Saturday, January 19, 2013

the war on the weird

Be careful what you wish for because you might get it. If we increase the power of psychological professionals to involuntarily commit people, or to otherwise have their freedom limited, and if this power becomes abused for political purposes (as it has been in other countries), who do you think is going to be the big losers, given that probably 80% or more of psychological professionals are liberals and that liberals control all of their organizations and standards-making bodies?

This attempt by a lot of conservatives to deflect the anti-gun hysteria from mass shootings into anti-weird-people hysteria has me a bit concerned. I've read descriptions of the "warning signs" that should have alerted people to make sure that someone didn't have access to guns, written by conservatives, that look something like this: "a loner who didn't talk much and when he did he was socially awkward and people considered him weird and possibly dangerous. Seemed rebellious and resentful towards society. Had an unusual fascination with violent things like guns, knives, and martial arts."

You know who that sounds like? That sound like me in my early twenties. Pretty much exactly. I never once fantasized about gunning down a bunch of random people at a mall, but how could I ever prove that, especially since I was given to telling dead-baby jokes and joking about committing crimes just to shock people?

If in my early twenties we had had in place some of the mental illness precautions that some conservatives seem to be endorsing, I could very well have been forced into counseling and forbidden to own weapons even though I never harmed anyone nor ever wanted to. My resentment and resistance to these things might very well have ended up putting me in a mental institution or into jail just for the crime of being weird in a scary gun-owning kind of way instead of in a pathetic forty-cat-owning kind of way. That hardly seems fair.


Marcel said...

You're right on this. The same people who write the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, those who think boys are pathological because they don't act like girls, will decide who should have the right to keep and bear arms. They're entirely capable of decreeing that the desire to have a rifle with a 20-round magazine is a specific disorder.

Foxfier said...

If we increase the power of psychological professionals to involuntarily commit people, or to otherwise have their freedom limited

Thing is, I haven't actually seen any conservative make this suggestion. I've seen a lot of folks suggesting that we pay attention when folks who are obviously violent and insane are refusing treatment, and if you ASK what they're picturing, it's more along the lines of a criminal proceeding than the school psychiatrist having more power.

I've seen a lot of folks assume that what you outline is what folks are suggesting when they say "Um, gee, maybe we can try Obviously Homicidal and Psychotic Control before we sign away even more gun rights?"

It's amazing how if you talk to folks, they've sometime considered that the thumbnail they've painted as a suggestion is going to need to be carefully set up to actually work.

Foxfier said...

If you could look into their heads, they're thinking of folks like these guys Gino talks about, or the brother-of-a-friend who is either going to kill his mom (and everyone knows it, including her) or was kicked out of the house at 30 when he refused treatment and tried to kill her the last time.

Doc Rampage said...

If you are going to limit these new procedures to people who have done something criminal or clearly don't have a good handle on reality, then that one thing. But a lot of conservatives I've read try to deflect the gun hysteria by pretending that almost all recent mass shootings could have been stopped by policies about mental health, even shootings like Columbine where there really wasn't any clear warning that I would consider sufficient to restrict someone's freedoms.

Foxfier said...

I'd have to see what their actual offered arguments are to deal with them.