Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mass murders, gun control, and much mistaken information.

The tragedy in Connecticut has generated a lot of discussion. Better gun control is immediately brought up. While I believe better gun control would help, it would not stop the problem. The attachment of Americans to guns of all sorts creates an environment and opportunity for anyone who wants an automatic weapon to obtain one. The information below boggled my mind when I heard about it.

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -Government records show just in the month of November, Americans tried to buy 2 million guns.There are nearly 130,000 licensed firearms dealers in the United States. 51,000 are retail gun stores according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.Compare that to: 37,000 grocery stores, 14,000 McDonald's restaurants, and 13,000 Starbucks stores nationwide.That means there two times more gun stores than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.Read more: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/20367936/gun-stores-outnumber-gas-stations-grocery-stores-fast-food-restaurants-in-america#ixzz2FS20fImy

Anyone in America who wants the same weapons our Special Forces soldiers are using can easily obtain them.

Much discussion about making sure people with mental illness don't get access to guns. Much easier said than done.

I read a long discussion about how the closing state psychiatric hospitals has caused these mass murders. Almost all of this information is wrong. How do I know? I did my clinical internship at Fort Logan Mental Health Center in Denver Colorado in 1970-71. State mental institutions were awful, people got sicker, not well. Two major events led to the huge downsizing of state institutions. First, new drugs came out that enabled schizophrenics and others with serious mental disorders to function in the community. They needed a lot of support and help to function, which unfortunately didn't come for the next 15 years. The other major factor was the rise of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Centers. 

In Colorado, they took money from the state institutions and funded the mental health centers in the community. California, not just Reagan, did defund mental health, resulting in people on the streets who should not have been released. The vast majority of serial killers and mass murderers suffer from a significant personality disorder. "Crazy people" rarely kill others, and autistic people are the least likely to kill others

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Grover Norquist and the demise of the GOP

The news that Grover Norquist's influence over the GOP is declining comes at a time when the future of the party is being questioned. An endless number of postmortem analysis of the failed election attempt by Mitt Romney have focused on everything from the way he combs his hair to his casually writing off 47% of the population. Not enough attention has been paid to the damage caused by the "no new taxes mantra" enforced by Grover Norquist. Almost everybody would like to pay lower taxes, and certainly not want to see them increase. However, rational people recognize the inherent unfairness of the current tax laws and that circumstances can arise that necessitate increasing taxes. Or can they? On Nov. 20, 2011, CBS aired an interview between Steve Croft and Grover Norquist. Below is an excerpt from that interview.
"Kroft: But you make it pretty clear. If someone breaks the pledge, you're gonna do everything you can to get rid of them.
Norquist: To educate the voters that they raise taxes. And again, we educate people--
Kroft: To get rid of them.
Norquist: To encourage them to go into another line of work, like shoplifting or bank robbing, where they have to do their own stealing. 
Kroft: You've got them by the shorthairs.
Norquist: The voters do. Yeah". 

In the above interchange, Norquist's lust for power dribbles down his cheek like excess blood on a vampire's fang. If someone breaks their pledge to Norquist, the voters aren't going to give that person's opponent in the next primary as much money as they need to win. Norquist and his minions will. The flood of money from outside a state to make sure pledge breakers don't get elected usurps the right of local voters to choose the person they want to represent them. Ultimately, this isn't about taxes were pledge it, it's about one man's need for power