Guns Don’t Kill People, the Mentally Ill Do

Seung-Hui Cho, who committed the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, had been diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder as a child and placed under treatment.

But Virginia Tech was prohibited from being told about Cho’s mental health problems because of federal privacy laws.

At college, Cho engaged in behavior even more bizarre than the average college student. He stalked three women and, at one point, went totally silent, refusing to speak even to his roommates. He was involuntarily committed to a mental institution for one night and then unaccountably unleashed on the public, whereupon he proceeded to engage in the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history.

The 2011 Tucson, Ariz., shopping mall shooter, Jared Loughner, was so obviously disturbed that if he’d stayed in Pima Community College long enough to make the yearbook, he would have been named “Most Likely to Commit Mass Murder.”

After Loughner got a tattoo, the artist, Carl Grace, remarked: “That’s a weird dude. That’s a Columbine candidate.”

One of Loughner’s teachers, Ben McGahee, filed numerous complaints against him, hoping to have him removed from class. “When I turned my back to write on the board,” McGahee said, “I would always turn back quickly — to see if he had a gun.”

On her first day at school, student Lynda Sorensen emailed her friends about Loughner: “We do have one student in the class who was disruptive today, I’m not certain yet if he was on drugs (as one person surmised) or disturbed. He scares me a bit. The teacher tried to throw him out and he refused to go, so I talked to the teacher afterward. Hopefully he will be out of class very soon, and not come back with an automatic weapon.”

The last of several emails Sorensen sent about Loughner said: “We have a mentally unstable person in the class that scares the living cr** out of me. He is one of those whose picture you see on the news, after he has come into class with an automatic weapon. Everyone interviewed would say, Yeah, he was in my math class and he was really weird.”

That was the summer before Loughner killed six people at the Tucson shopping mall, including a federal judge and a 9 year-old girl, and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, among others.

Loughner also had run-ins with the law, including one charge for possessing drug paraphernalia — a lethal combination with mental illness. He was eventually asked to leave college on mental health grounds, released on the public without warning.

Perhaps if Carl Grace, Ben McGahee or Lynda Sorensen worked in the mental health field, six people wouldn’t have had to die that January morning in Tucson. But committing Loughner to a mental institution in Arizona would have required a court order stating that he was a danger to himself and others.

Innumerable studies have found a correlation between severe mental illness and violent behavior. Thirty-one to 61 percent of all homicides committed by disturbed individuals occur during their first psychotic episode — which is why mass murderers often have no criminal record. There’s no time to wait with the mentally ill.

James Holmes, the accused Aurora, Colo., shooter, was under psychiatric care at the University of Colorado long before he shot up a movie theater. According to news reports and court filings, Holmes told his psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, that he fantasized about killing “a lot of people,” but she refused law enforcement’s offer to place Holmes under confinement for 72 hours.

However, Fenton did drop Holmes as a patient after he made threats against another school psychiatrist. And after Holmes made threats against a professor, he was asked to leave campus. But he wasn’t committed. People who knew he was deeply troubled just pushed him onto society to cause havoc elsewhere.

Little is known so far about Adam Lanza, the alleged Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooter, but anyone who could shoot a terrified child and say to himself, “That was fun — I think I’ll do it 20 more times!” is not all there.

It has been reported that Lanza’s mother, his first victim, was trying to have him involuntarily committed to a mental institution, triggering his rage. If true — and the media seem remarkably uninterested in finding out if it is true — Mrs. Lanza would have had to undergo a long and grueling process, unlikely to succeed.

As The New York Times’ Joe Nocera recently wrote: “Connecticut’s laws are so restrictive in terms of the proof required to get someone committed that Adam Lanza’s mother would probably not have been able to get him help even if she had tried.”

Taking guns away from single women who live alone and other law-abiding citizens without mental illnesses will do nothing about the Chos, Loughners, Holmeses or Lanzas. Such people have to be separated from civil society, for the public’s sake as well as their own. But this is nearly impossible because the ACLU has decided that being psychotic is a civil right.

Consequently, whenever a psychopath with a million gigantic warning signs commits a shocking murder, the knee-jerk reaction is to place yet more controls on guns. By now, guns are the most heavily regulated product in America.

It hasn’t worked.

Even if it could work — and it can’t — there are still subway tracks, machetes, fists and bombs. The most deadly massacre at a school in U.S. history was at an elementary school in Michigan in 1927. It was committed with a bomb. By a mentally disturbed man.

How about trying something new for once?

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • Mary Sue

    There was a letter in a Canadian newspaper a few weeks back, where the letter writer went on a tear about how people were stigmatizing the mentally ill because of the Newtown shooting, blah blah the mentally ill aren't violent they need understanding, you know, that kind of nonsense. We've got the same problem here with not being able to commit people that need it. A few years ago a Nanaimo woman was killed by her schizophrenic son who lived with her because she couldn't get him committed.

    • Marcy Fleming

      What happened to my refutation of Mary Sue's comments on 'mental illness' ?

      • Mary Sue

        Random comment screening. It happens to everybody. Try again.

    • Marcy Fleming

      There is no such thing as 'mental illness' see the thirty some books of Thomas Szasz exposing the whole concept including the non-disease of 'schizophrenia'. Plus several books by Peter Breggin and others.
      Mind is an invented concept to describe self-conversation and conversation with others. Actual brain diseases like Alzheimers, mental retardation and so forth are treated by neurologists and not by psychiatric imprisonment, drugging, electroshock, ad nauseum. These are all physical diseases.
      No one should be deprived of liberty without being convicted of a real crime and no real criminal should get off with the insanity defense. Coulter is out to lunch here.

      • Mary Sue

        Mental illness is by definition a disease of the brain. duh.

        • Marcy Fleming

          Not really. If it was it would not be a mental disease but an organic physical disease. And how can a mind, which is a verbal fiction, be diseased ? People who act irrationally do not have a medical problem but an epistemological problem. Read Szasz and learn something.

    • Tom

      Absolute SHAME ON YOU FPM for publishing an opinion like this!!! Do you actually do any balanced research or just investigate whatever biased route suits you?!

  • AdinaK

    The left has committed itself NOT to commit the mentally ill, nor to treat them with the aim of getting better. By making it impossible to hold them against their will, even when admitted stark raving mad to hospitals etc, their fate is sealed. If one is looking for compassion from a leftist, those with mental illness should never entrust their care to folks who see them as nothing but red meat. Red herrings.

    The issue of gun control has NEVER been about the kiddies. Not at all. But it is about total control, and the evidence is self evident –

    The left can't relate to "There but for the grace of G-d go I". They believe they are untouchable.Indestructible.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel –

    • Mary Sue

      Insanity is useful to them, for it enables them to point and go "See, see! We need to ban X!"

  • rivkahf

    Since de-institutionalization in the 1970s, severely mentally ill people have no where to go for real help when they need it and when they endanger society. The idea of "patients' rights" trumps everything and many families live in fear for their lives and their possessions. That is not only true in the U.S., but throughout the Western world. Gun control will not help in this case, forced hospitalization will. Thanks.

    • Mary Sue

      That's what happens when people watch "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and take it for reality or a representation thereof.

      • Marcy Fleming

        It is even worse than in that film. You need to read Coercion As Cure, The Myth Of Mental Illness, Insanity and Schizophrenia:The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry by Thomas Szasz, MD, a trained psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Also check out and Szasz's own website.

        • Mary Sue

          I hate to break it to you, but I had the misfortune of personally knowing several mentally ill people who were violent, and one whom was banned from the town forever for practically killing his aunt. Schizophrenia is a thing, trust me. Now, the one guy, the mental illness was organic, and the other, it was brought on by a combination of cocaine, weed, and alcohol.

          Having personally struggled with depression, I can tell you that Dr. Szasz is, or was, full of $#*t.

          • Marcy Fleming

            That you were depressed hardly means that you had a medical condition that we would call a disease. There are no organic mental illness of the mind, that's like dry water or iron wood. There are organic brain diseases like strokes, alzheimers or senility, mental retardation but these are all physical real diseases and they are not caused by weed, cocaine or alcohol.
            People like to blame their inappropriate or immoral behavior on outside circumstances and coercive psychiatry panders to this which is an easy non-explanation for so many people who wish to avoid hard thought.
            Read Szasz and stop your childish obscenities and ad hominems.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Everyone gets depressed all the time but that doesn't make it a medical disease. Nor is what we mislabel 'mental illness' caused by drugs or alcohol. Any substance including caffeine can effect the brain but that doesn't make it an organic physical disease like brain strokes, senility, retardation, etc. You need to read Szasz for a change.

    • Dan Ward

      With predictions about how Obamacare is going to eventually reduce availability of doctors, one wonders where a whole bunch of new mental health doctors/psychiatrists are going to come from once society “comes to its senses”. Don’t psychiatrists have to be fully qualified MDs (7-8 years) first, and then do additional study and internships (a 3-4 year process????).

      • Marcy Fleming

        Which doesn't mean that psychiatry is medicine.

        • Mary Sue

          what are you, a Scientologist?

          • Marcy Fleming

            You think only cultists oppose the psychiatric cult ?

  • Gamaliel

    There is a good book about this called Madness in the Streets by Rael Jean Isaac

    • Marcy Fleming

      A terrible book and it was refuted at length when it came out by Szasz, Breggin and others.

      • Tina Trent

        Why do you say that? What's your complaint? Issac wrote critically of Szasz. She also wrote the first study of the pernicious spread of leftist bureau-nonprofitcats.

        A very relevant and moving book on the subject of mental illness, substance abuse, social policies and deinstitutionalization is _My Brother Ron_ by historian and gun rights expert Clayton Cramer. I can't recommend it highly enough.

        • Marcy Fleming

          I say it because it was a terrible book and has been totally refuted in at least thirty books of Thomas Szasz and half a dozen by Peter Breggin, both trained psychiatrists who saw through the erroneous premises of psychiatry. Why don't you check out Szasz and Breggin books on Amazon and start to confront your prejudices. ?

        • Mary Sue

          Just because Thomas Szasz disagreed with something doesn't mean he 'refuted' it.

          • Marcy Fleming

            True but he gave reasons for his refutation of that book as he always does.

  • polnick

    An alert has been put out for the angry young man; he has been responsible for slaughtering dozens of the innocent and defenseless. If you see him do not remain silent, report the loony to the nearest cop. No growling youngster must be allowed to hide beneath the radar of concerned parents and a God loving nation.

    • Marcy Fleming

      Report all angry young men to the cops ? Brilliant…………NO.

  • PAthena

    The present calls for more gun controls in the wake of the massacre in Newtown by Adam Lanza are beside the point. Not only was Lanza mentally ill, but he did not buy the guns he used.
    Deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill was a disaster, caused by smart alec money savers. These people decided that it would be cheaper to put mentally ill people in jail as vagrants than to have mental institutions. Now the institution with the largest number of mentally ill is Rikers, the jail of New York City,

  • mcj

    Alarming the lack of continuing details regarding the Lanza incident; makes you wonder if there is a plan! Look back in the initial news cast reports, the AR15 was in his car; how did it suddenly get in the school? Again makes you wonder who is pulling the strings.

  • Mo_

    Actually, I am tired of everyone who slaughters others being called "ill".

    How about calling them what they are, EVIL? But that politically incorrect and even implies a moral judgement! It might even hurt their feelings.

    Too bad. My sympathy is with the victims, not the savages who destroy innocent lives for no reason other than that they feel like it.

    • patron

      Exactly. Family, doctors and even the murderers themselves deny evil nature and seek mental illness as half hearted stop gap measures.

      Barak Obama exhibits this cynical lack of passion or standards for fundamental human values in his most current attack on conservatism. Children today become evil because of apathetic parenting by selfish and drug addicted people who have no business being parents in the first place.

    • Mary Sue

      well, they can be both.

      • Marcy Fleming

        No they can't. They are evil and should not use psychiatry to escape punishment through the insanity defense.

        • Mary Sue

          Do you even comprehend what insanity is?

          Insanity is the inability to process reality. This is a thing. There are people who for whatever reason, cannot separate reality from fantasy, some who hear voices in their heads, some whose thinking process is so broken that they interpret what someone else does or says absolutely incorrectly, or they hallucinate and see things that are not there.

          This is a thing.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Yes, read the Szasz book titled 'Insanity:The Idea And Its Consequences.'
            It is a pernicious, faulty concept that never should have been invented. No one hears voices in their head, that is physically impossible. They CLAIM they hear voices, a lie.
            They can separate reality from fantasy and choose to play the fantasy ROLE to escape responsibility for their actions which is how they get on the insanity defense which should be abolished. Their problems are not medical but moral and epistemological.
            Everyone unless they have organic brain damage as in a stroke, retardation, senility, etc., has the ability to process reality. Organic brain diseases are physical illnesses, there are no 'mental illnesses' or diseases of the 'mind.'

  • Danny

    Interesting that Coulter, in discussing Cho's, Loughner's and Holmes' mental illness, never mentions that all 3 purchased their weapons legally in spite of their illness. Here's a radical thought: before we start rounding up and shoving into an overburdened mental hospital system individuals whose teachers, fellow students and tattoo suppliers have labeled weird, why don't we first make sure they're not able to get their f-king hands on weapons by walking into a gun shop and waving their credit card.

    Or does that violate the 2nd amendment?

    • trickyblain

      I'm not sure why this post is getting down votes. Do these folks think it's fine for psychotics and drug addicts to be able to purchase firearms?

      I think the gun control advocates have it all wrong. It's not the type of weapon that should be scrutinized. It's the type of person.

      • RedWhiteAndJew

        The post is deservedly getting thumbed down, because it is premised on several errors.

        1) How are mental hospitals "overburdened," when dim administrations open the hospital doors and let the patients fend for themselves (see Carter, for example)?

        2) Associating a weird tattoo with assault (making physical threats is assault) is dishonest conflation worthy of a thumbs down.

        3) The axiom "when there is a will, there is a way" is very much true for those obsessed with their objective. If the objective is mass murder, laws won't stop them. Most guns used in crime are obtained illegally. That there are a very few notable exceptions to this fact, doesn't change this fact.

        4) The only defense against the blood-minded people of number 3, is an armed public. It is no accident that the Virginia Tech shooting was the most lethal, in terms of body count. It is a "gun-free" zone…and a BIG one. I've been on the campus. One student with a concealed handgun could have made a big difference. Thing is, a small period of anti-depressant use after the death of a loved one (such as was the case with me, after my grandmother and mother died within a month of each other) could have slowed or disqualified that hypothetical armed student from getting HIS handgun, if his non-violent mental health history is made the business of the FBI and gun dealers.

        In short, those bent on crime, will obtain the means to commit that crime, and it is axiomatic that the law is no barrier to that goal. Enhanced restrictions will only impede the law-abiding, many of whom choose to buy a firearm, because they feel unsafe. This leads to:

        5) "Shall not be infringed" means what it says.

        • Danny

          It;s getting thumbs down because I dared to point out where Queen Ann is avoiding the obvious solution to score political points against opponents of forced hospitalization of the mentally ill whom she apparently sees as part of the left.

          As for RW&J….

          1) Try doing what Coulter is proposing and you'll soon see how overburdened the system will become, if it isn't already.

          2) Did you read Coulter's article? She references the tattoo artist as someone who could've testified to Loughner's illness so that "six people wouldn’t have had to die that January morning in Tucson". Who conflated tattoos with assault?

          3) That's ridiculous. Then why have any laws? Anyway if we can prevent weapons of mass murder from getting into the hands of seriously mentally ill people partly through better exchange of information between medical and law enforcement authorities, what's your objection?

          4) I don't mean to imply that someone with e.g. mild to moderate depression should be denied the right to buy a gun. As you state, if the illness is of a completely non-violent nature, then it's of no business to law enforcement. But both Coulter and I are obviously talking about violent psychological disorders. And if you really object to denying guns to such people, then how could you even entertain a proposal to involuntarily hospitalize them? Which is the more blatant violation of their rights?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            1) Try doing what Coulter is proposing and you'll soon see how overburdened the system will become, if it isn't already.

            So now we've shifted from "overburdened" to "if it isn't already." IOW, you made a groundless assertion, and need to resort to a dire hypothetical in an attempt to make it resemble reality.


            I other words, people who have intimate contact with an individual, are in no position to voice concern about an individual's likelihood for lethal behavior. Got it.


            You think it's ridiculous that criminals disregard the law? No wonder you take the position you do. As to the rest, study your history of Communist China and the Soviet Union, as to how unacceptable ideologies are pathologized. Think it can't happen here? Perhaps you don't remember the current administrations DHS release of a document describing evangelical Christians as one of the greatest domestic terror threats the country faces.


            Ah. Therein lies the rub. Just what constitutes a condition precluding the securing of a firearm through conventional channels. As physicians continue to become more and more an extension of the state (my ophthalmologist bitterly complained to me on my last visit, how he has been made into a government spy against his will), the threshold will be dictated to them.

            The whole purpose of systems of checks and balances is to deal with human flaws. The reason for the Constitutional limits placed upon the federal government was to reduce the impact those errors have on individual liberty.

            Rather than screw with a right, and turn it into a privilege, it would be far better for authorities investigate thoroughly information volunteered by family and associates, when an individual's actions signal violent instability.

            It would only be a matter of time before the conviction that the Second Amendment is a guard against federal tyranny is defined as a pathology meritorious of denial of a firearm.

            That is the more blatant violation of one's rights.

          • Danny

            1) Actually neither one of us has the slightest clue as to how burdened the mental health system would become if we decided to commit individuals with no past criminal history and no history of violence who nonetheless are deemed weird and dangerous by those they come in contact with, but I'd be willing to bet it would be considerable. I plead guilty to hyperbole. :>)

            2) WARNING: impending sarcasm. You got me there. There can be no more intimate contact than between a tattoo artist and his client.

            3) Do I think it's ridiculous that criminals disregard the law? No, I think it's ridiculous to claim that since laws preventing violently sick people from obtaining guns may not ultimately stop them from committing murder, then the laws are useless. Which is essentially what you said above. I have no idea how you arrived at a different interpretation of what I said.

            4) You're right. The criteria for judging a person to be dangerously mentally ill has to be carefully defined so we don't turn into the old USSR – something perhaps more medically authoritative than deciding that someone is "a weird dude". In any case, based on what you just wrote, I would expect you to be the first to object to Coulter's very "liberal" attitude on what criteria the authorities can use to forcibly hospitalize someone. After all, the 2nd amendment isn't the only right whose screwing we should be guarding against.

          • RedWhiteAndJew


            Your guilty plea is accepted, though it's a poor start from someone who wants to give the appearance to advocate for fact-based approaches.


            Of course there are more intimate relationships, but it's a bit of a challenge to phone a tattoo in.


            Once again, you ignore the very real negative consequences on the millions whose rights will be compromised by putting an 0bamacare-bound physician between an individual and his right to be armed. It puts the entire reason for the existence of the Second Amendment on its head.

            As to the rest of your trite response: no, laws are not useless. Laws against murder may not prevent all murders, but the prevent many, as the perceived cost is too high. Further, no one has the right to commit murder. However, a free man has a right to be armed. I hope you can see the difference, now.


            There is a distant gap between confining a person against his will on the casual word of an acquaintance, and teachers and fellow students either ignoring menacing behavior, or their complaining about it to authorities, and being ignored.

            As for Ms. Coulter's prescriptions, I'd say you have little authority to be critical, having based your suggestions are hyperbole (as you admit).

            The approach you seem to be suggesting punishes millions, for the misdeeds of a few, and the only defense against a madman with a gun, is one or more armed citizens. Placing additional barriers in the way if an individual's right to be armed makes everyone less safe.

          • Danny

            "There is a distant gap between confining a person against his will on the casual word of an acquaintance, and teachers and fellow students either ignoring menacing behavior, or their complaining about it to authorities, and being ignored." – RW&J

            "Such people have to be separated from civil society, for the public’s sake as well as their own." – Ann Coulter

            Hmm, sounds like 2 very different opinions. So what do you really think of Coulter's prescription for dealing with the potentially violent mentally ill? I presume you, unlike I, have the authority to be critical.

            And if "a free man has a right to be armed", does that include someone with a criminal record who has been released from jail and is now "free"?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            Apples and Oranges. Some people do have to be separated from civil society. Usually, it is because they are deliberately antisocial. Sometimes it's through no fault of their own, and that's sad, but nonetheless, necessary. How this conclusion is arrived at, for each individual case, is a technical question. That it should be done, is a principled one.

            And if "a free man has a right to be armed", does that include someone with a criminal record who has been released from jail and is now "free"?

            My opinion, is yes. Let the punishment fit the crime, let the convicted "pay their debt to society," then allow them the full rights of citizenship once again. The problem in how this equation is applied in reality, is that the punishment is frequently entirely inadequate.

          • Danny

            You're skirting the question. People who act out their anti-social personalities in a way that violates the law are of course separated from civil society, as they must be. But what about the ones who have committed no crime but are judged to be potentially violent by qualified mental health professionals, which I think is what Coulter is referring to (notwithstanding her quips about recent killers being seen as weird). Amazingly you seem to have no problem with the government having the power to forcibly confine such individuals (or perhaps you would prescribe that it be done only during Republican administrations) but you're terrified of the prospect that the same government would deny them weapons that they could use to act out their violent impulses. I find that absolutely incredible.

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            Under the Constitution, the right of the people to keep and bear arms is acknowledged, and the government is barred from infringement of that right. Being violently insane in public, however, is not a right.

            And of course I have no problem with the government forcibly confining individuals, under the appropriate circumstances. You can mince words about the details of what is appropriate, and relentlessly dwell on Ms. Coulter's word choices (such as your apparent favorite, "weird"), but the fact remains that infringement on the rights of the vast majority of the population, because of the illness of a very few, is not the answer; nor is giving those of a totalitarian bent (and we no don't differ which side of the aisle is inclined thus…c'est la vie), one more tool to tinker with the rights of the individual. Lest you offer a rejoinder that the insane are individuals, too: Yes, they are, but if they don't share the same reality we do, they have to be dealt with as special cases. The alternative is to treat everyone as is they are insane.

          • Danny

            Maybe we're talking past each other. Let me try once more. If it's OK for the government to forcibly confine individuals who are judged to be dangerously "insane" (which, by the way, is a legal and not medical term) or otherwise "under the appropriate circumstances", however you define them, in spite of the due process clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments, then why is it not OK for the government to deny availability of guns to those same individuals? Isn't the latter what I've been suggesting until I'm blue in the face? Or have you been responding to another post?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            If we are talking past each other, it is due to your unwillingness to address the how of the matter. You appear to be more concerned with a very few being briefly detained against their will, but are willing to subject everyone to additional scrutiny, via mechanisms which further erode another amendment, which you appear to care little for, the 2nd.

          • Danny

            Not true. The 2nd amendment is one of my favorites, though I admit not included in my top ten list. :>)

            Anyway if you're going to allow the government to "briefly detain" certain individuals against their will (perhaps while their gun orders are being processed), how do you propose to determine which individuals, i.e "the how of the matter", other than through "additional scrutiny" of people who have broken no law? So let's say Adam's mother had decided that, instead of taking her dangerously ill son target-shooting with her, she would instead notify the authorities that she's worried that her son might someday commit mass murder due to his mental illness. Are the authorities then allowed to "briefly detain" him during which they'll perform some sort of magic act that will render him forever harmless? And after the magic is performed, I presume Adam will then be free to purchase all the guns and ammunition he desires since no background check of his mental health history will be done lest, heaven forbid, Joe Schmo with no history of mental illness or at least no history of being forcibly confined has to wait until a background check is done on him before he can purchase his own gun.

            But no worry. Once Joe has his gun, he can then defend himself against Adam who may proceed to mow down 20 other people before Joe blows him away.

            After all, we do want to level the playing field, or battlefield, don't we?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            IIRC, Adam's mother did, in fact, approach authorities with concerns that her son was a danger to others and himself. Rather than ignore her, and rather than shove him in a dark cell and throw away the key, how about they do something in the middle? I've read numerous account of how family members have pleaded with authorities, that they worried a loved one was a danger, only to be rebuffed.

            But I'm glad you brought Adam Lanza up, because the additional bureaucratic hurdles you are advocating, regarding the purchase of a firearm, would have done nothing to prevent the horrible incident, as he had not even purchased the firearms himself.

            Stripped of the hyperbole (do you buy it in bulk?) sprinkled into your Joe/Adam scenario, I'd say you have it just about right. If an armed Joe had been on sight, it is likely there would have been many fewer deaths.

            I'd much rather have playing fields than battlefields. Then again, I'd rather have battlefields, than killing fields.

            It's a shame the 2nd isn't in your top 10. It's sure in the Constitution's top ten.

          • Danny

            Actually all we know is that Adam's mother was possibly planning to have him committed according to a neighbor. I haven't read where she actually approached authorities but maybe I missed it.

            In any case, I probably should've used any of the other 3 maniacs for my hypothetical situation since they all bought their guns legally rather than used other peoples' guns but I couldn't resist the bit about his mother taking him target-shooting. I'll sum it up by just saying that I would rather the maniac in question wasn't allowed to purchase his guns in the first place than have to rely on Joe's being a good shot, properly trained and not prone to accidentally shooting an innocent bystander. And Joe can save his ammunition for shooting a maniac who had obtained his guns illegally. Divide and conquer, I say.

            Sorry about the hyperbole. I'm almost out anyway. Time to replenish.

          • kentatwater

            The problem, again, is that any so far named mechanism that will accomplish the goal you claim to achieve, will of necessity grind everyone else, too. Unacceptable.

            And I don't think many Joes will care how a baddie got his gun.

          • Marcy Fleming

            It can't be defined because the concept is erroneous en toto. The gun control laws are counter-productive but that has nothing to do with 'mental illness.'

          • Mary Sue

            If someone is hearing voices in their head and it's not their cellphone or iPod eabuds, or they're seeing floating pink elephants, or they are making crap up in their heads somehow that they believe really happened when it didn't, or they are positive that they must slaughter a boatload of people FOR ALLAH (or whoever), they are insane.

      • Mary Sue

        Adam Lanza's mother wasn't insane.

        Irresponsible, yes. But not crazy.

    • Mary Sue

      Well the guns were purchased legally by his MOTHER (or father and given to his mother after the divorce), who presumably was not batfeces insane. Adam Lanza never purchased any gun.

      • Danny

        I wasn't talking about Lanza. I was talking about the other 3 who did purchase their guns legally.

        • RedWhiteAndJew

          The take away of a reasonable person, is that mayhem can be committed by sick individuals who obtain firearms legal and illegally. It is not a far leap to conclude that if the former avenue is denied them, they will opt for the latter.

          To assert otherwise, is to entertain the fantasy that criminals in New York will trash their 10 round magazines, and buy 7 round ones. Not. Going. To. Happen.

          • Danny

            How about we just make it a little bit harder for dangerously sick individuals to obtain their firearms by denying them the legal avenue? If it'll prevent at least some horrendous acts, thought not all, without abridging the 2nd amendment for the rest of us, I think it would be worth a try. How about you?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            How about we just make it a little bit harder for dangerously sick individuals to obtain their firearms by denying them the legal avenue?

            Easy to say. Without subjecting every citizen to scrutiny which makes a mockery of the purpose of the Second Amendment, I'd argue it's impossible to do. As I already said, if we go in this direction, it's only a matter of time before politicians the likes of Boxer, Cuomo, and 0bama make the desire to obtain a gun, proof that you shouldn't have one. And no, that is not hyperbole.

          • Danny

            No, it isn't hyperbole but it is paranoia.

            Don't worry. It's nothing that would make you ineligible to buy a gun. But professional help might still be warranted. :>)

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            And with that, you make my point. I refer you again, to the pathologizing of ideology.

        • Mary Sue

          The problem is we don't know the crazies until they……act crazy.

    • Marcy Fleming

      Exactly the point, Danny. Thanks for some are intelligence here.

    • CurmudgyOneJr

      No, it doesn't at all violate the 2nd amendment. The 2md amendment is already infringed, in the literal sense of that word; access to purchasing arms is controlled. But, as you say, there needs to be more done to keep mentally ill people or those under the care of a doctor for depression, etc., from buying arms. Most of the shooters in recent killings have been under the influence of SSRI drugs. Google it and be amazed, as I was, that these drugs aren't implicated AT ALL in the prss!

  • ApolloSpeaks


    A recent Gallup poll on national problems lists "gun control" and "school shootings" as virtually insignificant when compared to the miserable state of Obama's trickle growth economy, his ballooning and bankrupting deficits and debt and dissatisfaction with the federal government. The Gallup poll shows that post-Newtown anti-gun hysteria (driven by the White House and the anti-gun media) is not catching on with the public. It shows that public opinion on gun control has shifted very little since Newtown and is not the vital, pressing, burning issue that the White House and MSM falsely make it to be.


  • RedWhiteAndJew

    Recently, another poster here became preoccupied with the subordinate portion of the Second Amendment which mentions a well-regulated militia. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get him past the Princess Bride-like teachable moment evoked by the line of dialog, "I don't think that word means what you think it means."

    Here is what it means:

    • Jim_C

      It is the linkage between the two clauses, the history of that amendment's drafting, and what was, and is, meant by "militia" which makes it less cut and dry for me. And if you want to continue the discussion we can do so.

      Meanwhile, I thank you for the dialogue and remain in general agreement that the people's right to bear arms should not be infringed upon, and as much as it pains me to say it, I agree with Coulter about the primacy of mental illness/ the case of these mass shootings.

      • RedWhiteAndJew

        If you need it to be more cut and dry, read what some of the Founders wrote and said on the subject. It is not a complicated issue by any means. Their original intent is clear.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    With 24 million people either unemployed or underemployed-and gun violence affecting the lives of very few Americans-with good reason Obama is epically failing to turn Newtown into a national tragedy; with good reason he's failing to distract the public from issues that are vitally important to them. The Newtown massacre was a tragedy, but not a national tragedy like Obama's terrible economy and bankrupting spending policies.

    Google "Gallup: Most Important Problem" and see this revealing poll for yourself.

  • Lysander Spooner

    More yammering about "mental illness." There's no such thing. (See Szasz, Dr. Thomas: The Myth of Mental Illness)

    Hidden away in his Mom's house, Adam Lanza hated his life, hated his mother, and hated the objects of her affection. He, like the others cited, went on a killing spree to gain fame in a deadly tantrum. Perhaps the fact that it always seems to be horny social outcasts doing these killings might point to the real problems boys are having becoming men in today's society.

    Until physical pathologies are found in the shooters' brains, it would be best for people to stop the nonsense about make-believe "mental illnesses."

    • tagalog

      That's about the dumbest thing I've ever read. Even Thomas Szasz said his book The Myth of Mentall Illness was hyperbole. Apparently you 've never had an encounter with a person who is suffering from a mental disorder.

      • Marcy Fleming

        He said no such thing and went on to write another 30 books on the subject. We all have had plenty of encounters with irrational people but their problems are epistemological, not medical.

        • Mary Sue

          Paper Doesn't refuse ink,
          and he wrote those books to make money.

          • Lysander Spooner

            Of course paper doesn't refuse ink. As a non-living entity, paper does not refuse or accept anything.

            Szasz wrote books for many reasons, including to warn free people to beware those who seek to advance immoral political positions through the sloppy use of language and the misappropriation of scientific and medical terms.

            Szasz was the most eloquent and articulate champion of liberty the world has ever known.

          • Mary Sue

            You idiot, that's a figure of speech. It means just because something's printed on paper, doesn't mean it is true.

            Sounds like Szasz was a scientologist or something.

          • Lysander Spooner

            Of course I'm an idiot, because I expect you and Ann Coulter to use words properly.

            I will strive to be improve myself in the future.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Scholarly books published by university presses are not ways to make money. You're presuming to tell us his motivation ?

        • tagalog

          If they're not medical, how come there are medications that help them think more rationially?

          And yes, I am well aware that there are medications that will do harm to the patient if taken for too long. I am also aware of Szasz's argument that mental illness is caused by circumstances, and that we should be free (mentally ill or not) to respond as needed to those circumstances without being called sick. I just don't agree with Szasz's position regarding mentall illness as necessarily deterministic or circumstantial, and neither do the experts.

          • Lysander Spooner

            Szasz never argued that mental illness was caused by circumstances. Szasz argued that mental illness did not exist, and can not exist, because the mind is not a bodily organ. "Mental illness" is a deceptive linguistic convenience, a myth, or a metaphor, that serves to explain away or avoid the true causes of behavior that is not understood or tolerable.

            People who behave in unusual ways may have undiagnosed brain conditions, or they may be engaged in strategic performances. But those who wish to maintain any scientific or philosophical integrity may not assert a "mind" is diseased or that individuals are "mentally ill."

          • Marcy Fleming

            The medicines are not treating any illnesses is what's the problem. People can have varied reactions to any kind of drugs. Drugs can make people controllable at the expense of dulling their brain capacity. All drugs taken over more than short periods of time can do permanent brain damage. The biological medical model here is attempting to treat moral & epistemological issues, a sure way to fail.
            Read Thomas Szasz on the 'mental illness' concept and Peter Breggin on psychotropic drugs, both are MD trained psychiatrists who disavowed coercive psychiatry and only endorse voluntary therapy as conversation, not medicine.

        • tagalog

          As to the epistemological claim, I worked in a mental hospital as a psych nurses aide for 8 years, long enough to realize that the mentally ill were quite convinced that they needed to wear those aluminum hats in order to fend off the radio waves being sent into their heads by either the FBI or the CIA, whoever they happened to be thinking about as the oppressors at the time. They weren't concerned in the least about HOW they knew what they knew (although, in contradiction of Dr. Szasz, the counselors to those poor deluded folks were asking about that), they were convinced.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Your reasoning is circular. Lots of people are convinced of lots of things which doesn't make them true. That someone chooses to play a fantasy role doesn't make it a medical problem.
            And of course cure being coerced & electroshocked & brain disabled by psychiatric drugs didn't cure those inmates (not patients) of their nonexistent diseases. Your statement that appears to say that Szasz claimed their jailers never engaged in conversation with them is a whopper. Szasz maintains that conversation under coerced circumstances is not moral. And since any such conversation takes place under faulty premises they are not helpful.

          • tagalog

            You talked about the epistemological aspect of psychosis. I was responding to that.

            Do you know what "epistemological" means?

            Actually, electroshock for psychotic depression DID work. It still does. That particular effective use of electroshock is the reason why, after electroshock fell out of favor in the late 1940s and 1950s, it made a comeback in the 1960s and 1970s. Electroshock is probably an effective treatment for other mental illnesses, too.

    • Mary Sue

      I personally know someone who had to sleep with a knife under his pillow because of his mentally ill brother. Schizophrenia is a thing, let me tell you.

      • Marcy Fleming

        Conspiracies exist in both politics and criminal law. Mental illness is a mistaken concept, read Szasz and read Breggin. Freud believed in both analysis and coercion of all kinds.

        • Mary Sue

          Freud has been largely discredited.

          • Marcy Fleming

            By Szasz first.

          • tagalog

            No; Jung was first.

        • tagalog

          Freud dealt with neuroses, not psychoses.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Not true, he claimed to deal with both, he was mistaken that either concept was valid.

    • Ghostwriter

      To Mr. Spooner and his friends,how would you deal with mentally ill people? I'd love an answer to that question.

      • Marcy Fleming

        Treat them as I would anyone else and if they commit crimes prosecute them. If they do not commit crimes leave them alone.

        • Mary Sue

          You have to give them their meds or they go bananas.

          • Marcy Fleming

            They go bananas precisely because of brain destroying drugs. Breggin has written many books on this starting with Toxic Psychiatry in 1991.

        • tagalog

          You've obviously never had any experience with a mentally ill person serving time in jail or a penitentiary.

          • Marcy Fleming

            I obviously have and I had the wit to rethink the premises of psychiatry. You can too, read Szasz, Breggin and many others. Examine your own prejudices.
            Why would you audaciously assume that everyone who had experiences in this area would agree with you ?

          • tagalog

            Because I used to talk with my fellow workers on the psych unit I worked on, including psychiatrists, psychologists, psych nurses and psych aides. Each of them knew something.

    • Memory Stick

      Dr. Szasz has some good commentary on this topic, but to beef up your arguments, see Dr. Peter Breggin, Dr.Colin Ross, Dr. Harvey Weinstein, and Robin Dawes (former APA head who wrote House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Based on Myth, where he complains about how his colleagues presenting a diagnostic test supposedly making it possible to determine who might become a pedophile that had absolutely no scientific merit.) There are more, and they are quite aware of the battles within the field. Dr. Breggin once complained that the major study done on schizophrenia was a look at a pair of twins who were being sexually abused by their parents, a fact that was only mentioned in passing in the footnotes of the study! Yeah, this is too sophisticated and disturbing a topic for most to look at with open eyes, but if we're going to have this conversation, we'd better look at that side of things. Lots of people worldwide and in the US have been horribly harmed by the profession, it has been used often to drive the government's political agenda, and hey if we're worried about a covert Communist takeover, I can't imagine why we're pushing now to implement the same gulag system they had there.

      • tagalog

        A mental hospital is hardly a gulag. A 48- to 72-hour commitment for evaluation is hardly a tenner in Kolyma.

  • LibertarianToo

    Please. Let's not pretend that putting American citizens behing bars in mental institutions on someone else's say-so is not problematic. That's how the Kennedy's incarcerated the retarded family member for her entire life, that's how more than one inconvenient first wife was dissappeared, etc. Particularly with the Left in control -I can just imagine what would qualify as mental illness requiring involuntary committal. I bet Rush, and of course, Ann Coulter could easily be classified as dangerous lunatics who pose a threat to society. The most important question in this debate is Who decides? And I'm not so sure the medical industry is any more trustworthy than the federal government. Particulary when the Left believe that doctors should be overseeing gun ownership, the CDC should be looking into the "causes of gun violence" as if it were a communicable disease, etc.

    Remember, the late Soviet Union were pioneers in the use of mental institutions to incarcerate dissidents.

    • tagalog

      Of course it's problematic. Your call yourself "Libertarian Too." Presumably you like libertarianism. How do your libertarian principles deal with the contrast between locking upon a few thousand potentially violent mentally ill people against taking away Second Amendment rights permanently from 350 million law-abiding citizens?

      • Marcy Fleming

        A few thousand people who have committed no crime to be locked away to protect the rest of us ?
        Someone gets locked away for 'potential' violence ? By that principle everyone and anyone could get locked away. Think ! Rights are not a matter of numbers.
        By the way psychiatrists estimate a quarter of the US population, at least, are mentally ill !
        That's tens of millions, not a few thousand ! Libertarian Too, thanks for a great post.
        Tagalog, read Szasz.

        • tagalog

          Not a few thousand put away to protect the rest of us, the rights of few thousand curtailed for two or three days is better than the rights of the entire population of the United States being curtailed permanently.

          I've probably read more Szasz than you. I also worked for eight years as a nurses' aide in a county hospital psych unit, one of those evil so-called "warehouses" for the unwanted mentally ill.

    • @JennyHatch

      The recent Medical Diagnostic Manual for Psychiatry includes Oppositional Defiant Disorder as a mental illness.

      I have no doubt the left would love to slap that label on Teapartiers and lock us all up with forced meds for the greater good.

      This study:… illustrates how some in medicine view dissenters.

      It is sad to see someone with Coulters smarts lobbying for A bigger psychiatric police state.

      The whole profession is one big fat nothing. I know, I've been in the belly of the beast and it is deadly, toxic, and evil.

      Jenny Hatch
      Psychiatric Survivor

      • Memory Stick

        I too have seen it up close. I had a dear family member who was getting homicidal, and I consulted every mental health professional around…and they were totally nonchalant about the problem but fixated on really trivial things instead. It turned into such a nightmare that wouldn't have been so horrible if I had never gone to them. In these situations, there is a huge gap between what society says it wants (family to commit a loved one they see as dangerous) and what they actually want you to do (I have been harangued repeatedly by the community for not thinking my homicidal loved one's threats were cute, and I was even told that I should never have told anyone regardless of whether he wanted to commit murder). No one is interested in solving these problems, least of all the mental health people.

        And since I and other friends of mine has such horrible experiences with the profession, I have been paying attention to their publications. At a local university around 1998, I found a compilation of essays by their prominent thinkers, and I was startled to see that one of them talked dreamily about medicating all Christians for their beliefs. This stuff can be found if you are willing to do the legwork and see what they really say to one another when they think the public isn't paying attention. I should compile a list beyond my list above. Jenny, you really should read Colin Ross' book I mentioned earlier on CIA Doctors: one of the dirty little secrets he mentions is the way research university hospitals recruit unsuspecting targets through psychs for prostitution rings! You just have no idea. The innocent public is so brainwashed.

  • Steve

    It seems clear to me that Adam Lanza was not only attempting to kill his mother but to obliterate all the things she loved: ie, the gun culture. Thus his choice of atrocity was, I believe, pre-meditated to destroy gun culture. He knew EXACTLY the result of his rampage. He wasn't stupid, he was insane. Thus all the anti-gun libs doing their little dance of fake outrage in their little tutus, are basically working for Adam. He's their patron saint; they're his followers.

    • CurmudgyOneJr

      Gotta disagree. Adam ws so young, I sincerely doubt that he was thinking on that level. Maybe he wasn't stupid, and maybe he wasn't insane but just on antidepressant drugs (SSRI's). But he WAS immature, and his concept of consequences for his actions was as yet undeveloped, as it is in us all until we're in our 20's.

  • tagalog

    Rather than involuntarily commit the potentially dangerous mentally ill for a few days for psychicatric evaluation the people who claim to be concerned about shooting sprees focus on guns.

    Apparently for them it is more important to regulate firearms, a method of control that that doesn't work, than it is to actually do something significant to restrict the rate of shooting sprees.

    It's said that some of the shooting sprees are done by people who are not mentally ill. A non sequitur if I ever heard one, since slowing down the rate at which crazy people shoot other people can actually be an effective way of lowering the number of shooting sprees.

    A few days of deprivation of frreedom for a psychiatric evaluation for dangerousness involves a few thousand people while regulation of firearms involves permanent restriction of 350 million peoples' rights. Furthermore, the present round of gun control is almost certainly being done unconstitutionally. The Supreme Court case of O'Connor v. Donaldson MUST be overturned.

    Oh well, we wend our way into tyranny and authoritarianism.

    • Memory Stick

      Problem is that it is acknowledged in the field that psychiatrists aren't actually trained to listen to the patient at all, spend only minutes talking with them, then throw drugs at the situation or worse. Most of the people in the field I've ever met have no clear idea of right or wrong anyway, and in fact, a moral clarity in a patient is something looked at as suspect. Most of them have so little insight into people's problems that you take your life in your hands asking their take on things. One of my friends who went to get her degree in counseling was so intuitive and had great insight into people before her training, but after her training, she became a total dud in understanding much at all. The difference was dramatic.

      You only assume that this is how things should be handled, with mental health taking the fore, probably because you never thought about the mental health profession at all, ever knew anyone who had contact with it or had any idea of the very real, horrifying abuses that take place in it and have for decades. If you did, you'd be singing a different tune. I believe that it used to be that men and women were kept together on the wards, and if sexual abuse happened, too bad, so sad. There were people wrongfully committed who pushed to have gender segregated wards to prevent this sort of abuse. But really, the general public could care less what goes on in those places. The mentally ill are meaningless to them, and people probably are of the mindset they deserve it all anyway.

      • tagalog

        A person who's cruising for a shooting spree could be distracted by spending 48 or 72 hours in a psych unit under observation, and give up his deadly intentions, thus saving untold numbers of lives just from being placed elsewhere than somewhere he could do his sick damage.

        I agree that psychiatrists are useless (although there are some who are good), but locking up the potentially dangerous nutballs will help.

        On the ignorance score, I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, and worked as a psych nurses' aide in a county hospital in a large county in New York for 8 years.

  • clarespark

    This ws a good article, and Obama's focus on gun control was bizarre, but widespread as an example of undoing a traumatic event–the Sandy Hook massacre. It would be helpful if all sectors of our political culture would pay more attention to dysfunctional families. "Families" are the linchpin of progressive propaganda, and conservatives too glorify their supposed salutary effects. I am not against families as such, but against the stigma of therapy, especially when it is Freudian. See…. "Gun Control Laws, Quick Fixes, Undoing."

    • Mary Sue

      You know, if I were a conspiracy nut, I'd be inclined to think that the CIA brainwashed a bunch of people into becoming suicidal mass murderers and turned them loose.

      I'm not, but some days you have to wonder.

      • clarespark

        I share your concern and admire your own ability to resist conspiracy theories, though that is a tempting one. Mental illness has always been stigmatized, and families may feel guilty about admitting that there is even a problem in their relationships.

        • Marcy Fleming

          Conspiracies exist in both politics and criminal law. Mental illness is a mistaken concept, read Szasz and read Breggin. Freud believed in both analysis and coercion of all kinds.
          Your missing the point here, Clare, Coulter is out to lunch as usual.
          My first comment was censored and then they immediately print only my question asking what happened to my comment ! Free speech may be a lost cause here in which case there's no reason to look at this site for dissenters like myself.

          • clarespark

            Mental illness exists, and Szasz was unfair. Freud’s theories have been much modified since he wrote his work long ago. Your adherence to the anti-psychiatry movement is extreme.

          • Marcy Fleming

            'Mental illness' does not exist and Szasz was not trying to be fair but truthful. Unless you read his books and try to answer his specific criticisms of the whole concept your assertions are just that. By the way, Szasz has also written a critical book on AntiPsychiatry: The Circle Squared. You obviously are not familiar with his work or you would know that he never embraced the bogus antipsychiatry of Laing et al, all of whom practiced commitment, ECT, etc. Freud's theories are en toto wrong, modifications make no difference. It's funny being labeled 'extreme' by a supporter of this website like you, Clare.

          • clarespark

            How would you describe persons who hear voices in their heads telling them to kill a bunch of strangers? As demonically possessed, or just whimsical?

          • Marcy Fleming

            In fact they don't hear voices, they make up lies that they do. How guillable can you be ?

          • clarespark

            And you know this “fact” because….

          • Marcy Fleming

            Because I have known people who admitted that they were making this up to get attention or get out of something or not face responsibility for something and people who have worked in the psychiatric field that I know have tons of these cases. It's a physical impossibility to hear voices other than those within auditory distance of you. These people are playing a role as are the shrinks.

          • Mary Sue

            Yeah, you don't know what you're talking about. At all. Fakers don't delegitimize actual cases. Auditory hallucinations are possible, and have been induced with drugs.

          • Marcy Fleming

            And you know what you're talking about ? People can't hear voices that aren't there. The actual cases are just as fake as the so-called fake cases. Anything can affect one's brain from drinking too much coffee to you name it. This doesn't prove the mind, which doesn't exist, but is an invented human concept to describe conversation, including self-conversation, is 'sick' nor does it prove there is a sick brain.
            Real organic brain diseases are always physical diseases like alzheimers or mental retardation to give just two prominent examples.
            Hallucinations are no more proof of illness than nightmares.
            You haven't taken the time to read the contrary viewpoints to the longtime conventional unwisdom. I have given references, if you aren't too scared to do so you can check them out.
            As a secular libertarian Jew (Mom's side which makes me a full Jew) I find this site distasteful and I do not feel that I have to reinvent the wheel here. Or anyplace else to be fair. Check out Szasz, check out Breggin, park your prejudices at the door.

          • Marcy Fleming

            And you know what you're talking about ? Hallucinations are no more proof of 'mental illness' than nightmares. No one has ever heard voices that were not within auditory distance. There is no dichotomy between real and faked as it is all faked.
            Of course drugs can effect the brain, so can coffee. That's not proof of a disease.

          • Mary Sue

            Some people need meds to function mentally in an acceptable manner in society. This is fact. Therefore, Szasz is off his rocker.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Come again. All of these killers were on psychiatric meds that Szasz and others have warned is dangerous. It isn't Szasz who's off his rocker……

          • Mary Sue

            It depends on the particular mental illness. We don't know what Adam Lanza's was.

            With any drug there's always risks and always side effects, and the benefits versus the drawbacks of course must be weighed. Sometimes people get misdiagnosed, and given the wrong meds, or the particular med doesn't work for them (since not everyone reacts the same due to interactions of chemicals and medications, possible allergies and sensitivities, etc). There are too many variables at work that can influence whether or not a person's meds are effective.

            And then there's people that say they're taking their meds, but they're not.

          • Marcy Fleming

            All of the recent mass shootings in the last decade were due to people taking dangerous, brain disabling psychiatric drugs. See Breggin here and
            If there are too many variables at work and I think you are right there, then why take these dangerous drugs ?

  • Alex Kovnat

    With all the balleyhoo about "assault rifles" or firearms generally, it tends to be forgotten that a violently mentally ill person invading a school could kill children with a K-Bar or other military combat knife (Perhaps we should call them "assault knives"). Or, with a machette, kitchen knife, or other edged weapon.

    So if we can develop standardized procedures for identifying highly mentally disturbed individuals, such individuals should be warned in no uncertain terms: "If we catch you in possession of any kind of firearm OR WITH A KNIFE, you are going straight to (or perhaps, back to) a mental institution".

    I also believe such individuals should be told by law enforcement agencies: "If we catch you with a Laser anywhere near any airport, we'll throw you in jail so fast it will make your head spin"

  • RedWhiteAndJew

    Welcome to a world where the word "judgmental" has become an insult.

  • kate

    Extraordinary that this man was shot days after posting this. Two gun makers were killed within two days!

  • cxt

    It is odd how many of the school shooter/s ALSO either used or planned/tried to use arson and homemade bombs—folks should look up arson deaths/damage sometime–its a creepy read.

    Take that guy that set his and his neibors house on fire then shot the firefighters as they came to put out the blaze.

    Many people would say its the fault of the guns–how did he get guns?


    I'm more curious how a guy that BEAT HIS GRADNDMOTHER TO DEATH WITH A HAMMER is doing running around loose in the 1st place–only did 17 years for that crime.

    And I'm also wondering if they plan on outlawing gasoline next.

    Not that long ago a mental ill person pushed some guy to his death on the subway tracks–vastly smaller death toll–but I doubt that makes much difference to the dead persons loved ones.

  • Smitty

    Additionally, it is impossible to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Even if there were an expanded "national data base," the mentally ill and/or gang bangers would merely bypass the purchase of firearms through legal channels because they know they would be turned away. Guns are sold illegally on the black market every day by unscrupulous sellers, so why does the anti-gun crowd think that more and more and more gun laws will keep guns out of the hands of those who are hell-bent on murder? I wish someone would tell me the answer to this question.

  • MT Geoff

    Let's be a little careful about how we define "mental illness" to disqualify people from having firearms. Some psychiatric disorders appear to be chemical in nature and others don't, but that's fuzzy at best. The current standard to disqualify a person from buying a firearm involves a judicial finding and a commitment. I want that standard to remain because I don't want a hasty statement to become a lifelong disqualification from civil rights. Nor a hasty judgment about someone's statement.
    It is very difficult to identify the dangerously mentally ill. A very few of them are obvious but many others are superficially normal and some people who are "odd" are not at all dangerous.

    • Marcy Fleming

      Your prying around the edges here as the whole concept of 'mental illness' is bogus, read Szasz,

  • Arlie

    The best article I read on this does not involve mentally ill – but on RIGHTS is

    There is NO trust left in this society. Everyone should be trained in gun use and armed and ALL gun laws that have been illegally, unconstitutionally passed must be repealed. The mentally insane and drugged need to be and taken out of society and put under supervision. Of course, the Left does not want this because they are the most mentally and criminally unstable in society today. They prove it every time they open their mouth.

    • Marcy Fleming

      Arlie, Hitler and Stalin and Mao could all have written your words here.

      • Western Canadian

        You just blew your own foot off…. no pun intended. None of the three you mentioned could possibly have said what Arlie did…. they wanted their victims unarmed.

        • Mary Sue

          Marcy Fleming is some kook that listens to people that sound like scientologists when it comes to opinions about psychiatry.

          • Memory Stick

            Kooks like Dr. Peter Breggin, Dr. Colin Ross, Dr. Harvey Weinstein and others would refute your comment. Marcy Fleming is warning you about the obvious. It's very disturbing that this site is pushing the "Obama is a Communist" meme but neglecting to mention what they have to know about the role psychiatry played in Communist regimes worldwide. Anyone can look it up if they want to. But most people don't want to know. It's just easier to go with the brainwashing belief that all mental health people are just wonderful and mentally ill people are evil, easily definable people. Surely you'd never accidentally get caught in their net…

          • tagalog

            Actually, Marcy Fleming is repeating the Wikipedia brand of exposition on doctors like Thomas Szasz, who have merely gone on record as saying that mental illness is a response to the circumstances one experiences in life, just as a "normal" person is a product of his own circumstances. Szasz is a kind of social determinist (as was Clarence Darrow and numerous others who took the stance that all abnormal behavior is caused by society), who has made the worthwhile point that just because a person is not functioning well mentally, it shouldn't be assumed that that person is sick. That's what Szasz intended to say. The idea that mental illness is a "myth," an imagined social construct, is just some sort of hyperbolic airy imagining. Mentall "illness" (whatever may be its etiology) most certainly does exist, as anyone with a crazy relative can testify to, and some mental conditions respond favorably to chemical treatment, suggesting some organic involvement.

  • Questions

    Adam Lanza looks like the character depicted in Edvard Munch's "The Scream." He was a dork who couldn't stand being rejected for his looks so he killed. There was more to his situation than that, of course. But like so many mass killers, he seemed to answer to certain nouns and adjectives: "dork," "outcast," "nerd," "geek," "awkward," "sullen," "weird," "withdrawn," "shy" and "weakling." This kid was a time bomb and nobody could see it.

    • Mary Sue

      He looks to me like that one actor that guest starred in The A-Team, Buck Rogers in the 24th Century, and a bunch of other shows in the 80s. Anthony James.

    • Memory Stick

      I don't get how he was a time bomb that no one could see when everyone was snickering behind his back apparently about his choice of clothes, how no one should speak to him because he was too weird, etc. His reactions actually sound so beaten down that i would have to ask if child abuse or abuse by some trusted adult was happening. Why didn't Nancy Lanza ever entertain at her home? For 15 years? Even better, she had a reason to keep her son dependent indefinitely because he netted her a quarter of a million dollars in alimony. Sometimes social position of a person does not equal truth about a situation.

    • Wanda

      Yes, we should scapegoat everyone who looks weird. That will make all of us so much more intelligent and safe from weird people.

  • flyingtiget

    M s. Coulter needs to think this through. I work in the mental health field. I have no problem getting them committed and keeping them there. The criterial for involuntary commitment is that they are a Danger to themselves or others. Lanza would have been unexpected. He never threathen himself or others, as far as we know. The others should have been locked up.M y fear is that if we reduce the safeguards, it will be used against political enemies like in the USSR. Ann Coulter would be considered insane and locked up forever, while your local crazy shoots up the schools. I do not think that is what Coulter wants.

    • Marcy Fleming

      Come again. All of these killers were on psychiatric meds that Szasz and others have warned is dangerous. It isn't Szasz who's off his rocker……You should have a problem imprisoning people who have committed no crime. By the way people have a right to be a danger to themselves.

      • Mary Sue

        They do not have the right to be a danger to others.

    • Memory Stick

      But isn't it interesting how most people are assuming Lanza was soooo crazy it was obvious to everyone. Not critical thinkers or careful readers, most of them.

  • Gloria Stewart

    I an sure that Ms Coulter is familiar with the saying "Don't pray to hard for something, you may get it". Committing a person to a mental hospital absent his consent and absent a predicate criminal act, is an extremely dangerous slippery slope. Granted Virginia Tech should have been privy to Mr. Cho's medical record. He stalked three girls? Stalking is a crime. Assuming that his conduct met the criteria for violating the law, he should have been arrested for that. He kept silent and then was committed overnight and unaccountably released? How long should a person be incarcerated for being silent?

    Do you remember the USSR before its collapse? Political dissidents were sent to psychiatrists and then to mental hospitals. Disagreement with the regime was deemed a mental illness. Absent a criminal act, if non criminal behavior can be deemed a mental condition, then the people who brought us political correctness will bring us their definition of abnormal behavior. The criteria for incarceration will be defined downward to include political beliefs.

    By the way, Virginia Tech was a gun free zone.If one of the students had brought his gun, the carnage might have been less. Has anyone ever noticed that these madmen do not choose to attack police stations or gun shows? Being crazy is not the same,apparently, as being stupid.

    • Memory Stick

      Stalking is also one of the charges many have complained in recent decades is so broadly defined it can mean anything. See overcriminalization and Three Felonies A Day for details on how you, too, can be locked up as a danger to society on a whim of any prosecutor. The other problem that came out at the time of the Clinton impeachment is how rampant perjury is in the system. It is rarely punished. So actually, being absent a criminal act is already pretty shaky if you have people willing to lie under oath. And many people have no qualms about lying these days.

  • pierce

    But how do we know who is mentally ill, if they won't see a Psychiatrist, or a Psychologist.
    We can rely on friends to help the mentally ill, but most won't, because they don't want to get involved.
    In the case of the Denver Theater massacre, the psychiatrist could have helped, but it would have been too late.
    One look at some of these deranged people can tell you all you need to know. If they look crazy, they probably are.

  • Ghostwriter

    I hope people like Mr. Spooner never have to deal with a mentally ill person. From what I've heard,they can be quite a handful.

    • Mary Sue

      take it from me, they are. Bigtime.

  • Anonymous

    Coulter (near the end of her article) misuses the term " psychopath". A psychopath has a personality disorder — they do not suffer from delusions — legally, if a psychopath commits a criminal deed, he cannot plead innocence by reason of insanity. A psychopath is not "insane" (they are rational, but with zero empathy, no conscience, no feelings for others). The mass murderers Coulter mentioned were psychotics — that is, they suffer from delusional states which renders them incapable of differentiating right from wrong — when in a delusional state, they are totally "out of it". So, the word Coulter should have used (not "psychopath") is "psychotic". And, btw, most psychotics are, in fact, non-violent.

    • Mary Sue

      Yeah, they're non-violent, right up until the point where "Jesus" tells them to kill everybody, or whatever flavor of compulsive delusion they're experiencing at the moment. I've seen that a number of truly violent psychotics do what they do because they are convinced they have to stop "evil", but they are not processing reality so they delusionally attack something that has been identified as "evil" even when it is not.

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      You raise an important point. Although a psychopath is more likely than a psychotic to commit an act of violence, the former is not considered insane. In fact, many, if not most, psychopaths are fully functional, and when it's to the benefit to be so, quite charming. Without a record, they would be able to easily obtain a gun legally.

      This situation illustrates how focusing on cutting off the availability of guns is exactly the wrong thing to do.

      • Anonymous

        I agree. Also note that contained in this article (I haven't bothered to verify the stats used), but Coulter notes that a high percentage of psychotics have their first break with reality during a shooting spree. "Thirty-one to 61 percent of all homicides…first psychotic episode." So, how can this be predicted? If the delusional individual hasn't come into contact with the psychiatric community and been diagnosed, how can they to be denied weapons? They'll have a clean record.

  • newbie

    Obama said nothing in his list about commitment. He said a whole lot about changing the law about Medical Privacy laws and about the health care bill. The above poster is right. Be very careful what you ask for.

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      Keen insight from a newbie. Thank you.

  • kafir4life

    If we were to lock up the mentally ill, who would be left to vote for liberals?

  • "gunner"

    as it turns out, you don't need a gun to commit a gruesom murder, all you need is a subway train, just wait until you hear the rumble of the next train and tip them over the edge of the station platform, easy peasy.

  • Tom

    Absolute SHAME ON YOU for publishing an opinion like this!!! Do you actually do any balanced research or just investigate whatever biased route suits you?!

    • que

      Finally a voice of reason and intellect speaks out.

      Thank you.

      People who go on shooting sprees: they are murderers, they want to kill. No illness includes murder as a symptom people.

      The ignorant opinions espoused here about "the mentally ill" makes me wonder: why the need to blame / explain the irrational nature of humankind?

      For example, there's no known excuse for Ann Coulter's arrogant ineptitude — am I right? Just as there is no excuse for murder.


  • Dave

    The amount of ignorance in comments amazes me, i thought the idea that America had so many 'gun toting rednecks' was just a misplaced stereotype. Obviously not.

    I have no idea of the context of this site but honestly, i fear for humanity if everyone wants to hide behind a wall and fear for their lives because "theym darned retardeds is a gonna get ye"

    The US constitution is an ancient document almost three hundred years old, and that's the only reason you think you have a 'right' to own guns, if that constitution was drawn up today there would definately not be such a thing within it.
    Why are there almost no shootings in the UK, huh? strange coincidence that the gun laws there and in other European countries are extremely strict.

    Some people need to wake from the god-fearing 19th century and realize this is the 21'st

  • Madie D

    Umm… Just wanted to say this to who ever wrote this that t was not a good title considering that it could be offensive to some people with a mentally ill person in their family also yes the cases of mass murder in the past have been linked to mental illness but that doesn't give u the right to so veigly name this article that because there are mentally unstable people our there that have never killed someone and don't plan on it so please if you are going to write more articles think before u name the article something that could be offensive

    • Madie D

      This comment was directed toward Ann Coulter

  • Kevin

    Interesting. It's the Republicans who are trying to prohibit more extensive background checks for private transactions in order to prevent the mentally ill from getting their hands on guns. Apparently, for all their finger pointing and whining, they really don't want ANYTHING to be done!

  • Wanda

    4% of gun violence can be attributed to the mentally ill. So what do we do about the other 96%?

    It is apparent that Ann Coulter is mentally ill, yet she hasn't shot anything off but her mouth that I"m aware of, so I don't think we should deny her the right to own a gun based on that.

    We should deny Coulter the right to own a gun based on her inflammatory stupidity which she seems to be able to spread to those who are as equally stupid and mentally ill as she is.

  • jwtn

    I agree with Ann's article that it is the mentally ill that are the shooters, not the fault of guns. How do I come to this conclusion? Simple. I am the mother of a son that committed suicide in 1999 who was diagnosed bi-polar disorder and dysthymic disorder, who blew himself up with 6 sticks of stolen dynamite at only 19. I could have been the mother of one of these shooters! I've been politicking on this since he died. I won a wrongful death/negligence suite in 2003, against the psychiatrist, who NEVER followed up…and ignored me because he was legally an adult. I've been writing and pushing Senators and Reps in Washington to pass a law ORDERING STATES, TO PUT ANY JUVI'S NAME WHO WAS IN THE SYSTEM, DIAGNOSED WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS, ON THE BACKGROUND CHECKLIST.. For that his how they are going through the cracks. I gave my son's psychiatric diagnosis to local police…He had suicide ideation since he was 15. No one listened. There is a lack of psychiatry, and mental health in this country. Everyone plays games with the courts…I know..been there. But, then I had my day in court to and won! Guns are not the problem if your sane. THIS CONFIDENTIALITY CLAUSE IN ALL STATE JUVI CASES, ARE THE CRUX OF ALL OF THESE SHOOTERS SUCCESSES. IT NEEDS TO BE EXPUNGED IN A MENTAL HEALTH DIAGNOSES, AND THEY NEED TO BE PUT ON BACKGROUND LISTS. ALL STATES.

  • matt

    I think thats stupid guns dont kill people but people kill people

  • EducateYourSelf

    I am the first and only comment to this article because this article is threaded with half truths, biases, and arrogant preaching.

  • Crazy_But_Harmless

    Yours is no longer the only comment on this article, although the purpose of my comment is pretty much solely to back up yours. I have a mental illness, but would never EVER even CONSIDER committing these tragic atrocities. To say that people with mental illness as a whole are “the problem” is to revert to thinking reminiscent of Nazi preachings about Jews and other “minority groups”. Do the world a favor, lady, and do a little unbiased research. Educate yourself before you condemn a whole group of people, many of whom are just trying to survive and live their lives.

  • westoast

    Okay, three comments and counting:
    We need to look at the connection between these drugs and interactions and the behavior of certain people. And then we need to find ways of stopping some of these incidents.
    We NEED to LOOK at these things.
    Nobody is saying throw people into internment camps.
    Not looking at one of the causes of these tragedies is like not taking the proper medication when the voices are saying “Kill Kill Kill!”

  • immanuel price

    This article is just filled with bias, no facts.

  • Elliot Wilson

    That’s all they blame, the mentally ill, and video games, never the weapons themselves or other problems besides mental illness. There are hundreds of shootings in the US every day, and very few of those are mentally ill. This is just flat-out ignoring the problem, and as long as we never address it, it’s just going to get worse and worse, and the galling part is no one seems to care.

  • Amos

    So let me get this straight, since there have been mentally ill people that have committed mass shootings you believe that all mentally ill people should have the right to bear arms taken away from them? By that logic, there are tons of Alcoholics in the world so we should take all of their cars away because some of them drive drunk. That law makes more since because there are more alcohol deaths per year than by mass shootings. You’re actually more likely to get attacked by a shark than get shot. I rarely call people ignorant but Ann Coulter you certainly fit into that category. You clearly have no clue about mental illness, so I will put it in terms that you can understand. Mental Illness is simply a chemical imbalance in the brain. Those that are mentally ill are either producing too little or too much of certain chemicals which causes them to act that way. This is the same problem that diabetics have but it’s just in a different part of the body. It’s preposterous that you should think that they should have the right to defend themselves taken away especially when tons of mentally ill people have been killed simply because of their illness. You need to educate yourself before writing an “article” which you clearly know nothing about.

  • Shirley Swanepoel

    It is not mentally ill people who do this. Maybe a few but most of these cases involving gun shootings are government agenda, false flag events to keep the attention on the need for gun control. I don’t want to get into this too much but I feel sorry for people with real mental issues, who deserve our prayers and support ,who are innocently lumped together with the CIA/FBI staged events. Even the most closeted person can research the Sandy Hook drill that conveniently became a mass murder. There are too many examples but check out the Boston Bombing too. From the mouths of babes: Yes, when I bring up these cases, they call me crazy too.

  • Music_geeker

    Ok, I hope that we all know that the mentally ill think differently from the “normal” people. Our brains do not think the same, it is a proven fact. What she is trying to say is that, yes, “normal” people kill people, but people with disorders are more then likely to do so. Some have schizophrenia so the “voices” tell them to kill, the depressed are just mad at the world, and the ones who think killing is ok, is obvisously not ok. She’s not blaming it completely on the mental.

  • dahszil

    These rare occurrences are always played up on the front page news. for example recently there was an amtrak train wreck killed 8 people. But the fact is that is a slow day in deaths caused in automotive accidents in the US. At the end of the year a bar chart comparing train or even bus caused deaths per capita, car and truck deaths towers over train and bus crash deaths.

    Coulter does the same thing here. It all out of context and no statistics. The fact is those labled or diagnosed with mental illness account for at most 3% of all violence. Furthermore there is no scientific proof that the rare mentally violent offender’s violent act was due to his/her mental illness. The fact that 97% of all violence is perpetrated by non mentally ill individuals, should lead one to question what is normal, is what is accepted as our norms really for the good? the truth is violence is secretly and openly accepted, and even a sick desire to satiated by violence, is “normal” in american culture.

    However what you have unwittingly revealed ms coulter is that these front page news “mentally ill” offenders are on psychiatric drugs. Neuroleptics are usually forced into the merely odd. having worked with the mentally ill, it is ironic how these gentle oddballs i had as clients too many become violent after being tortured with certain psychiatric drugs. yet the mentally ill still account for a tiny percentage of violence per capita and in number.