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.