“No one is willing to believe that adults too, like children, wander about this earth in a daze and, like children, do not know where they come from or where they are going…and are as thoroughly governed as they are by biscuits and cake and the rod.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “The Sorrows of Young Werther”
If Goethe were alive today, he might replace “biscuits and cake and the rod” with “guns and ammo and mental illness.” Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, wants taxpayers to fund a “national database of these lunatics,” because “good guys” need
biscuits assault weapons and cake thirty-round clips. In addition to blaming the government for letting “these lunatics” out of the nuthouse, the innocent little LaPierre blames the video game makers (who market the guns and ammo he so adores) for gun carnage. The NRA isn’t likely to change their name to the “National Rifle and Friends of Mental Health Association” any time soon. Here’s what LaPierre said about mental health in a Meet the Press interview:
“We have a mental health system in this country that has completely and totally collapsed. We have no national database of these lunatics*…We have a completely cracked mentally ill system that’s got these monsters walking the streets.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) parroted LaPierre’s remarks, mandating that government get “mass murders [sic] off the streets before they act, by better mental health detection.”
This is a chilling proposition for two reasons. First, it is unrealizable. The NRA conveniently delegates responsibility for “detection” to Big Brother government, but the one thing that discriminates “these lunatics” who would engage in mass murder is that they end up committing mass murders. Unless such a person acts unlawfully, they are entitled to all of their inalienable rights. A Department of Homeland Security report on increased activity by anti-government radicals in early 2009 that didn’t even make any policy recommendations resulted in howls of protest saying exactly that – a person’s rights cannot be violated because of their speech or thoughts because of a “potential to turn violent.” If our constitution permitted a government “thought control” bureaucracy like the one that Mr. LaPierre demands, the white supremacist who committed mass murder in Oak Creek, Wisconsin (and who received his assault weapons training in our own armed forces) could have been taken “off the streets” before he committed his heinous act. And what about Adam Lanza? They weren’t his guns. How does Mr. LaPierre propose keeping the lawfully obtained guns of friends and family (and strangers) out of the “monster’s” hands?
Second, and more importantly, the government already takes inalienable rights away from people indiscriminately. Convicted felons don’t have “gun rights.” Ronald Reagan’s “war on drugs” has resulted in a New Jim Crow that disproportionately affects minority populations. Pile on a psychiatric industry that once subjected so-called “frigid” women to electroshock therapy, and ask yourself if you want a mental health panel deciding whether you’re a danger to society and not entitled to rights.
All of a sudden, the formerly “too big” government is too small. According to the NRA it needs to grow, a lot, to fix a “collapsed” mental health system. But just a few months ago, Republicans swept the 2011 local election thanks to the leadership of LCRC Chair Mark Sell, an NRA employee. In 2012, the all-Republican BoS, tried to eliminate the meager $15K allocation to the nonprofit Friends of Loudoun Mental Health, and has slashed the budget for Loudoun County Mental Health. Due to the resulting staff reductions, people experiencing a mental health crisis in Loudoun are no longer able to reach a human being at that agency, and are at best placed on a waiting list for services. In 2013, ”Government Reform Commission” outsourcing guru and GOP 10th CD Chair John Whitbeck will likely push to outsource mental health counseling to Prison Fellowship Ministries, a favored funding sink that consistently electioneers for Frank Wolf and the GOP cause de jour.
In practice, the NRA’s political base thinks that health care is not a government responsibility, and the local attitude is a reflection of the national trend to push all healthcare costs to individuals, not government. Here is an excerpt from the 2012 GOP platform, emphasis mine:
We believe that taking care of one’s health is an individual responsibility. Chronic diseases, many of them related to lifestyle, drive healthcare costs, accounting for more than 75 percent of the nation’s medical spending. To reduce demand, and thereby lower costs, we must foster personal responsibility while increasing preventive services to promote healthy lifestyles. We believe that all Americans should have improved access to affordable, coordinated, quality healthcare, including individuals struggling with mental illness.
Is it any wonder that the system has “completely and totally collapsed”? The best evidence of mass psychosis is the political gun buying frenzy that followed the Newtown Connecticut shooting. It demonstrates that right-wing thought control is working, and wielding tremendous political power. Are we to trust a government that slashes mental health care funding and then turns around and says we need more of it? We don’t need more of THAT mendacious, lying, hypocritical big government. The NRA wants more of it, and they want us to eat their cake, too.
*Not a term found in any reputable medical text.