In the wake of the latest massacre at the army base known, ironically, as "Fort Hood," the gun lobby is already trying to spin the tragedy into an argument for more guns for more people at more places.
Flipping around the TV dial this morning for the latest details on the tragedy, I was confronted by two sanctimonious Texas Congressmen, solemnly proclaiming that the problem is that, aside from the military police and those at firing ranges, people wandering around the massive complex aren't allowed to carry guns. Naturally, they argued, if everybody around him had been packin', the bad guy wouldn't have been successful as he was.
The interviewer, to his credit, followed up by asking if the countervailing argument might be that if you give guns to everybody on the base, a higher than average percentage of whom probably have some form of PTSD, wouldn't you be in danger of inciting more of these incidents, even if each of them might result in fewer deaths and injuries?
The sanctimonious Texas Congressmen had no answer to that.
But of course now we know that the shooter was being treated for mental issues. Naturally, some have said, you'd prohibit those under psychological treatment by the military from having guns on the base. And that would be a form of what? Background checks? Very interesting.
After Newtown, the gun lobby on this board and beyond argued that the whole issue turns on keeping people with mental problems from having guns. Solve that, and you've solved the problem said some very vocal posters here and elsewhere.
So how's that working out? Not so well. Background checks were defeated despite overwhelming support from Americans, and we're back where we started, with the situation getting worse every day. Read Paul Ryan's fairy tale April Fools budget and tell me how those with mental problems will be helped by it. Or if you don't want to read it, trust me: not only won't they be helped, but the situation will worsen.
In my state a few months ago, a state senator took his son, who had severe mental problems, to the hospital during a serious psychological episode. The hospital wanted to admit him, but there were no more beds for mental patients, so they sent him home. The next morning, the son attacked his father with a knife, injuring him severely, then blew himself away. We're not even helping those who seek treatment, and yet we say that they have every right to buy as many guns as they want.
And we wring our hands and say that if we solved the mental health issues, everything else would be fine.
Will somebody please tell me when we should start?
The most dangerous man in society is the man who has nothing left to lose. -- Saul Bellow