With some recent shootings in the news, people are discussing various forms of reform of the gun laws so as to make society safer.
Some persons have repeatedly called for more and better mental health treatment, as if that would solve or reduce the problem of bad gun use. In fact, a lot of persons with certain mental instabilities were “getting treatment” and they then commit crimes of murder and assault, during or after their course of treatment. Also, even the best trained mental health professionals are often very reluctant to report dangerous people to police or others in contact with the person.
Certain kinds of mental illness should be regarded as so severe and with effects so dangerous on those with guns, that persons diagnosed or being treated for them should be presumed to not be suitable to have or carry certain weapons.
People who have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia are far more likely than the general population to commit a violent assault and approximately 20 times more likely to murder. The estimates of increased risk of violence range from 5 to 30 times more violent . . .
Persons diagnosed with bipolar disorder are even more likely than those of schizophrenia to commit crimes of violence.
Approximately 7% of persons with paranoid schizophrenia will commit aggravated assault in a given year. Providing schizophrenics with guns seems to be an unwise choice, given that the definition of schizophrenia is loss of touch with reality on a chronic basis.
Schizophrenia afflicts about 1% of the population. It is defined as a chronic loss of touch with reality. The two leading symptoms of schizophrenia are delusions and hallucinations. The delusions of the schizophrenic are often of a persecutory nature.
In our society today, we only rarely commit a schizophrenic. Most schizophrenia in the US today is treated on an outpatient basis, if treated at all. A diagnosis of or treatment for schizophrenia is often never reported to police or others.
Our society is so dumb that a person such as Travis Reinking could tell his delusions to a police officer in 2016 and there is no psychiatric hold (Ok, fine) and also, no seizure of his guns.
Some people assume that with drugs and other treatment, the violent tendency of those with schizophrenia is resolved. In fact, the drugs used to treat the psychosis of schizophrenic have but little effect on later violent behavior by schizophrenics, statistically. Another drug is needed–and not always prescribed–to reduce violence. Moreover, persons with some severe mental health conditions are notoriously and statistically bad at taking their medicine consistently. Less than 1/2 of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder consistently take their prescribed medications.
By training and by law, psychiatrists and others suspecting schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder are reluctant to share that information. There is a recognized “duty to warn,” but most psychiatrists act on the duty to warn only cases of specific threats, and not generalized danger.
Lets consider the cases of Travis Reinking and of James Holmes the shooter of the Aurora movie theatre in 2012. Holmes applied to several schools in 2011 and he was accepted at one of them.
While at the university, he saw the leading psychiatrist 5 times, a psychiatrist who, it seems, terminated their relationship when Holmes threatened her. The next day, the psychiatrist went to a campus police officer to report the threat or threats and the fact that Holmes was repeatedly fantasizing about killing a lot of people.
But Holmes was likely dangerous and manifesting signs of danger in 2011. We know this from the rejection discussion among the faculty of the University of Iowa. The written discussion re Holmes includes this, “DO NOT admit under any circumstances.” The University of Iowa refuses to discuss what it was about Holmes that led them to make that decision.
It was not poor grades on the part of Holmes, who was applying with a GPA of 3.9 from UC Riverside. May we surmise that an actual doctor at the University of Iowa spotted the signs of mental instability and danger? Maybe it does not take an actual doctor to have spotted that Holmes had delusions and was dangerous. But maybe in the case of Holmes, an actual doctor or someone of similar training refused to have James Holmes around.
So, one group of doctors interviewed Holmes in Iowa and would not let him in their program for any reason. A different doctor in a different city saw Holmes 5 times and did not report him to police till he threatened her, expressed to her his ongoing daily fantasies of killing many people or both.
Psychiatrists should be trained to recognize danger, but in fact, sometimes they are as bright as the FBI when it was being warned about Nikolas Cruz.
In May 2016 Travis Reinking told a police officer that Taylor Swift was stalking him and had hacked into his Netflix account. . . . O . . . K . . . well, if Reinking was having persecutory delusions, why did Reinking also have guns, which he owned legally? What is a person with delusions of persecution by Taylor Swift doing with guns?
The guns of Travis Reinking were not taken away until more than a year later, in August 2017 when he irritated the Secret Service by entering secured areas of the White House.
Reinking had known delusions reported to the police by his own self in 2016 and despite his delusions about Taylor Swift persecuting and afflicting him, he still kept his guns, legally, for another year.
Supposedly there is a song about Taylor Swift stalking me . . . but a guy who says it is happening for real is engaging in paranoid persecutory delusions. That person is exactly the person who is least likely to be mentally stable enough to have a gun without injuring others, despite not having been committed to a 72-hour hold. Why would a person with delusions of persecution by Taylor Swift be legally owning a firearm in the state of Illinois, with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation?
Today nearly everybody in our society sees the doctor from time to time for any of dozens and hundreds of conditions. Almost no one has been committed for a 72 hour hold. The criteria for a hold is imminent danger to onesself or others, and not having delusions or being a danger of more general kind.
So, police, when issuing a permit of various kinds for weapons, should be able to call the guy’s regular doctor, if any, and ask about signs of paranoid schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and floating and unfounded hostility. The reason is that the average psychiatrist, treating the average schizophrenic or the average bi-polar disordered person, does not alert police or society . . . and the average schizophrenic and bi-polar person does in fact have delusions. Having delusions makes a person a public safety risk and unsuitable to have guns.
Now I do not believe that every person with every delusion should be put away for 72 hours. That would be foolish, hurtful and unnecessary. However, a person with an ongoing, persistent delusion is paranoid, and 99% of such persons should have not a gun.
Last year I went and circulated among the people at the U-district Street Fair. There was a guy with a sign about the earth being flat. Ha, ha, how funny. At some point, though, the guy with the delusions about Taylor Swift hacking his Netflix account needs to be regarded as paranoid schizophrenic and not have his guns.