LEAD LETTER OF THE WEEK

Letter | Control of mentally ill, not guns, the answer to mass murders

July 6, 2014 

Re: June 23 letter from Terry Munson, ‘We’re number one’ should not describe gun deaths

The letter from Terry Munson indicates a Pawley’s Island address. Yet if, as he indicates, his “gut reaction to people walking from their homes with semi-automatic weapons over their shoulders is to dial 911,” perhaps he actually has an Iraqi or Honduran address and doesn’t yet realize it.

In any case, while filled with emotional rhetoric, factually much of what he says is either inaccurate or false.

He says, for example, that recently he’s less proud of being an American because of the rash of school shootings by some mentally disturbed individuals. He then goes on to suggest that a “radical faction in our society” dictates gun policy to the government.

The truth is, the radical faction that has done the most dictating to the government is one to which Mr. Munson undoubtedly subscribes – the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – which has made institutionalizing the mentally disturbed virtually unachievable.

Almost without exception, each of the individuals in those shootings demonstrated clear indications of mental instability well before committing their crimes.

Yet thanks to ACLU dictums, the institutionalization process is so fraught with legal mine fields, that only the most dedicated (or foolhardy) would attempt to navigate it.

And no one it seems, in each of these cases, wished to expose themselves or their careers to this legal quagmire.

Further, after-the-fact lamenting the carnage of the mentally disturbed will do nothing to diminish it until the institutionalizing road blocks of the ACLU and allied groups are eliminated. The disturbed, without treatment or institutionalizing, will always find ways to carry out their warped fantasies.

According to the FBI’s website, between 2007 and 2011 there were 8,967 people murdered with knives or cutting instruments, while in the same period 3,918 people were killed with either rifles or shotguns. Does this suggest that it makes no sense for citizens to be allowed to own knives? By Munson’s flawed logic knives are roughly 2 1/2 times more likely to be used for killing, yet he says it makes no sense for citizens to be allowed to own so-called assault weapons.

Moreover, for Mr. Munson and his ilk’s enlightenment, mental disorders are not equally distributed around the world. Highly related to environmental factors, mental illnesses are most prevalent in societies that are the most prosperous and highly developed.

As for the U.S. being the most homicidal nation on earth, we’re not even close – on the world list for homicides per 100 thousand of population. Latin America, we’re 28thwith about one-half the rate of mental illness of the U.S., ranks far in excess of 10 times our homicide rate.

What’s more, not one of the mass shootings Munson anguishes over was committed with a true assault rifle. Only the military possess these “fully automatic” machine guns which have been unavailable to civilians since 1986. Of the 151 weapons used in mass killings over the past 30 years, hand guns were used in the overwhelming majority (66 percent). Rifles of various kinds accounted for just 29 of the weapons used, none of which were fully automatic.

Finally, complaining that our churches have not spoken out in favor of gun control is the ultimate hypocrisy. Our ever more degenerating and nihilistic culture has so marginalized the precepts of religion that this seems to be just another gratuitous denigration of Judeo-Christian institutions.

If the Sixth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” holds no sway with mass murderers, why would church endorsement of anti-gun legislation be anything more than a validation of more government control of individual freedom?

Munson’s call for gun-control as the solution to mass shootings is just another straw man excuse for failure to address one of the real problems of our culture. Until politicians start rescinding some to the legislation that is enabling the murderous behavior of the mentally disturbed, no amount of weapons control will result in a solution.

The writer lives in Conway.

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