The worst people!

The right-wing gun lovers so convinced of their righteousness and the goodness of guns, that they are slandering a bunch of high school kids.  So so wrong and so so pathetic.  NYT’s Michael Grynbaum is on top of it:

The teenagers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who a week ago lost 17 of their classmates and school staff members in a mass shooting, have emerged as passionate advocates for reform, speaking openly of their anger in the hope of forcing a reckoning on guns.

But in certain right-wing corners of the web — and, increasingly, from more mainstream voices like Rush Limbaugh and a commentator on CNN — the students are being portrayed not as grief-ridden survivors but as pawns and conspiracists intent on exploiting a tragedy to undermine the nation’s laws.

In these baseless accounts [emphases mine], which by Tuesday had spread rapidly on social media, the students are described as “crisis actors,” who travel to the sites of shootings to instigate fury against guns. Or they are called F.B.I. plants, defending the bureau for its failure to catch the shooter. They have been portrayed as puppets being coached and manipulated by the Democratic Party, gun control activists, the so-called antifa movement and the left-wing billionaire George Soros.

The theories are far-fetched. But they are finding a broad and prominent audience online. On Tuesday, the president’s son Donald J. Trump Jr. liked a pair of tweets that accused David Hogg, a 17-year-old who is among the most outspoken of the Parkland students, of criticizing the Trump administration in an effort to protect his father, whom Mr. Hogg has described as a retired F.B.I. agent.

What I love is that Grynbaum practices real journalism, pulls no punches and tells it like it is.  No weaselly, “Democrats say these are baseless” or “gun control proponents refer to these “far-fetched theories.”  But, damnit, he simply calls this wretchedness for the falsehood it is.  Hooray!  More journalism like this, please.  And less pathetic excuses for human being who feel the need to slander high school kids because their arguments are so woefully inadequate.

The mental illness red herring

As I’ve mentioned multiple times before, the U.S. is not unique in having mentally unstable, angry, murderous young men.  The big difference is that it is so much easier for them to get guns here.  So tired of Republicans so doubling-down on this “mental illness” trope.  Especially while they cut funds for Medicaid, etc.  But, even if we had way better mental health care in this country (again, something Republicans vote against as a “waste” of tax dollars at pretty much every opportunity) that would not solve the problem.

Nice NYT Op-Ed by an ER Psychiatrist on the inherent difficulties in actually addressing the problem of angry young men:

Mr. Cruz had suffered from depression and was getting counseling at one point. He was also evaluated by emergency mental health workers in 2016, but they decided not to hospitalize him. Why, some critics are demanding, didn’t he receive proper treatment? And can’t we just stop angry, unstable young men like him from buying firearms?

It’s much harder than it sounds.

The mental health system doesn’t identify most of these people because they don’t come in to get care. And even if they do, laws designed to preserve the civil liberties of people with mental illness place limits on what treatments can be imposed against a person’s will…

The psychiatrist responsible for his care would know how to treat delusions, paranoia, mania, suicidal impulses, self-injurious behaviors, auditory hallucinations and catatonia. But there are no reliable cures for insecurity, resentment, entitlement and hatred.

The one concrete benefit of officially committing him would be that he could be prohibited from buying a gun from any federally licensed retailer. Of course, this would do nothing about any guns and ammunition he may already have amassed. Nor would it deter him from getting guns from private-party sales, which are exempt from background checks in many states…

The reason the mental health system fails to prevent mass shootings is that mental illness is rarely the cause of such violence. Even if all potential mass shooters did get psychiatric care, there is no reliable cure for angry young men who harbor violent fantasies. And the laws intended to stop the mentally ill from buying guns are too narrow and easily sidestepped; people like Nikolas Cruz and my patient are unlikely to qualify.

Instead of hoping that imposing mental health treatment on everyone who shows “red flags” will put an end to mass shootings, we should focus on ways to put some distance between these young men and their guns. [emphasis mine]

Yep.  Of course anybody who shoots a bunch of strangers is “crazy” but that doesn’t mean they have an identifiable DSM-V mental illness that means they can be involuntary committed.  The only thing that is going to stop these mass shootings is the one thing that has been so much more effective in every other modern country– substantially stricter and saner policies on gun ownership.

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