First and Second Amendment should be off the table

As you may know Pima Country Sheriff Clarence Dupnik claims Rush Limbaugh bears some responsibility for the shooting in Tucson this weekend:

The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said today. “[Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences.”

Limbaugh today railed against the media and Dupnik for trying to draw a link between the heated political climate and the shooting rampage, calling the sheriff a “fool.” But Dupnik stood by his assertions.

Others claim the sheriff bears the responsibility for not providing proper security for the Congresswoman:

If he would have done his job, maybe this doesn’t happen,” Republican state Rep. Jack Harper said in an interview Monday. “Sheriff Dupnik did not provide for the security of a U.S. congresswoman.

Here is what one of my “shooting buddies” said to Sheriff Dupnik:

From: Joe Durnbaugh
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2011 4:39 PM
Subject: Sheriff Dupnik

Here is the email I sent to the Pima County Sheriff yesterday (hope I don’t get on some watch list):
Dear Sheriff Dupnik,
I am a retired law enforcement officer, and I cannot understand how your public comments, as a law enforcement professional, contribute anything to civil discourse. If anything, your vitriolic and partisan comments do nothing but aggravate the political polarity in this country. You, sir, are an embarrassment to law enforcement. You should learn to shut your pie hole and keep your idiotic opinions to yourself. Please, do the residents of your county a favor and retire at the earliest opportunity!
Joe Durnbaugh

All the data is not in yet but it looks as if politics were essentially unrelated to the shooting. The political left appears to have jumped the gun (or Planck Time) and assigned blame prior to having facts supporting their preconceived notions.

I’ll have to think on this some more but it may be this shooting incident will bring into the spotlight a much more difficult question to answer than issues related to the First and Second Amendment. The issue is mental health. The simple answer is a mental health test for gun ownership.

But if someone isn’t mentally competent to possess a firearm are they any more competent to possess a can of gasoline and a book of matches? Here, here, and here are some attempts and successes at using gasoline for mass murders.

Or how about sharp objects? The Sharon Tate murders or Lizzie Borden probably will continue to have as much or more notoriety that the assassination attempt of Representative Giffords.

Attacks on the Bill of Rights should stay off the table but there may be some opportunity for “violence prevention” if a national discussion ensues over mental health.

Clayton Cramer brought this very topic up in April of 2009. Perhaps a discussion on the topic will find a way to reduce the risks without restricting our rights.


8 thoughts on “First and Second Amendment should be off the table

  1. The near constant hum of newstainment bobbleheads and screaching polictical buzzards bemoaning harsh political rhetoric whilst capitalizing on recent events to spew even more harsh political rhetoric of their own has broken my irony meter.

  2. The biggest problem I see with calling for targeting mental health issues after occurrences such as this is the reactionary nature of such a call and the possibility of a slop as slippery as banning ‘some’ firearms based on looks alone. What of the trend of increasingly diagnosing children with mental health issues where none exist?

    I fear such diagnosis will saddle these innocents with a stigma that will last far beyond their childhood years. Criminal records might be sealed at 18, but people enjoy no such protection of their medical records, and in my experience, mental health histories are take at face value by subsequent readers. Pass me a tin foil hat if you like but is it really that hard to imagine parlaying the accusation millions of people of having mental health issues before they are even old enough to own a gun (much less effectively defend themselves against such accusations) thereby creating vast swaths of ‘prohibited persons’?

    How about those adults who are falsely accused?

    That story deals only with a mental health accusation, but had it proceeded further, there’s little doubt that lies of child abuse (read: domestic violence) would have been brought forward as well.

    Please don’t misunderstand…I’m not advocating free access to firearms for truly dangerous cases of mental illness, but I think the bar should be set rather high to protect innocent people from being caught up in the sweep…just like ‘domestic violence’ charges have swept up many innocent victims (I personally know of one instance where the man was attacked by his wife, and SHE leveled charges of DV against HIM in a vindictive move to separate him from his beloved antique English shotgun collection).

  3. The simple answer is a mental health test for gun ownership.

    NO. Just, NO. Absolutely, positively, under no circumstances must that line of thought be allowed to proceed any further. Period. Full stop. NO.
    I can’t imagine a more slippery slope that’s more ripe for easy abuse. It’s a direct high-speed train to federal licensing of firearms ownership. N-O, NO.

    I think the bar should be set rather high to protect innocent people from being caught up in the sweep…just like ‘domestic violence’ charges have swept up many innocent victims

    I would also remind everyone of the returning soldiers dealing with PTSD who are afraid to seek treatment because they are afraid of the stigma and of losing their rights. The bar must be set extremely high.

    The current system works well, but needs a few holes patched. I recall seeing one report that the AZ shooter had been ordered to undergo a psych evaluation, but never did and it was never followed up on. That sounds disturbingly similar to what happened with the Virginia Tech shooter.

    It also looks like the Sheriff that so busy spouting off about the “partisan rhetoric” pushing this guy over the edge has had previous dealings with the shooter – who happens to have a “family member” who works for the county.

    Jared Loughner has been making death threats by phone to many people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed, his deputies assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system. It was also suggested that further pressing of charges would be unnecessary and probably cause more problems than it solved as Jared Loughner has a family member that works for Pima County.

    So it’s starting to look like he was known or suspected to be potentially dangerous but was kept out of the existing mental health system – and thus the Brady check system – because of family connections.

    Assuming these allegations are true, this is not a failure of the current NICS background checks due to them not being sufficient, it’s a failure of the entire legal system due to people in authority deliberately undermining it. Making normal, law-abiding people take additional steps to (further) prove they are not dangerous before “allowing” them to buy a gun is not the answer.

  4. “Perhaps a discussion on the topic will find a way to reduce the risks without restricting our rights.”

    Nope. Once that door is opened, you’d be shocked at how many people are suddenly declared mentally unstable. The Left has already declared conservatism, or an adherence to the American Principles of Liberty, as a dangerous mental defect.

    The way to reduce risks is to uphold and protect human rights generally.

    The shooter is reported to have threatened people prior to this shooting, and Sheriff Dupe is reported to have known about it. If true, there are human rights violations, and reportedly nothing was done about it. Sheriff Dupewhatshisname is playing CYA here and it’s backfiring on him. Hopefully the good folks in AZ will kick his dumb ass out at the next opportunity. Then he can go to work for the DNC in earnest, or start taking job offers from NBC, CNN, the NYT, et al.

  5. My best guess is there is no good answer. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a discussion about it. I’m enough “different” to know that many tests devised by some “normal people” would land me in a loony bin. The test I might create for detection of irrationality (see Peterson Syndrome for example) could prevent half the population from voting.

    But I’m not an expert in mental health. Perhaps there is some way to detect, observe, and care for the safety of those with mental health issues as well as the safety of the general public.

    Is it true that many of the mentally ill who are a threat to others seek out situations to achieve maximum “fame”? Would frequent monitoring of their status and medication usage similar to a parolee be acceptable in a free society? How about GPS tracking with additional observation if they approach some “high profile” or “sensitive” area such as high ranking politicians, celebrities, or a area with a high density of children?

    I don’t know the answers but I don’t see a problem with having the discussion about what appears to the common factor in mass killings–mental health.

  6. I dont know that the mental health test is a good idea. When do we test and how often? Once in a life time or once a year?

    Who gets tested? Only people who want a gun? How about anyone who wants to exorcize a specific right?

    How is the test administered and by whom? Here in LA it is virtually impossible for the average person to get a CCW, the Sherif finds a reason to deny it but any yahoo can be a blogger and spread all the lies they want and damn the consequences. Look at Joan Peterson. How do we make sure the test is fair and not skewed to any particular result?

    IF it came down to it, the ONLY way I could even begin to accept it would be if it applied to ALL our specific enumerated rights. Even then I dont know if I could get behind it.

    Since the spoken and written word is the most powerful weapon ever, failing the test would would bar you from being any kind of journalist, (even bloggers,) Teacher, (public and private) Politician or appointed position of any kind, public servant ie government employee. Failing the test would ban you from ever being a priest/preacher day care practitioner etc. I think this would be the only way it would be fair.

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