Monday, January 7, 2013

Newtown: The Crux of the Problem

After the shooting massacre in Newtown, CT many asked why? Why did this happen? What caused this? Stephen M. Krason at Crisis Magazine says that the crux of the problem is only being discussed by a few commentators and is unlikely to be discussed by media or to enter the debates among politicians on the causality of this tragedy. He explains how progressives didn't let this crisis go to waste and were so insensitive to the victim's families after the tragedy that their demands for gun control started within days of the massacre. So much for having respect for the dead. Some on the Left didn't even allow the families' need for time to grieve and bury loved ones to deter their urgent need to push their ideological policy agenda. 

Mr. Krason said "Indeed, it seems as if gun control is the left’s singular solution. "  I don't see any evidence to prove otherwise. At least among the majority of progressives. 

Mr. Krason goes onto ask, "Why does the left fixate on gun control?" 

Krason goes onto give a possible reason for the Left's obsession with gun control. 


"Part of the reason may just be groupthink. This has been the position of the left for decades, so this is what a “progressive” should believe. At a deeper level, the readiness to blame guns for shooting rampages reflects the left’s general tendency not to view people as responsible for their actions. Just as corrupted and unenlightened institutions are the cause of all evil and human problems, so guns are seen as the cause of murders instead of the person using them. It also represents a domestic version of the attitude that the great international politics scholar Hans J. Morgenthau said typifies the simplistic, abstract-type thinking of many people about the problem of international peace. Just as some think that abiding peace will follow merely if certain changes are made to international law and organizations and if social science principles are properly refined and applied, so others think that gun violence and criminality will largely cease with good gun control legislation. If we—in our unlimited human wisdom—just tinker with things enough, we can solve even deep-seated, perennial problems."
Then, he goes on to point out the causes of tragedies such as what happened in Connecticut: 
"While we can never truly understand evil—the eminent priest-sociologist Paul Hanly Furfey spoke of “the mystery of iniquity”—it is not difficult to pinpoint the basic, broad causes of outrages such as the one in Connecticut. Five sweeping cultural developments of the past fifty or so years are crucial: the rejection of traditional religion, the subversion of sound morality, the breakdown of the family, the dissolution of solid communities that provided reference points and restraining and helping forces, and the proliferation of destructive, illicit drugs. During that period of time in America, mass murders—although not unknown before that—have become all too frequent occurrences.
"To be sure, mental illness is also in the mix. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I speak only as a layman, but there are issues that logically present themselves. The young adult mass murderer in Connecticut was supposed to have serious mental problems. We will never know if he realized what he was doing, or if he truly had no control over his actions. Circumstances can often push a person who is mentally “on the edge” over the cliff. Was the fact that he was from a broken family, with his parents having been divorced, a significant factor in aggravating his mental condition? Would he have gone over the cliff if he had not grown up in a secular, amoral or immoral culture? Would he have engaged in brutal violence if he had not been influenced by  nihilistic, violent, destructive elements in popular culture through his absorption in playing violent video games?
"Is it unreasonable to think that the above cultural developments and the personal insecurity and social dislocations resulting from them might be factors in triggering mental illness in some cases?
"While deep-seated cultural decay, of course, is not easily or quickly addressed (even when there is a broad agreement about its causes), I do not want to imply that legal and public policy changes should not be part of the equation. While governmental action alone cannot change culture, let’s remember the important role that Aristotle, Aquinas and other thinkers said that law can play in helping to rightly form individuals and culture. As far as concerns gun laws, there may be an argument for more regulation. Second Amendment rights, like all rights, are not absolute. Still, it should be recognized that already considerable restrictions are in place and an objective assessment of their effectiveness is necessary (the gunman in the western New York murders was an ex-convict and killer who was forbidden by law to possess firearms, but he still had them). Secondly, a renewed debate is obviously needed about security in schools, college campuses (remember Virginia Tech), and other public buildings—including the question of self-defense measures. While I am inclined to think that firearms do not mix well with the academic atmosphere, teachers and other school personnel shouldn’t have to be sitting ducks. Catholics, by the way, should not believe that they are somehow in opposition to Church teaching if they don’t support gun control initiatives. This is a matter of prudential judgment, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2264-2265) emphasizes the traditional teaching that one has a right to use the amount of force necessary—though not excessive force—to defend himself and those he is responsible for protecting."

Mr. Krason points out that Catholics can either be in favor of or opposed to gun control since the issue is a matter of prudential judgment. We have seen the effects that excessive gun control have had on cities like Washington D.C. and Chicago so instead of blindly following the "guns kill people" meme by progressives let's use our critical thinking skills and further investigate what we can do to change the violent attitudes and/or tendencies in our culture. Instead of shifting blame to the object (e.g. the gun) or to circumstances surrounding the horrible tragedy, we need to recognize that the responsibility lies with the guilty party. 

I disagree with some of the solutions that Mr. Krason offers. I will focus on his positions regarding mental health policies. 
He said, "It is time to reconsider deinstitutionalization, extreme confidentiality laws, and standards for commitment (while there were perhaps abuses in institutionalization policies in past times, the current “only if the person is a threat to himself or others” standard simply has been inadequate). At least one state even had the foolish policy of allowing a minor to “sign himself out” of a mental health facility that his parents placed him in once he turns fourteen. " 

I'm not sure which confidentiality laws he considers "extreme" or why he believes that the policy “only if the person is a threat to himself or others” is inadequate. He says "while there were perhaps abuses in institutionalization policies in past times."  Does he not realize that the danger of such abuse has never fully gone away?  Unfortunately, I have experienced an abuse of the “only if the person is a threat to himself or others” standard. 

In part due to the lack of funding there was forced deinstitutionalization of persons who really should have been kept in institutions, group homes, or better monitored while living on their own. Another reason for the push for deinstitutionalization was the deplorable, neglectful, and abusive conditions of a number of institutions. What are some ways that we can solve the problems in the mental health system and what can we do to better identify those who need help? 

9 comments:

Always On Watch said...

Teresa,
You might be interested in this aspect as related to Adam Lanza (and others).

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Here's a novel idea, Let's register the crazies instead of the guns.

Teresa said...

AOW,

That was very interesting. Thanks for posting. I'm glad I was able to leave a comment before I started to feel like something is really wrong. I felt off when I woke up this morning but I wasn't sure if it was just due to me not having something to eat yet and getting into gear so to speak. Well now I know there's more to it than just early morning waking up. Its probably due to the fact that I haven't been put on estrogen therapy yet. Per my request, me wanting to make sure my endo is gone. I may have to repost some stuff, post videos or just take some time off from blogging until I get this figured out. Sorry to blab blab blab.

You and Mr. AOW have a blessed day.

Teresa said...

Odie,

Maybe... I'll have to think on that, which is pretty hard for me to do at this point in time. I hope my doc calls me back within a couple of days because this is one of the weirdest sensations I have ever felt, here but not here. Oh boy...

Have a great day.

Leticia said...

Oh Teresa!! Please slow down and take all the time you need for a full recovery. It took me a year to finally feel "normal."

I say we just take away the guns from Obama's security and see how safe he will feel then.

Teresa said...

Leticia,

"I say we just take away the guns from Obama's security and see how safe he will feel then."

I agree. But he loves the power...


Oh you are so sweet and understanding! I've been searching for a job on and off but it has been so tiring. I mean I get tired so easily. But today it was different. It was hard for me to think and felt weird. A year? I was thinking that it could take me that long to feel "normal". Hopefully, the estrogen will help.

Have a blessed evening my friend.

Leticia said...

Just rest when you can my friend, that's all you can do.

Yeah, Obama would be naked without his security and the fact that his girls also have armed security.

As long as he and his family is safe what does he care about the rest of us?

From The Archives of The Political Chic said...

President Obama is worst than Nixon who was kicked out of office and Benghazigate is much worse than Watergate. I don’t think that I have to spell out the fact that in Watergate, NOBODY was Murdered, where as in Benghazigate we saw FOUR Americans that were. . And to add fuel to the fire Obama decided that the opinion’s of the majority of America just doesn’t matter at that what Congress thinks just isn't important! So HE can do whatever he wants to just by involving executive privilege. As we are about to see with his gun control dictatorship legislation..
And furthermore, don’t be fooled by the progressives, leftists who claim that they hate guns and that they want to get rid of them. They hate guns in the hands of anyone besides themselves. Just look at ALL of these Hollywood, Rappers, and Sports figures, I’d bet that over 90 percent of them either have their own guns or they have bodyguards who have guns. These people have been more responsible for gun violence then the NRA will ever be now-a-days.
The lefties, progressives seem to spin things anyway that suits their own purpose. Obama is stepping on very dangerous ground, bordering of Dictatorship if you may, and he knows it so rather than his stepping on the constitution , he sends Old Grinning Uncle Joe Biden to do it for him, because he doesn’t want his fingerprints on this one. As if the “Bill of Rights” is not sacrosanct.
And as for Piers Morgan…I say we should start a petition to deport that idiot. If he or anyone else doesn’t like our Constitution and second amendment, let them leave the USA...period.

Citizen Tom said...

"Why does the left fixate on gun control?"

The left is about control. We are, after all, talking about Secular Socialists. Because the favor Socialism, they work to enlarge the power of government. Because they are Secularists, many think that if the majority wants something that is all it takes to makes it right. They don't even realize what they are advocating, "might makes right."