Mental Illness Is a Meaningless Definition

Now that I’ve skewered the vultures exploiting the Florida school shooting to forward their gun control agenda, it’s time for me to skewer my fellow advocates of gun rights.

Gun control advocates are quick to lump all gun owners, both those who have committed violent crimes with guns and those who haven’t, together and demand they all be punished. All too often gun rights advocates fall for the same collectivist nonsense. They’ll label the shooter mentally ill and by doing so throw individuals with mental illnesses under the bus.

Saying the shooter belonged to the collective of mentally ill individuals is, like all forms of collectivism, meaningless. Mental illness is such a broad term that saying somebody suffers from a mental illness says nothing specific. What kind of mental illness did the shooter suffer from? Were they schizophrenic? Were they autistic? Were they bipolar? Were they senile? There are a lot of recognized mental illnesses and only a handful of them carry any risk of instilling violent behavior in the sufferer.

I know, I know, anybody who is willing to kill innocent people is obviously mentally ill, right? If so, that means drone pilots and many law enforcers are mentally ill. Strangely enough, I generally don’t hear gun rights activists who label mass shooters as mentally ill apply the same label to drone pilots or law enforcers. It seems like the label of mentally ill is a euphemism for individuals they don’t like.

As tempting as it is, fighting fire with fire isn’t the best way to prevent a house from burning down. If a gun control advocate tries to use nonsensical collectivization to make their case, responding with your own flavor of nonsensical collectivization isn’t productive. It’s far more productive to call out their nonsense while simultaneously analyzing the problems that can be acted on (i.e. the real problems). There is no way to act on an individual belonging to an arbitrarily defined group. There are a ways to improve school security, response times, etc.

One thought on “Mental Illness Is a Meaningless Definition”

  1. Another consideration, or two, if I may. Who gets to declare a “person of interest” to be mentally ill? Is it to be a policeman who is woefully untrained in such things, and cannot diagnose to boot? I Florida, they have something called the Baker Act, which allows a person who is deemed to be a non criminal threat to himself or others to be detained for ( psychiatric ) evaluation for a period of time ( I no longer recall how long ). I have heard politicians shouting ( in Florida) that if someone has been Baker Acted, that person needs to receive the Mark of Cain, and be permanently forbidden to posses firearms, ever. Even if the Doctor charged with evaluating said person is scratching his head, wondering aloud why the cop brought someone in whose behavior consisted of pissing off police, and the confinement was a retaliation for same, and not because said person was any risk aside from damage to the poor officer’s inflated ego.
    Then, there is the already tried crap that Veterans and Social Security recipients put up with- where they are branded Incompetent if , say, their wife signs the checks when the bills come due . Look, he doesn’t even handle his own financial affairs! Yeah. He likely doesn’t even buy groceries, either. Neither is questioned in other households, and yet it raises all manner of red flags if someone is retired or a veteran; no evidence of mental illness required. How about someone who mourns the death of a loved one, or pet? Is frustrated over the loss of a job? Dislikes being stuck in traffic? The whole business can be twisted to truly ridiculous lengths. Just as De4mocrats like- disqualify as many as possible, without good cause.

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