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The Folly of Zeal [Dec. 16th, 2012|11:45 am]
Conservatives Corner


The Other McCain makes the claim that

Our culture has lost all sense of perspective, of reasonable balance, so that we are unable to make common-sense judgments about risks. Which is the greater danger: That a schizophrenic might have his feelings hurt, or that a schizophrenic might go off his meds and kill people?

A variation on the theme of "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." And he even goes so far as to point out that there is a specific kind of person that is more likely than not to go on killing sprees: schizophrenics.

The debate of whether we should or shouldn't profile has been had before. Most famously with this quiz.

But profiling isn't the biggest problem with McCain's post. It's this tidbit:

And I say, no, what we need is more kook control. But no member of Congress in either party would have the guts to introduce “The Dangerous Lunatic Incarceration Act of 2013,” which would put wackjobs like Adam Lanza some place where they couldn’t kill people.

The problem with this paragraph is that McCain doesn't state his terms. Instead, he leaves it up to the reader to imagine a world in which potentially dangerous people aren't just floated to the top of law enforcement's attention, but rather are incarcerated before they commit a crime.

To add insult to injury, in order to bolster his claim that

Psycho, loony, bonkers, daft, zany, berserk and cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Advocates for the mentally ill discourage such colloquial terms as tending to stigmatize psychiatric patients. But we might ask whether stigma — and the consequent damage to the fragile self-esteem of kooks — is really worse than turning loose a homicidal schizo who kills 27 people.

he has associated himself and his argument with the repugnant notion of locking up the insane and mentally disabled and disadvantaged simply because they aren't like the rest of us.

At the risk of invoking Goodwin's Law, one should not forget that the original purpose of concentration camps were to rid society of "undesirables", some of which were those unfortunate enough to have mental health problems. The idea was to have a place to send such people without overburdening the criminal justice system. But in turn, more actions became criminal, including the act of being born a Jew, something the individual had not control over.

According to McCain's proposed solution, schizoids should rounded up now and stowed away from the daylight of gentle society. If we follow this course of action, where does it end? I'm reminded of the poem "First They Came"

First they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

In his post, McCain made this statement

Common sense is quite nearly illegal nowadays and it’s certainly unfashionable in the Obama Age.

with which I wholeheartedly agree. But common sense goes right out the window in his earnest to defend the right to keep and bear arms. By correctly placing the blame on the person who is responsible for this horrible tragedy, unbridled zeal fails to stop at the commons sense's checkpoint of no return. To be on the lookout for those more predisposed to engage in criminal activity is one thing; to punish those who have committed no crime violates those persons' rights and gives the government to continue line drawing and infringing on other people's rights and liberties.

McCain's solution for schizophrenic gunman is no better than the solution of banning guns or engaging in prolonged dentition for those who fit a known profile of potential criminal offenders. The criminal justice system can only punish crime, not prevent it. We can, however, be judicious and have early warning systems in place to alert us to potential danger. Such logic saves lives (and therefore liberties) in natural disasters; the same logic, therefore will maximize personal liberties against a tyrannical government. Swapping tyranny for tyranny is a solution only for those who think they can make a better decision for the nation than each individual can make for themselves.

[User Picture]From: melvin_udall
2012-12-18 07:19 pm (UTC)
Now I remember why I didn't reply.

“The Dangerous Lunatic Incarceration Act of 2013,”

I LOVE this idea. It's one of the very few responses that might actually have prevented Newtown.

This isn't about "not like us". It's about potentially dangerous mental illness. We've significantly limited the ability to hold such people. Yes, it's a dangerous road to go down. But the alternative of leaving people who obviously need to be treated to roam the world so we feel better about not discriminating or some notion, doesn't work for me. Bones fail, immune systems fail, brains fail. We need to root them out.
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