Mental Health Treatment Is Not Gun Control

The drug industry mental health system propaganda machine is working overtime churning out statistics such as only 40 % of the people in need of mental health treatment are receiving it. These randomized stats beg a number of questions: how much of that treatment is forced, how is need determined,  how many of those people want treatment, do you mean “mental illness” or problems in everyday life, etc., etc., etc.

The government has decided the problem is a mental health problem and not a criminal activities problem. If we pump money into mental health treatment, if we beef up the mental health system, theory goes, we are doing something about massive acts of violence. I, for one, question the complete illogic of this absurd endeavor. The ghosts who commit atrocious acts of violence are not those sore thumbs who are going to get picked up by the mental health cops.

Excuse me, the real reason the government is beefing up the mental health system is to look like the government is doing something to deal with the problem after a series of massive acts of violence in this country. This is a cosmetic matter.  This is an political reputation strategy and a complete diversion. People in the mental health system are not responsible for violence in this country. In a word, they are innocent. They simply didn’t do it.

Mental health treatment, until very recently, has been mostly a matter of treating people who didn’t want to be treated completely against their will and wishes. If 60 % of them didn’t pursue this treatment, the only wonder is that the statistic is not larger. Criminals don’t have this problem. They are assumed to be friendly, unlike mental patients, with liberty from the beginning.

Murder is a criminal offense. “Mental illness” is a sensibility offense. We lock people up who have broken no official laws, but have displayed erratic behavior, because they offend our sense of propriety.  Also, it is thought that if we don’t lock them up, they will either manage to get somebody so offended as to do them violence, or they will manage, wittingly or unwittingly, to do violence to themselves.

The problem is that people are not really locked up because they are violent. Violent acts are criminal offenses. You’ve got people in both systems, that is, people who have been put in the mental health system by the criminal courts rather than by the civil courts. These patients are said to be forensic. They are not the rule, they are the exception. You could call them either “mentally ill” criminals, or, alternately, as is more conventional, the criminally “mentally ill”. Again, for people in the system, they are the exception, they are not the rule.

Beefing up the mental health system because of these few exceptions is not a good idea. Questions of conscious intent are not always resolved sufficiently by the courts. If a so-called “socio” or “psychopath” is a good anything, a so-called “socio” or “psychopath” is a good actor. One thing good actors are very good at playing is bad actors. People characterized as “mentally ill” are bad actors, otherwise they wouldn’t have gotten caught. They would have “slipped through the cracks” as the ruse goes.

Real gun control is a matter of seriously dealing with a culture of violence and reducing the proliferation of weapons of war. It is not a matter of blaming people in the mental health system any more than it is a matter of blaming people who belong to different races, religions or ethnic groups.  Curtailing the gun ownership rights of people in the mental health system is not going end massive acts of gun violence, nor is beefing up the mental health system. The problem is not “mental illness”, and pretending it is, is not the solution; the problem is violence.

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