and are committing almost all of the murders in America today.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 10, 2013 12:50 p.m.

    Other countries do experience similar violent crimes. If you don't realize that... it's just the coolaid.

    - 77 killed by lone wolf terrorist in Norway (some by gun, some by car bomb)
    - Sarin attack in Japan subway
    - Daily car bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan
    - Recent Be-headings in England

    The list could go on. But the point is... we are not the only country, and guns aren't the only weapon.

    Crime rates differ in every country and there's a number of reasons (not just our gun laws). It's also how we treat the mentally ill in the USA (we let them live at home and try to be productive instead of institutionalizing them). We also have a different culture. More affluent population than some countries. More time for violent movies and video games. Access to many types of weapons (but I can assure you attacks happen with other types of weapons in countries where guns are highly restricted or the population can't afford them).

    Access to guns is one factor. But it's far from the ONLY factor. As long as you pretend it's only our gun laws... it exposes your real agenda.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 10, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    Re Utah blue devil

    Are you going to share this 'research' with the rest of us?

    Why when I Google 'students murder classmates', or even 'student gun violence' I can only find recent examples.

    Say what you will about Glen Beck, but he hired a a team of Journalists to research gun history in America and they found only recent examples of students going to schools and murdering other students. He put this research into his book 'Control'.

    If you have research to counter their research and my research on Google, please share the specifics with the rest of us.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 10, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    To "UtahBlueDevil" if you look at the data on guns, the problem isn't the guns, but the mental illness. It is paranoia like yours that must be overcome so that we can address the mental health problems that the mass murders have.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" Drunk Driving and Alcohol are related, however, you should look at Alchololism and Drunk driving as separate issues. The world has shown us that if you take away the guns, the mentally ill and criminals will just find new ways of kiling people.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 10, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    Fender Bender,
    I didn't say the Government should have "no role" in it, I just said they can be addressed as separate issues, and will be hard for the Government to address sufficiently on their own. Government obviously have a role in it. For one... they need to give the families the laws they need to help control their mentally ill family members.

    It SHOULD be illegal for mentally ill people to have deadly weapons (but not just guns). A parent needs to be able to call for help (ie police) if their mentally ill son has a gun. But they also need to call for help if he's headed to the school with a machete, club, or a bomb. When people focus only on guns... they exposes their real agenda.

    The "Well regulated militia" argument has already been decided by the Supreme Court, and they didn't agree with you. They already ruled that Washington DC couldn't restrict gun ownership to military, police, etc.

    Government absolutely has a role in BOTH of these issues. Separately and together. But some people are trying to use it as an excuse to restrict all legal gun ownership.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    June 10, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    Tooele, UT


    You've made two comments already about this,
    and in both - you referred to a total 100% ban of all guns to all citizens.

    Please site anywhere in the article this total ban of all guns was referred.

    All-or-Nothingism such as this is just another perfect example of hysterical extremism.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 10, 2013 11:47 a.m.

    Why is "mental illness" led gun rampages to prevalent here in the USA? Why don't other countries experience similar violent crime rates? Are their peoples less prone to mental illness than our own? Why? Is it something in the water? Or is it the ease of obtaining guns without any background checks or regulation?

  • Fender Bender Saint George, UT
    June 10, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    RE: 2bits

    I agree that we shouldn't abdicate all responsibility to the government, and I also think that we should be wary the government overstepping its bounds. However, I think the government does have a role to play.

    The 2nd Amendment includes the term "well-regulated". Well-regulated meant "prepared", "well-trained" or "educated" at the time the Constitution was written. This suggests to me that the government has some responsibility to ensure that gun owners are properly trained.

    To that end, I would suggest that it would be reasonable for the government to require gun owners to attend gun safety course at regular intervals (say, every six years or so). The safety courses could cover topics such as proper gun storage, conflict resolution, and recognizing severe depression and suicide warning signs.

    Mandatory gun safety trainings will lead to a well-regulated community of gun owners, and help ensure that gun owners are better-equipped with the information necessary to prevent gun violence.

  • Fender Bender Saint George, UT
    June 10, 2013 11:12 a.m.

    RE: Frank Blankenship

    While mental illness may contribute to only a small fraction of total murders, mental illness is indisputably relevant to a large subset of gun violence - namely, self-inflicted gun violence.

    Mental illness (severe depression) is obviously one of the two nearly-universal factors in the more than 15,000 annual gun suicides in the U.S. (the other common factor being the presence of a gun).

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 10, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    I agree... they are both issues, but separate issues IMO.

    Guns aren't the only weapons that should be kept out of the hands of the mentally ill. And I don't know that the Government is capable of keeping them out of the hands of the mentally ill. It's not possible for the Government to know the mental status of all it's citizens at all times. We should be relying on the FAMILY to keep deadly weapons of all kinds out of the hands of their family members who are mentally unstable.

    It's in their own interest (in both recent cases the mentally ill person killed their family before turning on the rest of society). So if you don't want them to kill you first... don't give mentally ill family members access to deadly weapons!

    The Government can't do it. WE have to do it. We know our children, spouse, parents. The Government doesn't know their status (it could change day-to-day). Keep guns and ALL deadly weapons out of the hands of mentally ill family members. DON'T WAIT for the government to do it!

  • Frank Blankenship Gainesville, FL
    June 10, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    Stop making a scapegoat for national violence out of people in the mental health system! We get 3 statistics, 46 %, 26 %, and 06 %, pertaining to the numbers of people, in the National Institute of Mental Health estimation, that have diagnosable "mental illnesses"--whatever that means. Given those statistics, it's a long leap from almost half the population to one person in twenty. Such a dragnet is obviously much too wide. Massive acts of violence are not a symptom of any "mental disorder" in the DSM. Murder is a crime; murder is not an illness. The Insanity Defense is a bad one that should be stricken from the books. People need to be held accountable for their actions even when they behave in a foolish or irresponsible fashion. The Insanity Defense, very much like the federal background check system, only serves to persecute completely innocent people. We've had enough persecutions. now let's get back to the business of prosecuting the guilty.

  • Fender Bender Saint George, UT
    June 10, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    On the one hand we can decide to try to improve health care for people suffering from mental illnesses, and make that treatment more accessible.

    On the other hand, we can take steps to prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals and mentally ill people who may pose a risk to themselves or others due to their condition.

    These are not mutually exclusive options; this is not an "either-or" scenario. If the goal is to decrease gun violence, then shouldn't we treat both the symptoms and the underlying causes?

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    June 10, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    Once again the DN has been drinking too much Kool-Tea.

    Using this sort of illogic,

    We should the "Keep the issues of DRUNK Driving and ALCOHOL separate".

    Cause and Effect ARE most certainly related.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 10, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    "Sure I can -- solve the mental illness issue, and there won't be a gun violence issue"

    It's just that simple. Solve mental health issues.... much easier then banning those mentally ill from obtaining guns.

    And there you go. It is settled.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    June 10, 2013 9:19 a.m.

    I think I steel need a few more cat's around the house. But how many is enough.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 10, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    "Guns have been around for 500 years. Yet students taking bombs and guns to school to murder people is recent. What has changed?"

    Completely untrue. A statement like was made a while ago, so I did a little research... and found numerous case of this going well back into the 1800s. In fact I found over 100 incidents in the 1800s from my quick search.

    But that said, we seem to have an acceleration of events...and I do think those who have disconnective issues with reality are more likely to have issues given the prevalence of first person shooter games out there.

    The resent news is been ever so ironical in that we want unlimited freedoms, but not the outcomes that come with that freedom. We want limited government, limited responsibility to one another... and yet wring out hands when events like these, or 9/11 occur and don't understand why these events were not stopped.

    It should make for some interesting debates. Freedom versus responsibility.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    June 10, 2013 8:52 a.m.

    Re: "No. You can't extract the gun violence aspect from these incidents."

    Sure I can -- solve the mental illness issue, and there won't be a gun violence issue. It completely obviates the need to do violence to our Constitution.

    See how easy that was?

    And, BTW, if liberals believe these issues to be so inextricably entwined, how do they extract the mental health issues from drinking, driving, taking medications, and most other normal activities of life that could pose a danger to the deranged or those with whom they come in contact?

    Are you really in favor of a total ban on drinking, driving, and taking medications?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 10, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    No. You can't extract the gun violence aspect from these incidents.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    June 10, 2013 7:48 a.m.

    Re: "I really don't understand how you can cleanly divide the issues . . . ."

    Well, deranged people will sometimes drink, get drunk, and hurt others. So, since we can't cleanly divide the issues, we'll have to ban drinking by everyone.

    Or, since the mentally ill sometimes drive and hurt people, including themselves, and, since we can't cleanly divide the issues, we must ban driving by all people.

    Or, given that mentally ill people sometimes overdose on illicit drugs and and prescription medications, and since we can't cleanly divide the issues, banning drugs and medications entirely, for everyone, is the only intelligent solution.

    I'm sure that, out of their overwhelming concern for human life and the mentally ill, ALL good liberals will quickly line up to support these initiatives.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 10, 2013 7:29 a.m.

    Guns have been around for 500 years. Yet students taking bombs and guns to school to murder people is recent. What has changed?

    For one, violent games and t.v. are now common ways for youth to spend their time. For another, it is now common for mothers with young children to send their children to daycare, instead of raising them themselves giving them the love and direction that mothers in years prior used to provide. All of this is a recipe for less well adjusted children.

    Guns are not the problem. Take them away and misfits can and will find other tools to do what it is that people who are not well adjusted when it comes to violence do.

    Problems are best solved by attacking the roots, not the symptoms.

  • isrred South Jordan, UT
    June 10, 2013 7:00 a.m.

    So Deseret News editorial board, you who have advocated against greater taxes for public funding of critical services like mental health, you who have attacked President Obama and others for their efforts to increase medical and mental health coverage, you who continually demand "personal responsibility" over community--you are now lecturing us on how we don't do enough for mental health?


  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 10, 2013 5:09 a.m.

    Pretty bold piece considering the repeat of the scenario in Santa Monica.... mentally ill person with a huge arsenal. I really don't understand how you can cleanly divide the issues, when the combination of the two has such clear and tragic results.

    But what ever.... perhaps a few mass killings a year by a mentally deranged person is the price we are willing to pay for gun ownership. Arizona, Colorado, Sandy Hook. Now Santa Monica.

    Evidently it is a price society is willing to pay to allow the mentally ill to own guns.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    June 10, 2013 2:53 a.m.

    A couple comments:

    "It is unfortunate the White House has taken the bait...." Never let a crisis go to waste. Isn't that one of the golden rules of our Dear Leader? He has an agenda to destroy the 2nd Amendment. As a senator, he made the statement that he didn't believe people should be able to own guns. His agenda is clear: Destroy the Constitution.

    Mental illness seems to have exploded in society, especially ever since big agriculture and the industrial food industry began dictating how our food is processed and produced. Add to that modern pollution and you get a chemical soup that is killing off brain cells. Then, add in the new DSM V with all sorts of imaginary illnesses and no wonder the majority of the population are considered mentally ill.

    How about this: we go back to the same diet that prevailed in the 1800's. No processed foods loaded with artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, cut waaaaay back on sugar, get rid of harmful vegetable oils that come from poisonous plants, eat free range, grass fed meats and maybe people won't be so sick.

    Just a thought.